Early career researchers forge ahead

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Dr Diane Colombelli-Negrel with Little Penguins

Animal behaviour, water resources and Indigenous archaeology are just some of the fields of research to receive support from the 2015 Vice-Chancellor’s Early Career Researcher Awards, just announced by Flinders University.

The awards recognise 11 leading junior academic researchers from across the University’s four faculties.

The winners are:

  • Dr Lisa Bennett, School of Humanities
  • Dr Russell Brewer, School of Law
  • Dr Kylie Cardell, School of Humanities
  • Dr Gang Chen, School of Medicine
  • Dr Xianjue Chen, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
  • Dr Owen Churches, School of Psychology
  • Dr Diane Colombelli-Negrel, School of Biological Sciences
  • Dr Jim McCallum, School of the Environment
  • Dr Michael Morrison, School of the Humanities
  • Dr Grace Skrzypiec, School of Education
  • Dr Yuting Yang, School of the Environment

Each winner will receive a cash prize of $2,500 to build their respective research programs, as well as a certificate to be presented by Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling at an awards ceremony on March 27.

The initiative, launched in 2009, aims to reward and promote individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to research at the University since finishing their PhDs.

Biologist Dr Colombelli-Negrel, who in addition to her research role works part-time the office of the School of Biological Sciences, said she was very pleased to have her research recognised.

“It is very nice to know it is having an impact, and that it is valued by the University,” she said.

“This recognition will help to launch my career.”

She said she would use the prize money either to consolidate one of her two existing research projects or to begin a third. Her current projects comprise an examination of the factors contributing to the decline of little penguin populations in Gulf St Vincent, and a study of the ability of fairy wrens to learn identifying song-notes while still in the egg.

Dr Colombelli-Negrell said she was particularly grateful for the ongoing support and encouragement of her academic supervisors, Professor Sonia Kleindorfer and Associate Professor Ian Menz.

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