ARC funding for electron research & strategic cooperation

Advancing the design of solar cells, sensor technologies and investigating strategic rivalry in the Asia-Pacific region are among the aims of the $1.67 million projects two leading Flinders University researchers have been awarded under the ARC Future Fellowships scheme to address key industry challenges.

The first round of fellowships includes a four-year grant to Professor Matthew Fitzpatrick in the College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences ($944,480) who will examine the untold history of Anglo-German cooperation in the Asia -Pacific region through archival materials that will reveal the nature of the behaviour of great powers in our region.

Professor Fitzpatrick says the project is focused on producing a new history challenging century-long understandings of relations in cultural, scientific, military, and political affairs that ended abruptly at the beginning of World War One.

“Existing histories of British and German interaction in the Asia-Pacific region before World War One remain coloured by wartime enmity. They continue to overlook or misunderstand the rich history of Anglo-German cooperation prior to 1914. My aim is to significantly revise the historical understanding of Anglo-German relations in the Asia-Pacific region.”

“This research will explain how and why empires co-operated militarily, economically, culturally, and diplomatically in the Asia-Pacific region, and how Asian and Pasifika peoples experienced and responded to this imperial collaboration. It will uncover the ways in which cooperation shaped the region’s society, politics and culture.”

Fellow Future fellow Dr Darryl Jones ($722,820) will track changes of electron motion to better understand how they induce chemical changes, offering important insights into controlling chemical reactions.  These insights will be used to improve processes involved in making technologies such as sensors and solar cells.

“Quantum chemistry has become a quintessential tool in predicting and explaining chemical processes and reactivity. Chemists therefore dream of visualising orbitals to understand how the motion of electrons enables chemical change.”

“This project hopes to realise this dream, by experimentally capturing a molecular movie that observes electron movement over ultrafast timescales during a chemical process.”

Professor Robert Saint, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Flinders University, says the ARC grants reflect the ground-breaking and exciting research being carried out at Flinders.

“The funding awarded to Professor Matthew Fitzpatrick and Dr Darryl Jones recognises the high calibre of researchers working at Flinders.  Their important research will improve our understanding of vastly different problems, one on a scale the size of East Asia and the Pacific, the other on the scale about 10 to the power of 13 times smaller – that of an atom.”

“Professor Fitzpatrick’s work is extraordinarily timely, seeking to learn lessons from pre-World War 1 superpower relationships in the Pacific at a time when we are seeing the rise of new superpower tensions in our region.  Dr Jones’s research is equally vital, with the potential to improve the performance of solar cell and sensor technologies at a time when the world desperately needs to move quickly towards a carbon-neutral future.”

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College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences College of Science and Engineering Sustainability