14 March 2007

The outstanding work of The University of Queensland’s (UQ) Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres has been recognised with $15.7 million of extension funding for all four research groups.

Two of the ARC Centres based at UQ have had their status upgraded to Centres of Excellence, further recognising the outstanding research being undertaken.

The funding was announced by Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training Julie Bishop this week.

The ARC Centre in Bioinformatics, led by the Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Professor Mark Ragan, and the ARC Centre for Functional Nanomaterials, led by the Australian Institute for Nanotechnology & Bioengineering’s Professor Max Lu, have both gained the prestigious Centre of Excellence status.

Bioinformatics involves the collection, management and analysis of large amounts of biological data using networks of computers and databases. The Centre’s mission is to use bioinformatics to understand how genetic information is translated into the physical and functional characteristics of mammalian cells, and also to develop and improve the techniques used in bioinformatics.

Nanomaterials are advanced materials constructed with nanoscale building blocks, with molecular precision and control. Functional nanomaterials are those having essential functional properties that are useful in processes such as adsorption, ion-conducting, separation, catalysis, biomaterials and biosensing. One example of this technology is current testing of microscopic sieves that trap environmentally destructive greenhouse gases before they escape coal-fired power stations and refineries.

The two other UQ-based ARC centres to extend their funding are the Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research, led by Professor Peter Gresshoff, and the Centre for Complex Systems, led by Professor Peter Lindsay.

UQ researchers will share in a further $23.32 million that has been allocated to centres in which the University is involved such as the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computer Technology; the Centre of Excellence in Biotechnology and Development; the Centre of Excellence for Quantum-Atom Optics; and the Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Modelling of Complex Systems.

UQ researchers will also receive more than $140,000 in funding from the ARC’s Linkage International Awards, which provide funds for Australia-based researchers to participate in joint research projects with overseas researchers.

Media inquiries: Andrew Dunne at UQ Communications (3365 2802).