The University of Queensland was awarded three Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres of Excellence and three ARC Australian Laureate Fellowships in this round – with UQ securing the largest share of funding in the competitive grants.
This represents $310 million in competitive funding across the life of both schemes — recognising and reflecting the outstanding quality of our 2000-strong interdisciplinary research community.
UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj AC said he was thrilled the University had secured three Centres of Excellence in this round, enabling UQ academics to undertake research in areas of national significance.
“This is a tremendous outcome for the University which will see in excess of $300 million of funding into UQ-led research,” Professor Peter Høj said.
“With three of the nine highly sought-after ARC Centres of Excellence awarded to UQ, we have now secured more centres than any other university – not only in this round but since the scheme’s inception in 2003 – which exemplifies UQ’s leadership in innovation and transformational research over the past 15 years."
Three University of Queensland researchers have also been awarded Australian Research Council (ARC) Australian Laureate Fellowships – with UQ securing the largest share of funding in the competitive grants.
Professor Debra Bernhardt, Professor Sara Dolnicar and Professor Lianzhou Wang have attracted more than $9.8 million in funding over the next five years for their research.
Professor Peter Høj congratulated each new fellow on their achievement.
“The ARC Australian Laureate Fellowships are fiercely competitive and awarded to Australia’s best and brightest researchers,” Professor Peter Høj said.
“Each of our Laureate Fellows are highly regarded academics in their respective fields, and securing five years of funding means they can continue their innovative research that could have not only national but also global impact."
Discover our new ARC Centres of Excellence
ARC Centre of Excellence for Innovations in Peptide and Protein Science
Research to unlock the potential of peptides and proteins found in Australian flora and fauna for applications such as next generation medicines and bio-friendly pesticides will be the focus of a new research centre to be based at UQ.
The Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan MP has announced $35 million in funding to establish the ARC Centre of Excellence (COE) for Innovations in Peptide and Protein Science.
UQ's Professor David Craik (left) with colleague Matthew Taylor
Director of the new COE Professor David Craik, from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience, said the Centre aimed to unleash the potential of peptides and proteins for the benefit of both the local and global communities.
“Peptides and proteins are the building blocks of life that carry out almost all biological functions, and contain huge amounts of complex information which is compressed into the cells of living organisms,” he said.
“Unpacking this information, understanding its meaning and harnessing it for human benefit is one of the grand challenges of the 21st century.”
Researchers aim to discover new proteins from natural sources and develop technologies to apply solutions to science, agriculture, engineering, animal health and medicine.
Peptides acting as eco-friendly bio-pesticides have already been discovered in the venom of the Australian funnel-web spider, and potential antibiotics isolated from koala and Tasmanian devil milk.
More information about the ARC Centre of Excellence for Innovations in Peptide and Protein Science is on the UQ News website.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course
Research to help Australian families break the cycle of disadvantage and stop the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ widening will continue at UQ.
The Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan MP has announced $32.1 million in funding for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course.
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course will help Australian families break the cycle of disadvantage
The Centre will be led by UQ’s Professor Janeen Baxter, from the Institute for Social Science Research.
“The Centre will focus on transformative research and translation to develop tailored solutions for people suffering from disadvantage in their daily lives,” Professor Baxter said.
“The Life Course Centre will shift the dial by moving beyond averages to develop a more detailed understanding of why disadvantage takes hold in particular places, at particular times, and for particular people.
“Bringing together different types of data will deepen our understanding of the mechanisms underlying disadvantage, and enable us to develop personalised and community-based solutions that can make a difference.”
More information about the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course is on the UQ News website.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture
The next generation of agricultural crops that can withstand the effects of climate change and increase food security will be identified at a major new research centre to be based at UQ.
The Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan MP has announced $35 million in funding to establish the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture.
Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan MP and UQ’s Professor Christine Beveridge
Director of the new Centre, UQ’s Professor Christine Beveridge, said the team would identify nature’s success stories and translate these into opportunities to enhance yield and resilience in agricultural crops.
“Around two-thirds of the world-wide human calorie intake comes from just three plant sources – wheat, rice and corn,” Professor Beveridge said.
“Future-proofing these crops against diverse climates including drought, and expanding gains in diverse plants is a must in order to improve food security for the projected 25 per cent increase in world population over the next 30 years.
“By predicting the plant varieties that are best for particular environments we can help farmers choose which plants to grow in what areas for each season for the best yield.
“An important component of the Centre is the focus on the regulatory requirements which will allow the new technologies to be scaled globally to future-proof agriculture in Australia and around the world.”
More information about the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture is on the UQ News website.
Meet our latest ARC Laureate Fellows
Professor Debra Bernhardt
Professor Debra Bernhardt has received $3.43 million in funding for her project to predict the dynamic behaviour and properties of physical matter at a molecular level, and develop state-of-the-art molecular simulation models. Her research will lead to the development of new clean energy sources and storage technologies.
Professor Sara Dolnicar
Professor Sara Dolnicar has been awarded $3.2 million to manage the environmental impacts of leisure and tourism activities by creating a new theory explaining, predicting and eliciting pro-environmental behaviour in these pleasure-focused settings.
Professor Lianzhou Wang
Professor Lianzhou Wang has received $3.18 million to develop revolutionary next-generation materials that harness solar energy. The research will produce valuable fuels and chemicals from water and carbon dioxide, replacing the need for fossil fuels.
UQ now has 27 ARC Australian Laureate Fellows – more than any other university in Australia – with nine awarded in the last two years alone.
See the full list of the 2019 ARC Australian Laureate Fellows.