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Friday was my first day as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies, at the University of Birmingham.  I had a wonderful welcome both from Sue Gilligan and Sarah Jeffery and over lunch with academic staff from the Schools of Geography, Earth and Environmental SciencesBiosciences and Mathematics. The IAS aims to promote interdisciplinary research and it was great to see so many people connecting over lunch.  

Last year in November, our group led by Barry Osmond hosted a LIFT (light induced fluorescence transient) meeting in Wollongong.  The second meeting was held in Germany hosted by the Forschungszentrum Jülich IBG-2: Plant Sciences. The University of Wollongong, HRPPC at CSIRO in Canberra and the Forschungszentrum Jülich are developing protocols for measuring canopy photosynthesis using these new LIFT chlorophyll fluorometers.

Next stop was a 2 day workshop on Innovative optical Tools for proximal sensing of ecophysiological processes (OPTIMISE) in Milan. This was funded by COST which is an intergovernmental framework promoting European Cooperation in Science and Technology, through coordination of nationally-funded research on a European level.

The first scientific destination on this study leave trip in the spring or autumn of 2014 (depending on which hemisphere you might be in) was for a gathereing of polar peatbog scientists, which might be considered rather a niche in the scheme of things, and yet this small concentration of people proved a very good size for an intense and intimate discussion and planning session on the science of arctic and antarctic peat bogs.  

On what felt like one of the hottest days this year, I was joined by my fellow lab members and a few other researchers for the universities first remote control and drone demonstration. I brought along my large hexcopter, my tricopter and a number of other aircraft to demonstrate the potential of these machines for research and other applications.

Prior to the demonstration Melinda Waterman had her first flying lessons on a simulator, followed by some brave first attempts flying a helicopter. No injuries and no crashes and with any luck the tricopter will be flying over Antarctica with the lab at the controls.

Hopefully one of many demonstrations to come!

I was in Canberra in the first week of September for the ARC Grants Meeting and to visit Bob Furbank at CSIRO. Bob was trying out a CSIRO LiDAR on his vineyard as part of his ongoing Plant Phenomics research.

This years SCAR conference proved to be a resounding success (even with a horrid cold trying to infect us all!). The following talks were all completed without a hitch and with many interesting questions from the attending audiences.

As the SCAR conference continues to inspire and initiate international discussions and collaborations in Antarctic Research, the social programme kicked into gear with the Open Science dinner.

At the SCAR Open Science meeting.

Tim Naish and Carlota Escutia both gave great talks on paleoclimate climate looking at what the past can tell us about the future. 

The Robinson Research Group are in Auckland, New Zealand for the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Open Science Conference (OSC) 2014.

Sharon has brought along 3 of her PhD students: me (Diana), Mel and Rhys. Mel and I are in our final year of our PhD's and Rhys has only just begun. We are all presenting talks on our work (Rhys is talking about his honours work, he hasn't really got a PhD topic sorted out yet!).

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