Australian Laureate Fellowships lead future of Australian research

This year’s new Australian Research Council (ARC) Australian Laureate Fellows will lead new world-class research endeavours to produce real-world outcomes and important fundamental knowledge in key priority areas.

ARC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Professor Sue Thomas, today welcomed the announcement by Minister for Education Dan Tehan of $44.2m for fourteen 2020 Australian Laureate Fellowships projects through the ARC Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme.

“These esteemed fellowships provide support to some of our best and brightest researchers working to build on Australia’s knowledge base for the future,” said Professor Thomas.

“The ARC’s Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme aims to attract and retain outstanding researchers so they can undertake their ground-breaking, internationally-competitive research here in Australia in order to produce knowledge that is applicable in the real world, and in important priority areas.

“Australian Laureate Fellows also perform a vital role in nurturing research training environments, to develop and mentor our early career researchers who will learn from their experience.

“Indeed, two of these Australian Laureate Fellowships are awarded to exceptional female researchers who-in addition to their successful fellowship awarded in their area of research-are provided with extra funding to undertake an ambassadorial role to mentor early career researchers, particularly women.

“The 2020 Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship for the humanities, arts and social science disciplines is awarded to Professor Maureen Dollard from the University of South Australia; and the 2020 Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship in science and technology is awarded to Professor Catherine Lovelock from The University of Queensland.

“I extend congratulations to all of the exceptional Fellows announced today as they embark on their Australian Laureate Fellowships.”

Brief details of each of the fourteen Fellows announced today are provided below. Further research project details for each Fellow is available on the ARC website.

2020 Australian Laureate Fellows

New South Wales

  • Professor Dennis Del Favero – The University of New South Wales – to harness revolutionary advances in art and technology to create a cutting-edge digital platform that provide users with life-like visual experiences so they can safely navigate a range of unpredictable and risk-laden environments, such as wildfire landscapes, in real time and at real scale.
  • Professor Ross Buckley – The University of New South Wales – to inform Australia’s legal and regulatory systems to ensure they are fit to deal with the transformative rise of data and its algorithmic analysis to lift economic growth, enhance cybersecurity, and enhance protections of consumer and individual rights.
  • Professor Martina Stenzel – The University of New South Wales – to develop a toolset that allows the design of very small nanoparticles that display enhanced biological activity that will have application for nanomedicine, catalysis and sensors.
  • Professor Alison Bashford – The University of New South Wales – to deepen Australian understanding of complex and longstanding population questions in the Asia Pacific region, focusing on how population policies emerged and what their present legacies are, to inform evidence-based policy.
  • Professor Toby Walsh – The University of New South Wales – to understand how to build fairer and more efficient AI systems that humans can trust and which will improve the competitiveness of Australian businesses and delivery of health services.
  • Professor David James – The University of Sydney – to dissect how genes interact with the environment to better understand the ageing process and lay the foundation for personalised health strategies to optimise healthy ageing in humans.

Queensland

  • Professor Jochen Mueller – The University of Queensland – to minimise adverse impacts of chemical exposure in Australia by developing effective predictive tools and identifying emerging chemicals of concern.
  • Professor Catherine Lovelock – The University of Queensland – to assess how restoration of coastal wetlands influences carbon storage and greenhouse gas fluxes, develop new methodologies and generate new research to inform coastal wetland management globally. Professor Lovelock is also the recipient of the 2020 Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship – to promote STEM to girls and young women in regional Queensland, building on the ‘Flying Scientist’ initiative.

Victoria

  • Professor Huanting Wang – Monash University – to create a novel class of advanced membranes by making fundamental breakthroughs in nanofluidics, and harnessing this for developing new renewable energy and low-energy separation technologies.
  • Professor Kari Vilonen – The University of Melbourne – to address deep longstanding questions about mathematics that will increase Australia’s capacity in number theory and algebraic geometry, which are playing an ever more important role in technology and communications.

Australian Capital Territory

  • Professor Loeske Kruuk – The Australian National University – to determine the effects of changing environments on wild animal populations across Australia to improve wildlife management and conservation.

South Australia

  • Professor Maureen Dollard – University of South Australia – to assist Australia’s corporate climate by developing compelling evidence to improve efficiency, health and social policy, and provide new ideas to create safer, better quality workplaces. Professor Dollard is also the recipient of the 2020 Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship – to grow the next generation of female researchers by inviting them to join a program that includes workshops to explore contemporary workplace issues, learn strategies for undertaking world-leading research and opportunities to work together to develop innovative interdisciplinary research.

Western Australia

  • Professor Elaine Holmes – Murdoch University – to deepen understanding of how and why our gut bacteria (microbiome) changes with age using next generation sequencing technologies.
  • Professor Andrew Millar – The University of Western Australia – to understand the processes and genes that regulate synthesis and degradation of proteins in wheat and barley plants to benefit Australia’s grain industries.

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