The University of Newcastle, Australia

Strong performance in difficult funding environment

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

2016 has been a great year for UON research. UON researchers performed strongly in both the 2017 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Australian Research Council (ARC) major grants rounds. This is despite strong competition for grants in a difficult funding environment.

Kevin Hall

I’m proud to report that overall, UON researchers have attracted over $25 million in NHMRC and ARC major grants round funding that has been announced this year with further NHMRC funding under embargo. This funding will support much needed research into areas such as Indigenous health, infertility, lung disease, climate change, nutrition, gender equity and aircraft system optimisation.

I was especially pleased with the broad range of discipline areas supported and variety in the stage of career through the grants rounds. From evidence-based smoking cessation programs to stroke survivor health and investigating the structural integrity of ships and marine platforms, this diversity epitomises the breadth of world class research and innovation that UON is renowned for. It also reflects the passion, commitment and fantastic work of all our researchers.

Whilst it is great to recognise the successes of our research teams, I would also like to acknowledge those applicants who were not successful this year. Whether a grant is successful or not, a great deal of hard work goes into preparing a research funding application.

Be aware that 2016 has been a very competitive year for grant funding and lack of success is often not related to the quality of the application. I would encourage unsuccessful applicants not to be disheartened and to engage with supervisors and Faculty research departments in relation to future grant applications and research aspirations.



Congratulations to all of our researchers that were awarded funding in this year’s ARC and NHMRC major grant rounds:

NHMRC Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases- Prevention and Management of Chronic Lung Disease Scheme

  • Professor Billie Bonevski, Dr Gillian Gould, Associate Professor Alan Clough, Professor Joerg Mattes, Kristin Carson, Professor Christopher Doran, Associate Professor Peter O’Mara, Dr Christopher Oldmeadow, Professor Roger Smith and Katherine Boydell were awarded $2,259,016 to undertake work focussing on culturally competent evidence- based smoking cessation programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wanting to quit smoking whilst pregnant

Centre for Research Excellence on pulmonary fibrosis

  • Professor Darryl Knight was part of a consortium awarded $2.5 million in NHMRC funding to support a Centre for Research Excellence on pulmonary fibrosis.

NHMRC Research Fellowship

  • Associate Professor Mark Baker was awarded a $631,370 five-year NHMRC Research Fellowship to explore biomarkers for male infertility.

NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship

  • Associate Professor Luke Wolfenden received a $474,512 Practitioner Fellowship to generate new knowledge to address impediments to the translation of chronic disease prevention research.

NHMRC targeted call for research relating to preventing obesity in 18-24 year olds

  • Professor Clare Collins, Professor Helen Truby, Professory John Attia, Dr Melinda Hutchesson, Dr Tracy Burrows, Dr Robin Callister, Dr Leanne Hides, Professor Billie Bonevski, and Professor Christopher Doran were successful in receiving $592,756 to look at the efficacy and cost effectiveness of varying levels of technology-delivered personalised feedback on dietary patterns in motivating young people to improve diet

ARC Future Fellowship

  • Associate Professor Sarah Wright being successful in gaining a $930,000 to investigate ways to enhance adaptive capacity to environmental change. Professor Kevin Galvin was successful in receiving $211,876 to research 3D flotation of fine particles.

ARC Linkage Projects

  • Professor John Aitken, Dr Zamira Gibb, Associate Professor Mark Baker, Dr Christopher Grupen, Dr Dickson Varner, Dr Lee Morris, Dr Jennifer Clulow, Mr Ross Harricks, Dr Parviz Gharagozloo, Dr Derek Ford, Mr Andrew Kelly received $560,000 to undertake research looking at enhancing fertility for the Thoroughbred and Standardbred industries
  • Professor George Kuczera and Mr Golam Kibria received $327,598 to research optimal scheduling of urban bulk urban water systems under uncertainty
  • Dr Anna Giacomini, Professor Stephen Fityus, Professor Scott Sloan, Associate Professor Riccardo Roncella, and Mr Shaun Booth received $274,972 to develop a new framework for a cost-effective geohazard assessment
  • Professor Behdad Moghtaderi, Dr Kalpit Shah, Dr Jianglong Yu and Clive Stephens received $311,983 to research a novel mineral looping tar removal process for biomass gasification
  • Dr Jianglong Yu, Professor Behdad Moghtaderi, and Professor Qingbo Meng were funded $230,000 to research innovation integrated combustion flue gas dry cleaning technology
  • Professor Rob Melchers, Professor Chongmin Song, Damian McGuckin, Dr Stuart Cannon, and Professor Martin Renilson were successful in obtaining $550,000 to research the deterioration of structural integrity of ageing ships and marine platforms in collaboration with Pacific Engineering Systems International and DST Group.

ARC Discovery Early Career Research Awards (DECRA) and the NHMRC Early Career Fellowships

  • Dr Chantal Donovan received a $318,768 NHMRC Early Career Fellowship for her project Targeting IL-33 in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic asthma and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)
  • Dr Jessie Sutherland received a $318,768 NHMRC Early Career Fellowship for work looking at the role of primordial follicle activation in premature ovarian failure
  • Dr Andrew Gardner received a $318,768 NHMRC Early Career Fellowship for his project investigating the potential association between sports concussion and neurodegenerative disease in collision sports athletes
  • Mr Hopin Lee received a $408,768 NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (Overseas) for work aimed at using process evaluations of treatment mechanisms to inform the implementation of evidence-based healthcare
  • Dr Emma Beckett received a $318,768 NHMRC Early Career Fellowship to investigate interactions between diet, microbiome, genetics and epigentics in determining risk for adenomatous polyps
  • Dr Guy Hawkins received a $365,000 DECRA to look at cognitive models of mental architectures in consumer preference
  • Dr Mariano Heyden received $379,000 in DECRA funds to conduct a global analysis of the effectiveness of corporate board diversity quotas
  • Dr Amir Salehipour received a $360,000 DECRA to research exact and hybrid algorithms for the Aircraft Landing Problem
  • Dr Kalpit Shah received $375,000 in DECRA funds to investigate a novel chemical looping process for carbon fibre production from plastics
  • Dr Malcolm Starkey received a $372,000 DECRA to understand how innate lymphoid cells regulate mammalian lung development
  • Dr Sze Lin Yoong received $330,000 in DECRA funding to research theory-based implementation of nutrition guidelines into childcare settings.

ARC Discovery Projects:

  • Professor Paul Dastoor received $379,500 for his project looking at phono based condensed matter imaging
  • Associate Professor Frini Karayanidis, Professor Dr Birte Forstmann, Professor Mark Steyvers, Dr Sharna Jamadar, Dr Guy Hawkins, Professor Dr Rhoshel Lenroot, and  Emeritus Professor Patricia Michie received $492,500 to look at modelling trajectories of cognitive control in adolescents and young adults
  • Professor Robert Melchers, Dr Igor Chaves,  and Associate Professor Bobby Kannan Mathan were successful in gaining $423,000 for a project looking at microbiological and abiotic marine corrosion of steel in particulate matter
  • Professor Graeme Murch, Professor Irina Belova,  Associate Professor Thomas Fiedler,  Dr Elena Levchenko, Professor Yongho Sohn, and Professor Zi-Kui Liu, received $309,000 to investigate mass transport in high entropy alloys
  • Associate Professor Rosalind Smith, Dr Sarah Ross, and Professor Michelle O'Callaghan  received $116,000 to look at the writing of early modern women between 1540 to 1660
  • Professor Erica Wanless, Associate Professor Grant Webber, Dr Peter Ireland, Associate Professor Syuji Fujii received $235,000 for a project investigating electrostatic formation of liquid marbles
  • Associate Professor Christopher Wensrich, Professor Erich Kisi,  Associate Professor Michael Meylan,  Dr Anton Tremsin, Dr Vladimir Luzin, and Professor Oliver Kirstein received $381,000 to research at Bragg-Edge Neutron Transmission Strain Tomography
  • Dr Yuen Yong was successful in receiving $296,000 to look at novel microcantilevers for multifrequency atomic force microscopy.

NHMRC Projects

  • Dr Mariko Carey, Associate Professor Frans Henskens, Professor Brian Kelly, Associate Professor Danielle Mazza, Professor Graham Meadows (Monash), Professor Leon Piterman (Monash), Laureate Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher, Dr Amy Waller, and Professor Nicholas Zwar (UNSW) received $803,554 to conduct a project aiming to improve outcomes for people with depression in community settings
  • Professor Paul Foster and colleagues, Dr Hock Tay, were successful in receiving $738,768 to investigate the pro-inflammatory role of IL-36/IL-36R in pathogen-induced exacerbations of asthma and COPD
  • Professor Paul Foster and Dr Max Plank, received $870,476 to undertake a project aimed to understand the role of Th22 cells in regulating respiratory immune responses in health and disease
  • Professor Bonevski, Professor Amanda Baker, Professor Robin Callister, Professor Clare Collins, Professor Parker Magin, Dr Christopher Oldmeadow, Associate Professor Michael Pollack, Dr Neil Spratt, and Dr Alyna Turner, were successful in receiving $590,958 to investigate ways to improve stroke survivor health behaviours
  • Professor Paul Foster, Dr Nathan Bartlett, and Dr Ming Yang, were successful receiving $815,476 to research shared innate immune mechanisms that underpin-steroid resistant pathogen-induced asthma exacerbations
  • Professor Phil Hansbro, Professor Matthew Cooper (UQ), Professor Peter Gibson, and Dr Luke O’Neill, received $961,929 to investigate therapeutic interventions for severe steroid-resistant asthma
  • Professor David Lubans, Dr Narelle Eather, Dr Charles Hillman (Illinois), Associate Professor Chris Lonsdale (ACU), Professor Philip Morgan, Professor Michael Nilsson, Professor Ron Plotnikoff, and Dr Jordan Smith, $636,912 to investigate ways to increase vigorous physical activity among older adolescents
  • Dr Flora Tzelepis, Professor Kypri Kypros, Associate Professor Marita Lynagh, Kathy Chapman (Cancer Council), Elizabeth Campbell (HNE LHD), Professor Philip Morgan, Associate Professor Christine Paul, and Professor John Wiggers, $634,076 to investigate support mechanisms for TAFE students with multiple health risk behaviours
  • Associate Professor Christopher Dayas, Professor Gavan McNally, Associate Professor Brett Graham, Dr Jaideep Bains, received $499,666 to conduct a project relating to hypothalamic control of motivated behaviour
  • Professor Roger Smith, Professor Istvan Toth (UQ), Professor Jonathan Morris (Kolling Institute of Medical Research), Dr Sonika Tyagi, and Professor Tamas Zakar received $808,447 to conduct research aiming to better understand the myometrial transition at term and preterm labour to guide tocolysis
  • Dr Simon Keely, Dr Susan Hua, Professor Mark Morrison (UQ), Dr Pariac O Cuiv (UQ), and Associate Professor Martin Veysey, $833,648 for work looking at epithelial metabolism as a mediator of host-microbiome interactions in inflammatory bowel disease
  • Professor Paulette van Vliet, Professor Leeanne Carey (Melbourne), Professor Kwakkel Gert (Amsterdam), Dr Patrick McElduff, and Dr Allie Turton, $832,597 for a project aiming to improve arm function after stroke using task specific training
  • Professor Peter Greer, Dr Jeremy Booth, Dr Dale Lovelock, Dr Andrew Kneebone, Associate Professor Jarad Martin, Dr Boyd McCurdy, and Professor Rick Middleton, $593,742 for work aiming to improve patient safety in radiation therapy
  • Associate Professor Wolfenden and colleagues, Professor Kylie Ball (Deakin), Associate Professor Karen Campbell, Professor Chris Rissel (Sydney), Professor John Wiggers, and Dr Rebecca Wyse received $725,373 in the NHMRC Project grants round to conduct a randomised controlled trial of an online intervention to improve healthy food purchases from primary school canteens.

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