17 November 2004

The University of Queensland has again topped the nation’s universities in funding from the first round of the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) 2005 Linkage Projects announced today (November 17).

UQ won around $7.2 million in Linkage grants, ahead of the University of New South Wales with $4.9 million and the University of Melbourne with $4.3 million.

UQ’s ARC Linkage Projects for the round are worth $18.1 million, made up of approximately $7.2 million in ARC funding, and $10.9 million in industry partner contributions. The grants encourage the formation of long-term strategic alliances between university researchers and their collaborating partner organisations.

This comes on top of the University’s success as the national leader in ARC Linkage Projects in 2004 and continues to affirm UQ as the leading University in terms of industry interactions.

“I am delighted with the outstanding success of our researchers in attracting 26 projects in this latest round,” Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor David Siddle said.

The University also performed strongly in the ARC Discovery Projects grants announced today, securing 88 grants worth in excess of $25 million and ranking fifth in the nation.

Linkage Grants to UQ included:

- Professor Graeme Hammer, from the School of Land and Food Sciences, and colleagues have been awarded $600,000 for a project focusing on understanding and modelling the genetics and physiology of key adaptive traits in sorghum and maize.
The project will use computer simulation to employ resultant gene-to-phenotype models in ways that will underpin a major shift in the way plant-breeding programs operate. It is expected the new integrating technology will lead to more rapid advances in breeding better adapted and higher yielding crops.

- Kathi Holt-Damant, from the School of Geography Planning and Architecture, and colleagues have been awarded $297,000 for a project focusing on transit-oriented development as a strategy for dealing with urban sprawl and congestion in south east Queensland.
The project will examine how sprawl is impacting on architectural and urban environments. Transit-oriented development (TOD) is seen as a global strategy for inhibiting urban sprawl, but the benefits of TOD have not been measured in Australia. The study will examine the wider issues of TOD with respect to four inter-disciplinary areas: architecture and urban design; urban planning, security, counter-terrorism and threat management; transport strategy; and institutional management.

- Dr Michelle Sterling, from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and colleagues have been awarded $522,011 for a project aimed at validating a set of biological and psychological prognostic indicators of outcome following whiplash injury.
The project will allow stakeholders involved in whiplash such as health care and insurance providers to predict with confidence both those persons at risk of developing chronic symptoms as well as those with a good chance of full recovery. The validation of the predictive capacity of these indicators will, for the first time, provide predictive markers that are amenable to specific early multi-professional treatment interventions.

- Dr Jochen Mueller, National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology, heads a research team that will look at the development of a novel air pollution monitoring strategy - combining passive sampling with toxicity.
This research aims to develop and evaluate a novel approach combining extraction of pollutants using time-integrated passive samplers and toxicological evaluation using rapid in-vitro and in-vivo assays. The outcomes provide inexpensive tools for sensitive assessment of pollutant effects and baseline data to derive intervention guidelines based on mixture toxicity.

Discovery Grants to UQ included:

- Associate Professor Justin Cooper-White, from the School of Engineering and colleagues have been awarded $965,000 in Discovery Project funding to investigate new systematic design standards for microdevice manufacture for the biotechnology, environmental, communications and information technology industries, ultimately leading to the creation of new, exciting ways of tailoring novel biotechnology and ‘point-of-care’ products for Australia.

- Associate Professor Justin Marshall, from the University’s Vision Touch and Hearing Research Centre, and colleagues have been awarded more than $1.1 million to study colour vision and photoreceptors in species of reef fish. These fish will help us understand some of the mysteries of the function of photoreceptors and teach us more about the fundamental principles of vision. Associate Professor Marshall was also awarded an ARC APF.

- Dr Timo Nieminen, from the School of Physical Sciences, and his colleagues secured ARC funding of $675,000 for a project on optically-driven micromachines and microtools. This research will focus on the development and production of micromachines of unprecedented small size, and the development of new medical diagnostic techniques, together with industrial and research tools.

Media: For further information contact Chris Saxby at UQ Communications (telephone 07 3365 2479, email c.saxby@uq.edu.au).