ARC announces $250m in research project funding

Friday, 10 November, 2023

ARC announces $250m in research project funding

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has announced more than $220.2 million in funding for 421 research projects to be undertaken as part of the ARC Discovery Projects scheme. The projects represent research excellence across a broad range of fields, including developing accessible playgrounds for children with vision impairment, understanding the risk of microplastics in Australian agricultural soils, and preventing the loss of sensitive data in the Australian community by malware.

“The Discovery Projects will share funding that supports excellent basic and applied research to expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability, and enhance the scale and focus of research in the Australian Government priority areas,” said ARC CEO Judi Zielke.

“Individual researchers and research teams will be supported by ARC funding to provide economic, commercial, environmental, social and/or cultural benefits to the Australian community.”

Zielke said research funded by the ARC’s National Competitive Grants Program, such as those awarded under the Discover Projects scheme, delivers excellent outcomes, with every $1 of research that the ARC funds generating $3.32 in economic output back into the Australian community. Some of the hundreds of successful Discovery Projects to commence in 2024 include:

  • Charles Darwin University ($351,000): to understand how extreme weather events are affecting Australians’ residential choices and to provide crucial information for essential service provision, infrastructure planning, disaster management and strengthening the Australian community’s resilience.
  • Australian National University ($672,233): to improve regulation of chicken farming and export in our geographical region by reducing livestock disease risks and economic loss and protecting the health of Australians.
  • University of Technology Sydney ($754,626): to deliver critical new knowledge on the causes of marine pathogen outbreaks that threaten Australia’s $1.6 billion aquaculture industry by identifying environmental triggers of devastating disease events in oyster aquaculture farms and outbreaks of severe illness among seafood consumers.

For the full list of funded Discovery Projects for 2024, click here. Expressions of interest for Discovery Projects commencing in 2025 will open on 22 January 2024.

The ARC has also announced more than $28 million in funding for 35 new research projects under the Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme. Zielke said the scheme is an integral part of the ARC’s Linkage Program, which supports national and international collaboration and research partnerships between stakeholders in research and innovation, including higher education providers.

“The LIEF scheme provides funding to research collaborations for the acquisition of research equipment and infrastructure allowing Australian researchers to undertake excellent basic and applied research and training,” Zielke said.

“This funding ensures Australian researchers have world-class infrastructure to support their transformative research across a wide range of disciplines.”

Among the universities that will receive funding are:

  • James Cook University ($350,000): establishing a quarantine glasshouse enabling scientists based in the Australian tropics to develop plant biosecurity research programs addressing plant biosecurity risks from and for Northern Australia.
  • University of Tasmania ($500,000): establish particle-level sorting capability to capture information about the inner workings of cells and animals in high definition, furthering the study of the impact of aging and environmental stressors on human, animal and plant biology.
  • The University of Queensland ($860,000): to build an open-access cryogenic facility in the only deep underground physics laboratory in the Southern Hemisphere. This facility will provide extreme shielding from sources of noise, enabling ultraprecise experiments for fundamental science and contribute to advancing manufacturing capabilities.

For the full list of funded LIEF projects for 2024, click here.

Image credit: Yalanskyi

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