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.
The Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement Within States is a policy framework designed to assist governments worldwide in dealing with people displaced by climate change. In addition to being the subject of books, articles and reports, the Peninsula Principles have been used to guide governmental and UN policy development on addressing climate displacement, provided an organising tool for community-based organisations and further influenced international actions on planned relocation for climate displaced communities.
Murujuga has one of the largest collections of engraved rock art anywhere in the world. The art is of cultural and spiritual significance to Aboriginal people, is on Australia’s National Heritage List and has recognised international heritage values. The Murujuga National Park (MNP) created in January 2013, recognises the cultural heritage value of the rock art and its environment and is owned by Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation who lease this back to the State who co-manage it. UWA aims to deliver a scientifically rigorous approach to research, monitoring and management that will provide an appropriate level of protection to the rock art. This research underpins significant impacts in the environment, society and industry and culture of Murujuga and the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Indigenous suicide is a significant population health challenge for Australia. Suicide is a major cause of Indigenous premature mortality and is a contributor to Indigenous health and life expectancy gaps. Two national projects undertaken by UWA researchers – the National Empowerment Project (NEP) and The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) – have contributed significantly to the knowledge base on how to address this health challenge and have influenced Government policy. These projects have increased awareness in community based and Indigenous led solutions, as well as informing policy changes at the Federal level.
A team of researchers at the Psychology of Active Healthy Living group at The University of Western Australia have dedicated their research to understanding the power of others in shaping healthy behaviours. Their community-based programs including Mummy Buddy and MAN v FAT Soccer have shown that the presence of a strong support network can have positive effects on a person’s general health and mental well-being.
Sleep is one of the pillars of health. However, sleep disturbances can be a common symptom in Parkinson’s, affecting up to 98% of patients.
From their studies, and from what is known about how the brain works, Dr Maria Pushpanathan, UWA School of Psychological Science and her colleagues have shown that there are relationships between sleep and daytime function. By improving sleep symptoms, potentially, the progression of Parkinson’s may slow and, subsequently, the quality of life may improve. Translating this new knowledge could also have major clinical implications for the treatment of problematic sleep issues in people with Parkinson’s.
Art is supposed to do the avant-garde, be radical and ask the deepest questions about life and about the position of the human in this world. For almost 20 years, UWA’s SymbioticA has been interested in the growing gap between our cultural understanding of life and what we know about life through science. But more importantly, what we choose to do to life through technology. Through their exhibitions and research the group has developed new technologies, influenced policymaking and articulated cultural ideas around scientific knowledge in the pursuit of critiquing the ethical and cultural issues of the manipulation of life.
Over the last hundred years there have been huge advances in medical care for pregnancy and childbirth such as: assisted reproductive technologies, blood tests for hormone levels, ultrasound assessments of pregnancy and neonatal intensive care units. However, we are not seeing similar advances to treat issues relating to lactation.
As a PhD student, Daniel Green had a keen interest in finding new ways to help sporting people get better at what they do. However, it wasn’t long before he realised that many of the techniques he used to measure human fitness and function could be applied to people at the other end of the health spectrum; patients with heart disease and end-stage heart failure. In subsequent years, Prof Green developed a team at UWA that has had profound impacts on establishing exercise science a recognised allied health profession, leading worldwide agendas to optimise the way that patients are clinically managed using exercise and establishing a better understanding of how exercise exerts its benefits on the heart and arteries.
Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) has been on the rise in Western Australia (WA), with nearly half of the cases presenting as MenW. Since 2013, a team of researchers at UWA led by Associate Professor Charlene Kahler have been researching IMD and MenW and have been instrumental in informing the WA government of the need to act in delivering vaccinations to the community, the most effective preventative measure to eradicate this disease.