The impact of your gifts

Our commitment to Science students and researchers would not be possible without the support we receive. See how gifts from alumni, corporations and friends of Science have made a difference.

Graduate Scholarships

Study is a big commitment and without some sort of financial assistance it would be hard to achieve my full potential

In 1994, Dr Sophie Ducker bequeathed $50,000 to establish the Klemperer-Ducker Scholarship with the intention of encouraging research into indigeneous Australian flora. A scholarship is awarded annually to provide support to a worthy candidate on the threshold of graduate research. James Kidman was a recipient of that scholarship.

James Kidman was awarded a postgraduate scholarship based on work completed in honours. His project focused on the relationship between different species of acacias, including analyses of variations in molecular and organic form.

"The scholarship gave me more time to focus on my project and eased the pressure of living expenses. In a way it pushed me to do well because I wanted to show that I earned it. This study is a big commitment and without some sort of financial assistance it would be hard to achieve my full potential."

Early Career Research Fellowships

Dr James Osborne, School of Mathematics and Statistics

James Osborne

Using mathematics and computing to answer previously unanswerable biological questions

James Osborne is a Lecturer in Applied Mathematics, Mathematical and Computational Biology, working at the interface between applied mathematics, scientific computing and biology.

He uses mathematical and scientific computing techniques to develop simulations of biological and physiological phenomena, specifically to model the development and disease of biological tissues and organs. This research aims are to use mathematics and simulation to answer biological questions that could not be answered before.

Philanthropic support has allowed James to travel to an international conference and has also provided necessary computational facilities.

Dr William Holmes, School of Mathematics and Statistics

William Holmes

Understanding how biological systems organise

William Holmes conducts research into the development and use of mathematical and computational modelling techniques to understand how biological systems spatially organise either spontaneously or in response to external perturbations. Understanding how biological systems organise themselves is critical to understanding how disease and damage influence those systems. For example, what changes in the internal structure of cancer cells lead to increased aggression and invasiveness? What is responsible for out of control growth of the intestine at the onset of colonic cancer? Why it is that genetic testing of embryos during the course of in vitro fertilisation leads to decreased efficacy of embryonic implantation?

Philanthropic support has been of great assistance in helping to meet Dr Holmes’ computing needs and it has also facilitated conference travel and collaborative meetings. Ultimately, it provides the opportunity to expand his computational resources, disseminate research results, and continue to build interdisciplinary collaborations.

Dr Alex Johnson, School of Botany

Alex Johnson

Using biotechnology to generate new cereal varieties that increase concentrations of Fe (Iron) in grain

Rice provides up to 80% of total caloric intake in South-East Asia. Yet it contains very low concentrations of essential micronutrients such as iron (Fe). As a result, 30% of the world’s population suffer from iron deficiency with symptoms ranging from poor mental development in children to depressed immune function.

Alex Johnson is using biotechnology to generate new cereal varieties that load increased concentrations of Fe into the grain. This will result in a cheap, reliable and sustainable solution to Fe and other micronutrient deficiencies. His work has yielded exciting results, with increases of up to three-fold more Fe in white rice. He is expanding his research to include other cereal species such as wheat.

Dr Robyn Pickering, School of Earth Sciences

Robyn Pickering

Helping unravel the story of human evolution

Robyn Pickering played a crucial role in dating the fossilised remains of two 1.95 million-year-old skeletons found in a South African cave. The skeletons belong to a previously unknown species and their discovery could rewrite the story of human evolution.

Robyn, a world leader in geochronology, used uranium-lead dating techniques to establish the approximate age of layers of rock holding the partial skeletons. Only two institutions in the world are capable of such work.


Dr Rebecca Miller, School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences

Researchers in a forest

Inspiring the next generation of plant conservationists

The Cybec Cassandra McLean Lectureship in Plant Conservation was established with generous support from the Cybec Foundation. It is named for Dr Cassandra McLean, a committed and passionate teacher and researcher who inspired and educated countless students on the issues of plant propagation, plant conservation, rare plants and symbiotic relationships.

This gift has enabled Rebecca to engage in curriculum development, preparation of materials, teaching and coordination of subjects. Students majoring in landscape management conducted a local revegetation project as part of the practical component of the subject, restoring a previously weed-infested site along Yarra Blvd, Richmond.

The funding also supports Rebecca’s field work, the purchase of consumables, the employment of a research assistant, and PhD student research projects.

Philanthropic support such as this is vital to the continued success of the Faculty of Science, as it directly helps us to attract and retain the highest calibre of academic and research staff from across the globe.