Deakin University receives over $8 million in research funding

Advancing Society and Culture

Nineteen Deakin-led projects and awards have been funded in the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) Scheme Awards.

A total of $8,300,116 has been awarded to Deakin researchers for 12 ARC Discovery Projects, three ARC Discovery Early Career Awards (DECRAs), three ARC Future Fellowships and an ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) award.

Deakin’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Peter Hodgson, said he was delighted for the successful researchers.

“I congratulate all of the recipients on this recognition. I am particularly pleased to see that, of our 19 awards, 58 per cent (or 11 awards) will be led by female researchers. The awards are a much-deserved acknowledgement of the hard work and collaboration of these researchers. They will fund important research across many domains in the years to come.”
peterh
Professor Peter Hodgson Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research

The three Deakin ARC Future Fellows:

Dr Clinton Bruce, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences 
This project will advance understanding of the mechanisms that control muscle mass in animals. It has the potential to achieve important economic and quality of life benefits, especially for agriculture, where achieving optimal muscle mass ensures international competitiveness, productivity and economic growth.

Associate Professor Peter Enticott, School of Psychology
This project aims to understand how the human brain develops social and emotional understanding. Its findings could be used to develop educational programs that enhance empathy and co-operation, strengthen family relationships, promote social inclusion and reduce maladaptive behaviours. It could also guide intervention in brain disorders that affect social understanding.

Professor Emma Kowal, Alfred Deakin Institute
This project aims to re-evaluate the role of biology in Aboriginal studies. Indigenous Australians have attracted intense scientific interest since European colonisation. The researchers will develop an account of how the history of race science matters in the present through investigating 20th century scientific efforts to understand Indigenous Australians biologically. It aims to ensure that Indigenous genomics offers the most benefit to Indigenous people.

 

The Deakin-led Discovery Projects:

Professor Christoph Antons, School of Law, Faculty of Business and Law
This project aims to discover how local farming communities’ practical knowledge can improve food security. 795 million under-nourished people rely on small farmers for food. To protect these farmers from multinational agribusiness and climate change, the project will examine how small farmers turn useful plant material into cultivated crops through plant selection and breeding under conditions of climate change.

Professor John Grundy, School of Information Technology
This project aims to invent domain-specific visual languages and support model-driven engineering-based infrastructure so domain experts can specify, generate and apply complex data analytics and visualisation techniques. It is expected to improve productivity and quality of big data analytics and visualisation in critical domains.

Professor Anita Harris, Alfred Deakin Institute
This project aims to examine transnational mobility amongst young people and understand its effects on their economic opportunities, social and familial ties, capacity for citizenship and transitions to adulthood. Outcomes include a significant dataset and online research database on how youth from various cultural backgrounds manage mobility and develop economic, social and civic benefits for themselves and the broader community.

Professor David Lowe, School of Arts and Education
This project will analyse Australian motives and their connectedness to the allocation of foreign aid since the Second World War. It will research relationships between identified values and geographical priorities in Australia’s aid program. It will add to understanding of Australia’s role in world affairs and the significance of aid in Australia’s international reputation.

Professor Elizabeth Manias, School of Nursing and Midwifery
This project will examine how health professionals, older people and their family members communicate in managing medications as older people move through transition points of care. The project expects to facilitate medication safety as older people move across different settings and to facilitate cultural shifts in health care communication and opportunities for consumer involvement.

Associate Professor Sarah McNaughton, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
This project aims to understand temporal eating patterns (the timing and distribution of food intake and eating occasions across the day) among adults and how these eating patterns interact with activity and sleep patterns. Eating, activity and sleep patterns form a lifestyle triad which may be important for well-being and productivity. This project could enable these behaviours to be targeted, with the potential to promote healthy lifestyles and improve health, quality of life and productivity.

Dr Emily Nicholson, Centre for Integrative Ecology
This project aims to test, design and select biodiversity indicators to support conservation. Reliable and sensitive biodiversity indicators are critical to track progress towards conservation targets, but the ability of most biodiversity indicators to reveal trends needed by decision-makers is untested. Project outcomes are expected to ensure that data collected to monitor and assess the state of Australia’s environment are informative, cost-effective and robust.

Associate Professor Jennifer Pringle, Institute for Frontier Materials
Improving the safety and performance of batteries is important as electricity costs increase. This project will develop new solid state electrolytes, with improved conductivity, and use these materials in emerging lithium battery technologies.

Associate Professor Joselito Razal, Institute for Frontier Materials
This project aims to understand the fibre spinning process of nanomaterials to identify their true potential and limitations in wearable applications. It is expected to lead to multifunctional materials that allow design and production of smart functional fibres and textiles that store and convert energy and sense, monitor and respond to human activities and external environments. The project outcomes are expected to accelerate the transformation of the fibre industry, which will have far reaching implications across research disciplines and sectors critical to technology, health, social, and economic future.

Dr Nicola Ridgers, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
This project will investigate children’s short-term responses to increases and decreases in physical activity above and below usual levels. Increasing physical activity is important for population health, but efforts to increase physical activity have largely been unsuccessful. Individuals may have a daily physical activity threshold which could affect efforts to increase physical activity. This project will fully test this hypothesis. Outcomes could inform the development of strategies to enable children to increase and sustain their physical activity levels.

Dr Lukar Thornton, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
This project aims to assess the projected lifestyle benefits associated with living in a ‘20-minute’ neighbourhood – one where important destinations are easily accessible. Urban renewal and liveability policies advocate for 20-minute neighbourhoods under the assumption these encourage more localised and healthier lifestyles. This project expects its findings will help meet the demands of population growth and inform urban planning, public health and transport.

Dr Jenny Veitch, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
This project aims to identify which characteristics attract visitors to parks and enhance park-based physical activity and social interactions among people of all ages. Parks are public places where people can be physically active and connect socially, but little is known about the best park design. These results can be prioritised in the design of parks to enable and encourage use of these spaces, leading to improved physical and mental health and reduced health care costs.

 

The three ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) recipients are:

Dr Radhika Gorur, School of Arts and Education
This project will investigate how contemporary education reforms unfold in low-income contexts through contrasting assessment approaches in Bangladesh and Cambodia, Australia’s Indo-Pacific aid partner nations.

Dr Mylene Mariette, School of Life and Environmental Sciences
This project aims to reveal how birds program their offspring for a warming world, by communicating acoustically with their embryos.

Dr Ali Mozaffari, Alfred Deakin Institute
This project will examine pre-Islamic heritage as a potential contributor to a more stable Middle East by studying its role in an emergent Iranian zone of cultural influence in the Middle East.

 

The ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) award recipient is:

Professor Kim Vincs, Deakin Motion.Lab – Centre for Creative Arts Research
This project aims to create a national collaborative network of arts/technology researchers to study the creative potential of movement-based human computer interaction systems. Movement-based technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, haptic and robotic interfaces form the cutting edge of human computer interaction development. The project will develop new infrastructure to enable researchers to work together to improve these systems from an embodied perspective. It is expected to benefit industry, commerce, education, health care and the arts.