Life Sciences network begins in Melbourne (BEST PRACTICE)



Hi Cockatoo, trust you are well.  I’d be grateful if you could make mention of the new network that has been established in Melbourne recently, the ICT for Life Sciences Forum.


Much has been written in recent years about the so called convergence of difference disciplines and the medical and life sciences and how this convergence has the potential to lead to new breakthroughs that could impact health and welfare. In 2006 the Victoria Research Laboratory of NICTA, with funding support from the State Government, undertook to build a new research program which would demonstrate the enabling benefits that ICT could bring to the medical and life sciences. 


Computing and engineering can now be increasingly applied to address issues facing medical and life sciences researchers. These range from providing superior productivity – for example, by speeding up the time it takes to analyse masses of data – to taking advantages offered by the microelectronics revolution to enable the emerging field of medical bionics, where implants and prostheses are able to sense the performance of bodily functions and in some cases restore their function.


We are recruiting a large pool of engineering and PhD students, approximately 50, to undertake research on how engineering can enable medical research.  This is an exciting development, but it has its challenges, the foremost of which is the communication required in this multidisciplinary collaboration. This has led us to work with research institutions, mostly in Melbourne, involved in multidisciplinary research.  


The principal focus of the ICT for Life Sciences Forum is to network local researchers from the different research disciplines. 


The prospect of breakthroughs from multidisciplinary research will only remain a prospect unless the doers – the research scientists – can effectively work together and understand each other.  We are hoping that by networking researchers across Melbourne, we might start to see the benefits emerge downstream with novel solutions in the market. 


There is a lot of excitement about the initiative among the research community, and we will be holding many events and presentations in the coming year.  We held what will become the Forum’s major annual event, the Graeme Clark Oration, in late October. The Oration honours the work and achievement of Professor Graeme Clark, the inventor of the bionic ear. His perseverance and achievement should serve an inspiration for young researchers. Your support in raising the profile of the Forum would be very much appreciated.


Regards, Luan Ismahil, Melbourne –

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