7 laureates for the AFRAN Call for initiatives 2018!

We are very happy to announce that 7 projects have been selected this year within the framework of the AFRAN call for initiatives:

  • Australia-France Mycobacterial Research Network

May 2019, Centenary Institute, Sydney

The mycobacterial research capacity in Australia does very well at investigating immunity, vaccines, and new antibiotics. The Kremmer laboratory at IRIM (CNRS) in Montpellier is a world leading microbiology laboratory. This initiative aims at capitalising on the respective expertise available in both countries and should lead to the creation of a collaborative network fostering research projects and personnel exchanges.

This initiative proposes to introduce French researchers from IRIM to the hub of mycobacterial researchers at the University of Sydney (primarily centred at the Centenary Institute), where a national symposium will be held at the Centenary Institute bringing in researchers from Queensland and Melbourne to facilitate the transfer of intellectual expertise in techniques and planning of researcher exchange. The expected attendance from an Australian contingent is up to 120 researchers representing approximately 15 research groups across the three states.

French researchers will then spend additional time at the University of Sydney to plan collaborative experiments in Australian infection models. As well as having complementary research strengths (microbiology in France, immunology in Australia), our groups use a range of complementary models from pure bacterial culture, cell culture, zebrafish infection models, mouse inhalation models, to sheep and cow infection models.

This initiative will hopefully lead to a structured collaboration with a growing French-Australian network, fostering joint publications, exchange and joint grant applications, in a field of major importance for both public health and economy, but also with great opportunities to develop new knowledge in basic biology and technologies arising from trying to understand how these bacteria cause disease.


  • Advancing environmental biotechnologies through advanced microbiology and cutting-edge computational statistics.

1-17 April 2019, University of Melbourne

Advances in culture-independent, high-throughput technologies have transformed the way we examine microbial communities – collectively called ‘the microbiome’, which are known to impact a wide range of environmental systems. However, analytical tool development is critically trailing behind data generation, which hinders the analysis, understanding or integration of microbiome data. Dr Kim-Anh Lê Cao is a pioneer in developing methods and tools for data integration which adopt a holistic, data-driven and hypothesis-free approach. This project brings together the University of Melbourne (with the Melbourne Integrative Genomics group in the school of Mathematics and Statistics, the Melbourne Geomicrobiology Lab, and the Microbial Ecology group in the School of Bioscience), and Irstea (Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies).

This interdisciplinary research initiative aims at exploring and accelerating discoveries in these new frontier technologies and build capacity in best practice statistical analysis, nationally and internationally through a network of French and Australian microbiologist researchers. This initiative will focus on the practical aspects of microbiome data analysis with a 2-day workshop presenting methodologies for data analysis and integration, a 2-week discussion with participants to offer guidance, and a 1-day close-out to share findings and plan future collaborations and publications arising from the analyses.

Complex microbial networks have a central role in the provision and regulation of ecosystems that inspire multiple microbial biotechnologies applications to contribute substantively to global efforts to achieve sustainability, through purification of wastewater, waste valorisation, bioremediation strategies, and bioenergy production. Understanding key environmental factors that shape microbial communities is crucial to optimize such biotechnological advances.


  • First Australo-French Meetings on Innovation for Industry of the Future

15-16 October 2018, CentraleSupélec Saclay campus Gif sur Yvette

Innovation is the main driver for the renewal of Industry in the XXIst century and more specifically of manufacturing and production. In one hand industry is experiencing a strong revolution with more innovative design and lean value-oriented processes and in another hand Data and Artificial Intelligence are re-inventing all the design and production chains and their related competencies and jobs.

This initiative consists of creating a specific space where academic (Centrale Supelec, Flinders U., GEMA Group, UQ, UTS…), big companies (Naval Group, Dassault system, Thalès,…) meet start-ups and small structures (incubators, accelerators, open innovation institute…) in an “Open Innovation” framework where ideas and innovations are exchanged in a fast and agile process benefiting for both big and small organizations. The First Australo-French Meetings on Innovation for Industry of the Future is a key starting initiative to jointly think, exchange, and work on that crucial topic of industry for the future and its relations to innovation. Both French and Australian institutions will join their efforts to create this new community linked with industry and corporate partners. Discussions will also focus on skills and competencies needed for a new industry, taking into account Australian and French cultures.

This initiative will devote time for working groups aiming at proposing clear objectives and a short to middle-term roadmap including joint projects and events, faculty and student exchanges, internships and PhD programs, start-up seeds and co-incubation… The expectation is to concretize an Innovation-based Industry community and framework amongst the participants, which shall be open to more partners, and to propose concrete spaces and events to be co-managed and co-organized.


  • Research School on Statistics and Data Science

24-28 June 2019, Institute of Advanced Studies, La Trobe University, Bundoora

This initiative aims at bringing together data science and statistics researchers from France and Australia, at all career levels, to participate in an intimate and community building academic workshop. The workshop will concentrate mainly in the areas of statistics and data science. However, presentations, talks, and posters will also be accepted in the domains of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and signal processing. We will also be accepting talks and posters that illustrate real world applications of the aforementioned areas of research and innovation, such as applications in agriculture, climate change, and health research.

The Research Summer School on Statistics for Data Science (S4D) has been organized in Caen (France) in 2017 and 2018. It has a joint organization between La Trobe and University of Caen. It will be held in Australia for the first year, and will bring together researchers in data science and statistics across Australia and France with the aim of creating a shared center of data science, probability, and statistics research, to allow for academic and students exchanges.



  • First Australia-France Workshop on Soft and Intelligent Tactile Sensing for Robotics and Autonomous Systems

10-12 December 2018, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane

Robotics is an area where France and Australia have done exceptionally well. However, robotics research has been traditionally seen as purely an engineering discipline and therefore participation from other discipline areas has been lacking. Creating human-like perception and situational awareness for social, service or medical robots integration has become possible with the development of advanced materials and new sensors. A lot of progress has taken place in compact and low power consuming sensors, and the possibilities they offer are countless: soft electronic skin can work as a touch or a proximity sensor, and can be used for intelligent grasping in social, industrial or medical situations. Robotics community has recently identified soft materials and fabrication schemes as one of their grand challenges.

This initiative aims at organizing a two and a half day workshop to address these challenges. It will gather researchers from materials science, neuroscience and robotics for an inclusive discussion required for research methodology development. It is expected that industrial partners from France will also be attending. It involves the Queensland University of Technology, the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, the Queensland Brain Institute, the Institut Polytechnique de Bordeaux, the Université de Montpellier and the SoftBank Robotics Europe. The workshop will focus on multifunctional organic optoelectronic platform, tactile recognition of objects and active calibration of soft tactile sensors, deep learning techniques to recognise objects, and strategies to exploit haptics for physical human-robot interaction.

This workshop will provide an opportunity for an informed and open discussion on how advanced sensing modalities can be designed and developed together for robotic applications.


  • Healthy Happy Cities in Tropical Environment

13-15 February  2019, Griffith university, Gold Coast

At a time when wellbeing and happiness indexes are becoming more and more important to qualify our cities and make them more attractive, it seems important to understand how urban design and architecture can contribute to enhance wellbeing and happiness and develop these positive experiences further.

This project consists of 2 main phases:

  • The creation of a shared digital platform to facilitate communication and the sharing of information concerning research and preparation of case studies. This platform will provide a toolbox to open new ways in transforming the cities to foster happy experiences, both physically and mentally. Furthermore, the tool will serve both educative and decision-making purposes.
  • The organization of a milestones workshop creating the opportunity for a long-term French-Australian collaboration. This workshop will contribute to inform local communities and main key stakeholders in both countries on better integrated urban design in tropical environments. It will link the French School of Architecture of La Reunion (ENSAMR), within the Indian Pacific Region (Indians Ocean network of Architecture school, IONAS) with Australian universities such as Griffith University and James Cook University.

The innovation of this project is to offer a shared vision of experiencing life in the city, that encompasses local and visitors’ perspectives, and provide tools to transfer and adapt best practices.


  • Dynamics of Air

14 September – 17 November, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne,

This initiative relates to the issues of climate change and biodiversity by researching the complex and poetic behavior of human responses to air temperature and movement in a built environment. This research has brought together researchers from different disciplines ranging from architects, industrial designers and artists, to mathematicians, aerospace engineers and computer scientists, with the aim of making proposals for more pleasant, low or no energy scenarios for the built environment, currently the highest generator of CO2 emissions.

This project brings this research into the public domain through exhibition in a major public gallery in Melbourne. It will bring together Australian researchers with leading European researchers and artists in the field to create an engaging insight into the qualities of air and their impact on human experience. Exhibits by Philippe Rahm Architectes, French architect, artist and research practice, will be exposed to a broad Australian public audience, and Philippe will be connected to RMIT and Swinburne Universities as well as the broad Australian research community.

Hopefully, this project will lead to further lecture and workshop invitations, joint tertiary and teaching initiatives in the future. More significantly, it will provide a foundation for subsequent collaboration between the leading French and Australian researchers in this field.

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