Multi-million dollar funding boost for UQ researchers

4 Nov 2020

Twenty one University of Queensland researchers are among 200 nationwide awarded $84 million in grants through the Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRAs) scheme.

Travelling to and from Mars, developing renewable hydrogen and improving plant performance are among the UQ projects that will receive more than $9.1 million from the Australian Research Council.

DECRAs support Australia’s next generation of researchers working in key priority areas, giving them time and resources to continue their work.

Each recipient will receive salary support for three years and up to $50,000 in additional funding each year for other costs vital to their project.

Five researchers from the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology were awarded DECRAs:

  • $423,000 to Dr Wen Hua from the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering to investigate the problem of information extraction and develop new techniques for reliable and efficient information discovery from large-scale low-quality data.
  • $396,948 to Dr Zhiliang Wang from the School of Chemical Engineering to achieve efficient renewable hydrogen production through solar-driven photoelectrochemical water splitting. This will position Australia at the frontier of renewable hydrogen supply techniques.
  • $439,082 to Dr Mickael Mounaix from the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering to develop two prototype optical beam shaping systems, culminating in the demonstration of new high-power optic fibre amplifiers, to potentially open new ways to probe objects using light.
  • $431,722 to Dr Christopher James from the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering to investigate how flow radiation and heat shield ablation products would interact under a hypersonic return to Earth from Mars. This will bring humankind closer to travelling to and from Mars.
  • $429,000 to Dr Hongfu Sun from the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering to develop of novel quantitative imaging technique for in vitro and in vivo tissue characterisation on the microscopic scale. This could revolutionise microscopic imaging techniques.

Other UQ DECRAs are:

  • $433,000 to Dr Susannah Chapman from the School of Law to examine the development of a system of end point royalties for patent and plant variety-protected crop varies in Australia, where royalties are calculated on the harvest.
  • $445,009 to Dr Nicholas Clark from the School of Veterinary Science to develop and quantitative framework to allow us to better anticipate how ecosystems respond to environmental change.
  • $447,346 to Dr Jennifer Deuis from Institute for Molecular Bioscience to generate new knowledge in the area of neuroscience, to aid in the development of novel analgesics.
  • $429,450 to Dr Camille Guillerey from the Faculty of Medicine to advance basic knowledge in immunology by investigating the interactions between two populations of immune cells: natural killer cells and dendtritic cells.
  • $437,299 to Dr Glen Harris from the School of Mathematics and Physics to develop a silicon-based photonic platform to provide a deeper understanding of quantum fluids and quantum mechanics, and enable the realisation of new quantum technologies.
  • $427,882 to Dr Anna Hogan from the School of Education to investigate the consequences of philanthropic involvement in Australian public schooling, to inform sociological theories and what the state’s role ought to be, particularly in relation to school funding arrangements.
  • $444,620 to Dr Jack Lam from the Institute for Social Science Research to investigate how significant life events generate temporary or sustained changes in loneliness. The findings will improve economic and social outcomes for individuals, families and governments.
  • $431,015 to Dr Matthew Luskin from the School of Biological Sciences to develop a suite of analysis techniques to study wildlife communities to general new knowledge in the fields of ecology and conservation biology.
  • $441,173 to Dr Bryan Mukandi from the School of Clinical Medicine to provide a deeper understanding of the way in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, African and Afro-diasporic people understand their children’s situation, as dominant conceptions of childhood generally take the figure of the white child.
  • $444,075 to Dr Benjamin Pope to study the nearest, brightest stars by extending the capabilities to NASA’s TESS telescope and Mount Kent Observatory. This is the best chance we have to detect planets around such stars.
  • $451,075 to Dr Jonathan Redshaw from the School of Psychology to use innovative methods specially designed for children to chart how children use external thinking tools like calculators, GPS and smartphones to solve problems we once solved internally.
  • $419,308 to Dr Reuben Rideaux to combine computational modelling, brain imaging and psychological techniques to better understand how people perceive the world through sensory cues, and to reduce ‘cybersickness’ in children, a side effect of virtual reality systems.
  • $438,835 to Dr Benjamin Roberts from the School of Mathematics and Physics to uncover new signatures of physics beyond the Standard Model. The project should generate new knowledge to unravel the mystery of dark matter.
  • $395,588 to Dr Hao Song from AIBN to develop a next-generation adhesive nanoparticle platform through in-depth understandings of nanoparticle interactions with bio-interfaces.
  • $447,524 to Dr Kai Voss-Fels from QAAFI to investigate how biological and environmental data can be integrated to improve the prediction of plant performance under climatic fluctuations. This will generate new knowledge in the area of quantitative genetics.
  • $461,249 to Dr Chung-Chi Wu from QAAFI to discover new avenues for crop improvement and significantly benefit crop breeding and food production capacity, using a sorghum model.

Media: UQ Communications,; 07 3365 1130.