The University of Newcastle, Australia

Investment to support female researchers

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Ten promising University of Newcastle researchers have received funding to support the development of their academic careers.

Standing L-R: Dr. Heather Douglas, Dr. Andrea Griffin, Dr. Debra Donnelly, Dr. Hedda Askland, Dr. Tamara Young & Dr. Laura Luo Seated L-R: Dr. Renee Goreham, Prof. Frances Kay-Lambkin, Dr. Helen English & Dr. Sally Hunt Absent: Dr Peta Tehan
Standing L-R: Dr. Heather Douglas, Dr. Andrea Griffin, Dr. Debra Donnelly, Dr. Hedda Askland, Dr. Tamara Young & Dr. Laura Luo Seated L-R: Dr. Renee Goreham, Prof. Frances Kay-Lambkin, Dr. Helen English & Dr. Sally Hunt Absent: Dr Peta Tehan

The investment, which totals $300,000, is part of the 2020 Women in Research (WIR) Fellowship, which is designed to champion diversity and gender equity at the University.

The funding aims to help female researchers fulfil their potential by nurturing and fast-tracking research leadership capability through mentoring from senior academics, training, placement and travel opportunities, as well as support juggling family and carer responsibilities.

The 2020 WIR Fellows were announced at an event at the University’s NeW Space city campus.

Dr Tamara Young is one of the 2020 Fellows. Dr Young is developing a framework to nurture localised place-based tourism entrepreneurship for destination host communities, including Aboriginal communities in Australia. She says the support will enable her to develop international research networks and industry partnerships.

“I feel honoured that my research has been recognised by the University and to have an opportunity to build on it strategically,” Dr Young said.

“The Fellowship will allow me to engage further with the communities I work with here in Australia, and also with research colleagues in New Zealand, Japan, and Canada to build an even greater understanding of travelling and travelled cultures in global tourism.”

Dr Hedda Askland, a social anthropologist examining mining and displacement in the Upper Hunter and Mid-Western regions of New South Wales, said the support will enable her to devote more time to her research.

“I have two school age children that need looking after and the Fellowship will help me with care support for them. This will allow me to focus a lot more on my research, with the added help of a mentor. This is really one-of-a-kind support as it is not something I would normally get from a research grant,” Dr Askland said.

With females representing 56 per cent of the university sector workforce but holding only 35 per cent of senior academic positions*, the University of Newcastle’s WIR Fellowships are designed to empower recipients to pursue their research goals, manage their career trajectory and exceed in ways that may otherwise not be possible.

Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation, Professor Frances Kay-Lambkin, said the Fellowship provided a strategic pathway to increase the percentage of women working in senior academic roles.

“The Fellowship program specifically funds women in research who represent the best academic talent in their field and stage of career. It provides structured mentoring and financial support to overcome the obstacles in career progression for women pursuing a research career,” Professor Kay-Lambkin said.

“This is particularly important in the current climate of significant gaps in competitive funding for women in national research schemes.”

Now in its third year, the WIR Fellowship has already supported 20 researchers to develop their careers and achieve sustained research-focused outputs.

This year’s Fellows were selected from a competitive pool of applicants across a variety of fields of research, with recipients chosen based on the potential of the Fellowship to help transform and invigorate their research career.

The 2020 WIR Fellows are:

  • Dr Hedda Askland – is a social anthropologist examining mining and displacement in the Upper Hunter and Mid-Western regions of New South Wales
  • Dr Debra Donnelly – is exploring an educational approach to virtual reality with applications for teacher preparation by extending TeachLive [micro-teaching avatar classroom] applications
  • Dr Heather Douglas – is examining a covert measure of Imposter Phenomenon and its impact on leadership
  • Dr Helen English – is exploring the impact of song-writing courses on aged-care residents
  • Dr Renee Goreham – is investigating nanomaterial synthesis and characterisation for biomedical applications
  • Dr Andrea Griffin – is a behavioural ecologist capitalising on the big data revolution and exploring ecosystem-level questions of global significance
  • Dr Sally Hunt – is examining the use of alcohol by women, reasons for this use and developing interventions to address the closing gender gap in hazardous alcohol use
  • Dr Laura Luo – is exploring how businesses and capital market participants are adapting to new regulations and standards in carbon management
  • Dr Peta Tehan – is investigating ways to end avoidable lower limb amputations from diabetes in Australia
  • Dr Tamara Young – is developing a framework to nurture localised place-based tourism entrepreneurship for destination host communities, including Aboriginal communities in Australia.

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