The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2020-12-10T23:29:10Z Australian company Star Scientific breaks through as winner of S&P Global Platts Global Energy Award 2020-12-10T23:29:10Z australian-company-star-scientific-breaks-through-as-winner-of-s-p-global-platts-global-energy-award Sydney, Australia – 11 December 2020 –Australian hydrogen research and development company Star Scientific has won the 2020 Global Energy Awards’ Emerging Technology of the Year. Andrew Horvath, Global Group Chairman, Star Scientific Limited said this was a proud moment for the entire team at Star Scientific Limited who have worked passionately to develop HERO® to what it is today. We were chosen as finalists from some 300 entries from over 36 countries, acknowledged for ingenuity and commercialisation potential. The award recognises that HERO® has created its own category in the energy sector, primed to address a gap that will significantly change global hydrogen use. “Star Scientific is a proudly owned Australian company, with a global reach and aspirations. Our technology brings about a seismic shift toward hydrogen as the energy choice of the future. While green hydrogen is enjoying significant global attention at present, there is a gap in its deployment for industrial purposes. We believe this is where HERO® will emerge as the final link in the hydrogen chain. “The world is watching to see how Australia will capitalise on its unique advantages to develop a large-scale hydrogen industry. This award further highlights the global interest in Australia’s hydrogen production and use capabilities. The future for hydrogen is very exciting and we are delighted to be a part of that. “The award is a vindication of the hard work and commitment of everyone at Star Scientific Limited. From our tremendous engineering and science teams to our shareholders, finance and administration arm, everyone has worked tirelessly to progress HERO® and today we received global recognition for that work,” Horvath concluded. Martin Fraenkel, President, S&P Global Platts said, “We congratulate Star Scientific for its win of Emerging Technology of the Year. In a year that was so tumultuous, it was particularly impressive and heartening to see how this year’s group of winners re-organized around obstacles, forged ahead on ground-breaking technology, completed transformative deals and maintained focus on long-term energy sustainability. Tonight’s winners, and finalists, alike, are to be congratulated for their individual and collective accomplishments.” The S&P Global Platts Global Energy Awards is an annual award hosted by independent provider of information and benchmark prices for the commodities and energy markets, S&P Global Platts. Established in 1999, the S&P Global Platts Global Energy Awards highlight achievement in in 21 categories spanning the entire energy sector. A full list of Awards categories and list of winners is available at: https://www.spglobal.com/platts/global-energy-awards/winners ### About Star Scientific Star Scientific is a leading hydrogen research and development company based in Australia, with a global reach and scope. The company develops technologies to help businesses and governments transition to a new energy economy. Our breakthrough is the Hydrogen Energy Release Optimiser, also known as HERO®. It produces unlimited, affordable, safe and reliable energy – with zero emissions. EMM Announces New Board Members 2020-12-09T01:39:43Z emm-announces-new-board-members EMM Consulting Chairman Gary Flowers recently announced the appointment of two new members to the company’s board of directors, effective immediately. Joining the board are Nicole Armit and Paul Gibbons, in an exciting evolution of the company’s governance, management and strategic direction.  Both Nicole and Paul bring with them a wealth of experience and a diversity in thought.  Their combined skills and experience including industry reputation, technical/professional skills and behavioural attributes were acknowledged and endorsed by all board members.  These appointments also reflect the growth and expanded geographic footprint of the company. A respected leader with expertise spanning two decades, Nicole has held various technical and geographic leadership roles across the Asia Pacific region.  Since her appointment at EMM in 2015, Nicole has played a key role in the development and delivery of the company strategic direction as a member of the senior executive team.  With a background across both industry and professional services, Nicole has been integral in cementing the company’s footprint in the Hunter and across regional NSW.  Commenting on her new role, Nicole said: “I’m really excited to be a part of the next evolution of our board, and to have the opportunity to further contribute to the strategic direction of EMM. It’s an exciting time for our business, as we continue to grow in the services we offer and the  geographies in which we operate, and I am looking forward to playing a further part in that”. Similarly, Paul has experience across various sectors including roles with Planning SA, BHP Billiton and Iluka Resources.  His professional services background commenced in 1998 and has included roles in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia since 2002. Paul was the founding member of EMM’s Adelaide office in 2017 and has been central to building the EMM brand in South Australia. Paul highlighted: “I am looking forward to contributing towards the continued success of EMM and the Board, and am grateful for the opportunity to work for a truly unique culture and value driven company”  The composition of the board has been an important focus in recent years and formed part of the company’s 2019- 2021 strategy.  This announcement follows the appointment of Non-Executive Director Mark Elliott in February 2020. Polish Club awards 100kW Solar Contract to Unified Energy 2020-11-11T05:01:20Z polish-club-awards-100kw-solar-contract-to-unified-energy Sydney’s Polish Club, located at 11 East Terrace in Bankstown, have announced it has awarded their solar contract to build a 100 kilowatt (“kW”) solar PV system to Unified Energy. Unified Energy is a known leader in the commercial solar industry that has provided small and large scale systems to clients including IKEA, Coles, and SWINBURNE University. Unified Energy were approached by the Polish Club to provide a renewable energy solution, with the objective of tackling their rising energy costs, and to align to the club’s initiative of becoming powered by 100% renewable energy. As demonstrated through a business case prepared by Unified Energy’s National Sales Manager, Tremaine Fernandez, the 100kW Solar PV system will generate an estimated 131.8MWh per year, with annual savings of $64,957 and offsetting their carbon footprint of 29.91 tonnes of Co2 annually.   The new system is consisting of 242 Industry-leading SunPower P3 410W High-Performance Panels and 3 SMA Sunny Tripower 3 Phase Inverters.   “With continually rising energy prices, low rate business loans, Government rebates, the instant tax write-off, and a local Ausgrid Power2U grant, you don’t think twice at an offer like this, you say yes. The repayments alone with the Commonwealth Bank are lower by almost half our current energy costs.” said the club’s project consultant, Michael Lubieniecki. COST OUTLAY The project investment would cost the club approximately $114,000. Taking into account the Government’s STCs (small-scale energy certificates) and AusGrid’s local Power2U Grant of $25,000, this has benefited the club positively with an end investment of $65,987. A saving of $47,983. The Return on Investment has been calculated at approximately 3-4 years. The Polish Club utilises on average 105kW per day or 36,480.80kW annually, and they intend to export all non-required energy back to their retailer for credit, and as a cash refund to offset their financing option. PROJECT BUILD The Solar PV System is scheduled to commence installation in early December and will consist of 242 Industry leading SunPower P3 410W High Performance Panels and 3 SMA Sunny Tripower 3 Phase Inverters. The SunPower panels feature a 25 Year warranty and are rated to output a minimum of 85.5% after 25 years with minimal degradation. Are Any of Us Really Free of Trauma? 2020-11-08T21:47:44Z are-any-of-us-really-free-of-trauma ‘Trauma is the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms …’[1] As many as 75% of Australians will experience a potentially traumatic event at some point in their lives[2], and this statistic includes children. Author, Susan Fuss, has written about a topic that concerns her and that she has had to deal with during her three decades of teaching mostly primary school children and also, juvenile offenders. There are some children who cannot relate to others, cannot concentrate well enough to learn, have deep trust issues and show extremely guarded behaviour. Instead of asking, ‘Why are you behaving this way?’ we should be seeking answers as to what has caused such anti-social behaviour. Fuss’ debut psychological thriller, I Am the Sand, tells a mesmerising tale that could be true. Dark and challenging, at the heart of this story, is a vulnerable but courageous teenage girl, Chloe, held captive by an unhinged predator—yet, this same perpetrator has himself been a victim of childhood trauma. He shows a different face to the world … shades of the notorious, Ted Bundy. As their two worlds clash, the perspectives of both characters unfold. How will this play out? It is a skillfully woven narrative that drip-feeds data to the reader so creating nail-biting suspense. And even if Chloe escapes, having experienced such intense and repetitive trauma, can she really recover from this sort of violence and cruelty? Colleen Stan, dubbed ‘the girl in the box’[3], a survivor of long-term captivity, abuse, and torture says in her autobiography, ‘Two things most people don’t understand are fear and evil.’ Fuss creates a tense tale that draws us in as these two dark topics—that affect both characters so very differently—play out. [1] UNYTE (2020), Trauma Defined, Karen Onderko, viewed October 2020, <https://integratedlistening.com/what-is-trauma/> [2] Australian Government – Australian Institute of Health  and Welfare (2020, Stress and trauma, viewed in October 2020, <https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/stress-and-trauma> [3] Colleen Stan (2009), The Simple Gifts of Life, iUniverse HEARING AUSTRALIA - World-first solution for face masks effects on speech 2020-10-12T03:02:51Z hearing-australia-world-first-solution-for-face-masks-effects-on-speech The National Acoustics Laboratories (NAL) has developed a solution to a challenge faced by hearing aid users worldwide in 2020 - the impact of face mask use on their understanding of speech.  NAL, the research division of Hearing Australia, has issued recommendations for audiologists across the world on how best to adjust hearing aids to counter the effect of face masks for people who use hearing aids.  “Face masks are a powerful tool against the spread of COVID-19 but they also soften speech sounds,” says Dr Brent Edwards, NAL Director.  “NAL’s recommendations are designed to help hearing aid users worldwide communicate with people wearing masks. Now that we can share our evidence-based solution, we anticipate it will have implications nationally and internationally, which is most exciting.”  Evaluation, involving computational models of speech and hearing as well as laboratory speech tests, has proven that the adjustments help hearing aid users understand speech just as well as when the speaker is wearing a mask as when they are not. NAL’s solution details specific adjustments that can be made to any type of hearing aid to counter the effect of different types of face masks on speech sounds.  It follows extensive research into the effect of face mask use on speech understanding and how best to counter it.  Hearing Australia has already started implementing the solution in its centres across Australia and this is proving popular among its clients. “Our clients have indicated they’ve noticed a marked difference with NAL’s hearing aid adjustments. They have improved their understanding of masked speakers while having no impact on the sound of their own voice or other sounds,” says Emma Church, Hearing Australia Audiologist.  “Restoring the ability to understand speech takes the stress out of everyday tasks like shopping and attending health appointments; so we’re keen to spread the word about our solution,” says Dr Edwards.  NAL’s recommendations have been released to audiologists worldwide and detail how they can implement the adjustments to their patients’ hearing aids to allow them to better understand people wearing masks.                                                                                                               -Ends- About the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL)  NAL is the research division of Hearing Australia. Since 1947, research conducted by NAL into hearing has opened new ways to help people with hearing loss. NAL’s mission is to lead the world in hearing research and evidence-based innovation to improve hearing health and transform the lives of people with hearing difficulties.  About Hearing Australia  For over 70 years, Hearing Australia has been helping Australians rediscover the joy of sound. Its purpose is to provide world leading research and hearing services for the wellbeing of all Australians. Hearing Australia operates in 168 permanent hearing centres as well as visiting sites across Australia and is the nation’s largest provider of government-funded hearing services for children, young adults up to 26, eligible adults with complex communication needs, some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pensioners and veterans.  New tech needed to boost rice growing water productivity by 75% 2020-10-09T20:19:39Z new-tech-needed-to-boost-rice-growing-water-productivity-by-75 AgriFutures Rice Program is reaching out to innovators across the country in search of new technologies to boost water productivity in rice growing by 75 percent within five years. With sustained drought and reduced water allocations leading to one of Australia’s smallest annual rice harvests on record, the AgriFutures Rice Program Open Innovation Challenge presents a novel opportunity for creative thinkers to contribute their ideas, wherever they are based and regardless of their industry. The Challenge is hosted on the Brightidea platform, an online system popular with many of the world’s most innovative companies, such as Bayer, Cisco, Dell and MasterCard. Impact Innovation, as the premier partner for Brightidea in the APAC region, has enabled AgriFutures Rice Program to open up the Challenge to anyone with an existing or emerging technologies that will help the rice industry significantly increase its dollar return per megalitre ($/ML) of water. “The Australian rice industry needs transformative yet competitive and sustainable solutions, so the Challenge welcomes input not just from the rice industry but also from other industries, like remote sensing technologies, water management strategies and plant genetics,” said Impact Innovation’s managing director, Brian Ruddle. “Crowdsourcing ideas using Brightidea’s online engagement tools means tapping into the brain power of researchers, R&D practitioners, engineers, environmental entrepreneurs and farmers all over the country and across many different industries,” Mr Ruddle said. Selected technologies or solutions may attract funding through the rice research, development and extension program, with the ultimate objective being industry-wide adoption. The Challenge is open until midnight (AEDT) Tuesday, 13 October 2020, with a shortlist of solutions to be presented to the AgriFutures Rice Program Advisory Panel in November. To register for the Challenge and submit innovative ideas, visit https://agrifutures.brightidea.com/WaterProductivityChallenge. Ends.  Media enquiries: Brian Ruddle, Impact Innovation Group & chair of the AgriFutures Australia Emerging Industries Panel b.ruddle@impactinnovation.com tel. +61 1300 299 505 RICE FACTS & FIGURES - Rice is grown in more than 100 countries and sustains two-thirds of the world’s population. - Australian rice growing regions are concentrated in the Murrumbidgee and Murray valleys of southern New South Wales, with smaller areas in Northern Victoria and Far North Queensland. - 80% of rice produced in Australia is exported to the Middle East, Papua New Guinea, Japan and other Asian and Pacific countries. - Australian-grown rice uses 50% less water than the global average. @AgriFuturesAU, @Impactinnov, @Brightidea, #rice, #innovation, #waterproductivity New therapies for depression with Australia's Microba and Boston biotech Holobiome 2020-10-06T00:23:13Z new-therapies-for-depression-with-australia-s-microba-and-boston-biotech-holobiome A Queensland Government grant will support Boston-based Holobiome to access Microba’s world-leading technology to develop new therapies for depression. Funding from the Queensland Government’s Biomedical Voucher Program will be used to examine the impact of specific gut bacteria in laboratory models of depression, and to analyse stool in human clinical samples. The project – valued in excess of $500,000 – will support a partnership with Boston-based Holobiome, a private biotechnology company developing human-derived bacteria that target the “gut-brain-axis”, for depression and other conditions related to the nervous system. The partnership will bring Microba’s world-leading expertise in metagenomic sequencing and sophisticated bioinformatics tools together with Holobiome’s promising microbiome therapeutic pipeline in an effort to change lives on a global scale. Microba and Holobiome’s collaboration will lead the way in analysing the impact of specific bacteria on the gut microbiome (community of bacteria living in the gut) in depression. Microba CEO Blake Wills said that the combined capabilities of both companies would assist in potentially changing lives. “The high-resolution analyses using Microba’s proprietary data processing platform will explore the gut microbiome of clinical samples,” he said. “This will help to identify if specific gut bacteria are linked with depression, which has the potential to positively impact the lives of those suffering from clinical depression.” The Queensland Government will provide matched funding for this research project to enable faecal samples to be analysed in Microba’s world-leading laboratory based in Brisbane. Queensland Minister for State Development, the Hon Kate Jones MP, said that Microba’s work had been recognised at the 2018 AusBiotech excellence awards where the company was named as the Australian Emerging Company of the Year. “The Biomedical Voucher Program grant will assist the company to continue valuable work on analysis aimed at identifying links between gut bacteria and mental health conditions such as depression,” Ms Jones said. Holobiome CEO Philip Strandwitz said that this international collaboration will support advancement of their existing microbiome products in development, in addition to providing a better mechanistic understanding of the link between the gut microbiome and disorders of the brain, like depression. “Depression is a tremendous and underserved global health problem. We strongly believe that international collaborations like what we plan to do here with Microba will be essential in furthering our understanding of the disease, with the ultimate goal to create solutions for those who desperately need them,” he said. “Our work and others in the field have identified possible mechanistic links between depression and the gut microbiome. Given the need, we’re excited to have the chance to leverage our microbiome discovery platform to pursue this, and grateful to the Queensland Government for the funding.” Microba is rapidly increasing its operations worldwide, with an increasing number of active collaborations and research projects with both local and international biotechnology companies. ENDS    NASA Search and Rescue announces partnership with Australia’s leading space research centre SmartSatCRC 2020-09-08T23:36:34Z nasa-search-and-rescue-announces-partnership-with-australia-s-leading-space-research-centre-smartsatcrc Media Release 9 September 2020   NASA Search and Rescue announces partnership with Australia’s leading space research centre SmartSatCRC In a significant boost for developing Australia’s space economy, NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre (GSFC) has announced today (NASA Media release 8/9/20) a collaboration with SmartSatCRC to advance distress-related communications and navigation technology benefitting the U.S. and Australia. The cooperation with NASA, announced by GSFC deputy director for research and technology investments Christyl Johnson, will help to build Australia’s Space industry by developing leading edge technology and expertise with the partners involved in the SmartSat project.  These include University of South Australia, Safety from Space, Myriota, Black Art Technologies, Flinders University, and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.  The NASA’s Search and Rescue office is led by mission manager Lisa Mazzuca, who attended the Australian Space Forum in Adelaide with Christyl Johnson in February this year, when initial concepts of the projects were discussed “This collaboration is part of a more systematic and broader activity between NASA GSFC and SmartSat CRC and opens the door to a lot of possibilities for the Australian space community,” says SmartSat CEO and managing director Professor Andy Koronios. “We are delighted to be partnering with Goddard’s Search and Rescue office, joining their push towards the Moon and beyond.” Specifically, the SmartSat research team, led by Safety from Space’s Co-Founder Dr Mark Rice, will propose new designs for the waveform of the 406 MHz signal sent by beacons through the Cospas-Sarsat network. “These new designs will further modernize second-generation beacons, taking advantage of encoding techniques not available when the Cospas-Sarsat network was developed in the 1970s, says Dr Rice. “This will enable possibilities for new initiatives for users, emergency management professionals and first responders. “ Future phases of the SmartSat collaboration could support exploration initiatives like the Artemis missions, which will return humans to the Moon for the first time since Apollo. NASA will equip Artemis astronauts with second-generation beacons for use in the event of egress from capsule after splashdown or a launch abort scenario. The Search and Rescue team is working to extend beacon services to the lunar surface with the LunaNet communications and navigation architecture.     SMARTSAT CRC ENQUIRIES: Adj. Professor Nicola Sasanelli AM Director Communications and Outreach, SmartSat CRC 0488 565 938 | Nicola.sasanelli@smartsatcrc.com     ABOUT THE SMARTSAT CRC The SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre brings together over 100 national and international partners who have invested over $190 million, along with $55 million in Federal Government funding under its Cooperative Research Centres Program, in a $245 million research effort over seven years. Working closely with the Australian Space Agency, SmartSat will make a strong contribution to the Australian Government’s goal of tripling the size of the space sector to $12 billion and creating up to 20,000 jobs by 2030. Priority industry sectors for SmartSat include telecommunications, agriculture and natural resources, transport and logistics, mining, and defence and national security. Merck Partnership Supports Australian-Developed SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccine Candidate 2020-08-28T00:44:14Z merck-partnership-supports-australian-developed-sars-cov-2-covid-19-vaccine-candidate WHAT: On 10 August, Merck Life Sciences, Managing Director, Rebecca Lee, conducted a Q&A video interview with Flinders University, Professor and Founder of Vaxine, Nikolai Petrovsky. Rebecca and Nikolai discussed the history of pandemics, COVID-19, the value of partnerships and the success of phase one clinical trials of COVAX-19®, a vaccine candidate for the fight against COVID-19. COVAX-19® is the first Australian-developed COVID-19 vaccine to pass phase one clinical trials in Australia successfully. Phase two clinical trials are set to begin in September. Sypharma, an Australian biopharmaceutical formulation company, providing contract manufacturing of COVAX-19® and Advax™ adjuvant for COVID-19 in partnership with Vaxine, an Australian biotechnology company focusing on the development of innovative vaccine technologies. Merck has a long-standing relationship with Sypharma and Vaxine for more than 10 years, supporting the manufacture of Advax™ adjuvants with manufacturing solutions, single-use, filtration products and process development expertise. Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/B2W3Vf4OWOs Video interview topics include: • The history of pandemics | time 01:08 • Consequences of pandemics now and into the future | time 03:07 • Vaxine: The development of vaccines and the opportunity presented | time 06:03 • Development and manufacturing | time 09:09 • Insect vs. mammalian | time 11:56 • Speed and cost | time 15:54 • COVAX-19® vaccine candidate for COVID-19 | time 18:23 • Completing phase one clinical trial | time 20:20 • Phase two & three clinical trials | time 21:30 • Managing safety | time 23:10 • Timeframes for clinical phase’s | time 24:20 • Vaccine approval and the regulatory environment | time 26:01 • A different approach to how we regulate and approve | time 30:05 • What has Merck allowed you to do | time 34:08 • Partnerships and solving tough scientific problems | time 36:57 • Conclusion | time 37:22 WHO: Interviewer: Merck Life Science, Managing Director, Rebecca Lee. Interviewee: Flinders University, Professor of Medicine and Public Health, and Founder of Vaxine, Nikolai Petrovsky. WHEN: The video interview was conducted on Monday, 10 August 2020. WHERE: The video interview was conducted over a video call. WHY: COVID-19 began as an epidemic, before making its way around the world in a matter of months and becoming a pandemic. Globally, as of 27 August 2020, there have been 24,021,218 confirmed cases of COVID-19, reported to WHO.1 Until there is an effective vaccine against COVID-19, we must continue to do the hard, tedious, work of keeping ourselves safe—by wearing face coverings, keeping social distance, regularly washing our hands, and staying home when we’re sick including getting COVID tested. HOW: For interviews or additional information, please contact Lucas Bracken, Marketing Communications, Merck Life Science, +61 (0)409 036 895 lucas.bracken@merckgroup.com References 1. Latest data and information on COVID-19. World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard https://covid19.who.int/. Merck operates across three business sectors – Healthcare, Life Science and Performance Materials. Rebecca Lee is the Managing Director of Merck Life Science. COVAX-19® vaccine candidate for COVID-19 is registered and owned by Vaxine. COVAX-19® vaccine comprises a recombinant spike protein antigen formulated with Vaxine’s proprietary Advax™ adjuvant, which drives a potent T cell and neutralizing antibody response against the target virus. About Merck Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 57,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2019, Merck generated sales of € 16.2 billion in 66 countries. Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials. New report showcases success of wool producers who have ditched mulesing 2020-08-26T01:33:11Z new-report-showcases-success-of-wool-producers-who-have-ditched-mulesing   New independent report Towards a Non-Mulesed Future highlights producers nationwide, using flystrike-resistant sheep instead of mulesing, are experiencing increased financial and animal welfare success. Humane Society International and FOUR PAWS state that with the viability of the genetic solution now clear, there’s never been a better time for industry to switch gears and create a roadmap to end mulesing. Country Road Group, David Jones, Target, Kmart Group, and Myer recently announced new policies to transition away from the use of mulesed wool, joining a long list of international brands doing the same. Download the report, images, statistical summary and producer case studies. August 2020 - Calls for ending the controversial practice of mulesing have re-ignited, following the launch of a new report Towards a Non-Mulesed Future by socioeconomic consulting firm BG Economics. The report highlights the success experienced by producers across the country using genetics to battle flystrike, instead of mulesing. While at least 14% of Australian wool producers no longer mules their sheep, it’s estimated more than 10 million lambs continue to be mulesed annually. Mulesing is a process unique to Australia, whereby skin and flesh is removed from around the base of a lamb’s tail, a procedure undertaken to protect them from a condition called flystrike. In turn, flystrike is exacerbated due to poor breeding choices, namely producing sheep with wrinkled skin, originally done in an effort to maximise wool cut. This new report shows that it is largely good breeding choices—genetics—that will enable industry to end its reliance on mulesing, without compromising the producers’ bottom line. Put simply, wool producers can breed plain-bodied sheep without the wrinkle that attracts flies – these sheep are resistant to all forms of flystrike protecting their whole bodies for life, and completely avoiding any need for them to undergo mulesing or any other breech modification. “Our independent survey of 97 woolgrowers and seven case studies collected data on producers who have transitioned to plain-bodied Merinos that do not require mulesing, from an operational, financial and animal welfare perspective. This provides a ‘big picture’ understanding of why and how growers made the transition,” said ​Dr Stephen Thornton, Principal Economist at BG Economics. “The results show that nearly all woolgrowers have experienced increased financial benefits and the welfare of their animals is also improved. These growers are now well positioned to meet the market in the years to come as more retailers make the decision to only stock products which use non-mulesed wool.” The report collates data from a survey of 97 Australian woolgrowers in different states, climate zones and rainfall areas, finding that overall, 77.5% completed the transition to plain-bodied Merinos (flystrike-resistant sheep) within five years and 42.7% within two years, 83.5% say transitioning to plain-bodied Merinos is not costly, 82% have experienced increased lamb growth rates. Lambing percentage is also increased significantly, 72.2% experience <=0.5% breech strike and 92.5% <=0.5% body strike, 87.6% receive a price premium for their unmulesed wool, 84.1% have experienced an increased return on investment, 86.6% would recommend to other woolgrowers to undertake the transition to plain-bodied Merinos, 91.8% believe animal welfare is improved by not mulesing sheep, and 98% say not mulesing is important for their farm’s future profitability. “The results speak for themselves. While for decades, there’s been concern around the costs of transitioning away from mulesing, and the extensive amount of time it would take, it’s now time to lay these to rest. Times have changed and producers across the country are finding it possible, and financially profitable, to end their reliance on mulesing,” says Jessica Medcalf, Head of Programmes FOUR PAWS Australia. “Lambs suffer fear and stress, as well as acute pain for up to three days after being mulesed, while their wounds take weeks to heal. Furthermore, mulesing does not provide sheep with whole body protection from flystrike.” “It’s no wonder that collectively, hundreds of thousands of people globally have voiced their concern about mulesing, a concern which is only going to grow as people are increasingly interested in animal protection, and ethical fashion,” concluded Ms Medcalf. In the absence of industry undertaking research specifically into the viability of the genetic solution HSI and FOUR PAWS commissioned the report, and it’s development was supported by a pilot group of wool producers keen to see change, for both the protection of the industry's reputation and concerns around market access, as well as for the sake of animal welfare. HSI’s Animal Welfare Program Manager, Georgie Dolphin, said, “Humane Society International and FOUR PAWS commissioned this report to better understand the realities of the genetic solution to flystrike, and the results are extremely positive. They send a clear message that using good genetics as a flystrike management solution is effective, profitable, and a welfare win for millions of sheep. By incorporating good genetics all of the wool growers surveyed have shown it is possible to end both flystrike and mulesing. It is taking time to dispel the belief that genetic traits such as low wrinkle equals low profits, however the evidence in this report makes it clear that this is certainly not the case. Importantly, the majority of producers surveyed were able to make the transition within five years. “Consumers are demanding better animal welfare and retailers such as Country Road Group, David Jones, Target, Kmart and Myer are increasingly adopting policies to source non-mulesed wool. This report shows producers can move with the times and solve an animal welfare problem without compromising profitability. As a first step, we encourage industry leaders to acknowledge that the genetic solution is the best way to manage flystrike sustainably, alongside adequate animal husbandry practices. “Plain-bodied Merinos without wrinkles are well suited to the challenging Australian climate with most growers surveyed claiming they are more drought tolerant. Unlike mulesing, breeding plain-bodied flystrike-resistant Merino sheep offers a whole body solution, providing them with life-long protection from both breech strike and body strike, a factor we encourage wool growers to consider whilst restocking their flocks in the coming months. It’s time for producers to stop breeding wrinkly sheep that are unsuited to Australian conditions and instead reap the rewards the genetic solution offers,” concluded Ms Dolphin. The producers surveyed gave a number of key recommendations for making a successful transition, including: becoming informed, by speaking to other growers who have successfully made the transition, or reading through information available, preparing yourself mentally for a ‘mind shift’ and the need to be committed to see it through, finding a stud breeder that aligns with your breeding direction, and to aim for sheep types that are all-round fit for purpose. “I welcome the independent report on sheep mulesing by the socioeconomic consulting firm BG Economics. This clearly confirms, first, that woolgrowers responding to customer demand for better animal welfare by eliminating mulesing find it profitable to do so; that transitioning to plain-bodied Merinos that don't need mulesing is achievable within five years; and moreover, that this transition is not costly, that it leads to increased lamb-growth and weaning percentages, and delivers wool price premiums whilst being integral to their increased profitability,” said Charles Massy, wool grower, BSc. PhD. OAM, and author of 'Breaking the Sheep's Back’. For more information and supporting assets please visit our resources library, containing the report, images, statistical summary and case studies.   ***   For more information, please contact: Elise Burgess, Head of Communications, FOUR PAWS Australia | elise.burgess@four-paws.org | 0421225876 Georgie Dolphin, Animal Welfare Program Manager at Humane Society International | 0414869008 About BG Economics BG Economics is a socioeconomic consulting firm based in Brisbane, Australia. They specialise in analysing social issues, social policy and social programs by utilising their expertise in economic and social analysis. About Humane Society International Humane Society International is the largest international charity working for a more humane and sustainable world for animals. We are leaders in saving endangered species and their habitats and reducing cruelty in farming, trade and other industries. HSI has been established in Australia since 1994. About FOUR PAWS FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects focus on animals used for textiles, stray dogs and cats as well as pets, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. What will it take for you to trust artificial intelligence? 2020-08-17T19:47:50Z what-will-it-take-for-you-to-trust-artificial-intelligence Artificial Intelligence (AI) is helping to improve our society, enhance Australia’s wellbeing, improve environmental sustainability and create a more equitable, inclusive and fair society. But as we work to reshape government delivery with AI, are we asking the right questions? The role of AI, including policy implications and the nature of industry in society, is being discussed today in a live-stream event co-hosted by the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) and the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA).ACOLA CEO Ryan Winn said the event will feature a keynote presentation by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO and a panel discussion with ACOLA’s AI Expert Group and key Government officials leading AI implementation. “The event will give rise to further discussion on the future opportunities and challenges of AI in industry and Government operations and service delivery, and what implications this will have on society for 2030,” Mr Winn said.In his speech, Dr Finkel will pose the question: “What will it take for you to trust artificial intelligence”. "Last year, I launched ACOLA’s AI report, which serves us as a foundation for the future and is the basis of our discussions today. The report notes that there’s no magic solution to any policy challenge—least of all the innovative applications of AI. Instead, it comes back to the essential foundation of trust,” Dr Finkel said.ACOLA’s Chair and President of the Australian Academy of Humanities, Professor Joy Damousi FASSA FAHA added that “AI and other new technologies can be poorly understood across policy makers and society, which is a barrier to their uptake. This is even though they present significant opportunities to improve the liveability, wellbeing and productivity of our cities and regions.”Mr Winn said the AI discussion was timely with a number of emerging technologies offering extraordinary opportunities for Australia. The AI report and ACOLA’s Internet of Things (IoT) horizon scanning report (to be released later this year) highlight how new technologies will improve our lives—from enabling smart transport, optimising manufacturing to improving health care."Discussions like we are having today help us all to ask the right questions that support robust yet rapid research and awareness that can see Australia embrace the opportunities AI and other new technologies offer to maintain our global competitiveness in an increasingly digitalised world,” Mr Winn said.The event will be livestreamed between 9am and 10.30am AEST. The event is open to all. A recording can be obtained on request. More information is provided below.Media contactFor more information or to arrange interviews, contact: Ryan Winn, Chief Executive on 0484 814 040.The role of AI in Australia in 2030—eventThis live stream event will showcase the Commonwealth funded ACOLA AI report released in July 2019, the discussion will highlight the importance of multidisciplinary thinking, with a chance to increase productive dialogue between academia and policymakers.Panel members are:Professor Genevieve Bell AO, Director, 3A Institute, Australian National UniversityDr Simon Barry (Panellist), Deputy Director, Data 61Narelle Luchetti, Head of Division, Digital Economy and Technology, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and ResourcesDavid Hazlehurst, Deputy Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, IPAA ACT CouncillorInformation about the event is available on the IPAA website. Media can register to attend.ACOLA AI reportA copy of the AI report can be downloaded from the ACOLA website. ACOLA IoT reportThe IoT report is expected to be released later this year. Information about the research project underpinning the report is on the ACOLA website. About ACOLAACOLA is the forum whereby Australia’s Learned Academies and our Associate members come together to contribute expert advice to inform national policy; and to develop innovative solutions to complex global problems and emerging national needs. Through the learned academies, ACOLA has access to more than 3,000 of Australia’s greatest minds to bring together critical thinking and evidence to inform robust policy decisions.Australian Chief Scientist’s keynoteDr Finkel’s speech will be available from 0900 AEST Tuesday 19 August on the Office of Chief Scientist website. Broca Consultancy helps your business succeed using automation technology 2020-07-28T03:15:10Z broca-consultancy-helps-your-business-succeed-using-automation-technology Broca Consultancy Services was started because the founders saw that Kiwi businesses had so much untapped potential that automation technology could unlock. And they’ve been helping businesses succeed ever since. Who are Broca Consultancy? Broca’s area is a part of the brain that deals with processing speech and language. When this part of the brain is damaged, the individual knows what they want to say, but the pathway to produce the correct words is broken and they cannot articulate or express themselves. In a similar way, the founders of Broca Consultancy saw a parallel with business. The business owner knew what they wanted, but there was a gap between the visualised result and the current business trajectory. Increased costs and compliance, a competitive landscape and tough economic conditions meant the owner struggled to get from A to B. This is where Broca Consultancy and business automation come in. Step back and focus on your business It is difficult being a SME owner in NZ. Often, owners are heavily invested in the day to day running of the business. When you’re IN the business, when do you take the time to work ON the business? Broca Consultancy help you to remove the noise, step back, and see the big picture. We work with you to identify the big challenges you face; whether it’s conflicting priorities, a lack of qualitative data that means you don’t know where or how you’re losing (or making) money, or a chaotic business process. We work together to design a business process that works for you. It removes waste and defects, creating a seamless process. We identify where you can utilise robotics automation, and re-engineer a process to give you the best results in the shortest time. What is robotics process automation? RPA, or robotics process automation, is technology that is designed to mimic the actions of a human being. RPA uses software bots that are installed in the cloud or on desktop and is programmed to follow a set of rules as defined by the user or process owner. In a business, this basically applies to a wide variety of processes and tasks that humans do with a computer. There are eight wastes that RPA can assist a business to eliminate. Defects: Every business has problems with accuracy of data entry or capture. These mistakes can be costly and time consuming to resolve, as well as give a negative experience to customers. RPA takes away the risk of error. Over production: A business will always have peaks, troughs, and bottlenecks. But these can result in periods of overproduction. RPA irons out the processes to streamline production. Waiting: If there is one part of a business process that continually holds the process up, this can introduce significant delays to outputs. Especially if there’s high dependency on that action, it can lead to huge business challenges. RPA identifies the problems and helps to remove the dependency and thereby, the wait time. Unused potential: Are you, or your amazing staff, stuck doing data entry, answering phones, and running around doing tasks that are a waste of potential? RPA means regular, monotonous tasks are automated, freeing people up to contribute much more valuable work. Transportation: Do you know where your files are stored? Do you spend time looking for information? RPA automates the process of business storage, so there’s a logical flow and no wasted time looking for information and files. Inventory: Often the pain point for many businesses, end-to-end stock and inventory processes take away the problems. No guesswork, no losses, just accurate inventory management. Motion: Emails and phone calls are not the most productive way of communicating information. RPA allows for easy, painless, and highly efficient communication and information exchange. Extra processing: There are many places in a business where there is replication of information. This slows systems down and adds no value. RPA means a logical flow of data processing with no replication of processes.  It doesn’t have to cost the earth When discussing automation, many business owners think that they need to invest huge amounts of money on bulky software packages. But that is rarely the case. In fact, you may already have the software you need to implement automation. Even within the Microsoft ecosystem, there are huge amounts of functionality available. Broca aim to provide good ROI for our customers. Most pay back their investment within six to 18 months, not only making them far more profitable in the long term, but far more competitive in their market. NZ businesses are, on average, four years behind their international counterparts in terms of technology use. In that timeframe, there are huge increases in the functionality and abilities of software. It’s time for you, and your business, to step up to success. That gap between your current business and where you want it to be can be bridged with RPA technology, and Broca Consultancy. With a combination of business skills and in-depth knowledge of automation software, Broca can help your business eliminate problems, maximise efficiencies and put you on the path to success. Contact us today to find out where to start.     How a Team of Scientists are Using Videogames to Spread Science 2020-07-25T06:01:50Z how-a-team-of-scientists-are-using-videogames-to-spread-science Viewers spent over 1 million hours watching and interacting with videogame streamers on Twitch in January 2020 alone. This grew to over 1.6 million hours a month throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s this drive for engaging online content that drove Associate Professor Michael Kasumovic to do something different this National Science Week. Rather than asking people to come to a science event, Michael is bringing science to one of the most popular activities of the decade: videogame livestreams.   “With everything that’s going on in the media, I think the relationship between scientists and the general public is very strained, and it’s not something that will easily be fixed” says A/Prof Michael Kasumovic the organiser of #BatteryLow a National Science Week event that will be livestreamed for all Australian’s to watch. “People see scientists as individuals who work in ivory towers and have an agenda, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re just regular people that are interested in exploring and understanding the world.” This is why Michael thought that it would be fun to place scientists outside of their regular comfort zone and place them where the regular public – especially teens and young adults – usually reside: in front of a videogame screen. “I’ve found 15 awesome and diverse young scientists that research a whole range of topics from how economic theory can improve honeybee foraging to why it’s difficult to quit smoking, to understanding how our universe is formed.” He’s taking these young scientists, sitting them on a couch, and playing videogames with them. “The idea is that concentrating on the games will make it a relaxed experience where the scientists can chat with each other and the public.   Michael wanted to reach people that don’t normally tune into science events. “These are people that love watching videogames, but what if we could get them talking and asking questions about the science these researchers do while we’re playing videogames – how awesome would that be?” You can feel Michael getting excited about the livestream as he talks about it. Michael hopes that seeing scientists as regular people, highlighting their curiosity, and demonstrating that scientists don’t know all the answers may help to repair the relationship between scientists and the public. “As a lecturer, I’m always looking for that ‘teachable moment’ – where learning can happen in the most unexpected times and places”, and videogames present such a great opportunity! The event will be livestreamed during and after school hours where Michael hopes that teachers will tune in with their classrooms and parents will sit down with their kids to share in the moment. To prepare for the event, Michael has been streaming the educational games he’s created with his Company Arludo on YouTube and Twitch over the last few months. “Being an engaging streamer is not easy, especially if you’ve been a scientist your whole life! But I wanted to try something different to engage younger generations and get them excited about learning science.” “I think it’s important to keep reaching out to the public in different ways to engage people who wouldn’t normally be interested in science.” Says Kirsten Banks, an astrophysicist and one of the scientists joining #BatteryLow. Known as @astrokirsten on Tik Tok, she’s seen her love of the universe spread to over 11,000 followers leading to more than 200,000 likes. “I think what Michael is doing is great and really different”. It’s one of the reasons that Caitlyn Forster decided to be a part of the program. “I’ve done a lot of outreach, but this is really new”. Caitlyn is the researcher exploring economic decision making in honeybees and is excited to share he research with the public in a new way. There are even scientists that don’t play any games at all like Zoe Xirocostas, a plant ecologist researching invasive species. “Michael’s assured me that the day won’t be competitive and that’s it’s a lot of fun” she laughs. “I’ve known him as a lecturer at UNSW so I’m pretty sure this will be pretty laid back.” To celebrate the event and get folks excited, Michael is highlighting a new researcher each day on his Twitter and Instagram accounts. His goal is to help the public understand why these scientists do what they do each day and what makes them interesting. Michael’s learned that amongst his 15 scientists, there are cosplayers, singers, saxophonists, artists, rock climbers and so much more. “But you’ll have to follow my socials to see which scientist does what!” laughs Michael. #BatteryLow will run online on Friday August 21st from 11:00am – 6pm. Further information on the show and the scientists can be found at https://arludo.com/scienceweek Australian biotech Microba brings gut analysis to Europe with pathology leader SYNLAB 2020-07-18T01:07:41Z australian-biotech-microba-brings-gut-analysis-to-europe-with-pathology-leader-synlab The partnership will bring together the cutting-edge metagenomics sequencing and bioinformatics of Microba with the expertise of SYNLAB’s laboratory services team to deliver new gastrointestinal analysis services to their network of practising doctors and clinics. Microba was developed out of field-leading research from the University of Queensland, launching Australia’s first detailed gut microbiome analysis in June 2018.  The biotech has now assisted more than 10,000 Australians to assess their gut health individually or with an Australian healthcare professional. SYNLAB is the market leader in medical diagnostic services in Europe, with a presence in more than 40 countries across four continents. The co-delivered MyBiome gut microbiome analysis will be launched initially in two selected countries to provide healthcare professionals with access to new and actionable information on their patients’ health. Blake Wills, CEO of Microba, emphasised that the launch would expand the availability of the company’s world-leading gut microbiome analysis technology to customers in Europe, and assist Microba in their  global pursuit of driving new discoveries and improving human health. “Microba’s partnership with SYNLAB is a great example of two international forces joining together to embrace next-generation technologies and support local healthcare,” said Wills. “It will allow us to expand the reach of our technology into the European market, and bring innovation born in Australia into larger overseas markets to positively impact more lives,” he added. Microba’s award-winning proprietary Metagenomic Analysis Platform (MAP™) will be utilised to deliver the MyBiome analysis. Mr Wills said that delivering an analysis into the European market in partnership with SYNLAB allowed Microba to access large, established markets with unmet demand for comprehensive microbiome analysis services. “SYNLAB is a global leader in delivering medical diagnostic services and we are proud to be partnering to add advanced gut microbiome analysis to their portfolio, powered by Microba’s technology,” he said. Chief Medical Officer of SYNLAB Group, Dr Santiago Valor said, “We are excited to start this collaboration with Microba. SYNLAB’s commitment to medical excellence in diagnostics is underlined by complementing our test portfolio with the MyBiome analysis.” “Together we set a sign for continuous medical advancement to the benefit of patients and customers.” In addition to powering the new analysis service in Europe with SYNLAB, and a continuing partnership in the United States, Microba also works with research groups and healthcare organisations to advance global understanding of the human gut microbiome and its influence on health. ENDS    Max Kelsen Achieves AWS Machine Learning Competency Status 2020-07-07T02:56:37Z max-kelsen-achieves-aws-machine-learning-competency-status Brisbane, 7 July, 2020 – Max Kelsen, Beyond A.I., one of Australia’s leading Machine Learning (ML) solutions businesses, and an APN Advanced Consulting Partner, announced today it has achieved Amazon Web Services (AWS) ML Competency status as part of the AWS Partner Network (APN). This designation recognises Max Kelsen’s ability to deliver ML solutions in production on AWS, enabling customers to generate business value and increase competitive advantage. Brisbane-based Max Kelsen is only the third APN Partner in Australia to achieve the AWS ML Competency status and it is a significant reflection of the company’s investment in resources and skills made to maximise the full suite of AWS ML services. The competency has enhanced Max Kelsen’s ability to deploy industry relevant, in-production solutions for customers globally, across a wide range of industries including healthcare, financial services, retail, travel, and the public sector. Nick Therkelsen-Terry, CEO, Max Kelsen, said the AWS competency builds on the company’s history of providing solutions which help customers solve their data challenges, deploy ML and data science workflows, and offer Software as a Service (SaaS) and Application Programming Interface (API) based features to enable predictive capabilities within their applications. “Achieving AWS ML Competency status demonstrates to our customers that Max Kelsen has validated expertise in ML experience on AWS,” Mr Nick Therkelsen-Terry said. “We have a proven track record of delivering game changing ML products and services for our customers.” He said. Davinia Simon, Head of Channel and Alliances in Australia and New Zealand, AWS, said, “Whether it’s improving customer experience, helping people discover entertainment easier, or predicting when maintenance is needed in industrial equipment, ML capabilities are extremely important for organisations to solve some of the toughest challenges. ML is an incredibly exciting area of emerging technology, and we are thrilled to see our APN Partners like Max Kelsen specialising in this technology to support their customers.” Max Kelsen has developed ML as a Service (MLaaS) as a joint investment approach with its customers, where both parties collaborate to build innovative solutions. Once developed, these MLaaS solutions are delivered via a consumption-based pricing model, with defined outcomes. This model can help to support organisations with capital expenditure constraints that are limited by COVID-19, while the imperative for businesses to innovate has never been greater. About Max Kelsen Founded in Brisbane in 2015, Max Kelsen (MK) is one of Australia’s leading Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) solutions businesses. We deliver innovation which is directly linked to the generation of business value and competitive advantage to customers in Australia and globally, including Fortune 500 companies. Max Kelsen is also dedicated to reinvesting our expertise and profits to solve the challenges of humankind, focusing on Cancer Genomics, AI Safety, and Quantum Computing. Media Contact: Peter Witts. Email: peter@navigatecommunication.com.au. Ph +61 (0) 477274412