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CQUNIVERSITY is trying to combine new wireless sensor network technology with animal behaviour research to boost the reproductive efficiency of northern Australia’s beef cattle production.

Project leader Dr Dave Swain says there is a PhD student opportunity in this field, thanks to a new scholarship open for applications and underpinned by a partnership between Telstra and the university.

The Telstra-funded PhD student will work with Dr Swain to extend work that has been done to explore how remote, automated measures of social behaviour can be used as indicators of reproductive performance.

“The challenge for cattle producers is to be able to measure data that can be used improve cattle reproductive performance,” Dr Swain said.

“This PhD project will address a significant industry problem.”

CQUniversity spokeswoman Suzi Blair said Telstra had selected the university as a partner because it understood the enormous impact of research focused on specific regional problems, challenges and opportunities.

“Telstra is being visionary in backing our region through the provision of this scholarship, as research is a key to our future prosperity in CQ,” Ms Blair said.

“The establishment of the Telstra research scholarship represents a significant investment in the potential of the CQ region.

“It is great to see a major corporate backing our region in this way and providing financial support for the pursuit of new knowledge.”

Telstra representatives Lydia van Niekerk and John Llorente recently met CQUniversity deputy vice-chancellor Professor Hilary Winchester to hand over the first of three payments for the scholarship.

Prof Winchester thanked Telstra for the ongoing support and interest in CQUniversity.

“CQUniversity greatly values the deepening of our mutual relationship for the benefit of our region,” Prof Winchester said.

Anyone interested in applying for the PhD scholarship can contact Dr Swain at

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