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Australian Research Council awards grants totalling AU$333.5 million to 859 research projects

The Australian Research Council (ARC) announced grants totalling AU$333.5 million for 859 research projects on November 10. This includes:

  • AU$225.6 million for 594 projects funded through the ARC Discovery Projects scheme
  • AU$70.9 million for 197 new research projects to be undertaken as part of the ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme
  • AU$28.6 million in funding for 50 new collaborative research infrastructure projects to be undertaken as part of the ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme under the National Competitive Grants Program
  • AU $7.2 million for 13 new research projects through the ARC Discovery Indigenous scheme
  • AU$1.15 million for five research projects under the Australian Research Council Linkage Learned Academies Special Projects (LASP) scheme

The Discovery Projects scheme provides funding to support excellent basic and applied research projects to be undertaken by individual researchers or research teams.

The Discovery Projects to commence in 2018 include AU$443,270 for a project led by Professor Kylie Catchpole at The Australian National University to improve solar cell stability under operating conditions for future large-scale production of cheap, clean electricity; AU$350,231 for a project led by Dr Mihye Won at Curtin University to develop a comprehensive analytical framework to identify and nurture scientific creativity in high school students so they can successfully address complex future challenges; and AU$312,298 for a project led by Professor Willy Susilo at the University of Wollongong to improve control of encrypted outsourced data—critical to cloud computing—for more practical, secure data storage.

The Discovery Projects for funding commencing in 2019 scheme is now open for proposals.

The DECRA scheme supports early-career researchers by providing the time and resources to focus on advancing their research, and the opportunities to build important connections and knowledge.

The DECRA awardees include Dr. Mohsen Asadnia from Macquarie University, who will lead a project to develop a miniaturised cochlear implant using advanced microfabrication techniques, to enable low-cost production for commercialisation; Dr. Gemma Read from the University of the Sunshine Coast will lead a project to address potential safety risks arising from the introduction of advanced autonomous vehicles, to prevent new types of road crash events; and a project led by Dr. Cagatay Goncu from Monash University to present visual information in the form of audio and tactile technologies to allow for the authoring, reading and storing of tactile electronic books for people with visual impairment.

The LIEF scheme provides critical funding for research infrastructure, equipment and facilities—the tools to allow eligible organisations to support their research.

Awarded projects include a AU$435,279 to create a fabrication facility for production of novel portable, wearable and stretchable biomedical devices to monitor health conditions in a non-invasive way and an AU$1.3 million project to link open data, knowledge and collaborations on existing research infrastructure projects to develop ‘next generation’ tools to support decisions on important public policy issues. Another project involves a major detector upgrade of the 3000 square kilometre Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, used in international scientific collaboration involving Australian researchers.

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