Abstract: Increasing the representation of women in academia is a priority challenge in higher education policy. This study uses data from the Italian University habilitation competition in 2012 to test whether this national, standardized and quantitative assessment of researchers contributed to improving the situation. The proportion of female applications (on the whole about 36%) was in many fields higher than the reported proportion of female University professors (27%, 2010), but lower than the proportion of female researchers (2010) in Italy (45% and 51% for researchers with and without a permanent position, respectively). There was still a gap between the proportion of female applications at the associate (on average 39%) and full professor level (29%). A similar gap was also present between scientific disciplines and the humanities. Average success rates of female applications (41.2%) were on the whole lower than those of male applications (43.9%), but in most fields these differences were not significant. Overall, it is generally much lower proportion of female applications rather than their lower success rate that perpetuates the low proportion of female academics in Italy. More effort is needed to support female researchers in choosing and pursuing an academic career.
Abstract: As the frequency and intensity of heatwaves are growing in Australia, strategies to combat heat are becoming more vital. Cities are exposed to urban heat islands (UHIs) due to excess urbanisation. In this study, a definition of urban heatwave (UHW) is conceptualised to investigate the combined impacts of heatwaves and UHIs. To quantify the negative impacts of UHW, indicators—such as excess morbidity, electricity and water consumption—are considered. The intensity of UHWs is calculated using the unit of excess heat factor (EHF), developed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. EHF enables the comparability of UHWs in different geographical locations. Using the indicators and the intensity of UHWs, a calculation method to quantify heatwave resilience at a precincts scale is proposed. The study summarises the assumed influential factors of precinct heatwave resilience based on the existing literature and propose a “cool retrofitting toolkit” (CRT). CRT creates the framework to assess the adaptation to and mitigation of UHWs available to retrofit existing precincts, and to evaluate potential retrofitting strategies in terms of energy and carbon efficiency, financial affordability and perceived acceptability by population. This study illuminates the importance of climate, function, built environment and population characteristics-conscious retrofitting.
Abstract: The proliferation of non-scheduled generation from renewable electrical energy sources such concentrated solar power (CSP) presents a need for enabling scheduled generation by incorporating energy storage; either via directly coupled Thermal Energy Storage (TES) or Electrical Storage Systems (ESS) distributed within the electrical network or grid. The challenges for 100% renewable energy generation are: to minimise capitalisation cost and to maximise energy dispatch capacity. The aims of this review article are twofold: to review storage technologies and to survey the most appropriate optimisation techniques to determine optimal operation and size of storage of a system to operate in the Australian National Energy Market (NEM). Storage technologies are reviewed to establish indicative characterisations of energy density, conversion efficiency, charge/discharge rates and costings. A partitioning of optimisation techniques based on methods most appropriate for various time scales is performed: from “whole of year”, seasonal, monthly, weekly and daily averaging to those best suited matching the NEM bid timing of five minute dispatch bidding, averaged on the half hour as the trading settlement spot price. Finally, a selection of the most promising research directions and methods to determine the optimal operation and sizing of storage for renewables in the grid is presented.
Abstract: This user guide describes the rationale behind, and the modus operandi of a Unix script-driven package for evolutionary searching of optimal Support Vector Machine model parameters as computed by the libsvm package, leading to support vector machine models of maximal predictive power and robustness. Unlike common libsvm parameterizing engines, the current distribution includes the key choice of best-suited sets of attributes/descriptors, in addition to the classical libsvm operational parameters (kernel choice, kernel parameters, cost, and so forth), allowing a unified search in an enlarged problem space. It relies on an aggressive, repeated cross-validation scheme to ensure a rigorous assessment of model quality. Primarily designed for chemoinformatics applications, it also supports the inclusion of decoy instances, for which the explained property (bioactivity) is, strictly speaking, unknown but presumably “inactive”, thus additionally testing the robustness of a model to noise. The package was developed with parallel computing in mind, supporting execution on both multi-core workstations as well as compute cluster environments. It can be downloaded from http://infochim.u-strasbg.fr/spip.php?rubrique178.
Abstract: ChEMBL Beaker is an open source web framework, exposing a versatile chemistry-focused API (Application Programming Interface) to support the development of new cheminformatics applications. This paper describes the current functionality offered by Beaker and outlines the future technology roadmap.