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2018 ARC Future Fellowships and Linkage Project success for Sydney

2 August 2018
Food insecurity, blockchain, nanotechnology: ARC success
The University of Sydney has secured six Future Fellowships and a Linkage Project grant funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Professor David Schlosberg from the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney was awarded $423,500 funding for the ARC Linkage Project to address food insecurity. 

The Sydney Food Incubator research team includes Dr Alana Mann from the Department of Media and Communications, and Dr Luke Craven from UNSW Canberra (previously University of Sydney) and collaborations with the City of Sydney, TAFE NSW and FoodLab Detroit.

The six ARC Future Fellowships span the fields of cosmology, epigenetics, computer vision, grid systems, nanotechnology, and nanoscale characterisation.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison congratulated the achievements of the researchers.

It is truly a delight to see the dedication of our researchers recognised again through these prestigious fellowships
Professor Duncan Ivison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

“Through these highly competitive fellowships, our researchers will pursue fundamental and applied research – from cosmology to the latest blockchain technology - with leading international collaborators that I am sure will deliver a range of extraordinary discoveries and benefits for Australia and the world.”

ARC Linkage Projects support academics to work with government and industry partners to tackle complex problems and fast-track solutions to benefit end-users.

Professor Schlosberg said, “the project has the potential to bring real and substantive change to the lives of Sydney-siders who face food insecurity on a daily basis.”

ARC Future Fellowships are designed to attract and retain Australia’s most outstanding mid-career researchers, funding their projects over a span of four years. They support enquiry into areas of critical national importance, aligning projects to national science and research priorities such as transport, energy, and cybersecurity.

The University of Sydney Future Fellows (2018-2022) will be engaged in the following projects over the span of their fellowships.

Future fellows projects

Dr Vincent Gramoli, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies

There have been major investments in blockchain technologies during the last year as blockchains promise to disrupt industries such as supply chains. Unfortunately, blockchains cannot solve this problem in their current form, because it cannot scale. They typically require resources such as energy, storagethat grow with the number of participants and yet fail at providing increasing performance.

This project will offer a blockchain that scales with the number of participants: it will leverage many devices of limited resources to offer higher performance. This is why it will be a natural blockchain for networks of small devices, like Internet of Things.

Professor Dong Xu, Faculty of Engineering & Information Technologies

This project aims to study next-generation video annotation technologies to automatically tag raw videos using a huge set of semantic concepts. New domain adaptation schemes and frameworks will be studied in order to substantially improve video annotation performance by learning from a massive amount of web images and videos.

The results of this project will not only contribute to the computer vision and machine learning communities, but also will benefit people in their daily lives. The prototype system can be directly used by ordinary users worldwide to search their personal videos using textual queries. The system is also applicable to video surveillance applications, which can enhance Australia’s homeland security.

Associate Professor Chiara Neto, Faculty of Science

This project aims to develop new slippery lubricant-infused surfaces that reduce liquid drag and inhibit fouling – a build-up of unwanted material - while being non-toxic. The developed coatings will provide a sustainable and green solution to the marine fouling problem, and will reduce the energy required to produce flow.

The successful completion of the project will bring economic, health, and environmental benefits to Australia. The fundamental understanding gained will have broadtechnological implications and will produce important benefits in the marine, food, biomedical and microfluidic industries.

Dr Julia Bryant, Faculty of Science

This project will look at how galaxies accumulate their gas Gas in galaxies affects how stars are made and what galaxies look like, including our own Milky Way. This project aims to build new understanding about the fundamental physics behind how galaxies get their gas. Firstly, a new robotic instrument for 3-dimensional spectroscopy of galaxies, called Hector-I will be built to establish and run the Hector Galaxy Survey, the largest of its kind ever conducted. This comprehensive survey data set will underpin broad investigations of gas accretion and the impact on the physical properties of galaxies.

The intent of this work is to clarify why our own galaxy looks so different to others and enable the science of more than 100 astronomers in Australia and around the world.

Professor Julie Cairney, Faculty of Engineering & Information Technologies

The aim of this project is to develop workflows that allow the microscopy technique of atom probe tomography to be applied to specimens that have been cryogenically cooled during preparation. This will open up this powerful method, which has made an enormous impact in materials science over the last few decades, to new disciplines such as chemistry and life sciences. The new types of specimens that can be analysed include vitrified biologicalmatter, liquids (solutions), surface molecules (ligands), and hydrogen.

In the long term, the technique has the potential to lead to radical new discoveries in fields such as health and medicine, chemical processing and agriculture.

Dr Alyson Ashe, Faculty of Science

This project aims to determine the mechanisms responsible for the inheritance of acquired traits. Sometimes the environment can have effects on the physical composition or phenotype of not only the exposed individual, but also their children and grandchildren. While it is clear that this can occur, what is not clear is the mechanism by which this happens and the frequency at which it happens.

Using the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, this project will apply innovativenew techniques for the discovery of low abundance RNA molecules, and fluorescence microscopy to analyse structures with the cell nucleus to determine what the molecular mechanism is by which this "transgenerational epigenetic inheritance" occurs.

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