The major aim of the Applied Research Program is to address Western Australian challenges and opportunities of immediate concern to the community.
Shark Hazard Mitigation
The State Government has awarded a total of almost $1.9 million to fund eight applied research projects focused on keeping beachgoers safe from shark attacks.
Second round: successful research projects
A Western Australian company and two Western Australian universities were awarded $967,161 in the second round of applied research funding..
These new projects complemented research undertaken under Round 1 of the Applied Research Program.
The State Government funded four projects under Round 2 of the program:
- Two projects were led by The University of Western Australia (UWA):
- Shane Chambers from UWA's School of Physics was awarded $252,417 over two years to develop an acoustic system to detect sharks as they approach beaches
- Professor Shaun Collin from UWA's Ocean Institute was awarded $284,620 over two years to lead a project to define the actual visual, electrical and vibrational (sensory) cues that trigger shark attacks. Information collected on what causes shark attacks will assist in the design of shark deterrents.
- Dr Christine Erbe from the Centre for Marine Science and Technology at Curtin University, was awarded $130,124 over three years to develop systems that mask noises of beachgoers (including swimmers and surfers) that attract sharks.
- Western Australian company Shark Shield Pty Ltd was awarded $300,000 over two years to develop new surfboard fins with an inbuilt electronic shark deterrent. It is intended that this will lead to the development of a deterrent device that can be retrofitted to all modern surfboards.
First round: successful research projects
The State Government funded four projects under Round 1 of the program:
- Two projects were led by Professor Shaun Collin from UWA's Oceans Institute.
- The first project was awarded $220,573 over two years to independently test and improve existing shark deterrents, including the widely known product, Shark ShieldTM.
- The second project was awarded $222,221 over two years to develop and test novel deterrents such as bubble curtains, underwater sounds and strobe lights.
- Dr Miles Parsons from the Centre for Marine Science and Technology at Curtin University was awarded $273,468 over three years to research sonar imaging and detection of sharks.
- Professor Mohammed Bennamoun from UWA is a world expert in computer vision, image processing and artificial intelligence who was awarded $203,234 over two years to develop computer algorithms to improve visual shark detection.
Round 1 was announced in December 2012.