The Northern Territory Government has announced $1.5 million in funding for the establishment of Australia’s first child development research centre.

The funding, allocated to the Menzies School of Health Research, forms part of the Territory 2030 Strategic Plan commitment to create an institute for education and child development.

“It was our Government that commissioned the Board of Inquiry in the Child Protection System, accepted all of the Board’s recommendations, and announced the Territory’s first stand alone agency – the Department of Children and Families – tasked with child protection and wellbeing,” Chief Minister Paul Henderson said.

The Federal Government has released the 2011 Strategic Roadmap for Australian Research Infrastructure which sets out the Government’s priority areas for national, collaborative research infrastructure over the next five to ten years.

The Victorian State Government has announced a new laboratory which will act as a test-bed for businesses to explore and develop new applications for the use of new high-speed broadband which will be delivered through the National Broadband Network (NBN)

Deakin University will invest $5 million over the next five years in an initiative set to place its Warrnambool Campus in the international spotlight for marine and aquaculture research and teaching.

The Federal Government has announced Australian of the Year Simon McKeon will chair a new independent review of health and medical research in Australia and recommend a 10-year strategic health and medical research plan for the nation. 

NASA's new Aquarius instrument has produced its first global map of the salinity of the ocean surface, providing an early glimpse of the mission's anticipated discoveries.

Aquarius, which is aboard the Aquarius/SAC-D (Satélite de Aplicaciones Científicas) observatory, is making NASA's first space observations of ocean surface salinity variations -- a key component of Earth's climate. Salinity changes are linked to the cycling of freshwater around the planet and influence ocean circulation.

"Aquarius' salinity data are showing much higher quality than we expected to see this early in the mission," said Aquarius Principal Investigator Gary Lagerloef of Earth & Space Research in Seattle. "Aquarius soon will allow scientists to explore the connections between global rainfall, ocean currents and climate variations."

The new map, which shows a tapestry of salinity patterns, demonstrates Aquarius' ability to detect large-scale salinity distribution features clearly and with sharp contrast. The map is a composite of the data since Aquarius became operational on Aug. 25. The mission was launched June 10 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Aquarius/SAC-D is a collaboration between NASA and Argentina's space agency, Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE).

"Aquarius/SAC-D already is advancing our understanding of ocean surface salinity and Earth's water cycle," said Michael Freilich, director of NASA's Earth Science Division at agency headquarters in Washington. "Aquarius is making continuous, consistent, global measurements of ocean salinity, including measurements from places we have never sampled before."

To produce the map, Aquarius scientists compared the early data with ocean surface salinity reference data. Although the early data contain some uncertainties, and months of additional calibration and validation work remain, scientists are impressed by the data's quality.

"Aquarius has exposed a pattern of ocean surface salinity that is rich in variability across a wide range of scales," said Aquarius science team member Arnold Gordon, professor of oceanography at Columbia University in Palisades, N.Y., and at the university's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "This is a great moment in the history of oceanography. The first image raises many questions that oceanographers will be challenged to explain." 

The map shows several well-known ocean salinity features such as higher salinity in the subtropics; higher average salinity in the Atlantic Ocean compared to the Pacific and Indian oceans; and lower salinity in rainy belts near the equator, in the northernmost Pacific Ocean and elsewhere. These features are related to large-scale patterns of rainfall and evaporation over the ocean, river outflow and ocean circulation. Aquarius will monitor how these features change and study their link to climate and weather variations.

Other important regional features are evident, including a sharp contrast between the arid, high-salinity Arabian Sea west of the Indian subcontinent, and the low-salinity Bay of Bengal to the east, which is dominated by the Ganges River and south Asia monsoon rains. The data also show important smaller details, such as a larger-than-expected extent of low-salinity water associated with outflow from the Amazon River. 

Aquarius was built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., for NASA's Earth Systems Science Pathfinder Program. JPL is managing Aquarius through its commissioning phase and will archive mission data. Goddard will manage Aquarius mission operations and process science data. CONAE provided the SAC-D spacecraft and the mission operations center.

The new map is available at: .

The Federal Government has announced the appointment and re-appointment of directors of the Cotton Research and Development Corporation.

The Federal Government has announced the successful completion of a $10 million key research milestone at the Otway Project, with the Federal Minister for Innovation Senator Kim Carr saying the completion will accelerate the development of the carbon capture and storage (CSS) industry around the world. 

Monash University’s School of Rural Health in Bendigo has been awarded $2.5 million to establish a Centre of Research Excellence in Rural and Remote Primary Health Care ensuring greater access to better health services in rural Australia.

The Australian National University (ANU) has launched its latest strategic plan that will aim to outline the university's direction over the coming decade. Seven months after his appointment to lead ANU, Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young today issued ANU by 2020.

The Federal Government has released two reports into the future of biomass in the Australian economy.

Scientists at the CSIRO are researching long-term wind speed changes with an eye to gain better understanding for the wind energy sector and reduce risk for generators in a changing climate.

A new centrifuge at the University of New South Wales Water Research Laboratory can act as an environmental “time machine”, allowing researchers to preview the long-term effects on groundwater aquifers of activities such as coal seam gas and longwall mining.

Research released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows cases of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) treated with dialysis or kidney transplantation are expected to increase significantly over the coming decade.

Research conducted by a Curtin University engineer promises to find the solution to many of the human brain’s most complex problems, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, autism and strokes.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has awarded its converted Prix d’Excellence to Professor Carlos M. Duarte, Director of the University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute.

Internationally renowned plant conservation biologist Professor Stephen Hopper FLS will be stepping down as director of the world heritage-listed Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, UK, to take up a new Chair in Biodiversity at The University of Western Australia.

Australia and New Zealand have submitted a joint proposal to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The official submission is a crucial step towards the goal of hosting the world’s most powerful radio telescope.

A team of up to 50 researchers and research students, led by internationally renowned sleep researcher Drew Dawson, has left the University of South Australia to join Central Queensland University (CQU).

Victorian University researchers have been awarded $2.7 million in grants from the Federal Government and industry partners for three desalination projects.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Institute are conducting research on how to assist stroke victims repair swallowing functions, which brake down in more than 50 per cent of patients.

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