Monash Science researchers score record $11 million for Australian Research Council Discovery Projects

Discovery-Projects

Faculty of Science researchers have been awarded $11,102,741 million for Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Projects (DPs) – a record achievement compared with results over the previous six years - and with the added challenges of operating in year three of a global pandemic.

The ARC announced the approval by Acting Minister for Education and Youth, the Hon Stuart Robert MP of $258.6 million for 587 new projects funded through the DP scheme over the next five years.

Monash University was successful with 65 applications with 26 of those applications led by Faculty of Science researchers. The University was awarded $29,736, 366 million – the highest in Victoria.

The DP scheme aims to support excellent basic and applied research and research training; promote national and international research collaboration; and enhance the scale and focus of research in Australian Government priority areas.

Welcoming the announcement Monash Science Dean Professor Jordan Nash said the funding confirmed a continued growth for the Faculty with respect to the previous six years with this year’s result representing an increase of almost $2 million compared to last year.

“This is an outstanding result, particularly at a time when funding is highly competitive and combined with the fact that we have all also been operating under a challenging environment as a result of COVID-19, which is now approaching its third year,” Professor Nash said.

“On behalf of the Faculty, I congratulate all of our talented and committed researchers who continue to strive for excellence in their pursuit of science to solve global challenges,” he said.

“We should all be very proud of the results which have also contributed significantly to the overall Monash result,” he said.

Projects funded in Science include:

Professor Carla Sgro, School of Biological Sciences, $573,144

Genomic vulnerability:  This project aims to validate genomic predictions of species’ vulnerability to climate change. Species are already responding to climate change, and many face high predicted rates of extinction. Some species will be able to avoid extinction via evolutionary adaptation. Yet we currently lack the ability to accurately predict which species do and do not have the capacity to adapt and avoid extinction.

Associate Professor Jie Zhang, School of Chemistry, $481,000

Medium temperature electrolysis for low-cost carbon dioxide utilization: Carbon dioxide is a notorious greenhouse gas. Its capture, and subsequent storage or utilization, is a major focus not only for researchers, but also for governments trying to meet their obligations of the Paris Agreement on climate change and for industries managing their legal and social responsibilities. This project aims to develop commercially viable medium temperature electrolysers to convert carbon dioxide into value added chemicals using electricity from renewable sources.

Dr Fabio Capitanio; Professor Julie Arblaster; Associate Professor Dietmar Dommenget, School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, $423,961

The impact of India-Asia tectonics on climate: This interdisciplinary project aims to determine the controls of tectonics on global climate in the last 50 million years. A combination of tectonics, paleogeography, climate modelling and high-performance computing will be applied to test systematically outstanding issues in the reconstruction of the Indo-Asia region and their landmass/seaways configurations and topography, which have bedevilled previous models of paleoclimate evolution.

Dr Julie Clutterbuck; School of Mathematics, $295,000

Optimal shapes in geometry and physics: Isoperimetry in modern analysis. This project will find the best isoperimetric shapes in curved spaces: shapes that optimise geometric or analytic quantities, such as the volume enclosed by a surface of a given area, or the resonant frequency of a drum of given area. The optimal shapes lead to tools that are widely used in differential equations, geometric analysis, statistical physics, probability theory, and quantum computing.

Dr Christophe Pinte; Professor Daniel Price; School of Physics and Astronomy, $300,000

Mapping the physics of planet formation: The 2019 Nobel prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery of the first extra-solar planet around a Sun-like star. But we do not know how these planets, or those in our solar system, formed. In the last two years Monash researchers have pioneered a new technique for detecting `baby' planets - observed still embedded in the disc of gas and dust from which they are born. The aim is to grow this new field of protoplanet detection and characterisation.

A full list of 26 projects can be found here.

ARC DP grant winners in the Faculty of Science by School:

School

No. of awarded proposals

Total awarded ARC funding ($)

Biological Sciences

8

$4,009,780

Chemistry

2

$1,116,000

Earth, Atmosphere and Environment

4

$1,666,961

School of Mathematics

10

$3,624,000

Physics and Astronomy

2

$686,000

Total

26

$11,102,741

Comparison with previous rounds 
 

DP15

DP16

DP17

DP18

DP19

DP20

DP21

Applications:

71

81

92

69

65

75

79

Awards:

10

11

25

18

9

18

22

Awarded ($):

$4,314,632

$4,496,072

$9,461,869

$7,002,763

$3,392,206

$8,707,689

$9,426,874

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