Funding success supports early career research translate to real-world

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Five outstanding early career researchers have been successful in securing more than $2 million in the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme.

The University of Newcastle projects will tackle a myriad of issues, from native species and livestock conservation and reproduction; to musical therapy for older adults; to intergenerational financial support.

The Australian Government has announced 196 new research grants under the recent DECRA scheme with a total of $83 million in this 2022 round.

The University’s successful projects are:

  • $368,000 awarded to Dr Julia Cook to explore the increased rates of parental support for first home buyers and the resulting financial stress on families over time. The work will provide significant benefits, including greater protection for both donors and recipients of financial assistance when purchasing property to safeguard the growing number of families involved in this practice.
  • $447,148 awarded to Associate Professor Helen English to evaluate how participation in music activities can foster personal growth, self-efficacy and purpose amongst older adults. Benefits include improved wellbeing and quality of life for older adults and carers, guidance for music groups, and resources and recommendations for aged-care providers to implement music activities.
  • $379,264 awarded to Dr Tessa Lord to investigate spermatogonial stem cells in the testis for species conservation. Outcomes from this study aim to provide significant benefits in safeguarding our unique Australian native species, which is of particular importance following the catastrophic 2019/20 bushfire season.
  • $383,872 awarded to Dr Jessie Sutherland to advance understanding of ovary development and mammalian reproduction, the outcomes of which will hold significant benefit to animal reproduction through new strategies to improve livestock productivity and control invasive pest species – of economic and environmental benefit nationally.
  • $452,824 awarded to Dr Aleona Swegen to address the role of ambient heat stress in animal fertility by examining its mechanisms and developing treatments to alleviate its effects. The project will improve understanding of how high environmental temperatures lead to reduced fertility, pregnancy loss and compromised inheritance in large animals, and to develop effective interventions to enhance Australia’s livestock industries in the face of a changing climate.

For a full list of recipients, click here


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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.