5 June 2017

The Australian Research Council has awarded 14 new Future Fellowships to University of Queensland researchers.

The fellowship funding, totalling $12,124,327 for UQ, was announced by Federal Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham in Canberra.

Details of UQ’s new ARC Future Fellows and their projects are below.

Dr Felicity Meakins (School of Languages and Cultures): $896,163 for an extensive survey of colonial language change in Australia. The project will address the impact of English on the linguistic landscape of Indigenous Australia, stretching from 300 languages spoken at first contact to only 18 remaining today, along with an array of restructured varieties, Kriol dialects and fusions of traditional languages with English. This project aims to recognise new ways of speaking and provide Indigenous communities with guiding principles for language revitalisation.

Associate Professor Jessica Mar (Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology): $944,572 towards a bioinformatics program, which will develop new statistical methods to analyse the how entire genomes are regulated within single cells. Expected outcomes of the project includes a greater understanding of how networks of genes develop and work together, and a suite of novel tools that will push the boundaries of current bioinformatics solutions with potential to deliver significant benefits to every domain of biological science, particularly tissue engineering and synthetic biology.

Associate Professor Adrian Cherney (School of Social Science): $957,000 to investigate the prevention of terrorism. The project will examine approaches that involve police community engagement and local responses to violent extremism. It will aim to:  identify models of best practice for the prevention of terrorism; ascertain how community partnerships against terrorism can be improved; and generate new knowledge about counter-terrorism by examining policies adopted in Australia and abroad. Outcomes are expected to assist police, government agencies, community groups and local service providers to implement and evaluate strategies that prevent terrorism.

Professor Gene Tyson (School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences): $1,016,000 to expand the understanding of key microorganisms, metabolic strategies, and interspecies relationships involved in the formation and consumption of methane. The project will lead to a greater understanding of the contribution of novel microorganisms to global carbon cycling and their links to climate change, assisting modelling efforts to understand future climate change scenarios.

Dr Philip Gillingham (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work): $801,340 to examine how electronic information systems can be redesigned to improve social welfare service delivery and support direct social work practice with those most in need. The project aims to generate new social informatics knowledge relevant to agencies across the sector, improving information systems designs and applications to improve services to the most vulnerable members of society.

Professor Julie Henry (School of Psychology): $965,772 to develop and test a model of how normal adult ageing affects ability to perceive, interpret and process social information. The project will aim to provide insights into how ageing affects social cognitive skills and understand when and why age-related difficulties emerge, leading to a better understanding of the risks and resilience of social cognitive difficulties in late adulthood, with implications preventing social detachment in older Australians.

Dr Eve Mcdonald-Madden (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences): $886,704 to develop systems models of local environmental impacts of beef production, coupled with models of global beef trade to analyse production and policy scenarios. The project will develop a framework to project the ecological impacts of domestic cattle production policies, allowing informed decisions that consider and benefit environmental and socio-economic values.

Dr Ian Hesketh (Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities): $843,455 to examine how historical representations of Darwin and his revolutionary theory have influenced the shape and direction of modern evolutionary science. The project aims to show how historical assumptions about Darwin and natural selection have constrained evolutionary thinking, and to demonstrate how contemporary developments in evolutionary science have changed historians’ understanding of the history of evolution. Expected outcomes include a new understanding of the interactions between history and science, building capacity in the field of the history of science, and collaborations across the biological sciences and humanities.

Dr Jianhua Guo (Advanced Water Management Centre): $700,000 to investigate the occurrence, diversity, and transformation of antibiotic resistant genes in the urban water cycle. The project is expected to lead to the development of technologies to reduce antibiotic resistance genes, with applications for environmental and human health, and economic benefits for Australia.

Dr Christian Rinke (School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences): $728,776 to investigate the origin of eukaryotes and all multicellular life within Archaea, a domain of single-celled microorganisms. The project aims to develop a high-throughput single-cell genomics approach to recover archaeal genomes, bypassing the cultivation step. It will contribute to a comprehensive taxonomic framework for the evaluation of evolutionary relationships between the eukaryotic and archaeal domains and uncover previously unknown archaea with novel metabolic capabilities.

Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens (Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities): $872,468 to examine how the arts and sciences can work together to address complex contemporary challenges. The project is expected to develop models to help solve complex contemporary problems, and raise awareness about the importance of the arts to knowledge-making practices.

Dr Nathan Langford (School of Mathematics and Physics): $768,000 to explore the effects of strong interactions on phases of light and matter in complex quantum systems, by mimicking them with surrogates called quantum simulators. The project will aim to open up new research directions by building a versatile simulator platform from nanoscale superconducting electronic circuits, with flexibly engineered and precisely controlled elements. Expected outcomes include better understanding of complex materials and a certifiable scaling-up pathway towards simulation complexity, future hi-tech manufacturing, and enhanced quantum engineering research capacity.

Associate Professor Valentin Zelenyuk (School of Economics): $944,000 to improve methods to analyse organisations’ productivity and efficiency, and examine Australian hospitals to identify best-practices and recommend improvements and reforms. The project will aim to develop superior theoretical and practical methods for analysing the productivity and efficiency of economic systems.

Dr Jacinda Ginges (School of Mathematics and Physics): $800,077 for a project that aims to further the understanding of the structure of heavy atoms through development and application of state-of-the-art many-electron methods. The expected outcome of this project will be to increase capability in fundamental physics tests and in the development of precision atomic instruments.

Media: UQ Communications, +61 7 3365 1120, communications@uq.edu.au