2020 Program

The 2020 Engaged University Symposium was held between Tuesday 9 June and Friday 12 June.

Information on our keynote speaker and presenters, as well as an overview of each session can be found below.

Download 2020 Program

Keynote Speaker

David Phipps
David J. Phipps, Ph.D., MBA
Assistant Vice President Research Strategy & Impact, York University
Keynote Speaker  - Tuesday 9 June, 9am - 10am

"Mythbusting research impact"

You’re planning on writing a policy brief – is this impact? What will you do to ensure it doesn’t sit collecting virtual dust on your website? Will a social media strategy do the trick and will tweets and followers equal impact? If you do tweet it how will you know if anyone has seen it? It’s great you talked to communities about your research but did you also listen to them? Stakeholder engagement, dissemination, knowledge translation are all related to impact but they are not impact. Research impact happens because your research is meaningful to someone who can do something with it, because you have facilitated the uptake of evidence in the context of its use and you have access to qualitative and quantitative indicators to help you tell the story of impact.

David Phipps is a global leader in research impact with a particular focus on helping institutions help researchers and their partners create impact from their research activities. He will bring his international experience to the e-Symposium and will open our impact symposium by busting some of the myths about research impact. He will be provocative. But he hopes to inspire you to listen to stakeholders, translate for and disseminate to them so you can maximize the opportunity for your research to contribute to positive social, economic, health, cultural and/or environmental change.

Dr. Phipps is the administrative lead for all research programs and their impacts on local and global communities at York University (Toronto, Canada). He has received honours and awards from the Canadian Association of Research Administrators, Institute for Knowledge Mobilization, International Network of Research Management Societies and the EU based Knowledge Economy Network. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work in knowledge mobilization and was named the most influential knowledge mobilizer in Canada. He sits on knowledge mobilization committees around the world and is Network Director for Research Impact Canada.

Sessions and Presenters

Tuesday 9 June, 10:00am - 11.00am: Rethinking engagement

  • The many layers of Indigenous community partnerships


    The University of Melbourne has been a partner with Shepparton’s Rumbalara Football Netball Club for 16 years in the culturally engaged and high support education facility that is ASHE (the Academy of Sport, Health and Education). The next phase of the ASHE partnership will see its transition into the Munarra Academy, part of a $23 million development of the Munarra Centre for Regional Excellence in Shepparton. The Munarra vision expressly states that the project is to be Indigenous-led with the aim of bringing greater prosperity, capacity and capability to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island population of Greater Shepparton. In regard to achieving these aims, this presentation will discuss what it means from multiple viewpoints for the project to be Indigenous-led, and some of the challenges involved in sustaining a productive and trusting partnership.


    Inala Cooper, Director, Student and Scholarly Services, Murrup Barak, Academy of Sport, Health and Education and Community Partnerships (Strategy and Culture, Chancellery)

    Milton Nomikoudis, Munarra Project Manager and Education Lead, Murrup Barak, Academy of Sport, Health and Education and Community Partnerships (Strategy and Culture, Chancellery)

    Leonie Dwyer, Manager of the Academy of Sport, Health and Education

    Inala Cooper is a Yawuru woman from Broome in the Kimberley, WA, and is the Director, Murrup Barak Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development on the Parkville Campus, UoM’s key centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support, and oversees the management of ASHE in Shepparton. Inala is a respected social commentator and advocate for Indigenous rights, social justice and human rights.

    Milton Nomikoudis is the Project Manager and Education Lead for the Munarra Academy development, and has a background in leading university-wide teaching and learning projects and community partnerships.

  • Building engagement into research design: constructing socially robust solutions to complex policy problems


    This paper focuses on a very specific area of regulatory policy: the design and regulation of professional education and training systems in law. Internationally, this sub-field of higher education has been subjected to significant attention from regulators and reformers over the last 30 years, to often limited effect. Reasons for these ‘policy failures’ include the narrow and often ‘one-shot’ design of interventions, the paucity of good quality evidence, and under-theorised approaches to the policy and regulatory processes involved. Drawing on work conducted by the presenter and others as part of a national Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) in England, I propose an iterative, non-linear, model of engagement-led research design, building on systems thinking and knowledge mobilization theories, that has implications beyond this narrow field, as a way of constructing ‘socially robust’ solutions to complex policy problems.


    Professor Julian Webb, Professor of Law, Melbourne Law School

    Julian Webb is a professor in MLS, and Honorary Professor at the University of Exeter, UK. From 2006-14 he held the Chair in Legal Education at the University of Warwick, and, until 2011, was Director of the Higher Education Academy’s Centre for Legal Education. He is lead author of Setting Standards (2013), the research report for the English Legal Education and Training Review, and has been involved in formulating legal education policy and standards in Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and the Maldives. Julian’s other research interests focus on lawyers’ ethics and regulation, and on technological innovation in legal services.

Wednesday 10 June, 11:00am - 1:00pm: Engaging our places and communities

  • Relationship building with Indigenous communities – UoM’s strategic place-based partnership with the Yothu Yindi Foundation


    The University’s partnership with the Yolngu of the North East Arnhem Land is anchored through the Yothu Yindi Foundation. It is built on our long relationship with the region and Yolngu people, the aim is to build a reconciliation culture, support Indigenous development and contribute to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The work provides the University with an opportunity to align Yolngu aspirations and priorities with the purpose of the University, including knowledge creation, research and teaching and learning.


    Mayatili Marika, Yothu Yindi Foundation Partnership Officer & Cultural Advisor, Community Partnerships, (Strategy and Culture, Chancellery)

    Mayatili Marika is a Yolngu woman and Traditional Owner from the Rirratjingu Clan of Yirrkala in North East Arnhem Land. Mayatili has worked at UoM since 2019, and is passionate about her role as the Yothu Yindi Foundation Partnership Officer and Cultural Advisor to create and facilitate connections, strengthening capacities and furthering educational and economic opportunities by building pathways for Yolngu communities and the University of Melbourne.

  • Research unit for Indigenous Arts and Cultures: Three-year review of objectives, engagement and impact


    The Research Unit for Indigenous Arts and Cultures (RUIAC) is an initiative of the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development and the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at The University of Melbourne, and was launched in late 2017. RUIAC has four main objectives that are centred on research and engagement: Conduct and promote research that produces knowledge about Indigenous arts practices and arts philosophies; Support and grow Indigenous research and researchers in the arts, through postgraduate training, research activity and research networks; Inform and demonstrate world’s best practice in intercultural arts research and arts research training; and, Leverage the potential of Indigenous arts knowledge in society, through partnerships with community, government, and industry.

    With the mission “Singing, dancing, painting and sculpting relationships into the academy”, the RUIAC team and community pursues its objectives through a graduate research training program, staff and student research, and engagement and partnerships with community, government and industry.

    Key projects and programs include: Indigenous Graduate Researcher Training Program delivering MFA and PhD (Indigenous Arts and Cultures) programs and attended by Indigenous students, Australian and international, across the Faculty; Research into Indigenous arts sustainability and archives supported by competitive research funding and industry; the Faculty’s Area Leaders in Indigenous Engagement (ALIEs) network; an annual Symposium on Indigenous Arts in the Academy; development of training units in Indigenous arts knowledges for university and public audiences.

    This presentation will review progress towards objectives in the first three years of the RUIAC initiative, focusing on engagement and impact in the university and with diverse local, regional and international communities.


    Dr Sally Treloyn, Co-Director, Research Unit for Indigenous Arts and Cultures, ARC Future Fellow, Singing the Future, Associate Professor in Ethnomusicology and Intercultural Research, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music

    Mr. Tiriki Onus, Co-Director, Research Unit for Indigenous Arts and Cultures,  Head at Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development, Associate Dean (Indigenous), Faculty of Fine Arts and Music

    Sally Treloyn is Associate Professor in Ethnomusicology and Intercultural Research, and Co-Director of the Research Unit for Indigenous Arts and Cultures, in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at The University of Melbourne. With expertise in Indigenous musical traditions, and digital and social methods for revitalisation and cultural sustainability, Treloyn leads a number of interdisciplinary research projects and holds an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship for the project Singing the future: Assessing the efficacy of repatriation for the vitality of Indigenous song. Treloyn co-founded the Research Unit for Indigenous Arts and Cultures in 2017 and leads its graduate programs and research projects.

    Tiriki Onus is Head of the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development, Associate Dean Indigenous, and Co-Director of the Research Unit for Indigenous Arts and Cultures, in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at The University of Melbourne. With an arts base, Onus has performed as an operatic singer, exhibited and curated exhibitions of artwork nationally and internationally. Onus is a chief investigator on an Australian Research Council Discovery Project investigating Indigenous performance in southeast Australia between 1935-75 and is currently completing a PhD on Biganga (possum skin cloaks).

  • Supporting university-community engagement: The Community Fellows Program


    The Melbourne Social Equity Institute’s Community Fellows Program aims to meet the research needs of community organisations to conduct small research-related projects in collaboration with university-based researchers. Through the Community Fellows Program, we aim to support research that will lead to positive outcomes such as improved service delivery, the development of new services, improved ability to advocate effectively or the improved capacity to undertake future research projects.

    Community Fellows spend time at the University of Melbourne to develop their research skills, supported by an Academic Mentor. Projects are relevant to the work of the community organisations and aim to promote social equity. Projects may involve conducting a scoping report, literature review, data analysis or a small research project.

    The initiative is targeted at small to medium-sized community-based organisations (up to 200 employees) that currently have very limited capacity to conduct research. Projects should be small, tightly focused and address an issue of relevance to the organisation. Key objectives for the Community Fellows Program are to meet community-based needs for research and to foster community–academic collaborations.

    Each Community Fellow is assigned an Academic Mentor with relevant expertise. The Melbourne Social Equity Institute and the Academic Mentor work with the Fellow to design a feasible project and the supervisor will meet with the fellow regularly over the course of the project. Additional support is provided by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute to assist the Community Fellows while they conduct and write up their research.

    During their Fellowship, participants have the opportunity to participate in a range of academic and professional development activities. Community Fellows are also provided with desk space at the University and access to library facilities.

    To date, the Melbourne Social Equity Institute has supported three cohorts of Community Fellows representing a diverse range of organisations, including schools, community legal centres, service providers and advocacy organisations.


    Ms Charlene Edwards, Executive Officer, Melbourne Social Equity Institute

    Charlene has served as the Executive Officer of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute since its inception in 2012 after having joined the university as a Partnerships Consultant in 2011. Charlene previously worked at Kingston University London as the Head of Knowledge Transfer.

    Charlene is committed to reducing social inequities and has a particular interest in supporting people with lived experiences of marginalisation to meaningfully participate in research.

  • Crowdfunding as a path to engagement


    Most research funding is confidential. Your application is confidential, the amount funded is often confidential and, if it is funded by industry sometimes even the results remain confidential.

    Crowdfunding isn’t like that. By definition, crowdfunding must be open and engaged. You are putting your call for funds out to your friends, your family and your colleagues, and asking them to spread the word. Approximately 100 people will visit your crowdfunding page for every one that donates.

    In this talk, I’d like to take you through some aspects of project crowd-funding and micro-patronage to indicate how it can fit in with the practices of an engaged academic.


    Mr Jonathan O'Donnell, Research Whisperer, Faculty of Science

    Jonathan O'Donnell helps people get funding for their research. To be specific, he helps the people in the Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne in Australia. He has been doing that, on and off, since the 1990's. He loves his job. He loves it so much that he enrolled in a PhD to look at crowdfunding for research.

    With Tseen Khoo, he runs the Research Whisperer blog and @ResearchWhisper Twitter stream, about doing research in academia. His ORCID is 0000-0001-5435-235X. The views expressed here are his personal views and are not the views of the University of Melbourne.

Thursday 11 June, 1:00pm - 3.00pm: Engagement, access and innovations

  • Engaging community, industry and regulators in disability rights research


    Human rights principles dictate that all research concerning people with disability must include a high level of meaningful engagement with people with disability and their representative organisations. In this presentation, I will discuss a program of research conducted under the auspices of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute that has sought to implement these principles in partnership with industry, regulatory bodies and other stakeholders. The research is concerned with improving access to consumer information and processes for people with cognitive disability, especially regarding essential services like utilities, banking and insurance. Across a series of projects funded by industry, regulators and consumer organisations, the interdisciplinary research team has engaged consumers with cognitive disability and their advocacy organisations for several purposes and in multiple ways, including as advisory board members, paid consultants and research participants. I will focus on the measures we took to incorporate engagement at each project stage, from design, initiation and conduct of the research to publication and dissemination of outputs. These include, for example, incorporating remuneration into budgets, prioritising accessibility in all communications and activities, and supporting the development of relationships and understanding between the community, industry and regulatory bodies. I will highlight what we have learned along the way and reflect on potential improvements for future engagement efforts.


    Dr Yvette Maker, Senior Research Associate, Melbourne Social Equity Institute / Melbourne Law School

    Yvette Maker is a Senior Research Associate at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute and Melbourne Law School. She has a background in law and social policy, and her key areas of research focus include:

    - the interpretation and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;

    - accessibility and support for the exercise of consumer rights (including the relationship between law, accessibility and technology);

    - the interactions and tensions between disability and feminist perspectives on social rights to care and support; and

    - the design and regulation of social care and social security services and systems.

  • It’s not just the ramp: Planning and delivering accessible events at the University of Melbourne


    The University of Melbourne has a commitment to being an inclusive organisation, and has a number of policies in place to promote diversity and inclusion for staff and students. However, if we consider the University’s place in the community, we need to extend that commitment to inclusion and accessibility to activities that involved engagement with the wider community such as public events. A significant proportion of our population lives with disability, and there are a number of reasons – legal, economic and social reasons – why they should be included in all aspects of community life. This presentation will explore ways in which engagement at the University can be more inclusive and accessible, and the reasons why this is important. The presentation will include considerations for events delivered face-to-face and in online formats. The recent Virtual Disability Conference, a fully online conference, held at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic will be discussed as an example of best practice in fully accessible engagement.


    Ms Julie Anderson, Scope-University of Melbourne Partnership Coordinator, School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts

    Julie Anderson has been the Scope-University of Melbourne Partnership Coordinator since 2018. In this role, she is responsible for coordinating the activities of the partnership including research, teaching and learning and engagement between Scope Australia, a leading disability organisation, and the University of Melbourne. Julie has a strong interest in promoting inclusion and accessibility in all aspects of society. Prior to working in the University sector as a researcher and now in this role, Julie was a community pharmacist.

  • Be Here, Be Heard: Creating a balanced dynamic in online learning settings


    In an online learning setting, there are some challenges around creating a balanced dynamic that combines three phenomena – student engagement, co-creation and partnership while ensuring aspects like student voice as an agency, equity and accessibility are not lost in translation.  When creating the inclusive partnership approach in online teaching practices, it is very important to consider students are not our ‘consumers’; rather higher education teaching and learning settings are a ‘cooperative enterprise’ and students have important roles to play in co-creation of this.

    As a student led project within the Faculty of Arts, Be Here, Be Heard (BHBH) aims to promote a conversation among students from diverse backgrounds in order to yield a holistic view of the students’ perceptions, experiences and overall understanding encompassing a wide view of different aspects of teaching and learning. Engagement is considered as a process of co-creation. It builds on and extends the holistic view by promoting the experiential nature of student engagement. Student voice provides insights into diverse learning environments and contributes to a greater understanding of students’ experiences. As BHBH’s extended view acknowledges students as co-creators of their educational experience, students are thus not viewed as separate from the educational process but an inherent part of it. This view recognises that student engagement sits within a broader transformative learning pedagogical context. It also acknowledges students as members of the academic community and network of interactions that influence and are influenced by student engagement.

    BHBH provides an important platform for students within the faculty not only to continue their dialogues and conversation even in such unprecedented time when the university campus is shut, and university has transitioned completely to online teaching and learning but also provides them some sense of connectedness and partnership within the academic community.


    Dr Nira Rahman, Teaching Associates International, Arts Teaching Innovation, Faculty of Arts

    Dr Nira Rahman is an academic in Arts Teaching Innovation in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne. Through extensive teaching experiences with students from different cultural, educational and professional backgrounds, she has developed a thorough understanding of cross-cultural teaching and learning styles, varying language and learning needs and goals of diverse students. She is interested in working towards more inclusive, global, transformative and internationalised Arts and Humanities Education.

  • Supporting technology enhanced learning, professional development and accreditation: rebooting the CMALT cMOOC network


    This presentation explores academic development in the context of today’s global environment, the parallel development of multiple professional standards frameworks, and the impact of social media upon professional academic portfolios professional development strategies and practice. Globally there is a shortage of higher education practitioners and researchers evidencing a critical engagement with the intersection between teaching, learning, and technology. An open and agile approach to professional development (PD) will allow higher education practitioners and researchers to embrace the rapidly changing and complex environment of technology and affordances to explore their impact on teaching and learning.

    Educators need to critically theorise the intersection between learning theory, technology and frameworks leading to new pedagogical practices and understanding of technology enhanced learning. This is epitomised in the adoption of the scholarship of technology enhanced learning or SOTEL (Haynes, 2016), that brings Boyer’s (1990) concept of the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) into the twenty-first century. To facilitate this, the CMALT cMOOC follows a connectivist MOOC (cMOOC) framework to leverage a global network of TEL Communities of practice (COP) to support the development of academic and professional staff ePortfolios as evidence of critical engagement with learning technologies (Cochrane & Narayan, 2017).

    The 7-week cMOOC guides participants in exploring the requirements of CMALT accreditation, while providing an authentic professional development network. Each week explores a core component of a CMALT ePortfolio through shared experiences and exploring new pedagogies and technologies that support these pedagogies – e.g.: Connectivism, Rhizomatic learning, and Heutagogy. CMALT accreditation (Certified Member of the Association for Learning Technology) was developed by ALT (Association for Learning Technology, UK) to align with the UKPSF (UK Professional Standards framework) and endorsed by ASCILITE (Australasian Society for Computers In Learning In Tertiary Education). The CMALT cMOOC is an ALT and ASCILITE endorsed  community facilitated support network https://cmaltcmooc.wordpress.com.


    Associate Professor Thomas Cochrane, Associate Professor Technology Enhanced Learning in Higher Education, Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education

    Thomas Cochrane is Associate Professor, Technology Enhanced Learning in Higher Education, in the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education. Thomas has expertise in qualitative research in technology-enhanced learning, with a focus upon action research, and design based research methodologies. His specialisations include mobile learning, designing mixed reality learning environments, heutagogy (self-regulated learning), communities of practice, and the scholarship of technology enhanced learning. His research portfolio includes over 50 peer reviewed journal articles, 32 book chapters, and over 150 conference proceedings. He has facilitated 5 iterations of 2 cMOOCs (2015-2019), including the development of the CMALT cMOOC.

Friday 12 June, 3:00pm - 5:00pm: Leadership and support

  • Leadership in engagement as change management


    The university engagement literature offers insights to guide engagement efforts at every level: individual, team, department and institution. However, in order to be successful, design and implementation must ultimately respond to environmental context and culture. While this is true of any change, at its deepest expression engagement is a commitment to perennial change and to organisational relevance and renewal, which requires a dynamic understanding and response to these elements.

    Reflecting on the experience of designing and implementing Engagement at Melbourne 2015–2020, this presentation offers insights into the practice and management of university engagement and its evolving future.


    James Green, Director, Engagement Strategy, Chancellery

    Rebecca Starling, Manager, Engagement Strategy, Chancellery

    Daniel Hanrahan, Senior Adviser, Engagement Strategy, Chancellery

    As Director, Engagement Strategy, James’ focus is on implementing Engagement at Melbourne 2015–2020, the University’s first strategy for engaging with business, government and communities. James previously served as an adviser to the University’s Vice-Chancellor, and spent five years as a consulting economist advising governments and companies on the design and evaluation of public policy. James holds degrees in Economics and Commerce from the University of Adelaide, a Master of Business Administration from Melbourne Business School, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

    As Manager, Engagement Strategy, Rebecca manages projects that support and communicate the University’s progress towards achieving its engagement objectives. Rebecca worked on the development and delivery of Engagement at Melbourne 2015–2020 and monitored its implementation. She holds a BSc from the University of Melbourne, combined with over twenty years’ experience working at the University in a range of roles including recruitment and admission of local and international students, graduations, development of co-curricular programs, and most recently strategy development.

    In his role as Senior Adviser, Engagement Strategy, Daniel has been working on a number of engagement initiatives at the University including the Melbourne Innovation District and a freedom of expression roundtable event. Daniel previously worked in various education policy roles at the State and Federal levels after teaching in north-west regional Victoria. He holds a Bachelor of Science/Commerce, Bachelor of Science (Honours) and Diploma of Teaching (Teach for Australia) from the University of Melbourne, as well as a Master of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

  • Leading a large research only department that engages on social & economic policy in Australia


    The University of Melbourne is the leading university in Australia and ranked in the top 40 in the world.  Across the university we have numerous academic researchers who are top in their field and have strong international reputations.  But individually, and more as a group, how do we extend our reach to inform, influence, and evaluate policy and practice.  This presentation will draw on experiences from a research institute that has been in operation for 50+ years.  It will also identify the challenges we face inside and outside of the university to be strong engagers and influencers.  The presentation will end with lessons for being a strong leader that strives to galvanize the depth and expertise of our academic researchers.


    Professor A. Abigail Payne, Ronald Henderson Professor and Melbourne Institute Director, Director, Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, Faculty of Business & Economics

    Professor Payne is the Director of the leading Australian institute on applied economic and social research. The Institute has a team of more than 50 academic researchers that are engaged in research on various microeconomic and macroeconomic topics including health, labour, education, housing, social disadvantage, macro, and public economics. Professor Payne moved to Australia from North America where she previously held positions in Canada and the US.

    Her educational training was in the US. Her PhD is from Princeton and her law degree is from Cornell. Professor Payne’s own work focuses on empirical public economics issues with a focus on how government policy affects spending and performance.

  • What support can the University offer researchers in their engagement activities? 


    To actively engage and create impact, academics must spend valuable time and effort on activities such as managing their research projects, developing relationships, communicating with stakeholders, and maintaining professional and community networks – it competes with many other priorities such as teaching, actively researching and publishing the results. Engagement is challenging, requiring different activities dependent on individual researcher circumstance. Over the last two years much work has been done to improve the access to and navigation of university systems and services, however we are now further challenged by the realities of the current COVID-19 and remote working situation. We are still working out how to work together now that face to face interaction isn’t an option. With new initiatives such as REIN bringing academics and professionals together in forums like e-Symposium, we have an opportunity to explore how we can work together now, and continually improve going forward.

    Research, Innovation and Commercialisation (RIC) is a group of professionals who work with you to navigate the many intricacies of conducting research at a large and complex institution. Amongst the research support services offered such as the setting up research projects and dealing with things such as ethics, integrity, contract negotiations, grant submissions, there is expertise to help find opportunities, partners, collaborators and external funding for research projects, including helping you safeguard your hard work when a project results in IP.

    This presentation aims to share some examples of how researchers, working with RIC teams have been able to set the stage to create the most impact from their research.  We will then open the floor to begin our discussion on what services would best help you in translating your research to create impact.


    Associate Professor Gregory Harper, Business Development Director, Research Innovation and Commercialisation

    Dr Ruth Park-Jones, Business Development Director, MDHS, Research Innovation and Commercialisation

    Margie Mahon, Businesss Development Manager, Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Research Innovation and Commercialisation

    Gregory Harper is a biological scientist who focusses on the translation of scientific discoveries into commercial, environmental and social benefits. He is Director of Business Development and Indian Engagement for the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences. He also leads the business development team for the four STEM Faculties, within the University’s Research, Innovation and Commercialisation, business unit.

    Dr Ruth Park-Jones, Business Development Director, leads an experienced, dedicated team of business development, research translation specialists supporting academics in MDHS. Ruth has been focused on commercialising Life Sciences technologies and capabilities for over 15 years, establishing and running a contract research business before joining the University. With a background in Immunology and a PhD in Pharmacology, as well as a Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law, Ruth is committed to adding value and building productive relationships with industry, academic and professional colleagues alike. Ruth has a passion for helping researchers to translate great ideas and drive change.

    Margie Mahon is the Business Development Manager, Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and was previously with Principals Australia.  Margie’s career spans leadership roles in finance, agriculture, health service delivery and professional services as well as the OHS at Meat and Livestock Australia and Director of Workforce Programs at Rural Health Workforce Programs. Holding a Bachelor degree in Environmental Health and Health Promotion and a recipient of the Churchill Fellowship for her work in agricultural health and safety, Margie is passionate about the value of education, access to fine arts and music training, indigenous culture and quality health care.

  • Developing a transdisciplinary data-intensive research team


    The increased use and analysis of vast data resources can transform research across large organisations. However, institutional barriers such as perceived risks, established boundaries and outdated policies may slow any potential transformation. To drive productive change, the University of Melbourne has begun to create a team of diverse experts to work across a range of technical, cultural and knowledge domains. Now known as the Melbourne Data Analytics Platform (MDAP), the team is fostering the capacity of researchers to produce cutting edge work in new areas of knowledge. Little is known, however, about how these teams such as MDAP can develop these skills to be able to operate effectively in complex, sociotechnical environments. The aim of this presentation, therefore, is to discuss the factors that influence the effectiveness of transdisciplinary data analysis teams in large organisations. Specifically, we set out our structure, goals and recent achievements to provide insights to engagement practices.


    Edoardo Tescari, PhD, Senior Research Data Specialist, Melbourne Data Analytics Platform, Chancellery

    Karen Thompson, Senior Research Data Steward, Melbourne Data Analytics Platform, Chancellery

    Edoardo Tescari is a Senior Research Data Specialist in the Melbourne Data Analytics Platform (MDAP) team. Before joining MDAP, he worked for six years as a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Physics at the University of Melbourne. His research involved running large-scale cosmological simulations with the goal of studying formation and evolution of galaxies. Edoardo has extensive experience in the use of multi-core computer clusters, parallel computational techniques and management of large data sets.

    Karen Thompson is a Research Data Steward in the Melbourne Data Analytics Platform (MDAP) team. Karen is a qualified Actuary with over twenty-five years of experience in general insurance and consulting. During that time she was involved not only in technical actuarial work but also in data insights and data asset projects, and was regularly called on as a 'translator' between stakeholder groups. She also has a degree in Gold & Silversmithing and a Masters of Cultural Material Conservation, and a keen interest in how data management and stewardship can be brought to benefit cultural collections and associated research.