We enter into contracts all the time, without knowing it, but most people will admit to not reading or understanding the fine print. A collaborative team of researchers led by UWA Professor of Law, Camilla Andersen have found an alternative to navigating through paragraphs of legalese. They have created comic book contracts, which include a set of pictures with some text, designed to drive behaviour so that disputes do not arise. This exciting visual direction for legal contracts is also providing industry with time and money savings, whilst providing better access to justice for users.
Since 2013, China has been ‘reviving’ the invented history of the Silk Road and is remapping international affairs through its Belt and Road Initiative. Whilst many western academics and media focus on the geoeconomic and geopolitical dimensions of the Belt and Road Initiative, Professor Tim Winter from the UWA School of Social Sciences is taking a more cultural and international relations approach. Through his work with UNESCO, Professor Winter is developing a database that will give countries along the Belt and Road insight around issues of development, tourist growth in the region, maintaining cultural heritage and for UNESCO the database will potentially also serve as a platform for world heritage nominations. His work is helping to preserve the material past in countries and locations that desperately need resources and assistance.
The spread of democratic governance is central to the promotion of peace and in upholding stable global and regional relations. Professor Benjamin Reilly is an internationally recognised political scientist at The University of Western Australia whose research focuses on democracies in the Indo-Pacific region. His work on democratic governance, political development, electoral system design, and party politics in post-conflict environments has helped shape political and electoral reform in new and emerging democracies, and he also advises governments on these issues.
The MMEx platform is an award winning, evidence based and fully shareable web-based electronic health record system. MMEx was developed at UWA’s Centre for Software Practice and delivered to market by ISA Technologies. It provides practitioners with a patient management system that allows care teams to share information and be guided by risk-based decision support and other tools. Initially developed to manage healthcare for Aboriginal people in the Kimberley, MMEx has since been used to support the health care of large indigenous populations throughout Australia as well as highly specialised care in urban settings. MMEx has been used to collect research data for projects looking at chronic disease management practices, approaches to telehealth, and sexually transmitted infections.
UWA researchers have developed cheaper and safer offshore pipelines to reduce the cost of building and maintenance in oil and gas infrastructure. This has been achieved via the delivery of new design paradigms that have been adopted by operators and verifiers worldwide, and which now feature in international standards for pipeline design.
Maternal dietary folate deficiency in the first weeks of life carries a higher risk that the fetus’ neural tube will not fuse, leading to the development of either spina bifida or anencephaly. For two decades Bower et al. followed a dedicated pathway to impact by lobbying the Australian Government’s Health portfolio’s statutory authority, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), to introduce mandatory fortification of wheat flour. In 1995 voluntary fortification was allowed and in 2009 fortification of wheat flour with folate became mandatory. From 2011 to 2016, NTD births dropped, regardless of mother’s culture, age, educational attainment or choice of hospital system.
Insufficient physical activity by children are associated with poorer physical and mental health. The Child’s Play project, led by Associate Professor Wood and Dr Martin at the UWA School of Population and Global Health has generated community engagement with nature-play spaces in Western Australian schools and local communities. The researchers collaborated with Healthway, Rio Tinto, Kings Park Botanic Garden and Parks Authority, the WA Department of Education, Nature Play WA, Kidsafe, urban planners and architects, as well as local councils and schools to identify play space designs that were preferred by children and supported play. Collaborators have used UWA research to inform their strategies around open spaces and evaluate their new and existing parks and playgrounds.
UWA researchers have developed an innovative assessment method to enable schools to streamline school assessment processes across the nation. Brightpath is an online tool in which samples of students work can be compared with exemplars and used provide standardised feedback in order to positive affect educational outcomes.
Brightpath has been adopted by approximately 500 schools and used for 300,000 assessments of Australian students. In addition, the researchers have impacted Australian education communities through critical involvement with: (i) the National Assessment Programme—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) involving over 1 million student participants per year; and (ii) the high-stakes Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) affecting 26,000 high school students each year.
UWA research uncovered a price bias and an exploitable trade advantage in the 100 year old mechanism used to set the daily benchmark price of precious metals globally. The London Fixing, which had been run by a handful of “member” banks, formed an integral part of a US$30 trillion dollar annual market, impacting metal prices, financial instruments and contracts. Following publication of the research, multiple civil and criminal trials were launched against the banks. Regulatory investigations began and fines were issued. Benchmarking regulations were overhauled and manipulation was criminalised. The research has led to the London Fixings being replaced with modern electronic auctions that provide fairer and more transparent systems of commodity price benchmarking.
The University of Western Australia (UWA) has played a critical role in enhancing policy-making, public debate and progress on the future of Perth and Australian cities. An important part of this has been an innovative, longstanding partnership with the Committee for Perth. This partnership has focused on major urban policy concerns related to globalization, economic development, demographic change, urban liveability and social equality. This research stimulated debate across business, community, government and individuals about the future of cities. The partnership draws on an active and ongoing strategy of engagement with stakeholders. In addition, the partnership actively seeks to inform policy by improving the quality of evidence used by urban decision-makers.