The University of Ballarat has recognised research strengths in environmental management, food technology, e-commerce, behavioural sciences, remote imaging, rural and regional health, mining and geology. The University's Technology Park is also the home of the important Southern Region Data Centre, symbolising the University's links with key developments in information technology and telecommunications, particularly in relation to rural Australia. |
While it has been recognised over its long history as a primarily a teaching institution - with this role being strengthened by its recent merger with local TAFE institutions - the University has increased its research performance and commitment markedly in recent years. From 1992 to 1998 its funding through Commonwealth competitive research grants increased by 76%, compared to the Australian-wide university average of 48%, while the University's total (unweighted) research publication between 1995 and 1998 nearly doubled, compared to the average increase of 15%.
Currently the School of Arts (Multimedia) has the capability of becoming involved in formal research and development in multimedia: in the development of interactive CD's (creative interfaces), video capture, webpage design and on-line delivery techniques. The school's emphasis is in the creative multimedia process and interactivity which had been recognised internationally over the past four years through success in design awards and acceptance of works into highly respected journals and publications specialising in this area.
The Image and Video Research Infrastructure Facility (Professor Binh Pham and Dr John Yearwood) of the School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences has been involved in the development of "A Cooperative Multimedia Environment for Telemedicine Applications". This work emerged out of the Multimedia and Health thrust that began as part of the Ballarat 2000 initiative and the opportunities there were for Ballarat hospitals to provide health and medical services to their region via Telemedicine.
At that stage the practicality of telemedicine was not clear and the particular type (teleradiology, teledermatology, telepsychiatry etc.) that would be the most useful as a pilot had not been decided. Since then, some research collaboration between Western Hospital and the University has started to develop. One project in particular, involves the development of computer diagnostic support for cervical spine trauma, as well as an environment to allow residents at the hospital to consult with senior doctors who are out of the hospital. This project has provided impetus for the researchers to construct a multimedia environment that can support a large range of collaborative telemedicine and tele-health activities in a multimedia environment. The School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences has an undergraduate degree in Information (Multimedia, Internet) and the first students are entering Honours in 2000. It is expected that some of these students will stay on to be involved in multimedia and health projects within the region.
Office of Research and Enterprise
University of Ballarat