13 January 2012

Researchers pack their bags

Three recipients of Early Career Researcher International Travel Awards have been announced by Professor Daine Alcorn, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation and Vice-President.

Image Dr Kristen Sharp

Dr Kristen Sharp
Destination: Musashino Art University, Tokyo, Japan.

Image Dr Tony Zhang

Dr Tony Zhang
Destination: International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health, in Portland, USA and Los Angeles Center for East-West Medicine, University of California, USA.

Image Dr Adrian Orifici

Dr Adrian Orifici
Destination: Aerospace Engineering department, Politecnico di Milano, Italy.

The scheme, which recognises, rewards and encourages high-achieving early career researchers at RMIT University, is a new and important initiative of the RMIT Early Career Researcher (ECR) Network.

Recipients are researchers pursuing promising careers whose work potentially offers great benefit and contribution to the Australian and international community.

Professor Alcorn said the ECR International Travel Awards would enable these outstanding individuals to exchange knowledge with their peers through participation in professional development opportunities abroad, such as presenting at international research conferences or accepting prestigious research awards at overseas ceremonies.

Dr Kristen Sharp will be travelling to Japan in June, where she has been invited by Musashino Art University, Tokyo, to be an international visiting researcher.

Musashino is one of the leading art and design institutions in Japan and this is an exceptional opportunity for Dr Sharp to not only develop quantifiable research outcomes, but also to extend her current research networks in Japan and foster future transnational research projects.

Dr Sharp is the Coordinator of Art History and Theory in the School of Art.

She was recently invited to co-curate a major sound art festival called The Sonic City, as part of Australia Liquid Architecture in 2013.

The curated program will be delivered in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo and the Kansai region in Japan.

Dr Sharp is a chief investigator on a current, $162,000 ARC Linkage Project, "Spatial Dialogues: Public Art and Climate Change".

The majority of Dr Sharp's research publications are focused on contemporary Asian art, urbanism and globalisation, including transnational collaborations.

Over the past three years, she has produced four book chapters with publishers of high international repute and two papers in ERA A-ranked journals.

She is currently supervising 11 PhD candidates (four as senior supervisor), several of which are high-profile artists.

Dr Tony Zhang plans to use his award to attend the International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health, in Portland, USA, in May.

He will also use this opportunity to collaborate with researchers at the Los Angeles Center for East-West Medicine, University of California.

Dr Zhang is Head of the Discipline of Chinese Medicine and Discipline HDR coordinator in the School of Health Sciences.

He is also Research Coordinator of the International Research Network for Traditional and Complementary Medicine.

He is a chief investigator and an associate investigator on two NHMRC project grants, together worth more than $700,000: "The effect of a standardised ginseng extract in patients with moderate COPD: a randomised, double-blind trial" and "The efficacy and safety of acupuncture for seasonal allergic rhinitis: a prospective, randomised controlled trial".

Dr Zhang has had more than 30 papers published in the last five years.

In the past three years alone, he has published 24 peer-reviewed journal articles (many in ERA ranked A* journals) and contributed to three scientific research reports and more than 30 conference papers.

Dr Zhang currently supervises eight research students (two as primary supervisor) and has supervised two PhD students to successful completion.

Dr Adrian Orifici is currently using his award to fund a secondment opportunity in the Aerospace Engineering department at Politecnico di Milano in Italy, one of Europe's leading research institutions.

This will broaden and strengthen his experience in the field of aerospace composite structures and further enhance RMIT's reputation for world-class capabilities in this key research area.

Dr Orifici is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, and is responsible for teaching activities in the field of aerospace structures.

His research involves the design and analysis of aerospace structures with a focus on fibre-reinforced composite materials.

He is a chief investigator on the $106,000 ARC Linkage Project grant, "Optimised flush repairs for dissimilar composite materials".

In the past three years, Dr Orifici has published seven papers in leading international journals including one with an ERA A* ranking.

He is currently supervising seven research students (three as senior supervisor).

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