Three new ARC Super Science Fellowships for Faculty of Science

12 April 2010

Scientists in the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney have been successful in gaining three of the first Super Science Fellowships from the Australian Research Council. The three Fellowships are worth $1.67 million - a considerable slice of the $27.2 million that will be spent over four years across Australia on the Super Science Fellowships.

Announced by Senator Kim Carr, federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, on 8 April 2010, the new Super Science Fellowships have been established to attract and retain the best and brightest early-career researchers from within Australia and around the world.

Across Australia, fifty Super Science Fellowships will begin in 2010 and 50 in 2011.

"Our aim is to support exceptional domestic and international researchers to establish and maintain careers in Australia. Providing opportunities for our most promising early-career researchers to work in areas of importance to all Australians is critical, especially as we move through the global recession," said Senator Kim Carr.

Professor Elaine Sadler, Professor Bryan Gaensler and Dr Tara Murphy, from the School of Physics, will receive $835 200 over four years starting in 2010 for their project 'New Dimensions in Radio Astronomy: Mining Sparse Datasets with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder'.

"Radio astronomy is entering a new era, driven by technological advances that make rapid surveys of the sky possible. As leaders of three major surveys for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope, we will explore three new dimensions of astronomy: searching for transient sources, detecting faint galaxies and investigating cosmic magnetism," said Professor Elaine Sadler.

Professor Maria Byrne and Dr Will Figueira, from the School of Biological Sciences and Dr Stefan Williams, from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies in collaboration with Dr Neville Barrett, from the University of Tasmania, will receive $278 400 over four years starting in 2010 for their project 'Machine Assisted, Multi-scale Spatial and Temporal Observation and Modeling of Marine Benthic Habitats'.

"The Integrated Marine Observing System science plan includes sampling campaigns reliant on the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Facility operated by the Australian Centre for Field Robotics in the Faculty of Engineering", explained Dr Stefan Williams.

"The AUV generated data is designed to address the issues of quantification of marine biodiversity. The proposed research will directly enhance the effectiveness of these data by speeding labour-intensive analyses, aggregating the results, and searching for ecological patterns that would be difficult, if not impossible, to identify using traditional approaches," explained Dr Will Figueira.

"We are pleased to tie in with the major national initiative funded through the Integrated Marine Observing System to generate new approaches to survey marine benthic communities at a time when significant alterations in marine diversity are being driven by climate change," said Professor Maria Byrne.

Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Associate Professor Scott Croom and Professor Geraint Lewis, from the School of Physics, with Professor Matthew Colless, from the Anglo-Australian Observatory, and Professor Joseph Silk, from the University of Oxford, UK, will receive $556 800 over four years starting in 2011 for their project 'Accretion and Feedback in Galaxies with Cosmic Time'.

"Australia is a world leader in both astronomy and photonics. This project seeks to exploit a revolutionary device that is the first developed from the new cross-over field of astrophotonics. The Gemini Near-infrared OH Suppression IFU System (GNOSIS) instrument will showcase Australian industry development in optical fibres and will keep Australian astronomers at the forefront of international research," said Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn.

Professor Bland-Hawthorn also shares $835 200 over four years awarded to the HERMES 'Galactic Archaeology' project in collaboration with Macquarie University, Monash University, the Australia National University and the Anglo-Australian Observatory.

"We are delighted with the outcome of these awards as it will allow Australia to leap to the forefront of infrared astronomy and galactic archaeology in the years ahead," said Professor Bland-Hawthorn.

See all the ARC Super Science Fellowships awarded across Australia at:

Contact: Katynna Gill

Phone: 02 9351 6997

Email: 3809071f1f1f3162560e5d2d6b210b3e39021c7a2a0a19780211