From new materials to evolution: ARC funds $4.3m of Flinders research

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Research to pioneer new materials for industry and a study that aims to shed light on the key evolutionary development of air-breathing tetrapods from fish are among the Flinders University projects to receive $4.3 million from the Australian Research Council.

Nano-scientist Professor Joe Shapter’s research will speed up the development of hybrid 2-D materials with novel properties that have the potential for new industrial products, while palaeontologist Professor John Long will use new data gleaned with scanning technology from fossils to understand the critical development of air-breathing in tetrapods.

Flinders Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robert Saint said the successful projects in the latest ARC grants round once again demonstrated the calibre of research, as well as the wide range of intellectual endeavour, at Flinders.

“Among the successful recipients there are projects that range from a study of the cognitive and neural mechanisms that enable humans to navigate and avoid obstacles, to addressing the issue of the effects on Australians’ health and well-being of government policy across justice, environment, planning and industry.

“This latest round of ARC funding enables adventurous and rigorous explorations across fields that include plasma physics, evolution and archaeology.

“I congratulate the recipients, confident in the knowledge that their work will significantly advance our understanding of the world in which we live.”

Flinders also received an equipment grant for advanced surface analysis research of $500,000.

The funded projects and their Chief Investigators are listed below:

  • Policy orientation of non-health sectors to social determinants of health – Professor Fran Baum, Professor Colin McDougall, Professor Dennis McDermott, Dr Matthew Fisher ($699,500)
  • The Archaeology of the Queensland Native Mounted Police – Associate Professor Heather Burke ($765,727)
  • Designing and Building Novel 2D Hybrid Materials – Professor Joe Shapter ($479,300)
  • Resolving evolutionary problems at the fish-tetrapod transition – Professor John Long, Associate Professor Michael Lee ($491,000)
  • Electron-driven radical chemistry in plasmas for emerging technologies – Professor Michael Brunger ($391,500)
  • Integrating fossils and genomes to resolve the early evolution of snakes – Associate Professor Michael Lee ($351,100)
  • Attentional asymmetries for navigation in healthy and clinical groups – Professor Michael Nicholls, Dr Nicole Thomas ($293,015)
  • Out of China? Australia’s earliest endemic jawed vertebrate faunas – Dr Brian Choo [Discovery Early Career Researcher Award] ($353,706)
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