Ground-breaking new ARC Centre of Excellence to investigate dark matter

A new Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence will conduct world-leading research to investigate the nature of dark matter.

ARC Chief Executive Officer, Professor Sue Thomas, welcomed today’s official launch of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics led by The University of Melbourne. The Centre is receiving $35 million in funding from the ARC over 7 years to carry out experiments using new cutting-edge technologies, including at the underground physics laboratory at Stawell.

Professor Thomas said the ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter will allow Australia to lead research endeavours towards understanding what the Universe is made of, with the potential for major discoveries and compelling new ideas on the nature of dark matter.

“This kind of innovative research will help advance our understanding of the Universe and improve the experience, skills and capacity of Australian researchers,” Professor Thomas said.

“It will utliise new experimental equipment in the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory as the southern hemisphere’s epicentre for dark matter research and a national facility desired for other disciplines. This will provide a dynamic environment for advances in ultra-sensitive detectors, ultra-low radiation techniques, spin-off technology translation and highly trained graduates ready to lead innovation in Australian industry.

“This new ARC Centre of Excellence, led by Director Professor Elisabetta Barberio, will bring together a diverse field of national and international expertise in particle and nuclear physics, quantum measurement, and astrophysics – working together to further our knowledge, explore new approaches to detection that will provide valuable insights into the history and evolution of our universe.”

The Centre will collaborate with 6 universities across Australia – The University of Melbourne will lead the ARC Centre of Excellence together with Swinburne University of Technology, The University of Adelaide, The University of Sydney, The Australian National University and the University of Western Australia. They will work with government, industry bodies and international partners including: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation; Defence Science and Technology Group; University of Amsterdam, Netherlands; National Institute for Nuclear Physics; California Institute of Technology, USA; Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg; University of Washington, Seattle; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; The University of Sheffield, UK; and Stockholm University, Sweden.

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