This issue features papers from Sixth Australasian Conference of Undergraduate Research (ACUR), which was held of the University of Adelaide on 27-28 September 2017.

This year’s ACUR was very successful with a fantastic turnout of 155 attendees, 92 presentations delivered across 5 parallel sessions and 15 posters displayed. In addition to the parallel sessions, ACUR 2017 featured an official Welcome to Country by a Kaurna Elder, Uncle Rod O’Brien; two keynote speakers; a panel session; and an ACUR dinner held at St Marks College. The keynote speakers were James Keal, a PhD student at the University of Adelaide, and Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the Australian National University. Both keynotes were highly engaging and garnered many appreciative comments afterwards from attendees. The panel discussion, chaired by the University of Adelaide’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning), Professor Philippa Levy, featured an academic staff member from the University of Adelaide, Dr Benito Cao, and two students from the University, Andrew Hojem (final year undergraduate Mechanical and Sustainable Energy Engineering) and Frances Williams (PhD student in sustainable water treatment developing countries). The discussion topic on global sustainability provoked a great turn out with stimulating discussion and a lively question-and-answer session.

Many thanks to the University of Adelaide’s ACUR Academic Program Committee, Review Committee, Organising Committee, judges and volunteers for playing an important part in the success of the event. The University would not have been able to host the conference without the support of staff and volunteers.

Special thanks to Studiosity, HERDSA and Hobsons — the sponsors of ACUR 2017. Studiosity and HERDSA provided sponsorship for prizes; Hobsons provided sponsorship for catering.

The Best Paper, ‘Illegal phoenix activity within Australia: An analysis of the legal and ethical issues’, by Julia Grigonis-Gore, Georgia Brazenall and Joe Ho (University of Adelaide), was awarded a $500 prize sponsored by Studiosity. Julia, Georgia and Joe explore how the practice of ‘illegal phoenixing’ — namely, transferring the assets of an ‘old company’ to a ‘new company’ in order to avoid paying company debts owed to creditors — has been addressed in Australia and other countries, particularly Ireland and the UK. Overall, the authors argue that improving the enforcement of current provisions in Australia, for instance, under section 181 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), would be more useful than providing an express legislative definition of phoenixing.

The Best Paper Runner-Up, ‘Old worlds, new histories: Engaging with the past through video games’, by Hugh Hudson (University of the Sunshine Coast), was awarded a one year HERDSA membership and a book. Hugh sets out to problematise the construction of a linear sense of historical consciousness, and examines how the immersive exploration of counterfactuals in video games such as Hearts of Iron IV (2016) enables players to be impacted by historical forces by abstracting and simulating historical processes and frameworks. Video games, as Hugh argues, have the power to re-create historical spaces and events in ways impossible in other media such as film or text.

Studiosity also sponsored a $500 prize for the Best Presentation, won by Tiana Blazevic (University of Adelaide) for her presentation titled ‘“Separate the whore from the pure”: Assisted female migration and crime in South Australia, 1856-1859’. HERDSA also sponsored a $350 prize for the Best Abstract, won by Seak Lin Ly (University of Newcastle) for her abstract titled ‘Exploring the relationships between brain iron and the nerve insulating substance Myelin’.

In addition to the prize winning papers, this special issue of the Macquarie Matrix features several other papers.

Timothy An’s paper, ‘Abnormal genetic changes in hematopoietic stem cells of pre-leukemic mice’, argues that it is important to identify the genes and proteins in the pre-leukemic stem cells that maintains and worsens this leukemic state before the condition exacerbates. Timothy explores how hematopoietic stem cells, transform into disease-initiating leukemic stem cells due to the constant stress of intrinsic mutations and extrinsic bone marrow niche remodelling.

Ashwina Krishnan’s paper, ‘The Armed Forces Special Powers Acts and the institutionalisation of rape in India’, examines public and judicial indifference in India to the rape of women in Kashmir and the Northeast Eastern states of India. Ashwina traces this indifference to two factors: the inclusion of immunity clauses within the Acts, which protect members of the armed forces against any legal action within civilian courts; and longstanding patterns of ‘othering’, whereby the majority Hindu-Indian population distinguishes itself from ethnic-minorities in the North-East and the predominantly Muslim Kashmiris.

Mark Poskitt’s paper, ‘Shaping urban resilience: An analysis of post-earthquake recovery in Christchurch’, examines the aftermath of the 7.1 Richter Canterbury earthquake on 10 September 2010 and the 6.3 aftershock on 22 February 2011. Mark juxtaposes the top-down approach of the government formed department, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), with the community-grounded, ‘co-creation’ approach of its successor organisation, Regenerate Christchurch, a joint government and city council body. Overall, Mark argues that the persistence of the top-down approach undercut the potential of the co-creation approach to facilitate urban resilience via learning and adapting to change.

Soraya Pradhan’s paper, ‘A review of the effectiveness of indigenous land use agreements’, analyses the extent to which the formation of Indigenous land use agreements (ILUAs) under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) has brought significant economic benefits to Indigenous people. Soraya argues that a mechanism for economic development can be created through a statutory regime of statutory oversight and best practice negotiation principles, but as Soraya also argues, the complexity of the ILUA regime, coupled with how Indigenous groups often suffer from a comparative lack of bargaining power, undercuts the long-term effectiveness of ILUAs.

Sebastian Rositano’s paper, ‘Lifetime prevalence and determinants of antidepressant usage in a 2015 cross-sectional South Australian sample’, evaluates data from the 3,005 participants of the 2015 Health Omnibus Survey in South Australia in relation to demographic risk factors for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Sebastian hypothesizes that the risk factors include Indigenous ethnicity, female gender, experience of bullying or sexual assault, age under 25, lower socioeconomic status and non-metropolitan residence.

Dea Rusly’s paper, ‘Purification of carbon nanotubes for lithium-sulfur battery application’, compares and contrasts the ability of two different acids, namely, HNO3 and HCl, to remove carbon and metallic impurities from carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The study found that some impurities remained after the use of HNO3, and that HCl oxidation contributes no damage to the surface of CNTs; but as the study also found, because sulfur utilisation greatly affects the energy density of the lithium sulfur batters, more research is needed to identify the optimum sulfur loading percentage.

Daniel Smit, Kyle Millar and Clinton Page’s paper on ‘Looking deeper: Using deep learning to identify internet communications traffic’ examines how the exponential growth of internet traffic in recent years, particularly to provide services that are essential for business, education and personal use, has created the need for effective network management methods. Arguing that the growth of internet traffic has undercut the effectiveness of non-standardised port numbers and the encryption of traffic contents as network management methods, Daniel, Kyle and Clinton investigate the viability of using deep learning for traffic classification in relation to network management applications and detecting malicious traffic.

Raymart Walker’s paper on the ‘Evaluation and Integration of Simulation Technologies for Teaching and Learning Physics’ evaluates the use of a CAVE2TM simulation studio (with 2D and 3D capabilities) for teaching in three Physics-related Engineering courses at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). A key finding of the study is that using simulation technologies and visualisation facilities to create a meaningful and deep learning experience requires careful curriculum design.

We hope that you enjoy the depth and breadth of articles in this special issue of the Macquarie Matrix.

Professor Philippa Levy and Dr Kim Sorensen

University of Adelaide

Back to the top of this page