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  • richardmitnick 10:50 am on June 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Two out of three Australians and four out of five people in NSW are likely to have significantly altered lifestyles if estuaries – tidal rivers and harbours – become impacted by climate change., UNSW takes on climate change in our estuaries, UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: ” UNSW takes on climate change in our estuaries – where Australians live, work and play” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    26 Jun 2019
    Lachlan Gilbert

    A multi-disciplinary team led by UNSW Sydney researchers is releasing the first large-scale summary of how our estuaries – and the 80 per cent of NSW residents living on them – will be impacted by climate change.

    2
    An estuary is defined as the area that rivers meet the sea. In NSW, about four fifths of the population lives on or near estuaries. Picture: UNSW

    Two out of three Australians and four out of five people in NSW are likely to have significantly altered lifestyles if estuaries – tidal rivers and harbours – become impacted by climate change.

    To address this risk, UNSW Sydney’s water engineering researchers (working with NSW’s Government Scientists and Macquarie University) have today launched a free online resource that enables scientists and all levels of government to assess and act on threats posed to our coastal estuaries by climate change.

    Dr Valentin Heimhuber from the Water Research Laboratory of UNSW’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and a lead researcher who helped develop the guide, describes estuaries as the “canary in the coal mine” for climate change.

    “Estuaries are subjected to a ‘double-whammy’ of climate change impacts,” Dr Heimhuber says. “On the land side, climate change is influencing rainfall and temperature patterns, which is critical for agricultural productivity and healthy ecosystems. On the ocean side, we have concerns with sea level rise and oceanic warming. Estuaries are where these two forces – land and ocean – collide, and it happens to be where most Australians live.”

    Associate Professor Will Glamore, Chief Investigator at the Water Research Laboratory, UNSW, sees estuaries as the lifeblood of Australian society. “Our estuaries are where 80% of people live, work and play.” he says. “This research highlights how the 180+ estuaries in NSW may be threatened by climate change.”

    Since European settlement, A/Professor Glamore says, estuaries and harbours have been impacted to the extent that ecosystems are now at risk across the state.

    “Our fear is that climate change, mixed with ongoing development, may be the tipping point for these systems,” he says.

    “Sydney Harbour is an iconic example but only one of the many estuaries at risk across the state. Our harbour is fighting a battle on all fronts. This includes an urbanising catchment, changing water quality, rising temperatures and rising tides.

    “This research shows that rising tides won’t just threaten our beaches. With climate change, the tide will penetrate into our harbours and estuaries, potentially impacting farm productivity and the environment.”

    “Cities like Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong will need to adapt to the changing water regime. This includes our planning levels, our freshwater resources and everything that lives in and around our estuaries and harbours. The potential impact to our daily life is daunting and we are just beginning to understand the extent of the problem.”

    Beyond the direct impact to humans, climate change may be devastating to the environment, A/Professor Glamore says.

    “Climate change threatens our mangroves, oysters, sea grasses, fish, bird-life and saltmarsh,” he says. “Research presented in this study highlights our current knowledge on how these systems will respond when we face climate change and population growth pressures at the same time.”

    Launch of a Climate Change Risk Assessment Guide

    To understand the implications of climate change in estuaries, researchers from UNSW, Macquarie University, the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, and the NSW’s Office of Environment and Heritage have joined forces to prepare a guide for assessing climate change in our estuaries. Titled, Climate change in estuaries – state of the science and framework for assessment, the eight reports bring together the latest knowledge into an easy to understand and transparent guide. The reports are designed to empower planning authorities, local councils and businesses to make informed decisions about our harbours, ports and estuaries in a rapidly changing climate.

    3
    Ecosystems of estuaries are under stress from the impact of human development. Picture: UNSW

    An important component of the project is the Eco-Thresholds database developed by marine ecologists A/Professor Melanie Bishop and Dr. Gabriel Dominguez from Macquarie University’s Department of Biological Sciences. The Eco-Thresholds database is an online tool that compiles more than 300 research publications on the effects of climate change on estuarine species in Australia and worldwide.

    “Understanding how individual species respond to changes in their environment, such as increasing water temperature or salinity, is a critical factor in assessing climate change impacts in estuaries. To address this, we have collated information from every previous climate change study on flora and fauna – mangroves, salt marshes, oysters, fish – you name it,” A/Professor Melanie Bishop says.

    She says anyone can use the tool to see key findings from previous research or to add new research via an easy-to-use online map.

    “For example, you could use the database to search how increased salinity from sea level rise will affect the abundance and health of different fish species or how saltmarsh or oysters can withstand heatwave conditions from rising water temperature.

    “This work also highlights that there are many issues left to understand. The Eco-Thresholds Database and the reports are living documents, freely available to the global community. Researchers from all over the world can now contribute new information as it becomes available.”

    4
    Mangroves, which are part of an estuary ecosystem, could be drastically affected if tidal marks are altered by climate change. Picture: UNSW

    Renewed hope

    A/Professor Glamore says a sense of urgency is needed when acting to protect our estuaries. Thankfully, the NSW State Government has recently updated legislation protecting and planning for estuaries within the Coastal Management Act and the Marine Estate Management Act.

    “The legislation is an acknowledgment that we need to understand and plan for the impact of climate change on our estuaries,” A/Professor Glamore says.

    “Everyone hears about the threat of climate change, but few understand what it means to them locally.”

    “We believe our detailed guide and online resources will ensure this information is open, transparent and available for all. This is just the beginning of an important process to better manage the waters where we live, work and play.”

    This research was funded by the NSW Government via the OEH Adaptation Hub Coastal Node. More details about this research can be found at: http://estuaries.wrl.unsw.edu.au/index.php/climate-change/

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:58 am on May 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Designing a new solution to our waste crisis", , , UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: “Designing a new solution to our waste crisis” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    29 May 2019
    Veena Sahajwalla

    Creating new materials from waste products is essential if we’re to solve the global recycling, waste and emissions crisis.

    1
    Veena Sahajwalla

    If they don’t know it already, designers of all types will soon be at the forefront of a new recycling ethos in Australia and around the world.

    For too long products of all kinds have been designed without consideration of the environmental consequences of their disposal.

    The burden of what to do with all of the unwanted items in our households has fallen to consumers and local councils in the ‘down-stream’ part of the life cycle of products via bin collections and waste sorting.

    Many of these waste materials are ending up in landfill and causing damaging greenhouse gases, and if the world keeps doing this, the waste crisis experienced in Australia since China last year and now India this year banned the importation of international waste, will become critical.

    The reality is that much of the waste that ends up in landfill is actually a renewable resource. This has been proved in our labs at the Sustainable Materials Research and Technology Centre at UNSW Sydney through our microrecycling science and with our prototype green microfactory technology.

    For instance, we are producing building panels from old clothing and textiles, as well as from coffee grounds and cups, and even from glass and saw dust. We are also extracting from electronic waste such as printers, computers and mobile phones the valuable metal alloys they contain and from the plastics we can produce high quality filament for 3D printing.

    And we need to do this if we want to achieve a ‘circular economy’ which minimises waste by ensuring that the valuable resources contained in waste and discarded products are kept in use for as long as possible. For instance, metals can be reformed over and over ad infinitum while glass and even plastics can also be reformed and re-used many times depending on quality.

    But it is not just the designers of products in the so called ‘up-stream’ part of our market places, it is the producers and manufacturers of their products and services in the ‘mid-stream’ that must also play a key role in creating a true circular economy.

    A key problem is there is little commercial appetite to ensure we divert from landfill the waste that can be reformed into new, valued-added materials, products and manufacturing feedstock.

    To that end, the NSW Government has announced in 2019 via its Office of Chief Scientist and Engineer funding to be awarded to UNSW Sydney to establish the Circular Economy Innovation Network, to which I’ve been appointed Director.

    There are so many stakeholders across all supply chains that the challenge is to work together to find the opportunities to make changes that not only reduce waste but to ensure it can be valued and used over and over as a renewable resource to create a circular economy.

    If designers and producers of products, packaging and applicable services accounted for and built in, from the very beginning of the product lifecycle, a consideration for how all of the materials in products will become part of the circular economy so they do not have to end up in landfill, then we may have a positive impact on addressing the world’s growing waste problem.


    For example, using a modular design means that if a part of a product breaks, a replacement component could be made from 3D printing technology from filament made from recovered quality plastic so the whole product is not thrown in the bin. This reduces waste, the need to mine finite resources and the associated environmental impacts and costs of transportation and processing.

    Some designers and producers are now making products from waste resources that otherwise would have gone to the tip and produced green house gases – high-end furniture, is one example. In our labs, we work with various industry partners and one is Dresden which makes prescription glasses and has a mission to do it sustainably using recycled and recyclable plastics materials. Our researchers are helping them by testing the viability of using plastics from things like discarded fishing netting, plastic bags and plastic lids.

    The new Circular Economy Innovation Network will bring together key stakeholders and case studies to accelerate partnerships and opportunities to build the circular economy not just in NSW but across Australia to address the waste and recycling issue, while enhancing manufacturing and industry capability to create new jobs.

    Workshops, seminars and identifying market opportunities and new partnerships with researches, industry and governments, will be some of the key activities and I am excited to be leading this exciting new initiative.

    It’s a big challenge to create a Network like this to bring together all of the touchpoints along business supply chains to help build a true circular economy, but we must act now for the future.

    Let me give you some stark statistics and facts.

    Let me give you some stark statistics and facts.

    The clothing and textiles industry is the second most polluting sector in the world, accounting for 10% of the world’s total carbon emissions. That clothing is now one of the biggest consumer waste streams, with 92 million tons estimated to be thrown out in a year, means we must urgently and seriously consider new ways to deal with unwanted clothes.

    Much of the materials collected from kerbside recycling bins has been going to developing nations and in Australia that gets ticked off as ‘recycled’ but much of it ends up in landfill or burnt. And due to the China and Indian waste importation bans, recyclable materials around Australian are being stockpiled and going into local landfill. Other Asian countries are also getting sick of being the Australia and the world’s dumping grounds.

    UNSW’s own research shows 65.4% of people believe recyclables put into council bins goes to landfill (69.5% female, 51.4% aged 18-34, 75.1% aged 65-plus); 49% of people believe green and ecofriendly efforts will not have an effect in their lifetime; 63.8% of those aged 65-plus see no benefits being realised; and 72.4% of people would recycle more if the material was reliably recycled.

    So, when considering that the population growth trend is expected to continue in the following decades, from a current world population of 7.6 billion to approximately 9.8 billion by 2050, our resources globally and at home need to be preserved and re-used.

    Smart design and production in a new ‘circular economy’ can make a big difference.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:06 am on May 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "'Submarines' small enough to deliver medicine inside human body", , Dr Liang: each capsule of medicine could contain millions of micro-submarines and within each micro-submarine would be millions of drug molecules., , , Micro-submarines powered by nano-motors, , This is significant not just for medical applications but for micro-motors generally., UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: “‘Submarines’ small enough to deliver medicine inside human body” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    27 May 2019
    Lachlan Gilbert

    UNSW engineers have shown that micro-submarines powered by nano-motors could navigate the human body to provide targeted drug delivery to diseased organs without the need for external stimulus.

    1
    An artist’s representation of ‘micro-submarines’ transporting their medical cargo through capillaries among red blood cells. Picture: UNSW.

    Cancers in the human body may one day be treated by tiny, self-propelled ‘micro-submarines’ delivering medicine to affected organs after UNSW Sydney chemical and biomedical engineers proved it was possible.

    In a paper published in Materials Today, the engineers explain how they developed micrometre-sized submarines that exploit biological environments to tune their buoyancy, enabling them to carry drugs to specific locations in the body.

    Corresponding author Dr Kang Liang, with both the School of Biomedical Engineering and School of Chemical Engineering at UNSW, says the knowledge can be used to design next generation ‘micro-motors’ or nano-drug delivery vehicles, by applying novel driving forces to reach specific targets in the body.

    “We already know that micro-motors use different external driving forces – such as light, heat or magnetic field – to actively navigate to a specific location,” Dr Liang says.

    “In this research, we designed micro-motors that no longer rely on external manipulation to navigate to a specific location. Instead, they take advantage of variations in biological environments to automatically navigate themselves.”

    What makes these micro-sized particles unique is that they respond to changes in biological pH environments to self-adjust their buoyancy. In the same way that submarines use oxygen or water to flood ballast points to make them more or less buoyant, gas bubbles released or retained by the micro-motors due to the pH conditions in human cells contribute to these nanoparticles moving up or down.

    This is significant not just for medical applications, but for micro-motors generally.

    “Most micro-motors travel in a 2-dimensional fashion,” Dr Liang says.

    “But in this work, we designed a vertical direction mechanism. We combined these two concepts to come up with a design of autonomous micro-motors that move in a 3D fashion. This will enable their ultimate use as smart drug delivery vehicles in the future.”

    Dr Liang illustrates a possible scenario where drugs are taken orally to treat a cancer in the stomach or intestines. To give an idea of scale, he says each capsule of medicine could contain millions of micro-submarines, and within each micro-submarine would be millions of drug molecules.

    “Imagine you swallow a capsule to target a cancer in the gastrointestinal tract,” he says.

    “Once in the gastrointestinal fluid, the micro-submarines carrying the medicine could be released. Within the fluid, they could travel to the upper or bottom region depending on the orientation of the patient.

    “The drug-loaded particles can then be internalised by the cells at the site of the cancer. Once inside the cells, they will be degraded causing the release of the drugs to fight the cancer in a very targeted and efficient way.”

    For the micro-submarines to find their target, a patient would need to be oriented in such a way that the cancer or ailment being treated is either up or down – in other words, a patient would be either upright or lying down.

    Dr Liang says the so-called micro-submarines are essentially composite metal-organic frameworks (MOF)-based micro-motor systems containing a bioactive enzyme (catalase, CAT) as the engine for gas bubble generation. He stresses that he and his colleagues’ research is at the proof-of-concept stage, with years of testing needing to be completed before this could become a reality.

    Dr Liang says the research team – comprised of engineers from UNSW, University of Queensland, Stanford University and University of Cambridge – will be also looking outside of medical applications for these new multi-directional nano-motors.

    “We are planning to apply this new finding to other types of nanoparticles to prove the versatility of this technique,” he says.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:09 pm on May 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Silicon surges as quantum tech favourite", , UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From UNSW via COSMOS Magazine: “Silicon surges as quantum tech favourite” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    via

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    COSMOS Magazine

    22 May 2019
    Alan Duffy

    1
    Beads made of silicon balanced on the head of a pin. Once thought to be useful only in traditional computing, the element is enjoying a new lease of life in quantum research. Credit: Texas Instruments/Getty Images

    Three breakthrough papers published in just the past year have confirmed that silicon is neck-and-neck with competing technology for quantum computing, including those under active research by corporate giants Google, Microsoft and IBM.

    Creating the quantum entangled pairs that form the qubits, the heart of quantum computation, has thus far required the use of complex, exotic materials and structures, such as from honeycomb boron nitride and trapping molecules in lasers.

    Although these techniques are incredibly promising they have one significant downside – throwing away the trillions of dollars and decades of research and development invested in the traditional computing material, silicon.

    Now an Australian team led by Andrew Dzurak from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has made a series of breakthroughs that have suddenly made silicon a leading focus for materials research quantum computer development.

    Qubits hold great promise, but unlike bits in traditional computing, they are error prone. This means millions are required for complex calculations to allow for error correction.

    Using existing techniques for forming quantum entangled pairs, any potential quantum computer would be unfeasibly large. That’s why three recent papers by the UNSW researchers are so important.

    The first, published in the journal Nature Electronics, showed silicon reaching an accuracy (or fidelity) for one-qubit logic of 99.96%.

    “This puts it on an even par with all other competing qubit technologies”, explains Dzurak, “since all qubits have errors, and these must be kept very low if we want to do useful computations, otherwise the final answers to calculations will be unreliable.”

    The result was followed up by a second paper, in the journal Nature, which demonstrated that two-qubit computations had reached 98% accuracy, an important step because linking qubits together is how quantum computations are undertaken.

    “We think that we’ll achieve significantly higher fidelities in the near future, opening the path to full-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computation,” says Dzurak.

    “We’re now on the verge of a two-qubit accuracy that’s high enough for quantum error correction.”

    These two sets of findings are key to constructing more feasible quantum computers, because greater accuracy means fewer redundant qubits are required for error correction.

    A third paper, just published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, took the team’s work to an all-new practical level.

    “It shows it is possible to read out the state of a quantum bit in a silicon device using only a single wire (in this case a nanoscale electrode), vastly simplifying the on-chip electronics needed for a full-scale quantum processor chip,” explains Dzurak.

    The fewer qubits required for processing problems, combined with reducing the size of read-outs required for each qubit enough, dramatically reduces the size and complexity of a quantum computer, thus bringing it that much closer to reality.

    And industry has taken note.

    The advances have made possible the scaling up of a system using silicon, based on industry-standard complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) transistors, in a joint venture between UNSW, Australian company Silicon Quantum Computing (SQC) and the CMOS chip manufacturing capabilities at the French technology agency CEA.

    In using silicon for the quantum computing revolution, Australian researchers have shown that an old element can be taught new tricks.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:26 am on May 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: “CoastSnap is a network of simple camera mounts at beaches that invite the public to take a photo and upload it to social media using a specific hashtag” says Dr Mitchell Harley., Citizen science project led by UNSW engineers, CoastSnap, UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: ” Revolutionising coastal monitoring, one social media photo at a time” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    20 May 2019
    Cecilia Duong

    1
    CoastSnap is a network of simple camera mounts at beaches that invite the public to take a photo and upload it to social media.

    A citizen science project led by UNSW engineers is leveraging thousands of crowd-sourced photos from social media, helping create new insights into how beaches respond to changing weather and wave conditions, and extreme storms – and now a new study has shown the program to be nearly as accurate and effective as professional shoreline monitoring equipment.

    The study – recently published in the journal Coastal Engineering – is a collaboration between engineers from the UNSW Water Research Laboratory and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

    “To collect data about shoreline change over time, we previously had to rely on expensive monitoring equipment or exhaustive fieldwork to gather data by hand,” explains Dr Mitchell Harley from UNSW’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who has led the study.

    “In our new study, we present an innovative ‘citizen science’ approach to collecting shoreline data, by tapping into the incredible amount of social media images taken at the coast every single day.

    “We rigorously tested this technique at two beaches in Sydney over a 7-month period – Manly and North Narrabeen – and found that the shoreline data obtained from this community-based technology was comparable in accuracy to that collected by professional shoreline monitoring equipment.”

    CoastSnap – a community program founded in 2017 – turns the average community member into a coastal scientist, using only their smartphone to take pictures of the coastline.

    “CoastSnap is a network of simple camera mounts at beaches that invite the public to take a photo and upload it to social media, using a specific hashtag,” says Dr Mitchell Harley.

    Using algorithms to track the shoreline position, the images collected are then analysed to help researchers and the community understand why some beaches are more resilient to change than others. The imagery can also be used to inform coastal management and planning decisions. Despite the technical challenges presented with this method of data collection, which include the low resolution of social media images and the involvement of non-professionals in the gathering of the data, the technique has proven that the research does not need expensive equipment to collect useful data.

    Dr Harley says the collection of photos at all the different stations will be the global eyes observing likely changes to the coastline in the coming years.

    “The data we have collected so far has revealed some very interesting patterns that waves and tides have caused. Some sites have seen the coastline fluctuate by up to 50m back and forth, whereas at some nearby sites, the same coastline has remained stagnant.

    “This type of information is critical to be able to help predict how the coastline changes in response to changing waves and storms,” says Dr Harley.

    “Ultimately we would like to use this information to assist coastal managers in reducing the risk of coastal erosion – and to identify coastal erosion hotspots that need particular attention.”

    2
    Dr Mitchel Harley (far right) at the installation of a CoastSnap station in Fiji. Photo credit: Navneet Lal

    Two years and thousands of images later

    The idea for CoastSnap stems from the Water Research Laboratory’s work in coastal imaging technology, which has been in development for over a decade. The technology made use of high-tech video cameras installed on top of beachfront buildings; but in contrast to CoastSnap, that equipment was quite expensive. Now celebrating the program’s two-year anniversary this month, CoastSnap had humble beginnings, with the first two snap stations installed at Manly and North Narrabeen in May 2017. Since then, over 2,500 images have been submitted from 4 NSW CoastSnap stations from almost 1,000 individual community participants.

    The team says the technique has the potential to revolutionise the way coastlines are monitored worldwide, by expanding to coastlines where there previously was little data coverage, particularly in countries with limited resources.

    “That’s why we’ve already rapidly expanded internationally, with CoastSnap stations located in 9 different countries – Brazil, England, Fiji, France, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, USA and Australia,” says Dr Harley.

    The team have had positive community feedback and participation so far.

    “What we often find in coastal engineering and management is that the solution to coastal erosion issues is relatively simple, but that the solution is held back by a range of societal roadblocks,” Dr Harley says.

    “Engaging the community in the data collection process really helps to break down barriers between coastal managers, government and the people that enjoy the coast on a daily basis.

    “This leads to a greater democratisation of decisions being made at the coast, so that better decisions are made for everyone to benefit.”

    How to get CoastSnapping:

    Visit a CoastSnap photo point at North Narrabeen Beach, Manly Beach, Cape Byron or Blacksmiths Beach with your mobile device and follow these simple steps:

    Place your mobile device in the CoastSnap cradle, with the camera facing through the gap in the cradle and the screen facing you. This is important: if you don’t place your phone in the cradle we can’t use your snap.
    Push your mobile device up against the left side of the phone cradle.
    Take a standard photo with your mobile device camera, without using zoom or filters.
    Carefully remove your mobile device from the phone cradle.
    Share or submit your CoastSnap photo so that we can measure the beach:
    share on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag shown on the sign
    submit your photo via email to Coast.Snap@environment.nsw.gov.au

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:06 am on May 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Cholesterol is an essential component of the membranes that enclose all of our cells., Squalene monooxygenase has a “destruction code” that acts to bind ubiquitin when unlocked initiating its own destruction., Squalene monooxygenase has also been linked to high cholesterol in human cancers including liver; breast; and prostate cancers., UNSW-University of New South Wales, Why biology has introduced such an unusual chemical modification is still not well-understood.   

    From University of New South Wales: “Scientists find ‘molecular destruction code’ for enzyme involved in cholesterol production” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    17 May 2019
    Isabelle Dubach

    A newly identified mechanism that regulates a particular enzyme could lead to the development of new, cholesterol-lowering drugs.

    1
    UNSW PhD Candidate Jake Chua is the lead author on a paper that shows how a key enzyme that contributes to cholesterol production can be regulated – and destroyed – using a particular molecule.

    A team of UNSW scientists at the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences led by Professor Andrew Brown have shown how a key enzyme that contributes to cholesterol production can be regulated – and destroyed – using a particular molecule.

    The findings have implications for the development of cholesterol-lowering drugs: knowing how to regulate this enzyme – squalene monooxygenase – may offer a new way to control its abundance in a bid to lower cholesterol levels.

    In the paper – published today in the Journal of Biological Chemistry – the scientists demonstrated how squalene monooxygenase, when linked to a particular molecule called ubiquitin, gets destroyed and inhibits the synthesis of cholesterol.

    The scientists showed that squalene monooxygenase has a “destruction code” that acts to bind ubiquitin when unlocked, initiating its own destruction.

    “Knowing the molecular mechanisms of how this enzyme – which plays a key role in cholesterol production – is regulated will allow us to understand how drugs can help maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the cells of our body,” says UNSW PhD candidate Ngee Kiat (Jake) Chua, the paper’s lead author.

    2
    Squalene monooxygenase is depicted in blue (top and bottom). Under certain conditions, a helix in squalene monooxygenase (coiled structure, top right) is unravelled to reveal the destruction code (bottom blue squalene monooxygenase). The ubiquitin molecules are shown as purple spheres, linked to squalene monooxygenase in grey rods. Cholesterol is shown as ringed structures (yellow).

    For nearly twenty years, squalene monooxygenase has been proposed to be an enzyme in the pathway which should be investigated as another drug target to lower cholesterol.

    More recently, squalene monooxygenase has also been linked to high cholesterol in human cancers, including liver, breast and prostate cancers.

    Cholesterol is an essential component of the membranes that enclose all of our cells. Cholesterol is also the starting material for bile acids that allow us to digest fat as well as for steroid hormones like estrogen and testosterone. But high levels of cholesterol are still a major health concern, given their connection to heart disease.

    “What a lot of people don’t realise is that our body produces the bulk of cholesterol to meet our metabolic requirements – dietary cholesterol contributes a smaller proportion,” Mr Chua says.

    The body produces cholesterol through a pipeline called the cholesterol synthesis pathway. That’s the pipeline that statins – the most common cholesterol-lowering drugs – target. Statins limit cholesterol production by blocking one of the enzymes that is responsible for one early chemical reaction in this pathway.

    “Statins are not without their shortcomings – for example, they have been linked to muscle pain in some people who take them and some patients experience statins intolerance.

    “That’s why researchers are investigating other enzymes in the pathway, with hopes of finding alternative druggable targets to help lower cholesterol.

    “Enzymes are proteins that are made up of combinations of about 20 different building blocks called amino acids. In this paper, we reported that joining ubiquitin to a serine amino acid in squalene monooxygenase triggers its destruction. New knowledge of this initial chemical linkage raises new prospects to control cholesterol production. For instance, enhancing the formation of this chemical linkage speeds up the destruction of squalene monooxygenase,” Mr Chua says.

    The formation of the chemical linkage between ubiquitin and the serine amino acid on squalene monooxygenase is still not well-represented in the scientific literature

    “Why biology has introduced such an unusual chemical modification is still not well-understood,” Mr Chua says.

    “In the entire cholesterol synthesis pathway, which has about 20 steps each carried out by separate enzymes, squalene monooxygenase is the first-known enzyme to possess this unusual chemical linkage with ubiquitin.”

    With the emergence of newer techniques in modulating enzymes, including gene-editing and chemical molecules to trigger enzyme destruction, researchers are trying new approaches, rather than conventional drugs that simply block enzyme activity.

    “While our study has identified the molecular destruction code, future research should focus on identifying ways to unlock it for initiating the destruction of squalene monooxygenase as a strategy to lower cholesterol levels,” Mr Chua says.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:08 pm on May 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Counting the costs of the major parties' climate change policies", , , UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: “Counting the costs of the major parties’ climate change policies” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    16 May 2019

    Cameron Allen
    Graciela Metternicht
    Tommy Wiedmann

    UNSW sustainability scientists have run their rulers over the major parties’ climate policies to determine whether taking action against climate change is more expensive than doing nothing.

    1
    Extreme climate events: an old ‘Queenslander’ house in Milton, Brisbane during the floods in January, 2011. Picture: Shutterstock

    Climate change has emerged as the issue most likely to determine the result in the upcoming federal election. It is no longer the exclusive concern of the ‘latte left’, with more conservative voters than ever before now listing it as a major election issue.
    At UNSW, we recently developed an integrated macro-economic simulation model (iSDG-Australia) capable of projecting the future impacts of a range of policy and investment scenarios, including additional policies to address greenhouse gas emissions.
    There are clear differences in the proposed responses to climate change from the major political parties. We can now model how these different policies affect Australia’s economy and greenhouse gas emissions trajectories in the future.
    The Coalition Government has committed to the Paris Agreement by setting a national target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. This represents a target level of 441 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e).
    The latest projections from the Department of Environment and Energy reveal that Australia is not on track to reach this target. In fact, emissions are projected to increase marginally over the period to 2030. Given the Coalition is still in power and has not released any substantive change in climate change policy ahead of this election, let us call this the ‘Business-As-Usual’ scenario.
    Labor, on the other hand, has released a more ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 45% on 2005 levels by 2030. To achieve this, Labor has set out a suite of policies in its Climate Change Action Plan. This includes a target of 50% renewables by 2030, a target of 50% of electric vehicles in new cars sales by 2030, doubling energy productivity by 2030 and improving emissions standards, among other measures.
    Not surprisingly, the Greens have set an even more ambitious target of 63-82% reduction in emissions on 2005 levels by 2030.
    These more ambitious targets have sparked an explosive political row regarding the potential costs of addressing climate change to the economy and jobs.
    Modelling commissioned by the Government from the economist Brian Fisher concludes that Labor’s emissions target would subtract at least $264 billion from gross national product by 2030, or up to $542 billion depending on how it’s implemented. A minimum of 3% reduction in real wages and 167,000 fewer jobs are also predicted.
    These findings have been vehemently criticised by experts and Labor for relying on inaccurate assumptions and failing to consider the economic costs of inaction on climate change.
    The model we developed is a powerful tool to explore potential development pathways for Australia to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals and other international targets.
    We used the model to explore potential impacts of some of Labor’s key climate policies on the economy, jobs and greenhouse gas reduction as compared with the Coalition’s business as usual scenario.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:37 am on May 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Quantum world-first: researchers can now tell how accurate two-qubit calculations in silicon really are", ...you can only tap into the tremendous power of quantum computing if the qubit operations are near perfect with only tiny errors allowed” Dr Yang says., , “Fidelity is a critical parameter which determines how viable a qubit technology is..., , , The researchers say the study is further proof that silicon as a technology platform is ideal for scaling up to the large numbers of qubits needed for universal quantum computing., Two-qubit gate, UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: “Quantum world-first: researchers can now tell how accurate two-qubit calculations in silicon really are” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales – Sidney

    14 May 2019

    Isabelle Dubach
    Media and Content Manager
    +61 2 9385 7307, 0432 307 244
    i.dubach@unsw.edu.au

    Scientia Professor Andrew Dzurak
    Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications
    +61 432 405 434
    a.dzurak@unsw.edu.au

    After being the first team to create a two-qubit gate in silicon in 2015, UNSW Sydney engineers are breaking new ground again: they have measured the accuracy of silicon two-qubit operations for the first time – and their results confirm the promise of silicon for quantum computing.

    1
    Wister Huang, a final-year PhD student in Electrical Engineering; Professor Andrew Dzurak; and Dr Henry Yang, a senior research fellow.

    For the first time ever, researchers have measured the fidelity – that is, the accuracy – of two-qubit logic operations in silicon, with highly promising results that will enable scaling up to a full-scale quantum processor.

    The research, carried out by Professor Andrew Dzurak’s team in UNSW Engineering, was published today in the world-renowned journal Nature.

    The experiments were performed by Wister Huang, a final-year PhD student in Electrical Engineering, and Dr Henry Yang, a senior research fellow at UNSW.

    “All quantum computations can be made up of one-qubit operations and two-qubit operations – they’re the central building blocks of quantum computing,” says Professor Dzurak.

    “Once you’ve got those, you can perform any computation you want – but the accuracy of both operations needs to be very high.”

    In 2015 Dzurak’s team was the first to build a quantum logic gate in silicon, making calculations between two qubits of information possible – and thereby clearing a crucial hurdle to making silicon quantum computers a reality.

    A number of groups around the world have since demonstrated two-qubit gates in silicon – but until this landmark paper today, the true accuracy of such a two-qubit gate was unknown.

    Accuracy crucial for quantum success

    “Fidelity is a critical parameter which determines how viable a qubit technology is – you can only tap into the tremendous power of quantum computing if the qubit operations are near perfect, with only tiny errors allowed,” Dr Yang says.

    In this study, the team implemented and performed Clifford-based fidelity benchmarking – a technique that can assess qubit accuracy across all technology platforms – demonstrating an average two-qubit gate fidelity of 98%.

    “We achieved such a high fidelity by characterising and mitigating primary error sources, thus improving gate fidelities to the point where randomised benchmarking sequences of significant length – more than 50 gate operations – could be performed on our two-qubit device,” says Mr Huang, the lead author on the paper.

    Quantum computers will have a wide range of important applications in the future thanks to their ability to perform far more complex calculations at much greater speeds, including solving problems that are simply beyond the ability of today’s computers.

    “But for most of those important applications, millions of qubits will be needed, and you’re going to have to correct quantum errors, even when they’re small,” Professor Dzurak says.

    “For error correction to be possible, the qubits themselves have to be very accurate in the first place – so it’s crucial to assess their fidelity.”

    “The more accurate your qubits, the fewer you need – and therefore, the sooner we can ramp up the engineering and manufacturing to realise a full-scale quantum computer.”


    Silicon confirmed as the way to go.

    The researchers say the study is further proof that silicon as a technology platform is ideal for scaling up to the large numbers of qubits needed for universal quantum computing. Given that silicon has been at the heart of the global computer industry for almost 60 years, its properties are already well understood and existing silicon chip production facilities can readily adapt to the technology.

    “If our fidelity value had been too low, it would have meant serious problems for the future of silicon quantum computing. The fact that it is near 99% puts it in the ballpark we need, and there are excellent prospects for further improvement. Our results immediately show, as we predicted, that silicon is a viable platform for full-scale quantum computing,” Professor Dzurak says.

    “We think that we’ll achieve significantly higher fidelities in the near future, opening the path to full-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computation. We’re now on the verge of a two-qubit accuracy that’s high enough for quantum error correction.”

    In another paper – recently published in Nature Electronics and featured on its cover – on which Dr Yang is lead author, the same team also achieved the record for the world’s most accurate 1-qubit gate in a silicon quantum dot, with a remarkable fidelity of 99.96%.

    3

    “Besides the natural advantages of silicon qubits, one key reason we’ve been able to achieve such impressive results is because of the fantastic team we have here at UNSW. My student Wister and Dr Yang are both incredibly talented. They personally conceived the complex protocols required for this benchmarking experiment,” says Professor Dzurak.

    Other authors on today’s Nature paper are UNSW researchers Tuomo Tanttu, Ross Leon, Fay Hudson, Andrea Morello and Arne Laucht, as well as former Dzurak team members Kok Wai Chan, Bas Hensen, Michael Fogarty and Jason Hwang, while Professor Kohei Itoh from Japan’s Keio University provided isotopically enriched silicon wafers for the project.

    UNSW Dean of Engineering, Professor Mark Hoffman, says the breakthrough is yet another piece of proof that this world-leading team are in the process of taking quantum computing across the threshold from the theoretical to the real.

    “Quantum computing is this century’s space race – and Sydney is leading the charge,” Professor Hoffman says.

    “This milestone is another step towards realising a large-scale quantum computer – and it reinforces the fact that silicon is an extremely attractive approach that we believe will get UNSW there first.”

    Spin qubits based on silicon CMOS technology – the specific method developed by Professor Dzurak’s group – hold great promise for quantum computing because of their long coherence times and the potential to leverage existing integrated circuit technology to manufacture the large numbers of qubits needed for practical applications.

    Professor Dzurak leads a project to advance silicon CMOS qubit technology with Silicon Quantum Computing, Australia’s first quantum computing company.

    “Our latest result brings us closer to commercialising this technology – my group is all about building a quantum chip that can be used for real-world applications,” Professor Dzurak says.

    The silicon qubit device that was used in this study was fabricated entirely at UNSW using a novel silicon-CMOS process line, high-resolution patterning systems, and supporting nanofabrication equipment that are made available by ANFF-NSW.

    A full-scale quantum processor would have major applications in the finance, security and healthcare sectors – it would help identify and develop new medicines by greatly accelerating the computer-aided design of pharmaceutical compounds, it could contribute to developing new, lighter and stronger materials spanning consumer electronics to aircraft, and faster information searching through large databases.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:45 am on May 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Low cost way to explore groundwater resources could be game changer", , , UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: “Low cost way to explore groundwater resources could be game changer” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    10 May 2019
    Lachlan Gilbert

    UNSW Sydney water engineers have revealed that investigating and managing groundwater resources more sustainably can be achieved at lower cost by using existing Earth and atmospheric tidal data.

    1
    Dr Gabriel Rau downloads data from a bore. Picture: Prof Emeritus Ian Acworth

    Groundwater exploration can be achieved at much lower cost and with less invasive procedures thanks to a new passive technique being championed by UNSW engineers.

    In an article to be published in Reviews of Geophysics, the research team from UNSW Sydney, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany and Deakin University point to a new way of investigating groundwater resources by analysing the groundwater level changes due to influences by Earth and atmospheric tides. These effects can be measured in monitoring boreholes globally.

    Dr Gabriel Rau who is an engineering geologist at KIT and affiliated with UNSW’s Connected Waters Initiative Research Centre says that current testing methods require active pumping of water from a specially designed water-extraction well while observing the water level response in other wells in the vicinity.

    “This costs a lot of money and only gives a result for that particular location,” he says.

    “The properties of groundwater reservoirs – also known as aquifers – vary greatly in space, and it is much too expensive and intrusive to build extraction wells everywhere.

    “The new method, on the other hand, involves using tidal information embedded in water levels from monitoring boreholes. It is a passive technique and simpler to conduct than the current practices of pump and aquifer testing.”

    2
    Extracting groundwater to investigate resources the conventional way requires more hands on deck. Picture: Dr Landon Halloran

    Co-author Timothy McMillan – from the UNSW Connected Waters Initiative Research Centre and School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering – says the article pulls together studies from multiple disciplines including some previously carried out by UNSW researchers about an underutilised groundwater investigation method.

    “Our work has uncovered that recent advancements in this field, developed both here at UNSW and abroad reveal a potential for significantly cheaper long-term groundwater investigations,” he says.

    “This method has the advantage of being able to calculate the physical properties of the subsurface from just the measured water levels.”

    The engineers say that normally to calculate the groundwater available, a large hole needs to be drilled which then requires a crew of two to three people managing the drill rig to pump water out, anywhere from a few days to several months.

    However, as McMillan explains, the passive approach that they recommend requires only a small hole to be drilled, then an automated water pressure data logger to be placed in the hole for a month, which produces the same results.

    “An added advantage of our new approach lies in the fact that we can re-analyse decades of existing water level data to calculate subsurface properties that change over time,” he says.

    “Whereas the pumping method would require the pumping crew to come back and pump the hole again for the same length of time they previously did to get one more value.”

    3
    Representation of groundwater head measured in a well penetrating a semi-confined aquifer with a relatively rigid matrix subjected to (A) strains caused by Earth tides (using the moon as an example celestial body) and (B) barometric loading caused by atmospheric tides.

    Dr Rau describes the passive method as “paradigm shifting” in subsurface resources research.

    “We can use the impact of Earth and atmospheric tides on commonly acquired atmospheric and groundwater pressure to obtain unprecedented knowledge of subsurface properties at low cost,” he says.

    “Similar to tides in the ocean, the groundwater level is affected by tidal forces squeezing the porous rocks in the subsurface and causing measurable pressure changes.”

    Another benefit to the cost-saving aspect of the passive approach is the capability to rapidly expand our knowledge of subsurface properties in order to sustainably manage groundwater resources. Groundwater extraction is increasing rapidly throughout the world and is linked to falling water tables, ground surface subsidence, water quality degradation and reduction of stream baseflow.

    The engineers say that using a combination of knowledge gained from engineering, science and maths, the impact of Earth and atmospheric tides on groundwater can be used to make calculations to forecast groundwater resources linked to climate variability.

    “Our new approach lets us use existing data to get to the same properties [as active exploration],” says co-author, Professor Wendy Timms, of Deakin University.

    “And because we can also use the cheaper monitoring boreholes, we get many more locations in space. Also, we can now monitor changes in properties over time.”

    The new approach highlights the huge value of existing groundwater monitoring networks, such as those funded by the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.

    “We are facing immense challenges related to water resources in the future,” Dr Rau says.

    “With the results, we can better manage subsurface resources and do it much more sustainably.”

    Associate Professor Martin Andersen who is director of the Connected Waters Initiative and a co-author on the paper says that “if the groundwater industry adopts our suggested investigation technique we will take a giant step forward in the characterisation of the water bearing layers in the subsurface and vastly improve our ability to manage this valuable resource”.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:03 am on May 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Labor commits $15m for National Health and Climate Centre at UNSW", , Climate Change Research Centre, , The Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: “Labor commits $15m for National Health and Climate Centre at UNSW” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    09 May 2019
    Lucy Carroll

    The Centre will be the first in Australia to deliver a national response to the impact of climate change on health.

    1
    Professor Ian Jacobs, UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor, Associate Professor Donna Green and Matt Thistlethwaite, MP for Kingsford Smith.

    A new UNSW Sydney centre that will investigate the major health risks Australians face from climate change will receive $15 million in funding under a Labor government.

    Matt Thistlethwaite, MP for Kingsford Smith, announced the investment in the flagship National Health and Climate Centre at UNSW’s Kensington campus on Thursday. It will be the first centre in Australia to deliver a national response to the impact of climate change on health by bringing together state and federal governments, and world-class researchers from a range of disciplines.

    The Centre, which will operate with about 30 staff and 40 to 50 PhD students, will assemble academics to work on a range of issues including heat-related illness from heatwaves, mental health impacts in farming communities caused by severe droughts, asthma caused by air pollution and bushfires and infectious diseases transmission in Far North Queensland.

    Mr Thistlethwaite said the new Centre will leverage the existing expertise of UNSW in cutting-edge science innovation and the Climate Change Research Centre and The Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes.

    “Climate change is the world’s largest health risk,” said Mr Thistlethwaite. “For a nation like Australia a lack of action on climate change will risk people’s lives. Scientists know we need to do more to remain healthy into the future. This Centre will address the effects of temperature and water-related illness, respiratory problems caused by major dust storms and the significant impact climate change has on health services.”

    2
    Matt Thistlethwaite, MP for Kingsford Smith.

    Funding for the Centre will come from Labor’s election commitment of a $300 million University Future Fund and will be overseen by an independent advisory board.

    “The Centre will work to reduce impacts of climate change and prepare Australia for a changed future around the damaging effects of climate change. This Labor investment will directly boost Australia’s health and climate change research capabilities in Sydney as well as in partner agencies across the country,” said Mr Thistlethwaite.

    The Centre will include board members and representatives from states and territories’ health departments, the health service industry, academia and the NGOs. It will represent a cross-section of health and policy expertise and be boosted by UNSW’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine, the Kirby Institute and The George Institute.

    UNSW Science’s Associate Professor Donna Green, who will be the director of the new Centre, said Australians were already highly vulnerable to extreme weather which will continue to be worsened by climate change.

    “A recent Lancet special report on health and climate change warned that if our hospitals and health systems fail to prepare for our changing climate, that failure would threaten human lives and the viability of the national health systems they depend on. Australia cannot afford to ignore such clear advice,” said Associate Professor Green, a founding member of the Climate Change Research Centre.

    “Instead of just reacting to climate impacts – and risk having our health systems caught out – our goal with this Centre is to carry out research that will better protect all Australians.

    “The Centre will bring together medical and scientific experts to ensure our emergency departments – and other related health infrastructure – have plans in place to better prepare ourselves for a more extreme future. While we have a small window of opportunity to take action, we currently lack a coordinated, strategic national response to this crisis. The Centre will respond to this gap.”

    Associate Professor Green said the centre will develop critically needed educational programs on how climate impacts health, assist and engage the most vulnerable communities – especially the elderly, young children and remote Indigenous communities, integrate leading health and climate researchers on regionally-specific challenges and develop comprehensive multi-media public education campaigns to translate the Centre’s findings into better health outcomes.

    Professor Ian Jacobs, UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor, welcomed the funding announcement and emphasised that inaction on climate change would mean avoidable loss of life.

    “UNSW has been at the forefront of both climate and health research for many decades, with the largest university-based climate change research centre in Australia,” said Professor Jacobs. “We need to find solutions and it is our researchers who will be in the vanguard of this battle.”

    “University researchers all across Australia have shown leadership on this issue and will continue to do so into the future. But, we cannot do this on our own. Regardless of who wins the upcoming Australian election, they must, as a priority, unite with their political rivals to find a way to confront climate change as a nation,” Professor Jacobs said.

    The Centre will bring together the responses of federal agencies including the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC), along with state and territory governments and other universities. The Centre will include a range of researchers including epidemiologists, environmental scientists, climate impact scientists and science communicators.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
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