Forrest research foundation brings outstanding scientific talent to Western Australia

An engineer passionate about improving people’s lives through artificial intelligence, a researcher who aims to understand the geochemistry of oxygen formation on Earth two billion years ago, and a scientist with a lifelong fascination for insects, are recipients of the prestigious 2021 Forrest Fellowships.

Dr Matthew Dodd, Dr Jason Eshraghian and Mark Wong will start their research at The University of Western Australia from 2021, joining three other recipients who will take up their fellowships at other Western Australian universities.

Forrest Research Foundation Fellowships are awarded to outstanding early career researchers to undertake high-quality research at any of the five universities in Western Australia.

“UWA looks forward to welcoming these talented individuals and helping them to expand their research. It’s a vital part of our commitment to creating new global knowledge and making important advancements in science.”

Professor Amit Chakma, UWA Vice-Chancellor

Dr Matthew Dodd will take up his Fellowship at the UWA School of Earth Sciences. He will be using new methods of geochemical analysis to decipher changes in the Earth’s ancient geological record, and the interplay between phosphorus, carbon and oxygen. Dr Dodd will reconstruct the history of ocean phosphate to discover the origins of our oxygen atmosphere and life on Earth.

Dr Jason Eshraghian will take up his Fellowship at the UWA Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. He will be looking at the future of artificial intelligence and the possibilities it holds for improving people’s lives and developing technology in the future.

With a background in engineering, Dr Eshraghian aims to draw on neuroscience, electronic engineering and machine learning, to develop new types of medical technologies driven by ultra-efficient artificial intelligence algorithms.

Mr Wong’s lifelong fascination with insects and nature research has inspired him to delve in the complex world of biology and ecology. He will take up his Fellowship at the UWA School of Biological Sciences.

His research will develop new methods for understanding the causes of the world-wide decline in the number and diversity of insects, with the aim of developing new guidelines to preserve insect populations and maintain ecosystem resilience.

The Foundation received applications from more than 400 candidates from 70 countries. Forrest Foundation Warden Professor Paul Johnson said this reflected the high international standing of Western Australian universities.

“The best and brightest researchers from around the world see the dynamic research environment in Perth as the ideal place to develop their ideas, their skills and their careers,” Professor Johnson said.

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma said that through the support of the Forrest Research Foundation, the University will help early-career researchers develop and advance their research across a diverse range of areas.

“UWA looks forward to welcoming these talented individuals and helping them to expand their research. It’s a vital part of our commitment to creating new global knowledge and making important advancements in science,” Professor Chakma said.

The Forrest Research Foundation aims to attract the brightest minds to conduct research in Western Australia.

The Foundation provides support to international and domestic students to enrol in a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at one of the State’s universities. It also supports leading researchers who are at the start of their career by providing postdoctoral fellowships.’More information is available on the Forrest Research Foundation website.

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