eResearch Australasia Conference

10 – 14 October, Melbourne

Featured Speakers are listed in alphabetical order by surname
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Professor Peter Doherty

Professor Peter Doherty shared the 1996 Nobel Medicine Prize with Swiss colleague Rolf Zinkernagel, for their discoveries about transplantation and “killer” T cell-mediated immunity, an understanding that is currently translating into new cancer treatments. The first veterinarian to win a Nobel, he was Australian of the Year in 1997. Still active in research on immunity to influenza, he commutes between St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis and the Peter Doherty Institute at the University of Melbourne, where he now spends most of his professional time. Apart from his scientific output that can be found on PubMed, he is the author of several “lay” books, including A Light History of Hot Air, The Beginners Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize, Sentinel Chickens: What Birds Tell us About our Health and our World and Pandemics: What Everyone Needs to Know. Passionate about promoting an evidence-based view of reality, his most recent book The Knowledge Wars is a “warts and all” view of science for non-scientists, even for people who don’t like science. It also suggests how any thoughtful citizen can bypass the facile propagandists and probe the scientific evidence for and against some of the big issues, like climate change or GM foods.

Living in an Evidence Based World

Research scientists like me live in an evidence-based world but, apart from the simple practicalities of day-to-day life, that’s not the case for most of us. Visit your local book store and compare the extent of the “Astrology” and “New Age” bookshelves with the whole of the section badged “Science” (and some of that is a bit dubious) and you’ll see what I mean. Given the challenges we face on the climate change, population and food/environmental degradation front, and given that the best solutions will come from evidence based in careful measurement, analysis and innovation (ie science and engineering) this broad, public adherence to myth, prejudice and perceived narrow self interest, rather than objective analysis and rational action, is both dangerous, and potentially lethal.

Modern communications, data handling, open access publication and so forth both enable science and allow for a broad buy-in from intelligent and curious non-specialists. But that’s likely to be a small segment (20% at maximum) of the voting public. The big question for us is, though: “How do we take more people down that path? How do we intrigue and persuade voters to demand (and think in terms of) the best available evidence? I address these issues in The Knowledge Wars, though the problem with books is that those who will read something of reasonable length tend to be aware anyway. Using the web and mobile phones, the area of Citizen Science has some potential. There are some very good blogs, but then there are others that simply disseminate convenient lies. I gave Andrew Jaspan some help when he started TheConversation: go to TheConversation.edu.au, put in your e-mail address and free, quality content will come to your inbox each day. And, if you want a good science bookstore, visit Embiggen in Little Lonsdale St (right opposite the library) while you’re in Melbounre.

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Elyas Khan

Elyas Khan, PhD candidate at the Centre for Advancing Journalism and the eResearch Group at the University of Melbourne. Mr Khan is the lead developer of Wakul App, which will be launched in late 2016, and will comprise a suite of interactive news apps which will aggregate news from around Indigenous Australia and perform geospatial and social media analytics. Last year he helped deliver the Coursera MOOC Journalism Skills for Engaged Citizens. His research interests lie at the intersection between journalism and technology and his PhD research investigates automated methods of journalistic fact-checking. He holds a Master of Journalism and a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Mechatronics. His journalism has been published in the Herald Sun, The Citizen and Crikey.

Journalism at the Crossroads
It is, to paraphrase Tolstoy, the best of times and the worst of times. Traditional news media is in crisis. The ‘rivers of gold’ that once catalysed the rise of media empires have dried out, and the big newsrooms are shrinking. The Centre for Advancing Journalism’s Civic Impact of Journalism project has found the result is an information deficit in the ‘journal of record’ functions of the press – the reporting of courts, parliaments, local government and other public forums and civic institutions.

Yet at the same time investigative journalism is having something of a golden age. Traditional reporting has exposed mistreatment of youth offenders in the Northern Territory, appalling treatment of asylum seekers on Nauru, misconduct by the big banks and exploitation of workers at Seven Eleven, to name just a few recent stories.  Meanwhile WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden and the Panama Papers are a testament to how the application of technology to journalism can add to our knowledge of the world. In the Panama Papers, journalists around the world collaborated in bringing advanced computing techniques to analyse the 11.5 million documents in the largest leak in journalism history. This is new to journalism practice, and many journalists are ill equipped to carry such projects forward.

The digital era also means anyone can share news and information, including academics, activists and other engaged citizens. We are interested in how machines can supercharge reporters, who as mediators and fact-checkers, are limited by how fast they can process information. In this most exciting time for journalism there is a pressing need for more research bringing together the potential of technology to advance journalism.

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Professor John Mattick

Professor John Mattick, AO FAA FAHMS HonFRCPA
John Mattick is the Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. He spent much of his career at the University of Queensland, where he was Foundation Director of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience and the Australian Genome Research Facility, Director of two ARC Special Research Centres, ARC Federation Fellow and NHMRC Australia Fellow. He was recently named by NHMRC as the one of the all-time high achievers in Australian health and medical research, and by Thomson Reuters as one of the world’s most influential scientific minds. His honours and awards include the inaugural Gutenberg Professorship of the University of Strasbourg, the Order of Australia and Australian Government Centenary Medal, the International Union of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Medal, the Human Genome Organisation Chen Award for Distinguished Achievement in Human Genetic & Genomic Research, and the MD Anderson Cancer Center Bertner Memorial Award for Distinguished Contributions to Cancer Research.

Biomedical discovery in warp drive: the integration of genomic data, clinical records, the internet of things and machine learning
The interplay between genetics, biochemistry and structural biology has framed the history of molecular biology.  While all human characteristics are strongly influenced by inherited and acquired genetic and epigenetic factors – every one of us is different – to date most advances in understanding the molecular basis of human cell and developmental biology, and human disease, have been driven by the analysis of unexpected genetic phenomena and of informative mutations in model organisms, from bacteria to mouse – human genetics has been too difficult, too opaque.

This is all about to change with the advent of population-scale human genome sequencing. Already over 100,000 human genomes have been sequenced, including over 10,000 at the Garvan, yielding enormous insights into the genetic causes of disabilities, and the mutational spectra of cancer.

We will soon have millions of human genome sequences.  Integration of this information with clinical records, and other information from the internet of things, will create an N-dimensional genotype-phenotype correlation ecosystem, which can be interrogated by orthogonal / directed queries or by agnostic pattern analysis programs and machine learning, irrespective of the reason for collecting the information in the first place.  It is early days yet, but this approach is already is yielding stunning results and insights, especially from exceptional responders. This will revolutionise biomedical discovery, and transform medicine and healthcare, both individually and systemically.

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Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame

Natalie Meyers is an E-Research librarian in Digital Initiatives and Scholarship at the University of Notre Dame where she helps pioneer and provide research data consulting services, including more in-depth data management services in support of grant-funded research. As an e-research librarian she provides advice and works with units across campus and externally to provide collaborative, team-based support for data management needs, including development of GIS, as well as data and metadata services for the Center for Digital Scholarship. Natalie is currently on a part-time leave from the university to serve as Partnerships and Collaborations manager at Center for Open Science. She is thankful to have an opportunity to advance the work of this young organization making great strides in promoting scientific openness, reproducibility, and data sharing.

Open, transparent and reproducible science is stronger science

Researchers produce a variety of materials during their research process: data, code, and other materials that may never actually appear in the research “product” (publication) itself. Sharing those materials – and being transparent  about the research process and its contributors – is desirable but not often incentivized or facilitated. The Center for Open Science (COS) seeks to both facilitate and incentivize these practices by building infrastructure, fostering communities, and by conducting metascience research on the overall process.

Center for Open Science
The Center for Open Science (COS; http://cos.io) is a non-profit organization founded in 2013 with the goal of improving transparency and reproducibility by connecting the scholarly workflow and a mission to increase the openness, integrity, and reproducibility of scientific research.

We do this in the following ways: We measure the extent of the problem (e.g. the Reproducibility Project:  Psychology, OSC, 2015 [1]; and the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology [2]) and the effectiveness of our initiatives (e.g. Kidwell et. al., 2016[3]). We work with the scientific community to align incentives with scientific values. Three of our alignment activities are:
1) The Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines are a set of eight standards that publishers can adopt in order to reward best practices in transparent research. Journals can adopt each standard in one of three tiers of increasing rigor. This removes barriers to adoption, while still guiding future improvement.
2) Badges are a simple and effective way of rewarding best practices. When authors have the option of receiving a visual indicator on their work for sharing data and research materials, the rates of thesebehaviors increase (Kidwell et. al., 2016).
3) Registered Reports are a publishing format in which peer review occurs before results are known. This focuses expert evaluation on the research questions and the proposed methods to answer them. Unlike traditional peer review, the findings are surfaced regardless of outcome, so the incentive is to address pressing questions as rigorously as possible.

We build tools for researchers that enable the actions we promote (e.g. the Open Science Framework, as well as OSF for Meetings, OSF for Institutions, and SHARE)

 

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Liza Noonan

Liza Noonan is Executive Manager of Innovation at the CSIRO and leader of ON – a program to fast track science and technology innovation from CSIRO, Australian universities and publicly funded research agencies.

Liza has extensive experience in innovation and technology and was most recently General Manager of Springboard Enterprises Australia, a US connected Accelerator for female entrepreneurs.

Liza is passionate about supporting Australians with big ideas build value and make innovation real – here and on the world stage. Liza is a Board Director at The Canberra Innovation Network, is on the Executive Council of the IoT Alliance Australia and actively volunteers as a mentor in various start-up programs and is a National iAwards judge.

Liza holds a Bachelor of Economics from UNSW and an Advanced Certificate in Management from the Danish Leadership Institute.

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Associate Professor Margaret Simons

Associate Professor Margaret Simons, is a Walkley Award-winning freelance journalist, author of 13 books and the Director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne. Last year Dr Simons was the recipient of the Walkley Award for social equity journalism for her investigative feature Fallen Angels: The children left behind by Australian sex tourists in the Philippines. Dr Simons has co-written a biography with former Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser, which won both the Book of the Year and the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2011. Her biography of mass media proprietor Kerry Stokes, chairman of the Seven Network, was published by Penguin in 2013 and was nominated for best non-fiction book at the 2014 Walkley Awards. Dr Simons is currently Lead Investigator for the ARC Linkage Project Violence Against Women: a media intervention which explores the media’s impact on attitudes to violence against women. In her book, Journalism at the Crossroads, she discussed the crisis that mainstream media is facing in a digital-first media landscape and highlights the new opportunities that may rise in its wake.

Journalism at the Crossroads
It is, to paraphrase Tolstoy, the best of times and the worst of times. Traditional news media is in crisis. The ‘rivers of gold’ that once catalysed the rise of media empires have dried out, and the big newsrooms are shrinking. The Centre for Advancing Journalism’s Civic Impact of Journalism project has found the result is an information deficit in the ‘journal of record’ functions of the press – the reporting of courts, parliaments, local government and other public forums and civic institutions.

Yet at the same time investigative journalism is having something of a golden age. Traditional reporting has exposed mistreatment of youth offenders in the Northern Territory, appalling treatment of asylum seekers on Nauru, misconduct by the big banks and exploitation of workers at Seven Eleven, to name just a few recent stories.  Meanwhile WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden and the Panama Papers are a testament to how the application of technology to journalism can add to our knowledge of the world. In the Panama Papers, journalists around the world collaborated in bringing advanced computing techniques to analyse the 11.5 million documents in the largest leak in journalism history. This is new to journalism practice, and many journalists are ill equipped to carry such projects forward.

The digital era also means anyone can share news and information, including academics, activists and other engaged citizens. We are interested in how machines can supercharge reporters, who as mediators and fact-checkers, are limited by how fast they can process information. In this most exciting time for journalism there is a pressing need for more research bringing together the potential of technology to advance journalism.

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Andrew Underwood - Dell

Andrew Underwood is responsible for leading Dell’s HPC and Research Computing efforts in Asia-Pacific and Japan, including China. His passion for data science has driven him to architect innovative technology solutions that have accelerated research and development within world leading companies and research institutes operating across countless fields of research, including; Artificial Intelligence, Engineering, Finance, Geoscience, Healthcare, Life Science, and Physics.

Entering the Age of Artificial Intelligence, with Dell
Deep learning is rapidly emerging as the leading technology in data science. As the next evolution towards artificial intelligence, deep learning is modelled after the human brain, and can be trained to power through billions of data points in parallel, in order to enable predictions in a split second. This technology is no longer the talk of science fiction, and is already having a major impact on shaping the world of tomorrow.

Andrew will provide insights into how Dell is breaking new ground in the fields of artificial intelligence, through deep learning, and how our clients are using this to gain deeper insights and new experiences.

eres line-01Leonie Walsh

Leonie Walsh , is an experienced leader and adviser in technological innovation with a background that spans more than 25 years of experience in the areas technology development and commercialisation both locally and internationally across a diverse range of industries and applications.

More recently Leonie completed a 3 year term as Victoria’s inaugural Lead Scientist. In this capacity Leonie was a contributing member on the the Future Industries Ministerial Advisory Council, provided contributions to the Education State activities and STEM plan via the Tech Schools STEM Future Industries Advisory Panel and the STEM advisory committee, represented Victoria on the Forum of Australian Chief Scientists and participated on a range of advisory committees and funding assessment panels spanning innovation, education and advanced manufacturing.

Leonie continues to focus on strategic science and technology issues including innovation efficiency, technology commercialisation, the future skilled workforce and women in science through a range of related boards, advisory and advocacy activities.

Additional honorary board appointments include Chairman and President of the Fight Cancer Foundation and Non-Executive Director of the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Register and Cord Blood Bank.

Lifting out Technology Commercialisation performance
Australia has demonstrated that it has the ability to leverage talent in the science, technology and innovation community to support industry growth and become a thriving and globally competitive contributor to the economy.  There are plentiful examples of a broad range of organisations responding to disruption in their sector in a very positive way resulting in revenue, market and value growth on a global scale.  The common theme amongst these companies is a combination of regular horizon scanning, product or service innovation along with business model innovation. The other very important ingredient is a flexible, nimble, risk taking and open leadership style that gets the best from their employees, partners and the market.

A significant improvement in Australia’s position on the Global Innovation Index, particularly with respect to innovation efficiency, would demonstrate our ability to generate value from innovation and attract businesses, skills and funding to Australia on a broader level. However the biggest and most difficult change required to achieve this involves developing a more risk taking culture and breaking down embedded behaviors. Showcasing examples of strong leadership in these areas will be necessary.

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About the conference

eResearch Australasia provides opportunities for delegates to engage, connect, and share their ideas and exemplars concerning new information centric research capabilities, and how information and communication technologies help researchers to collaborate, collect, manage, share, process, analyse, store, find, understand and re-use information.

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