Flinders success in ARC grants

campus2Flinders University researchers have achieved the University’s best result in the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Future Fellowships and Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards, winning $2.6 million for five research projects.

More than $1.93 million has been awarded to the University from the prestigious Future Fellowships program to support three researchers working on projects spanning from genetics to urban planning, while $750,000 will also be shared between two researchers for their physics and psychology-based projects as part of the inaugural Discovery Early Career Researchers Award (DECRA).

Of the total applications submitted by Flinders for the Future Fellowships scheme, the University achieved an overall success rate of 42.9 per cent, while about 10 per cent of applications submitted for the DECRA received funding.

Across the nation, more than $248 million was awarded to 480 researchers through the ARC’s Future Fellowships and DECRA schemes, reflecting a success rate of 30.8 per cent and 12.8 per cent respectively.

Dr Robyn Meech, Dr Kathy Arthurson and Dr Sarah Harmer-Bassell were the three recipients of the Future Fellowships scheme.

Dr Meech, a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Medicine, was awarded $695,028 to explore new therapies for age-related muscle waste in the elderly while Dr Sarah Harmer-Bassell, currently based at UniSA’s Ian Wark Research Institute, was awarded $648,348 to investigate ways to reduce the environmental impact of mining.

Dr Arthurson, a Senior Research Fellow in the Flinders Prevention, Promotion and Primary Health Care Department, received $591,408 to continue her research into strengthening socio-economically disadvantaged communities.

In the DECRA grants, Flinders School of Chemical and Physical Sciences Research Assistant Dr Darryl Jones won $375,000 to explore how low-energy electrons interact with atoms, molecules and ions.

Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Tobias Loetscher from the School of Psychology was also awarded $375,000 to investigate whether the neural and cognitive processing of space and numbers can lead to new therapies for people suffering brain damage.

The Future Fellowships program aims to support mid-career researchers to continue projects of critical national importance, while the inaugural DECRA scheme specifically supports and provides opportunities for promising early-career researchers.

In announcing the 2011 Future Fellows and the inaugural DECRAs, Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr, said the funding would ensure a strong Australian research workforce and keep the country’s researchers on the path to discovery.

“This support for our researchers is crucial if we want to keep Australia ‘the clever country’, one which continues to come up with solutions to the big problems and issues facing Australians and the world every day,” Senator Carr said.

For summaries of all funding outcomes and for more information about the Future Fellowships and DECRA schemes click here.

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