Faculty of Science successful in latest round of government grants

09 July 2015

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has awarded researchers from the Faculty of Science $4.7 million in new research funding under its industry linkage scheme. Combined with funding and in-kind support from partner organisations, this adds up to $13.5 million of new research, with projects funded for between three and five years.

The grants will fund research into important environmental issues like bushfires, drought, water quality and threatened species, plus advances in brain imaging, brain-machine interfaces and quantum lasers, and a project that aims to finally prove the existence of dark matter.

A total of 11 grants were awarded across five schools, with a success rate of 61.1 percent, well above the scheme-wide success rate of 35.5 percent.

Professor Karen Day, Dean of the Faculty of Science, said it was particularly heartening to see the Faculty’s early and mid-career academics successful as lead investigators on four grants.

These included Dr Luke Kelly and Dr Brett Murphy from the School of BioSciences, and Dr Gary Sheridan from the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, who were each funded for separate projects looking at impacts of bushfires, and Dr Paul Donnelly from the School of Chemistry, who will develop new chemicals to help in brain imaging.

Our physicists were particularly successful, with three out of three applications funded, including $1.2 million for the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory project, led by Professor Elisabetta Barberio. The three University of Melbourne led physics projects represent 56 percent of the total funding Australia-wide in the Physical Sciences.

The ARC linkage scheme provides federal government funding to complement cash and in-kind support from partner organisations. Partners on successful Faculty of Science linkage grants in 2015 included state and government departments and agencies, local councils, and pharmaceutical, technology and mining companies. Melbourne Water is an industry partner on four of the successful grants, continuing a long and productive relationship between this organisation and the University.

“This is a fabulous injection of income for researchers in the Faculty, and provides an important platform on which to expand activities with industry,” Professor Day said.