Adelaidean - News from the University of Adelaide The University of Adelaide Australia
November 2007 Issue
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$42 million reasons to celebrate

Research win is 'brain gain' for State

Recent announcements of federal funding for research have seen the University of Adelaide win a grand total of $42 million for the State to help solve some of the world's most pressing problems.

In a fiercely competitive bidding process for national funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the University and
its research partners have secured 70% of total research money awarded to the State.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor James McWha said this confirmed the University of Adelaide's reputation as South Australia's leading research institution.

"This is a major 'brain gain' for the State, and will ensure that some of our brightest young minds will stay in South Australia, as well as retaining some of our most experienced researchers and innovators," Professor McWha said.

"The funds we have won for research will have a clear impact on the South Australian community. It will enable the University's world-class researchers and our affiliates to make significant headway in the areas of climate change, water preservation, renewable energy, critical health and medical issues, agriculture and engineering challenges, all identified as priorities in the State Strategic Plan.

"This outstanding result reveals the depth of expertise of the University of Adelaide's researchers, who are working hard to make an impact right across the world as well as locally,"
he said.

The recent funding announcements have included:

NHMRC grants

More than $24 million for medical research aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of Australians. This includes:

  • 37 Project Grants for a total of more than $18.7 million;
  • Eight Research Fellowships totalling $4.5 million;
  • One Practitioner Fellowship of $415,500; and
  • One Equipment Grant of $455,803.

"This is an outstanding result for the University of Adelaide and our affiliates, with research grants across a wide range of health disciplines - from the conception of life, to the management of health and wellbeing in childhood and adulthood," said Professor McWha.

"Our research has a strong focus on the prevention and cure of diseases that affect millions of people worldwide, as well as the basic science required to learn more about how these diseases and conditions work."

ARC grants

More than $17.7 million across the fields of science, engineering, IT, mathematics, health, law, economics, the humanities and social sciences. This includes:

  • 41 Discovery Project Grants for a total of more than $14.1 million;
  • Nine Linkage Project Grants totalling more than $2.7 million;
  • One Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and
  • Three International Collaborative Research Grants totalling $169,000.

The $14m includes a number of research Fellowships to be hosted at the University of Adelaide, including two ARC Australian Professorial Fellowships - awarded to Dr Joel Brugger (School of Earth & Environmental Sciences/South Australian Museum) and Professor Robert Elliott (School of Mathematical Sciences).

Five promising early career researchers were also awarded Australian Postdoctoral Fellowships to support their emerging research areas.

The Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities grant was awarded to Dr Joel Brugger - in partnership with the Australian Synchrotron - for a "toolbox" of high-precision, spectroscopic tools to enable cutting-edge research into areas such as ore and environmental geology, metallurgy, nanotechnology and biotechnology.

The new research projects at the University of Adelaide include:

  • $1.46 million to Dr Jodie Dodd (Discipline of Obstetrics & Gynaecology) for a study aimed at limiting weight gain in overweight and obese women during pregnancy;
  • $839,250 to Associate Professor Jane Mathias (School of Psychology) for a study looking at the structural and functional effects of traumatic brain injury, using state-of-the-art MRI techniques and cognitive tests;
  • $454,875 to Associate Professor Robert Richards (School of Molecular & Biomedical Science) for a study into the function and contribution of certain genes in cancer cell biology.
  • $435,000 to Associate Professor Michael Griffith (School of Civil & Environmental Engineering) to investigate the earthquake protection of masonry buildings using fibre-reinforced polymer strengthening;
  • $310,000 to Professor Mike McLaughlin (School of Earth & Environmental Sciences) to study the fate and potential toxicity of new nanoparticle metal products on the Australian environment;
  • $257,500 to Affiliate Associate Professor Michael James (School of Medicine) to investigate ways of improving the benefits of omega-3 fats in vegetable oils;
  • $361,000 to Professor Adrian Bradbrook (School of Law) to investigate the contribution of law to sustainable development and climate change;
  • $265,000 to Dr Wen Soong (School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering) to investigate new designs for low-cost wind turbine generators that can produce power over a wide range of wind speeds;
  • $624,000 to Professor Barry Brook (School of Earth & Environmental Sciences) to better understand human and climatic impacts in prehistory, aimed at providing a context to current environmental threats;
  • $276,000 to Associate Professor David Callen (School of Medicine) for research into the regulation of vitamin D metabolism which may open up new avenues for the development of preventative approaches and treatment of cancer;
  • $296,112 to Associate Professor Sean Connell (School of Earth & Environmental Sciences) for a project aimed at forecasting marine habitats under realistic scenarios of climate change;
  • $550,000 to Professor Gus Nathan (School of Mechanical Engineering) for developing technology to reduce the emissions of fine particle pollutants;
  • $224,000 to Dr Peter Strelan (School of Psychology) for a new conceptualisation of forgiveness, recognising that it possesses both altruistic and self-interested dimensions.

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