TABLE 1: CANBERRA TEAMS
TEAM NAME LEAD INSTITUTE SCI-TECH PROPOSITION
Drought Smart Plants Australian National University
Drought and rainfall-related agricultural losses have a large impact on the Australian economy and need to be alleviated globally in order to increase food security and food production increases of 60 per cent by 2050. Precision control of plant defence responses will allow on-demand control of defence responses. These new tools consist of chemical sprays and endogenous genetic switches that target the chloroplast in the context of its role as an environmental sensor to create more climate-proof, high-yielding smart crops.
Remote sensing, field data and machine learning for agriculture Australian National University
This team are developing a product that will allow the user to find a location on map and obtain crop/forage estimation of vegetation growth in the past 20 years and a forecast for the next couple of months via an electronic platform (phone, ipad, computer). The user will be able to incorporate their own data collected in the field (meteorological, soil, etc) to improve model accuracy. The tool provides a chart showing how vegetation productivity is tracking in the selected location and makes recommendations on optimal day to fertilise.
Disarming pathogens for increased food security and environmental protection CSIRO Agriculture & Food
Plant diseases cause significant damage both economically and through social impacts, especially in developing economies. Annual global losses due to diseases are estimated at 20 per cent of all food production. We have developed technology that could turn some major pathogens into benign organisms. In doing so, we could help reduce losses, increase food security globally and help reduce the use of agrochemicals used to control diseases. This technology could make some plant diseases a thing for the history archives. Furthermore, the technology may be adaptable to exotic pathogens in a conservation context too.
Ajendas The University of Newcastle
Serious Games frequently rely on user performance measures to adapt the difficulty of tasks and behaviours, responding dynamically to changes in performance. However, users may maintain task performance while experiencing increasing levels of cognitive load. These high levels of cognitive load mean the user has no spare capacity, masking true performance, and users may fail to get the maximum benefit from the training. The increased cognitive state may also be detrimental to learning. This research provides a system for real-time measures of cognitive load to dynamically adapt serious games to improve learning outcomes.
meriSTEM Australian National University
Australia needs a stronger STEM-skilled workforce, now and in the future, to remain competitive economically by solving multi-faceted challenges such as climate change. Many STEM-engaged students aren't practising the science inquiry model nor learning as deeply as intended by the Australian Curriculum. The Australian National University’s meriSTEM initiative provides comprehensive, curriculum-aligned, modular resources free to senior secondary STEM teachers, enabling them to 'flip' their classrooms in order to maximise deep, engaged learning. Capitalising on the researched benefits of peer-learning and increased teacher-student interaction time, meriSTEM resources allow for more class time in collaborative problem solving and inquiry based learning.
Transformational RNAi technologies CSIRO Agriculture & Food
The Agricultural industry is actively seeking alternative technologies for controlling pest/pathogens and influencing plant development as a means of increasing overall productivity. CSIRO has developed two new patented RNAi molecules, ledRNA and G:U hpRNA which are less-labile and more efficient in silencing compared to the older RNAi technologies. These RNAi molecules can either be used for short-term applications through topical application or for long-term applications with transgenic approaches to enable resistance against pest/pathogens and changes to plant development. Use of our RNAi technology will markedly improve overall productivity and profitability within the Agricultural sector.
SoilSpec CSIRO Agriculture & Food
Soil resources have diminished and continue to degrade, due largely to land management that does not take into account the maintenance or improvement of a range of soil properties. In order to manage soil resources there is a critical need to characterise them in a timely and cost effective manner. Our goal is to bring existing and emerging spectroscopic technologies, data management, analysis and prediction into a platform for soil characterisation as a first step in integrating rapid and inexpensive analyses with soil information systems, agroecosystem modelling and decision support.
EarthQuake Busters Australian National University
Our aim is to improve the warning time for earthquake and tsunami early warning systems using technology developed for the detection of gravitational waves. We expects to gain tens of seconds (and 10s minutes) of warning, compared to current earthquake (and tsunami) early warning systems. This can provide substantial benefit as additional seconds of early warning against damaging seismic waves and large volumes of water can save lives and infrastructure such as halting high speeds, and protection of electrical power stations and gas mains.
AMEDA2 University of Canberra
The AMEDA2 quickly and easily allows the assessment of the model of our body in space created by our brain to coordinate and control our movements. This model is constantly changing and is influenced by factors such as our activity levels and injury history. This is important for example, in talent identification in sports, as a measure of recovery following injury and as we age in assessing our risk of falling.

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