Flinders research wins $3.3 million from ARC

labFlinders University has won Australian Research Council (ARC) funding for a project to improve the measurement of brain signals via the scalp that will assist in the development of brain-controlled devices for very disabled people, as well as better diagnosis of neurological disease.

Project leader, engineer Associate Professor Kenneth Pope, said the collaboration with the School of Medicine at Flinders aims to get a better fix on brain signals without background ‘noise’ from muscles.

“Once we have achieved clearer signal processing, our data will feed into other Flinders research that we hope will lead to innovations such as wheelchairs that can be controlled by thinking,” he said.

Associate Professor Pope’s project is one of 15 by Flinders University researchers to be awarded a total of more than $3.3 million by the ARC in the round of funding grants announced for 2011.

The projects range from investigations of marine biodiversity in temperate waters to the development of artificial membranes that will assist in drug development, and the University’s ARC Future Fellow, Dr Damien Keating – also a Young Tall Poppy of Science – received a grant for his research into communication between nerve cells.

Twelve Discovery projects received a total of $2.95 million, and three Linkage Grants totalling $385,000 were made to collaborative projects with industry.

“It is very good to see so many first-time recipients among the grants, which augurs very well for the future,” said Flinders Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor David Day.

“Flinders has doubled its number of Discovery grants over last year and our percentage of success in the Linkage grants remains well above average,” he said.

“Credit goes to the hard work and good grant application writing by the researchers, the Faculty Offices and staff in the Research Services Office, and we look forward to building substantially on our success next year.”

Other funded Discovery projects include a study of the workings of foster families, research into the tension between public and private property rights, and an investigation of the mechanisms of long-term migration, using the example of British migrants to Australia. Three of the projects are dedicated to better understanding of environmental and sustainability issues affecting Australian marine life and fisheries.

The Linkage projects will see a collaboration with NT government and the SA Museum to develop conservation management of an endangered reptile; research into techniques of data mining, with healthcare software firm rL Solutions; and mapping of the health benefits of art centres in the APY Lands with the Ananguku Arts and Culture Aboriginal Corporation and the Palya Fund.

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