Australian good news stories: regional edition

You may already know a thing or two about Charles Sturt University. But we bet you didn’t know we’re champions for the success of our alumni and innovative researchers! Whether it’s a focus on renewable energy, sustainability, First Nations, health or technology, our university community is constantly creating Australian good news stories. They’re changing our regional communities and the world for the better. Every. Single. Day.

To prove it, here’s three Australian good news stories from the regions.  

1. Combining art and sustainability

What do First Nations community artists, AI and marine litter have in common? On first glance, not much. But Charles Sturt artificial intelligence (AI) experts are putting their heads together and using technology to transform marine litter into valuable art. How cool is that?

Ghost nets salvaged from the ocean and shores at Mapoon, QLD;

We’re collaborating with the Plastic Collective and Wei’Num Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts and Craft Corporation on Cape York. It’s all to provide equipment, education and training programs to help recover and recycle marine debris.

Not only does this clean our coastal areas and reduce landfill pollution, but it’s also empowering First Nations women artists. Creating opportunities to develop a unique revenue stream.  

AI and digital platforms are being used to develop a culturally appropriate marketplace for artists, to enable the tracking of recycled materials. It will also create an international sales platform for people to purchase authentic art directly from the artist.

Magpie goose ghost net sculpture.

Chief investigator for the project, Dr Anwaar Ulhaq says the successful implementation of this AI technology will amplify the impact of this community based project.

“This project is incredibly thrilling as it encompasses various elements. Including empowering Indigenous communities and artists, conserving marine life (particularly turtles), cleaning our oceans, recycling plastic, and integrating innovations with AI and mobile software development. To me, it is a highly impactful project and has the potential to be a game-changer.”

2. Erica Louise takes home-schooling to the next level

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Erica, from Bonbeach in Victoria, was one of thousands of parents teaching her kids at home. But Ms Louise never though her ‘new normal’ would spark a strong passion for teaching.

“I spent a lot of time with my two sons while they tackled remote learning. And surprisingly, I was probably the only parent in my friendship circle who enjoyed the whole homeschooling gig.”

After 12 years as a freelance writer, Ms Louise decided to study a Bachelor of Educational Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary) with Charles Sturt. Through our Collaborative Teacher’s Aide Program.

“The educational environment resonated with me and I loved being in the classroom once lockdowns were over.  Engaging with and assisting young people, nurturing conversations, witnessing students’ progress and providing guidance brings me a huge sense of job satisfaction and fulfillment.”

3. New schizophrenia therapies under investigation

Charles Sturt researchers are hoping to revolutionise therapy pathways for people with schizophrenia. Our Rural Health Research Institute has also secured a $4.3 million dollar funding grant from the Australian government for the project.

Researchers, including Associate Professor Juliane Allan, are looking into cognitive remediation therapy, to help people manage the condition on a day-to-day  basis.

$4.3 million for schizophrenia research.

“CRT has been shown to significantly improve cognitive and socio-occupational functioning in people living with schizophrenia and schizoaffective conditions,” Professor Allan said.

CRT is designed to improve neurocognitive abilities. Such as attention, memory, cognitive flexibility and planning, and executive functioning – which leads to improved daily functioning.

The project will take place over the next five years, starting in April 2024.

Ready to create your own Australian good new stories?

Charles Sturt University is proud to support our students and alumni, who are researching every day, to make the world a better place. Interested in joining them?

Learn more here.