Campus News

UOW leads new research centre targeting mobile phone health concerns

With more than 5 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide, the University of Wollongong has been selected to lead a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre of Research Excellence examining possible health concerns associated with mobile phone use.

It is the first time the University of Wollongong has led an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence.

Federal Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, has announced the establishment of the $2.5 million Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research to be led by Professor Rodney Croft from the School of Psychology.

Professor Croft was Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Radiofrequency Bioeffects Research from 2004-2011.

Professor Croft said with the billions of mobile phone users, the electromagnetic energy (EME) that powers this technology is now ubiquitous -- as is community concern about the possibility of associated health effects.

The Centre of Research Excellence will now embark on a five-year research program to promote Australia’s EME health both in the immediate future, and through the development of human research capacity in this field, into the future.

Professor Croft said whether or not the low-level EME exposure affected health has not been resolved, with key risk assessment agencies such as the World Health Organisation and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, recommending the importance of further research to inform on this issue.

“It is thus crucial that Australia strengthen its EME bioeffect expertise in order to provide it with strong research and appropriate policy guidance, both now and into the future,” he said.

Apart from School of Psychology at UOW the Chief Investigators hail from: SA Pathology trading as IMVS Pathology (Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science); RMIT University (Health Innovations Research Institute); Swinburne University of Technology (Brain and Psychological Sciences Research Centre); Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (Molecular Cardiology and Biophysics Division); University of Adelaide; and University of Auckland.

UOW will be entering into a collaborative agreement with these organisations. There are also a number of Associate Investigators participating in a personal capacity who will make various specialised contributions to the Centre of Research Excellence. Associate Investigators include representatives from the University of Melbourne, University of Innsbruck, Austria; Kings College London, UK; and organisations in Norway and Sweden.

Last reviewed: 6 August, 2012

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