Six Monash Science researchers become ARC Future Fellows

Science researchers have won almost half of the ARC Future Fellowships awarded to Monash University – an outstanding achievement for the Faculty of Science, which has propelled the University into first place nationally in the list of Future Fellows announced yesterday.

The Faculty of Science has secured six of the 13 ARC Future Fellowships awarded to Monash, and the Faculty’s success rate of awarded grants at 42.9% surpasses both the Monash success rate (25.5%), and the national success rate (19.6%).

Monash will receive just over $11 million in funding for the ARC Future Fellowship research projects with approximately $5 million going to Faculty of Science researchers.

“Congratulations to our 2018 ARC Future Fellows,” said Monash Science Dean, Professor Jordan Nash.

“This is an excellent result for the Faculty of Science which will enable our researchers to tackle a range of globally important issues from predicting future patterns in marine life, to the evolution of infectious disease, to creating new methods for x-ray imaging, and more,”  he said.

The new Future Fellows are awarded to outstanding mid-career researchers, who will now receive funding support for the next four years to undertake their innovative research in Australia.

The Future Fellowships scheme encourages research in areas of national priority, with preference given to researchers who can demonstrate a capacity to build collaboration across industry, with other research institutions and with other disciplines.

The Monash Science 2018 Australian Future Fellows are

Professor Dustin Marshall

Understanding marine life-history patterns: an eco-energetics approach. This project aims to determine how temperature affects the energetics of development in marine invertebrates and explain why global distributions of marine organisms show the patterns they do. This project will provide new insights into whether Australia's temperate marine fauna are uniquely vulnerable to future change. Leveraging a new framework, eco-energetics, the project will determine the relative performance of different larval types across every stage of the life history. The project will provide significant benefits such as a new powerful and comprehensive framework for understanding current and predicting future patterns in marine life, providing inferences that extend beyond the species studied in this project.

Funding Awarded $951,301.00

Dr Matthew Hall

Linking sex-specific adaptation to the evolution of infectious disease. This project aims to examine how differences in the response of males and females to pathogen attack can influence the evolution of infectious disease. This project expects to generate new knowledge in the area of host-pathogen co-evolution, by integrating approaches from the fields of evolutionary genetics, sexual selection, and epidemiology. Expected outcomes include an enhanced capacity to build interdisciplinary collaborations and development of theory that predicts infection dynamics in any species with separate sexes. This is expected to provide significant benefits, such as improving our knowledge of why the sexes differ and potentially providing new avenues for understanding disease outbreaks and preventing population declines or extinctions.

Funding Awarded $727,610

Dr Christopher Ritchie

Luminophores and photochromes: towards molecular componentry. This project aims to enhance current knowledge of luminogenic and photochromic molecules, including self-assembled structures, and materials composed thereof, by constructing a computationally guided compound library. Translation of primary outcomes towards utility in emerging technologies including passive light harvesting from transparent surfaces, bio-sensors and photo-responsive devices will be pursued in collaboration with both academia and industry. The expected outcomes from this project include the creation of opportunities to explore the manufacture and commercialisation of high-value products with Australian industry. This will provide significant benefits, such as reduction in the carbon footprint of homes, businesses and other applicable structures due to passive power generation, while creating jobs and up-skilling the workforce.

Funding Awarded $726,125

Dr Andrew Tomkins

Evolution of sub-arc mantle oxidation state over Earth’s history. This project aims to determine how the oxidation state of the Earth's mantle has changed throughout geologic history in response to recycling of sulfur, carbon and iron though subduction zones, and how this has influenced mineral deposit formation. The expected outcome is a holistic model that ties evolution of the Earth's biosphere to geochemical changes in the deep Earth that control mineral deposit formation. By improving our understanding of how, where, when and why mineral deposits formed, this project should provide improvements in mineral exploration strategy, and thus benefits to Australia's economy.

Funding Awarded $ 998,125

Dr Kaye Morgan

Dynamic multi-modal x-ray imaging. This project aims to create sensitive new methods of x-ray imaging that capture multiple image modalities with a single snapshot. Conventional x-ray imaging is widely used in a range of industries, but captures only a fraction of the rich information that is available in the x-ray wavefield. This project expects to extract additional image modalities to reveal x-ray-transparent features, and detect microscopic textures. By combining these capabilities with the ability to capture images of a moving sample, this project will enable innovative biomedical and materials research studies, and develop new imaging technologies for use in security, hospitals and manufacturing. New methods of x-ray imaging will have wide-ranging benefits for society, the economy and healthcare.

Funding Awarded $738,125

Dr Amelia Liu

The role of structure in the formation and properties of glasses. This project aims to investigate the role of local atomic structure in the formation and mechanical properties of glasses by applying newly developed structure-determination methods. This project expects to establish why glasses form and how their structure gives rise to their undesirable, and limiting, brittle mechanical failure. The anticipated outcomes of this project are better ways to measure the atomic structure of disordered materials and the generation of more clear-cut structure-property relationships for glasses. This will provide significant benefit to Australian industries by enabling the design of better glass-forming systems and stronger, tougher glasses.

Funding Awarded $738,125

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