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A research project examining how children play on iPads and other mobile internet-connected devices is one of seven Queensland University of Technology (QUT) projects to be awarded more than $5 million in federal government funding.
The Future Fellowships were announced today by the Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans.
QUT education researcher Professor Susan Danby has been awarded nearly $890,000 to investigate mobile technologies in young children's everyday worlds.
"Mobile technologies, be they a smart phone, an iPad or notebook, are commonplace in our homes, preschools and communities generally," she said.
"We need to better understand how young children use the devices and how they can be used to help young children learn and play.
"We aim to gather evidence of how the devices are used by children in everyday scenarios so we can provide advice to educators, curriculum developers, policy makers as well as to parents generally."
Professor Danby said the technology connected young children to the world and provide them with knowledge that could not be accessed by previous generations.
"We have anecdotal evidence of children as young as two searching online for information about things that interest them, be that information about animals or family holiday YouTube clips," she said.
"There's been little research into how children are using this evolving technology or on its potential as a learning and play tool for young ones."
Other QUT mid-career researchers to be awarded Future Fellowships are:
•Dr Stephen Cameron who was awarded nearly $700,000 to analyse genomic data to find out how insects evolved, and in doing so come to a greater understanding of how evolution works.
•Dr Leanne Hides has been awarded nearly $600,000 to develop online programs to promote the positive mental health and wellbeing of young Australians.
•Associate Professor Paula McDonald will use her $725,000 to investigate the role the workplace plays in the development of young adults. Little research has been done to date on how young people are socialised through their job. The project will look at how youth in different social locations, for example, class, gender, ethnicity and geographic location, conceive of their rights and responsibilities in employment and how they anticipate their future in the economy. The research will inform education and employment policies.
•Dr Kirsten McKenzie has been awarded more than $700,000 to develop a method to identify and undertake surveillance of product-related injuries. It is estimated more than 173,000 such injuries occur each year and cost the health system up to $235 million. The research will make use of existing health data to identify opportunities for strengthening the current product safety proactive surveillance system in Australia.
• Dr Jason Potts has received more than $835,000 to research how Australian industries are pooling innovation resources and why this matters. The pooling of resources for innovation is an emerging phenomenon in several Australian industries.
•Dr Hongxia Wang has received more than $700,000 to conduct research that addresses the key barriers to the broader commercialisation of cost-effective, titania-based solar cells. The research will answer key questions about the ultimate efficiency of these solar cells and is expected to help transform the Australian PV industry.
Media contact: Rose Trapnell, QUT media team leader, 07 3138 2361 or 0407 585 901 firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Susan Danby is one of seven QUT researchers to be awarded federal government Future Fellowships.