ARC Discovery Project success for Faculty of Science

6 November 2012

Researchers in the Faculty of Science have been successful in obtaining funding from the Australian Research Council for 32 Discovery Projects worth a total of $12.18 million to begin in 2013.

Announced on 5 November 2012 by Senator The Hon Chris Evans, federal Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, the ARC Discovery Project grants support excellent basic and applied research by individuals and teams, which focus on the National Research Priorities.

The University of Sydney as a whole had the most ARC Discovery Projects funded compared to all other universities across Australia, with 79 successful projects worth $28.48 million in total.

The ARC Discovery Project funding is part of the Australian Research Council's National Competitive Grants Program, which funds research across disciplines as diverse as science, engineering, arts, medicine, education, law and culture.

"The Gillard Government is investing in research and researchers to help deliver solutions to national problems and improve the lives of Australians," said Senator Chris Evans.

"This research will deliver results that not only benefit Australians, but keeps Australia at the forefront of global science. The Gillard Government recognises the vital contribution science and research makes in driving innovation and keeping Australia competitive."

Some Discovery Project successes:

Professor Bart Anderson, from the School of Psychology, received the single largest ARC Discovery Project grant within the Faculty of Science in this round of funding for his project titled 'The visual perception of three-dimensional shape, surfaces, and materials'. The $919 000 over three years will fund research with the goal of understanding how our brains infer the three-dimensional shape, color, and material properties of the world from the two-dimensional images that project to our eyes.

Associate Professor Phil McManus, from the School of Geosciences, with Professor Paul McGreevy, from the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Dr Aidan Davison, from the University of Tasmania, and Professor Susan Roberts, from the University of Kentucky, will receive $499 786 over three years for their project 'Caring for thoroughbreds: addressing social, economic and welfare issues in international horse racing'. Horse racing is an economically valuable industry but visible welfare issues are challenging its future. This study addresses perceptions and the economic worth of these issues internationally. Research findings about values, and alternatives to jump racing and whipping horses, will help change the conduct of horse racing around the world.

Dr Richard Payne, from the School of Chemistry, and Associate Professor Martin Stone, from Monash University, have secured $460 000 over three years for their project 'Development and application of new peptide ligation methods for the synthesis and structure-function studies of glycoproteins'. Novel synthetic technologies will be developed in this project to facilitate the preparation of glycoproteins, which are of widespread biological and therapeutic interest. These methods will enable the preparation of pure glycoproteins for detailed biochemical and functional studies eventually leading to therapeutic and diagnostic applications.

Professor Rick Shine, from the School of Biological Sciences, will receive $450 000 over three years for his project 'Cane toads as a model system for demographic analysis and invasive-species control'. His research will investigate how impacts on juvenile stages within an animal population affect later ages. This project will exploit recently developed methods to control early life-history stages of cane toads to provide a better understanding of population ecology and develop more effective ways to control invasive cane toads.

Professor Steve Simpson, from the School of Biological Sciences, Associate Professor Andrew Holmes, from the School of Molecular Bioscience, Dr Fleur Ponton, also from the School of Biological Sciences, and Professor Kenneth Wilson, from Lancaster University, will receive $432 000 over three years for their project 'Integrating nutritional immunology'. What an organism eats affects both its susceptibility to disease and the community of beneficial microorganisms living within its gut. This project will study how nutrition, immunity and the flora of the gut interact, and whether hosts are able to select a diet that optimises their immune response and gut flora in the face of disease challenges.

Professor John Cannon, from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, and Professor Derek Holt, from the University of Warwick, have secured $412 000 over three years for their project 'Constructive Representation Theory'. A group is a mathematical structure that captures the notion of symmetry. This project will enable us to perform a deep analysis of all the ways in which the group can act on an object such as a molecule, by constructing all of its representations as a matrix group.

Professor Manfred Lenzen, from the School of Physics, will receive $405 000 over three years for his project 'Unifying global approaches to environmental footprinting'. This project will create a globally harmonised approach to calculating environmental footprints for nations, regions, cities and organisations. The research will establish the environmental burden caused by international trade, enabling global governance bodies to implement principles for a fairer global sharing of environmental burdens.

See the full list of ARC Discovery Projects funded at:

Contact: Katynna Gill

Phone: 02 9351 6997

Email: 1d19414004070e74165854233a303c2b17072e7d34141a5b2322