MURDOCH University has won funding for two projects in the State Government’s annual Royalties for Regions Regional Grants Scheme.
One of the grants will fund a project which aims to increase participation and interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) subjects among students at Halls Head College.
The Peel Development Commission funding of $64,044 will pay for equipment such as 3D printers, virtual reality goggles and robotics items.
Murdoch University Provost Professor Andrew Taggart said the equipment would enhance STEMM teaching in the schools, capturing the imagination of the students and inspiring their interest in STEMM subjects to grow and develop.
Murdoch’s Mandurah Dolphin Research Project won $56,500 in the Regional Grants Scheme.
The funding will be put towards the purchase of a dedicated research vessel to conduct the fieldwork, replacing a borrowed boat. The remaining $30,000 required to purchase the vessel will come from a donation from Mandurah-based philanthropists John and Bella Perry.
The project, which began in January 2016, aims to gain a better understanding of bottlenose dolphins using the Peel-Harvey and adjacent coastal waters in Western Australia.
Professor Lars Bejder, from the Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit, which oversees the project, said the knowledge gained from the study would assist government, industry and local community groups in planning activities which minimised impacts on the dolphins.
PhD candidate Krista Nicholson, who is studying the local dolphin population, said the research will help ensure that sustainable tourism and recreational boating and fishing practices are developed.
Professor Taggart said the Murdoch projects were just a few examples of a number of teaching and research activities the University has underway in the region.
“Our researchers are currently investigating how best to develop the Peel region without unduly impacting the health of the Peel-Harvey Estuary, with support and funding from several regional partners and the Australian Research Council,” he said.