Barbara Kidman Women’s Fellowships Awarded

Congratulations to Dr Claire Jones and Dr Wei Zhang on receiving Barbara Kidman Women’s Fellowships.

The University of Adelaide Barbara Kidman Women's Fellowship Scheme is designed to support female academics to enhance and promote their career.

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Each of the recipients receive up to $30,000 to assist them to strengthen, maintain, or re-invigorate research momentum and apply for roles they aspire to.

Among the six recipients for 2021 are Dr Claire Jones from the School of Mechanical Engineering and Dr Wei Zhang from the School of Computer Science.

Claire's research sits at the interface of engineering and medicine and focuses on the biomechanics of trauma.

Her current projects aim to develop and use mechanically relevant and reproducible pre-clinical models of traumatic spinal cord injury and brain injury to understand the injury event and the physiological responses to injury; to provide new insights into the mechanisms of particular neck injuries; to provide tools for paramedics training in neck immobilisation; and to characterise the mechanical response of the human spine.

Research methods encompass work with human volunteers, clinical data, pre-clinical models, and post-mortem specimens. Significantly, the outcomes of this research contribute to improved injury prevention and treatment.

Claire says that the Barbara Kidman Women’s Fellowship recognises the challenges she has faced, and the quality of research she has achieved - leading a research group while caring for infants and small children.

“The fellowship will assist me to submit several key publications and funding applications in 2022. I am pleased to be supported by the School of Mechanical Engineering and the Central Adelaide Local Health Network while holding this fellowship,” she said.

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Dr Wei Zhang is particularly interested in text mining, natural language processing (NLP), information retrieval and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

She says it is a great honour to have been awarded this fellowship.

"It’s not only an encouragement for my previous and current research, but it will assist me in taking the next steps," she said.

In particular, she plans to use the fund to support her teaching, hire a short-term research assistant, and free up time to focus on research.

Her work on NLP has the potential to benefit us all. The current rapid access to information we all experience means we can also feel buried by it. Wei's work will assist people to find the information they actually need (via multi-document summarization known as MDS).

She also hopes to protect people from adversarial attacks, particularly in the areas of finance, medicine and transportation. Interestingly, these two areas of research have the potential to combine as one under a system known as Robust Multi-document Summarization.

Wei's research into the Internet of Things (IoT) also remains strong with a specific focus on social IoT, security, trust, and application in healthcare. She says that combining IoT and NLP could help to make more practical real-world applications (improving the efficiency of data collection) and this fellowship will help her research work towards linking the two.

The future is looking very bright for both these researchers.


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