Four Newcastle researchers selected for funding boost

University of Newcastle researchers have received more than $1.6m in grants from the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme.

Newcastle research areas awarded DECRA funding include reproductive science; the mathematics of symmetry; carbon capture and utilisation; and middle eastern history.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan announced $84M for 200 new Australian research projects to be funded under the DECRA scheme, which supports early-career researchers to focus on advancing their research, and creating opportunities to build important connections and knowledge.

University of Newcastle Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Janet Nelson said the funding was important for the development of talented researchers and quality research.

“This funding success will be of great benefit to the early career researchers and I’m pleased to see researchers from such a wide variety of disciplines being awarded these grants. These research projects are each addressing important issues that will make a real difference to society, from food futures to developing next generation resources,” Professor Nelson said.

“These four early career researchers have been chosen because their projects were considered world-leading in their fields and I congratulate each of them on their significant achievement.”

Grant recipients and their projects

Elizabeth BromfieldDr Elizabeth Bromfield from the School of Environmental and Life Sciences is investigating how plant and animal germ cells respond to environmental stresses that are known to disrupt fertility. This project aims to improve the tolerance of reproductive cells to heat stress, to prevent economic losses and help to secure future food production.

Stephan TornierDr Stephan Tornier from the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences is aiming to advance our knowledge in the area of ‘zero-dimensional’ symmetry, the type of symmetry that digital file systems and data networks may have. This knowledge has the potential to inform the design and usage of such systems.

Umit KurtDr Umit Kurt from the School of Humanities and Social Science is looking at the historical impact and consequences of the Ottoman Empire’s violent history. Dr Kurt’s research will re-examine the classical historical narrative about the emergence of the post-Ottoman Middle East, and seek to understand the wider, global dimensions of mass violence.

Jessica AllenDr Jessica Allen, from the School of Engineering aims to develop a novel solar-driven manufacturing process able to produce advanced carbon materials which effectively sequester carbon dioxide. This project investigates the potential to use this technology to offset global carbon dioxide emissions.

A full list of the 2021 ARC DECRA recipients and their projects is available on the ARC website.

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