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The nation’s first cross-disciplinary research institute dedicated to maximizing the community benefits of broadband technologies has been announced by Premier John Brumby.

The Victorian Government will provide $2 million for the new Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society (IBES). The Institute will be based at the University of Melbourne to foster innovation across a wide range of disciplines including Medicine, Engineering, Education, Social Sciences, Economics, Business and the Environmental Sciences.

Professor Rod Tucker, Director of the IBES, says the Institute will source skills and resources of leading University researchers and 10 major industry leaders. Together they will develop and test new products and services which will benefit society, in areas such as e-health, e-education, e-commerce, and environmental monitoring.
 
The IBES has attracted the support of leading global and local companies to join its research program. They include Cisco, Microsoft, Alcatel-Lucent, Telstra, Ericsson, NEC Australia, Optus, Allied Telesis, Pacific Broadband Networks, and Haliplex. The research will also be enhanced by the support of Bell Labs and NICTA, Australia’s national research centre of excellence in Information and Communication Technology.

Professor Tucker says the IBES will serve as a national and international focus for research and innovation across the full spectrum of social, business and technological activities associated with and influenced by the new Australian National Broadband Network.

 “The strong support of industry coupled with the support and commitment of the State Government of Victoria, positions IBES to play a key role in the development of an Australian industry that is ready for the true broadband revolution," he says.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis says the IBES will be a unique facility that will allow new ideas and applications to be tested in a real broadband environment that will maximize the contribution the Australian Broadband Network will make to Australia’s economic and social progress.

 

Professor Pestell, Principal, Delaware Valley Institute for Clinical and Translational Science and Professor of the Thomas Jefferson University says “The establishment of National Cancer Institutes in the US since the 1970s have significantly increased survivorship of cancer and reduced cancer deaths.”

Last week, New York became the first state in America to allow scientists to pay women for donating their eggs for use in stem cell research, triggering further ethical debate.

An Australian first study will test whether physical activity can improve the memory and wellbeing of sufferers of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

An Australian first study will test live online rehabilitation with video gaming to give spinal cord injury patients the hope of regaining the movement of their hands.

World leading reproduction expert Professor Roger Short, of the University of Melbourne, says Australia’s population growth is out of control increasing the rate of global warming. Professor Short presents at Home Grown Remedies for Global Ills as part of the University of Melbourne's Festival of Ideas.
Fellow presenter Professor Rob Moodie, says Australians need to start their own internal carbon trading scheme by “getting out of the car and off the couch at every opportunity”.
 

Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty has warned doing nothing on climate change is a dangerous experiment that Australia can not afford to be part of.

Australian and New Zealand researchers have accelerated research into Multiple Sclerosis by discovering two new locations of genes which will help to unravel the causes of MS and other autoimmune disease.  Their findings were published today in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics.

The introduction of nurse operated walk-in clinics for public hospitals will help formalise the new role of nurses according to Head of Nursing at Melbourne University, Professor Sanchia Aranda.

“There is this classic perception that nurses are educated to know just enough to help doctors do their job. Yet these days the role of a nurse is blurred,” she says.

“These days there are nurses who have Masters and PhD degrees, these people have sophisticated skills and the ability to support the management of patients.”

Professor Aranda says the federally funded walk-in clinics – for patients seeking fast treatment of minor injuries and ailments - will not only free doctors up to focus on more complex cases, but also help formalise tasks that nurses are already doing within the health system.

“Take something like a broken arm, there are already triage nurses who can read x-rays, put on casts and monitor patients as they deal with the injury without the patient needing to see a doctor,” she says.

Professor Aranda says despite the increased number of skills needed by nurses, society’s perception of the profession is not changing very rapidly. Yet she says there are pockets of hope that this perception will change, like the Masters course of Nursing that the University introduced last year. Professor Aranda says that if we can bring brighter people into the profession then perceptions will begin to change, and then nurses will be seen as performing roles that are able to really help people manage their illnesses.

North Korea’s underground nuclear tests have been condemned by world leaders, yet Associate Professor Tilman Ruff says the global community should not simply react by reprimanding the regime but ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

“There are around 25,000 nuclear weapons in the world and if less than half of one per cent of the world’s nuclear arsenal was targeted on cities it could result in a global climatic catastrophe that would imperil human civilisation,” he says.

“Every day we live with this terrible risk that the world could end.”

Professor Ruff says North Korea’s underground nuclear testing and violation of Resolution 1718 brings into force the need for a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. He says nations who claim nuclear weapons are essential to their own security are often the same ones who are claiming these weapons are a threat when possessed by anyone else.

“This kind of nuclear apartheid is unsustainable and the only approach that really has legs is one that has a consistent standard - zero nuclear weapons for all countries,” he says.

Professor Ruff says the sooner we see serious progress toward the goal of zero nuclear weapons the better and says this goal is a lot more achievable since the Obama administration got into power.

“We have agreed on global treaties to abolish cluster munitions, land mines, chemical and biological weapons in the past, so there is plenty of precedent for abolishing whole classes of weapons by a comprehensive treaty. Many would argue that the same approach should be applied to nuclear weapons.”

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