Monash tops the field with over $13 million for future fellowships

Sixteen Monash University researchers have been awarded a total of $13,906,443 in Future Fellowships – the most for any Australian university – which will be used to drive innovation and facilitate industry collaboration to meet important commercial challenges.

Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan announced the Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowships for 2020. Future Fellowships reflects the Australian Government’s commitment to excellence in research by supporting excellent mid-career researchers to undertake high quality research in areas of national and international benefit.

Professor Marc Parlange, Provost and Senior Vice-President at Monash, congratulated the researchers on their achievements.

“This vital funding provides invaluable support to enable discoveries in key areas that will shape Australia’s future. We’re grateful for this continued investment by the Australian Government into world-leading research at Monash,” Professor Parlange said.

Monash University projects awarded funding include:

Improving the understanding of brain aging

Dr Leonardo Gollo – Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – $750,183

People are said to grow wiser as they grow older, though more likely they will experience cognitive slowing and reduced memory functions that interfere with their daily lives. The anticipated goal of the project is to develop techniques to predict the personalised effects of brain stimulation on the ageing brain. The outcomes of this research could significantly improve understanding of brain ageing, and advance the fields of systems neuroscience, network science, and brain stimulation.

How species will adapt to climate change

Dr Vanessa Kellermann – Faculty of Science – $846,751

The project aims to understand how species will adapt to climate change by examining a largely overlooked process: how competition shapes evolutionary responses. The benefit will be an increased accuracy in predictions of species at risk to climate change which will guide policy and management decisions to protect vulnerable environments better.

Robots that can learn new skills from humans 

Professor Dana Kulic – Faculty of Engineering – $1,052,549

Recent advances in robotics and artificial intelligence are poised to transform our economy, workplaces and homes, and even the organisation of society, however these advances are limited by robots’ inability to learn and adapt in uncertain environments. The outcomes of this project are expected to include new validated methods and frameworks to enable robots to be used by non-experts and to be quickly deployed in a variety of settings.

Investigating the untold history of decolonisation in Southeast Asia

Dr Susanne Protschky – Faculty of Arts – $959,876

This project aims to investigate the untold history of decolonisation in Southeast Asia through amateur soldier photographs taken on the front line of conflicts. Such photographs constitute a vast yet neglected archive that promises unique insights into encounters between combatants on all sides, and with civilians whose experiences have rarely been accessible, particularly women, children and unfree workers. The expected outcomes of this project are to produce new understandings of violence in decolonisation and the long-term legacies of colonialism in Southeast Asia.

Understanding the purpose and power of social contracts

Dr Christopher Watkin – Faculty of Arts – $805,430

Australia’s post-war prosperity has relied on a robust social contract, but it is under increasing strain today from new technological, environmental and socio-political realities. Using techniques from philosophy and social theory, this project seeks to examine the main pressures on the social contract today, and to propose how it can be reinforced. Intended benefits include strengthening social cohesion through better understanding the causes of reduced wellbeing, social fragmentation and unrest, and through proposing ways to mitigate their costly effects.

Other projects funded include:

The design and realisation of new and important molecules requires innovative and efficient methods

Dr Victoria Blair – Faculty of Science – $779,952

Transforming the understanding of granular materials and their behaviour

Dr Ha Bui – Faculty of Engineering – $880,000

Resolving the mechanisms that generate spatial variation in biological traits

Associate Professor David Chapple – Faculty of Science – $997,553

Novel genetic methods and instrumentation for the local, rapid and reversible activation of genes in cells and mice

Dr Harald Janovjak – Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – $808,404

Investigating the nature of quasiparticles beyond the current paradigm

Associate Professor Meera Parish – Faculty of Science – $1,001,328

Advancing the development of high-throughput stereolithographic additive manufacturing of thermoplastic polymers and composites

Associate Professor Timothy Scott – Faculty of Engineering – $1,065,000

Advancing of knowledge of insect-specific flaviviruses

Dr Yin Xiang Setoh – $808,584

Producing valuable chemicals from air, water and Australia’s abundant renewable energy

Dr Alexandr Simonov – Faculty of Science – $784,234

Addressing the unresolved evolutionary origins of bat echolocation

Dr Laura Wilson – Faculty of Science – $804,983

New energy conversion and storage technologies for Australian manufacturing industry

Dr Huacheng Zhang – Faculty of Engineering – $785,379

Expanding knowledge and improvements in drug development efficiency

Dr Peishen Zhao – Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences – $776,237

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