$3.7 million secured for five Newcastle researchers

26 July 2012

Five mid-career researchers at the University of Newcastle have received prestigious Future Fellowships from the Australian Research Council.

The highly competitive Future Fellowships are the most prestigious national fellowships for mid-career researchers and are an important aspect of the investment needed to ensure Australia is at the forefront of research and innovation.

"I am delighted that we can retain such talented people at the University," the University's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Mike Calford, said.

"The Future Fellowships scheme is critically important to ensuring that bright academic minds can contribute locally and still make their mark on the world stage.

The University and our regions are very fortunate to have these skilled and dedicated people developing their careers in Newcastle."

Newcastle researchers awarded Future Fellowships over five years are:

  • Associate Professor Rob Atkin - $713,653 to develop ionic liquids that increase the energy efficiency of lubricating, electrochemical, and nanofluidic systems, reducing both the environmental impact and economic cost associated with manufacturing.
  • Associate Professor Scott D Brown - $717,567 for an investigation into the quantitative theories of cognition and their role in psychology, leading to better ways for investigating the brain and behaviour.
  • Dr Ian Grainge - $709,318 to investigate the molecular details of the FtsK protein, and how it converts chemical energy from the molecule Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP).This work will lead to a greater understanding of metabolism in bacteria.
  • Professor Pablo Moscato - $854,468 for his work with memetic algorithms to resolve optimisation problems in bioinformatics, the study of methods for storing, retrieving and analysing biological data to assist researchers in many fields including health and medicine.
  • Associate Professor Andrei Lyamin - $766,856 for his research into granular materials and their role in physical infrastructure, improving the efficiency of risk assessment and mitigation strategies in the event of avalanches, landslides and debris flow.

"The announcement is further recognition of the University's three key areas of research strength – science and engineering, energy and the environment, and health – and our leading research role in areas of national importance," Professor Calford said.The 2012 Future Fellowships were announced yesterday by the Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, and bring to 15 the number of Future Fellows currently at the University of Newcastle.

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