The auDA Foundation has announced the 15 recipients of its 2022 Grant Round. Each recipient will receive $40,000 for an education, research or community project that will enhance the utility of the internet for the benefit of Australians. The 2022 grants are focused on five key cohorts:
- Australians living with disability
- First Nations peoples
- Older Australians
- Rural, regional and remote communities
- Small businesses.
In this blog, we hear from some of the recipients about their organisations, the projects to be supported by the auDA Foundation and the impact those projects will make.
Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW
The Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW (AHMRC) is the peak body for 49 Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisations in New South Wales. Through its project, the AHMRC will conduct research that will contribute to the development of a dashboard to present real-time deidentified health data for Aboriginal patients.
“We are in a unique position to work with our members in conducting research to assist in the development of an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Dashboard. We will use the findings from this research for the creation of a data analytics tool to assist in improving the holistic health of First Nations communities of NSW.”
Accessible Beaches Australia
Accessible Beaches Australia is a national charity that believes everyone deserves to enjoy the beach and advocates for an inclusive experience for all Australians of all abilities, neurodiversity and age. With support from the auDA Foundation grant, Accessible Beaches will develop an online booking system for accessible beach equipment, supported by training and resources.
“Access to information and the ability to book accessible equipment fosters independence and a sense of wellbeing. We are excited about providing greater access to people with a disability or mobility challenge. By doing so we will increase the likelihood that these people will experience true inclusion on Australia’s beaches, which is a quintessential part of the Australian way of life.”
Cool Australia makes curriculum-aligned professional learning courses and activities for teachers and parents, designed to increase engagement and equity in education. With its grant funding, Cool Australia will co-design online education resources that inspire greater interest in digital technology and internet competence for rural, regional and remote and First Nations primary school students.
“Engagement and educational performance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects amongst rural, regional and remote students and First Nations students is lower than their metropolitan and non-Indigenous counterparts. This project will increase the knowledge, skills and confidence among teachers and students in regional schools and increase the number of students pursuing tech in further studies and careers over the long term.”
Good Things Foundation Australia
Good Things Foundation Australia leads and mobilises a national network of over 3,500 community-based organisations to deliver digital inclusion programs and help to close the digital divide. The auDA Foundation grant will help enable Good Things will work with key economic researchers to undertake an economic benefits analysis of full digital inclusion in Australia.
“Our report will be available for use by advocates and policy makers and hopefully lead to investment in programs that support digital inclusion across the country. We hope it will help shape the direction of investment in programs that address issues of access, affordability and ability.”
Justice Connect is a legal service organisation and charity that helps marginalised communities access legal support. The Justice Connect’s project will help older Australians access online legal help through improvements to Artificial Intelligence (AI) natural language processing models.
“Senior Australians increasingly use the internet but much of the internet has not been designed with seniors in mind. Our project will reduce inherent biases in natural language processing models to ensure that seniors benefit from the new technology as much as other Australians.”
Life Without Barriers
Life Without Barriers is a national social purpose organisation that works to change lives for the better across Australia. The Strategic Innovation, Design and Evaluation (STRIDE) team helps improve outcomes for children, young people and families. Through its project supported by the auDA Foundation grant, STRIDE will create video content to educate children and young people about sexual abuse, respectful relationships and consent.
“Effective prevention of child sexual abuse requires communication directly with children and young people about what abuse is and how to speak up. Young people across Australia will benefit from our project, especially those in rural and remote areas, where access to more traditional school-based programs may be limited.”
MissingSchool uses telepresence robot technology to connect students with complex medical and mental health conditions to their schools during absence. With its grant funding, MissingSchool will produce a digital resource directory, run a helpdesk for families and schools, develop digital training and activate school telepresence technology for continuous connections.
“We are excited to support schools to use telepresence technologies to keep sick students connected to their learning and peers from anywhere. The project will improve mental health, wellbeing, learning and social outcomes for sick and injured children.”
The Monash University CyberAbility team includes researchers, people with lived experience of being scammed after acquired brain injury (ABI) and disability service workers. They help people with ABI stay safe from scams and have positive online experiences. The team will use its auDA Foundation grant to test and validate its “CyberAbility Scale”, which identifies and tracks a person’s risk of being scammed online.
“The one in 45 Australians with ABI are likely more at risk of being scammed online and often experience worse repercussions than others in the community. The CyberAbility Scale will help those with cognitive disability to understand their own cyber safety strengths and weaknesses, reduce their online risks and enhance safe online participation.”
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (Peter Mac) is a world leading cancer research, education and treatment centre, dedicated to caring for people affected by cancer. Its project, enabled by auDA Foundation funding, is a digital transformation of the Peter Mac Fit4Surgery Prehabilitation Program to enable online access that will support patients’ physical, mental and physiological fitness prior to cancer surgery.
“Online access to the program, independent of geography or infrastructure, will overcome logistical challenges for patients, particularly those in rural, regional and remote communities. It will support patient empowerment, enabling their voice and keeping them informed throughout their cancer journey.”
The Northcott Society
The Northcott Society is a registered NDIS provider supporting 16,700 children and adults with disability each year through key services, including life skills and vocational training. With its grant, Northcott will deliver “Safety Net”, an education film project to support young people with intellectual disability to understand how to safely use the internet, with a focus on consent.
“Successful completion of this project means that young people with disability will be empowered to advocate for themselves. We are excited to give a platform to young people with disability to independently innovate, create and complete a large-scale production that will be rolled out Australia-wide; helping countless other young people in the process.”
The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital
The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital is Australia’s leading provider of eye, ear, nose and throat care. With its auDA Foundation funding, it will conduct a home vision monitoring trial of patients with mild to moderate glaucoma.
“Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. For patients with glaucoma, the ability to detect changes is critical, however, visual field testing in clinic is often not frequent enough. In this project, patients will test their vision at home using their computer, supporting timely treatment particularly patients in rural and remote communities or patients with difficulty with transportation.”
The University of Queensland
The University of Queensland is collaborating with Karungkarni Art, the representative body for Gurindji art, language and culture in the Northern Territory. Through the First Nations Youth Digital Story-Telling Project, enabled by auDA Foundation funding, they seek to empower Gurindji people in renewing their language and culture through digital storytelling.
“We aim to re-engage Gurindji youth with crucial cultural knowledge through digital storytelling, which builds on and enhances Gurindji oral storytelling traditions. Our project will transform a large collaborative artwork into an animation, which will provide a lasting documentation of linguistic, ecological and cultural knowledge for future generations of Gurindji people.”
Through its auDA Foundation funded project, Victoria University will investigate the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Melbourne’s West. The project will identify how SMEs are using internet technologies for sustainable responsible practices.
“The most exciting aspect of this project is to connect with SMEs, create an online network hub, as well as bringing awareness to the SDG goals.”
The remaining recipients of the auDA Foundation 2022 Grant Round are:
- National Justice Project, which will use AI to help key community groups navigate online complaints to obtain justice
- South Australian Council of Social Service, which will develop a report on how libraries and community centres support internet access for those living in regional South Australia to identify and advocate for improvements.
We congratulate all recipients of the 2022 Grant Round. The auDA Foundation looks forward to the results the projects deliver to support Australians to better utilise the internet. To learn more about the auDA Foundation, visit audafoundation.org.au.