ARC Future Fellowships awarded to Turner Institute researchers

The Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health researchers, Associate Professor Trevor Chong and Associate Professor Adrian Carter have received 2022 ARC Future Fellowships.

Future Fellowships are awarded to outstanding mid-career researchers, who will receive funding support for the next 4 years.

“These fellowships are extraordinarily competitive and recognise the outstanding research programs and leaders in their fields,” said the Director of the Turner Institute, Professor Kim Cornish.

“Both Trevor and Adrian have demonstrated significant research impact and international recognition in cognitive neuroscience and neuroethics, respectively.”

A/P Adrian Carter is researching ethical frameworks for responsible innovation of neurotechnology.

“Neurotechnology is advancing at a rapid pace, with new drugs, brain implants, and monitoring technologies emerging to better diagnose, prevent and predict mental and neurological illness,” A/P Carter said.

‘My hope is that this fellowship will ensure that advances in neuroscience research are able to benefit all Australians, particularly under-served populations while maximising people's privacy, agency and participation in the process.”

He said this meant that the voices of those affected by mental illness and neurological disease in the research and implementation of neurotechnological innovation will be represented and heard.

Associate Professor Chong will be researching the neurobiology of curiosity by combining cutting-edge techniques in computational modelling, pharmacointervention, and neuroimaging.

“Curiosity is the bedrock of learning, education, and discovery,” A/P Chong said.

“Our insatiable desire to pursue and relieve our curiosity drives innovations that directly impact our health, economies, and social well-being. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a reduction in curiosity is characteristic of depressive illnesses and apathy, which have debilitating consequences.”

Despite the importance of curiosity to our lives, we have a limited understanding of the brain processes that drive it.

“The goal of my Fellowship is to develop a biological framework that explains what makes people curious, and why.”

The Australian Government is funding 100 mid-career researchers to focus on finding solutions for key industry challenges and training the next generation of researchers under the ARC Future Fellowships scheme.

“The ARC Future Fellowships scheme attracts and helps retain the best and brightest mid-career researchers, as they undertake research in areas of national importance,” said Ms Judi Zielke PSM, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian Research Council (ARC)