Notre Dame contributing to cutting-edge defence research in WA

The University of Notre Dame Australia is one partner in a series of collaborative research projects that have recently received grants worth almost $900,000 from the federal and state government.

Federal Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price and WA State Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia announced six grants in the second round of the WA Defence Science Centre’s (DSC) Collaborative Research Grants.

DSC is one of five state-based organisations established by Defence and the states to promote participation of the academic sector and industry in Defence-related research and receives funding from the Australian Government’s Next Generation Technologies Fund and from the WA Government.

Minister Price said the Morrison Government was pleased to help foster the relationships between academic institutions and industry in embarking on world-leading research.

“We are proud of this partnership with WA and the significant commitment of the State leadership to investing in local defence industry and research organisations,” Minister Price said.

“These grants will develop enhanced capability for Defence and maintain the safety and well-being of our serving men and women.

These projects will drive the long-term development of Australia’s defence industry as well as deliver national and local benefits.

The project Notre Dame is involved in, Categorising lower body injury risk in female and male recruits through muscle-bone imaging, is led by Edith Cowan University in collaboration with the University of Western Australia, Deakin University, the WA Police Force, the US Army, University of Jyväskylä Finland, and Notre Dame.

The project will investigate whether or not there is anything unique or characteristic about bone and muscle morphology in female and male police, military and athlete recruits that determines whether they are at risk of potential injury, and then establish what can be done prior to injury to prevent long-term bone health damage.

The project forms part of the Western Australian Bone Research Collaboration (WABRC) co-led by Dr Paola Chivers (Notre Dame Senior Lecturer and Research Biostatistician) and Dr Nicolas Hart (Senior Research Fellow at ECU and Notre Dame Adjunct). Dr Chivers said “this project continues their collaborative work across institutions and in partnership with industry to improve bone health across lifespan.”

“The collaboration is the key thing,” Dr Chivers said, “The project brings together specific expertise across a range of areas. We have a clinician who comes from an endocrinology perspective, we’ve got an exercise physiologist who’s looking at how we can optimize subject’s training and get them back on deck as fast as possible, and then we have our bone expert over in Finland, who can examine the bone scans we’ll be taking and assess their risk factors.

It’s bringing all of those bits and pieces together because you’re not going to get that level of expertise in one person or one institution necessarily. You can only do research like this by having a really strong and collaborative team.

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