EI members among successful ARC Funding outcomes announced today

The Australian Research Council has today announced the funding outcomes for ARC Discovery Projects, Linkage Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) applications and Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA) for funding commencing in 2013.

Among the 49 successful University of Adelaide applications were 8 Discovery Projects, 3 LIEF applications and 2 Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA) involving Environment Institute members.

The successful Discovery Projects were:

Reconstructing the impact of climate change on Australian native species
Participants: Austin, Dr Jeremy J; Joseph, Dr Leo G; Suchard, Prof Marc A; Byrne, Dr Margaret
Project Summary: This project will explore the impact of past climate change on Australian native animals to identify species and ecosystems at greatest potential risk, and to help predict and minimise the effects of future change.

Generalised methods for testing extinction dynamics across geological, near and modern time scales
Participants: Bradshaw, Prof Corey J; Brook, Prof Barry Brook
Project Summary: The record of extinctions over deep time is patchy and incomplete, yet we must use it to determine how major changes in past environments have shaped life on Earth today. The project will develop cutting-edge mathematical tools to determine the patterns of extinctions and speciation over geological time to help predict our uncertain environmental future.

The Eocene high latitude Australasian ‘tropics’ in a changing climate: resolving conflicting evidence
Participants: Conran, Dr John G; McInerney, Dr Francesca A; Hill, Prof Robert S; Lee, A/Prof Daphne E; Mildenhall, Dr Dallas C
Project Summary: Between 45 to 30 million years ago, high latitude subtropical floras in Australia and New Zealand experienced significant climate change, leading to the evolution of present day vegetation. Understanding the effects of this climate change on extinction and speciation will produce more accurate predictions about modern floras when faced with climate change.

Refining the timescale of human evolution and dispersal using ancient DNA
Participants: Haak, Dr Wolfgang; Ho, Dr Simon Y; Llamas, Dr Bastien; Behar, Dr Doron M
Project Summary: Understanding the timescale of human evolution and migration is a key goal of genetic analysis. It provides the foundation for studying our evolutionary and demographic history, our relationships to other hominids and our impact on the natural world. This project aims to use ancient DNA data to improve estimates of our evolutionary timescale.

New understanding of turbulent flames with soot and particulate fuels
Participants: Nathan, Prof Graham ‘Gus’ J; Dally, A/Prof Bassam B; Pitsch, Prof Heinz
Project Summary: This project will develop the new understanding and models required to optimise practical furnaces, boilers and combustion chambers, most of which involve soot and/or particulate fuels. This work will be performed with state-of- the-art measurement and modelling tools through a well-established partnership of international researchers

Reconstructing wheat evolution using ancient DNA
Participants:Wilkinson, Prof Michael J; Breen, Dr James M; Higham, Dr Thomas F; Pinhasi, Dr Ron
Project Summary: The domestication of wild grasses by farmers was a step change in human history; it led to the emergence of modern cereals and with them, western civilisation. This project will apply modern DNA sequencing methods to 5000 -year-old cereal seeds to reconstruct the history of wheat, barley and other crops, and identify lost ancient forms and diversity.

Climate model validation and generation of probabilistic climate projections using data from Phase 5 of the Climate Model Intercomparison Project
Participants: Wigley, Dr Tom M; Santer, Dr Benjamin D
Project Summary: New climate model results will be compared with observations to test model skill. Probabilistic projections of regional- scale climate change will be developed and used to investigate a number of ecosystem impact case studies.

Resilience in biogeochemical pathways along a catchment-to-coast continuum
Participants: Hipsey, A/Prof Matthew R; Brookes, A/Prof Justin D; Hamilton, Prof David P; Hanson, A/Prof Paul C; Liu, Prof Cheng-Chien
Project Summary: Aquatic systems have degraded more in the past 50 years than any other time in history. Global pressures are further threatening their sustainability, but their complexity makes it difficult to understand how they are responding. This project will combine numerous state-of-the-art approaches to unravel pathways that shape their response.
Administering Organisation: The University of Western Australia.

The successful LIEF applications were:

Next generation enhancement of the South Australian regional facility for molecular ecology and evolution
Participants: Austin, Prof Andrew D; Lowe, Prof Andrew J; Donnellan, Prof Stephen C; Cooper, Prof Alan; Gardner, Dr Michael G; Cooper, A/Prof Steven J; Weinstein, Prof Philip; Beheregaray, Prof Luciano B; Waycott, Prof Michelle; Bull, Prof Christopher M; Wilkinson, Prof Michael J; Stevens, Dr Mark I; Mitchell, A/Prof James G; Watson-Haigh, Dr Nathan S
Partner Organisations: The Flinders University of South Australia, South Australian Museum, University of South Australia, Botanic Gardens of Adelaide and State Herbarium of SA, Australian Wine Research Institute
Project Summary: The new equipment will enhance opportunities for innovative research in basic biology, archaeological, agricultural, biomedical, forensic and environmental sciences. This research is critical for monitoring the nature and extent of environmental change and developing strategies to promote adaptation by species to future climate change.

Controlled radiation facility to investigate turbulence-radiation-chemistry interactions in high- flux solar reactors
Participants: Nathan, Prof Graham ‘Gus’ J; Masri, Prof Assaad R; Hawkes, A/Prof Evatt R; Alwahabi, Dr Zeyad T; Dally, A/Prof Bassam B; Ashman, A/Prof Peter J; Medwell, Dr Paul R; Cleary, Dr Matthew J; Dunn, Dr Matthew J; Taylor, Dr Robert
Partner Organisations: The University of Sydney, The University of New South Wales
Project Summary: This project’s facility will support the transition of Australia’s energy intensive industries, including minerals and resources, to a much lower carbon intensity. It will also underpin collaborations with internationally leading partners to develop novel solar-combustion hybrid reactors for the production of solar fuels and for minerals processing.

Materials characterisation facility for a sustainable future
Participants: Qiao, Prof Shizhang; Doonan, Dr Christian J; Chittleborough, Prof David J; Biggs, Prof Mark J; Bedrikovetski, Prof Pavel; Shapter, Prof Joseph G; Zhang, Prof Dongke; Dlugogorski, Prof Bogdan Z; Kennedy, Prof Eric M
Partner Organisations: The Flinders University of South Australia, The University of Western Australia, The University of Newcastle
Project Summary: Sustainable development will require access to large-scale carbon-neutral energy production. The tools provided through this project will enable the development of new knowledge and novel materials and processes technologies that will deliver this carbon-neutral energy.

The successful DECRA awards were:

Skulls as machines: diversity and evolution in a group of charismatic Australian lizards
Participant: Dr Marc E. Jones
Project Summary: This project uses sophisticated computer software to analyse how the complex skulls of dragon lizards work. This will provide a greater understanding of the factors underlying their evolution and radiation in Australia where they are one of the most successful lizard groups and a vital part of the desert fauna.

Evolution, breeding biology and extinction of giant fowl in Australia and the Southwest Pacific
Participant: Dr Trevor H Worthy
Project Summary: New investigation of the extinct giant flightless Australian mihirungs and similar giant fowl of Oceania by analysis of fossils will reveal their relationships and resolve the evolutionary history of fowl globally. This project will provide insight into breeding strategies of these fossil species and the causes and impacts of their extinction.

Congratulations are awarded to all of the EI’s successful applicants, as well as to all of the successful University of Adelaide applicants!

A full list of successful applicants can be found on the ARC website.

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