ARC grants support bold research projects

Addressing the housing needs of adults with intellectual disability, exploring Aboriginal rock art in the upper Murray region and improving home environments for young people in state care are the focus of new Flinders University research projects that have won valuable funding support from the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Three Flinders research teams that collectively obtained more than $921,000 were among 65 new Australian research projects that received ARC Linkage Projects grants, announced today by the Federal Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge.

Flinders University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robert Saint said the new round of ARC funding builds on the highest-ever amount of research funds obtained by Flinders University last year.

“True to our ambition of Making a Difference, our grant success is testament to the meaningful, fascinating and life changing research being pursued by our talented and dedicated researchers here at Flinders,” said Professor Saint.

To address growing numbers of older people with intellectual disability outliving their parent carers, Associate Professor Ruth Walker, Dr Fiona Rillotta and Dr Claire Hutchinson are part of a team investigating “Post-parental housing transitions among adults with intellectual disability” (LP200200326, worth $319,061).

This project aims to find a solution that will ensure successful post-parental housing and care transitions, especially considering that many ageing parent carers have not put future care plans in place for their adult children with intellectual disability.

Associate Professor Walker says the project aims to develop an Australian-first evidence-based resource kit for planning post-parental housing and care transitions, providing significant benefits for older people with intellectual disability, their family carers and the disability sector.

“It’s an important issue facing many older parents of adults with intellectual disability, many of whom have reported feeling uncertain about what the future holds for their son or daughter when they are no longer able to provide care and support,” says Associate Professor Walker.

Associate Professor Amy Roberts, Dr Ian Moffat, Associate Professor Mike Morley and Professor Richard Fullagar will explore Aboriginal rock art and rockshelter occupation deposits in the first archaeological excavations of stratified rockshelter sites in South Australia’s Upper Murray River Gorge for more than 50 years.

The project – “Rockshelters and Rock Art in the River Murray Gorge: New Data and Syntheses” (LP200200803, worth $325,745) – will be undertaken in partnership with the River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation, and will focus on the stretch of river from Morgan to Kingston-on-Murray.

The team’s examination of the cultural importance and archaeological significance of the located sites will produce new understandings about societal and environmental changes over time and record critically endangered rock art.

Traditional owner and RMMAC spokesperson, Fiona Giles, said that the project “will be a stepping stone in recording our history for future generations”.

Associate Professor Kristin Natalier, Professor Sarah Wendt, Dr Michelle Jones, Dr Carmela Bastian and Dr Kate Seymour aim to develop a new type of home-centred support for young people in state care, stretching across multiple care contexts to help them feel more secure.

The ARC Linkage Project – “A home-centred approach to support children and young people in state care” (LP200200848, worth $284,215) – seeks to provide better experiences and placement stability for young people in state care, addressing issues of vulnerability that continue to trouble young people in state care.

Outcomes from the project will include developing and evaluating home-centred care principles, practice guidelines and an online training module to provide effective training for carers.

“By providing clear evidence-informed strategies guiding the work of service providers and governments, we will be increasing the potential to improve the life chances of some of Australia’s most vulnerable young people,” says Associate Professor Natalier.

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