$11.93 million for new research at Uni of Adelaide

Monday, 5 June 2017

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with solar fuel generation, developing novel mathematical techniques to solve difficult problems and improving profitability of the wine industry are among the aims of major new University of Adelaide research projects announced today.

The University of Adelaide has been awarded a total of $11.93 million for two of the prestigious 17 Australian Laureate Fellowships, one Industrial Transformation Training Centre and four Future Fellowships by the Australian Government through these three Australian Research Council schemes.

Professor Shizhang Qiao, Chair of Nanotechnology in the School of Chemical Engineering, has been awarded an Australian Laureate Fellowship worth $2.68 million to develop efficient and sustainable solar-driven systems for fuel generation and chemical production. The project aims to produce an innovative system of solar energy transformation utilising sunlight, water and carbon dioxide, with significant environmental benefits from reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Professor Mathai Varghese, Elder Professor of Mathematics in the School of Mathematical Sciences, has been awarded an Australian Laureate Fellowship worth $1.64 million to advance Index Theory and its applications. The project is expect to enhance Australia’s position at the forefront of international research in geometric analysis.

Professor Vladimir Jiranek, Professor in Oenology in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, has been awarded $4.46 million for the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production to develop new technologies and efficiencies to lift competitiveness and the sustainability of the wine industry. The Centre will tackle challenges including extreme weather, soil salinity, disease, low-levels of technological innovation and high input costs with a series of industry-led projects.

The four Future Fellowships have been awarded to:

Dr Christopher McDevitt, School of Biological Sciences – $879, 617 to provide new fundamental knowledge of how bacteria use essential metal ions (such as zinc and manganese), which will ultimately aid in the fight against infectious diseases.

Dr Rebeca Gonzalez Suarez, currently with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and based at CERN in Switzerland, but will join the Physics Department in the School of Physical Sciences – $760,000 to address fundamental questions of the universe by studying the most elementary particle known, the top quark.

Dr Jonathan George, Department of Chemistry in the School of Physical Sciences – $820,000 to study the organic chemistry underlying unusual antibiotic products produced by marine microorganisms. This could lead to useful new antibiotics in the future.

Dr Bastien Llamas, Australian Centre for Ancient DNA – $684,053 to create the first ultra high-quality Aboriginal Australian reference genome to explore human adaption to diverse environments.

“These grants are highly competitive and it’s a reflection of the absolute top quality of these researchers that they have been successful in this round of funding,” says University of Adelaide Interim Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Brooks.

“This is a great result for the University of Adelaide and reaffirms our position as one of Australia’s leading research institutions. The research promises great benefit for a variety of industries and Australia as a whole.”


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