Australian laureate fellowships for two Monash researchers

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has today awarded highly prestigious Australian Laureate Fellowships to two Monash University researchers.

The 16 Australian Laureate Fellows for 2018 were announced today by the ARC in addition to funding across three other schemes. Monash researchers were awarded more than $26 million across 18 projects for the schemes – Australian Laureates (two), Future Fellowships (13), Industrial Transformation Research Hub (one) and Industrial Transformation Training Centres (one), Linkage Projects (one).

The Laureate Fellowships, totalling $6.1 million over five years, were awarded to Professor of Early Childhood Education at Monash, Professor Marilyn Fleer, and Professor James Whisstock of the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute in the Faculty of Medicine. The fellowships aim to attract and retain world-class researchers who will build Australia’s international competitive research capacity.

As the recipient of the 2018 ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship, Professor Fleer was one of two female researchers selected to take on an ambassadorial role to promote women in research in addition to her research project.

Professor Fleer’s research is focussed on how play can promote children's imagination, creativity and ‘rational' thinking. Her work has helped reveal how imagination and curiosity support learning in science, engineering and technology in early childhood. Her work contributes to supporting learning experiences of children in preschool and childcare settings.

Professor Whisstock’s research is focused on immunity, blood coagulation and developmental biology. With the support of the Laureate Fellowship, Professor Whisstock will develop new molecular imaging approaches to investigate how a model organism, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, controls the development of the head and tail of the embryo.

President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, congratulated the two new Australian Laureate Fellows on their success.

“Australian Laureate Fellowships are among the most prestigious of all ARC awards. This wonderful recognition for Professor Marilyn Fleer and Professor James Whisstock is a testament to the excellence of their research and the transformative contributions they are bringing to their respective fields,” Professor Gardner said.