ACU researchers receive prestigious Discovery grants

Australian Catholic University

Researchers from ACU have been awarded more than $1.3 million in the highly competitive Australian Research Council Discovery Projects scheme.

In the 2023 round, 478 projects received a share of more than $220 million in funding. Discovery Projects provide funding of between $30,000 and $500,000 each year for up to five years.

ACU is the lead institution for the following projects:

  • Professor Clarence Ng, Professor Peter Renshaw and Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith from the Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education received $423,000 to explore why economically disadvantaged students are over-represented among those who fail to attain minimum benchmarks in writing in national testing.
  • Associate Professor Benjamin Moffitt, Associate Professor Mark Chou and Dr Rachel Busbridge from the National School of Arts received $312,265 to investigate how populism intersects with localism by comparing three populist parties inextricably associated with ‘heartlands’ in Australia, Germany and Spain.
  • A team of researchers who will be based at ACU’s Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research and St Vincent’s Institute, were awarded $559,000 for a study that aims to find new ways to treat age-related osteoporosis by integrating a range of high-resolution imaging, biomechanical, and computational methods.

ACU researchers in arts, education and health were also involved in a range of successful grant applications led by other institutions:

  • Dr Amy McPherson and Professor Bruce Burnett are collaborating with La Trobe University to investigate the experiences of teachers amid an unprecedented teacher shortage. The project will explore teacher retention by focusing on those teachers who remain in the classroom.
  • Professor Laurie Buys is chief investigator on a QUT study that looks at how the built environment supports or hinders ageing in place after retirement.
  • Associate Professor Maggie Nolan is part of a project led by University of Melbourne that examines the influence of Irish culture on Australian literature.
  • Dr Jon Piccini will join a team led by Macquarie University to provide the first comprehensive history of the 300,000 American servicemen who travelled to Australia for R&R Leave during the Vietnam War.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Abid Khan said the grants reflected ACU’s commitment to research excellence.

“These projects, which tackle a range of contemporary issues in schools, older populations, democracy and cultural exchange, are examples of ACU’s impact-focused research,” Professor Khan said.

“This funding gives our academics the chance to produce exciting research that benefits society.”

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