Adelaide Uni to host Federation Fellow

Wednesday, 16 June 2004

The University of Adelaide will benefit from some of the world's best research talent thanks to the Australian Government's highly prestigious Federation Fellowships for 2004.

Oxford University's Professor Alan Cooper will soon join the University of Adelaide's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, where he will continue his work in "using ancient DNA to understand Australia's past and manage its future".

Professor Cooper was today named in the list of 25 Federation Fellows by Dr Brendan Nelson, the Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training.

Professor Cooper's research will provide a ground-breaking overview of ecosystem stability, contrasting genetic and environmental changes over time. It will also generate insights into problems such as invading pathogens and coral bleaching. The research will result in improved quarantine management and more effective planning and management of Australia's biodiversity.

The University of Adelaide's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Neville Marsh said he was absolutely delighted to have one of the world leaders in the field of fragmentary DNA research coming to Adelaide from the UK.

"Professor Cooper's exceptional research and leadership skills have been recognised at Oxford University where he is the youngest ever full Professor in the Department of Zoology - and one of the youngest ever at the University," Professor Marsh said.

"He will bring unique expertise built up over a 15-year research career to Australia where fragmentary DNA research is still in a very embryonic state.

"A fragmentary DNA research centre will use long-term records to investigate genetic responses of animals, plants and micro-organisms to environmental change. Examining these changes over time will enhance effective planning and future management of Australia's ecosystems, biodiversity and tourism," he said.

Dr Nelson said the 2004 Fellows were regarded as among the best in the world in their chosen fields.

"They are leading the world in areas such as: environmental change, multi-scale microstructure engineering, the role of metals in degenerative brain diseases (such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease), the development of logic and language in children, nanostructures for electronics and photonics applications, and computational problems," Dr Nelson said.

Almost $38 million will be provided through the Australian Research Council for these new Fellowships over the next five years.

This significant investment attracts some of the world's best research talent to Australia, and offers opportunities to continue their work in Australia. Each Fellow will receive an internationally competitive salary for the five years of the Fellowship.

"The results of these research projects and their practical applications are likely to produce tangible long-term economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits for all Australians.

"The Federation Fellows will work in a wide range of research areas and will put Australia at the frontier of new and emerging research areas," Dr Nelson said.

The Federation Fellowships are a vital part of the Australian Government's $5.3 billion Backing Australia's Ability innovation package, and are funded through the Australian Research Council's National Competitive Grants Programme.


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