Awards and grants support excellence in science

November 28, 2018

2019 Selby Fellowship awarded

Prominent international scientist Professor Herbert Huppert FRS, Professor of Theoretical Geophysics at the University of Cambridge, has been awarded the Academy’s 2019 Selby Fellowship. The Fellowship fosters the international exchange of scientific ideas and supports lectures for the general public.

Professor Huppert’s research covers a wide range of areas including geology, geophysics, mathematics, crystal growth, fluid mechanics, oceanography, and meteorology.

The Fellowship will see Professor Huppert presenting lectures in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney in the first quarter of 2019.

Young researchers win support from Academy

J G Russell Award recipients (from left): Ms Lara Malins, Dr Tara Clark, Dr Jussi Lehtonen and Dr Nengkun Yu

The Academy has announced the recipients of the J G Russell Award to help talented younger researchers in the basic sciences.

Each researcher receives $6000 towards the costs of equipment, maintenance and travel as a top up to their Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards, supported by the generosity of the late Miss J Russell.

Ms Lara Malins, from The Australian National University, is developing a new synthetic approach to valuable amino acid derivatives and their rapid incorporation into peptide analogues, including promising new antibiotic candidates.

Dr Tara Clark, from the University of Queensland, aims to determine the timing and associated drivers behind dramatic changes in coral communities on reef flat environments since European settlement.

At the University of Sydney, Dr Jussi Lehtonen won his award to reconcile and unify alternative methods in social evolution theory.

Dr Nengkun Yu, from the University of Technology Sydney, is developing fundamental technology for analysing the big data that arises from quantum physics.

More on the JG Russell Award including full details of the awardees

Academy funding for research projects and conferences

The Academy has awarded more than $213,000 to a number of high-quality research projects and conferences, generously supported by donations to the Academy. In 2019 these will, among other things, fund cutting-edge Australian marine, soil and plant biology research and help the survival of some of Australia’s endangered species. There is also support for specialist conferences on subjects such as managing wild and weedy Australia across boundaries and disciplines.

The Thomas Davies Research Grant for Marine, Soil and Plant Biology fund offers annual science grants of up to $25,000 to early-and mid-career researchers in the field of marine, soil and plant biology. The 2019 awardees are:

  • Dr Joel Daniel Haywood, University of Western Australia: Structure-based investigations into plant growth pathway proteins.
  • Dr Sambasivam Periyannan, Australian National University: Protecting Australia’s Eucalypt landscape from myrtle rust invasion by rapid identification of natural resistance.
  • Dr Adriana Vergés, University of New South Wales Sydney: What are the food web implications of temperate reefs becoming increasingly dominated by tropical species?
  • Associate Professor Tracy Ainsworth, University of New South Wales Sydney: The impact of a changing climate to New South Wales coral populations.
  • Dr Staffan Persson, University of Melbourne: Monitoring fungal root wilt disease on canola in real-time.
  • Associate Professor Heloise Gibb, La Trobe University: Can we restore soil microbial communities by reintroducing digging mammals?
  • Dr Cindy Gunawan, University of Technology Sydney: Does the commercialised use of antimicrobial silver nanoparticles facilitate co-selection and spread of antibiotic resistance genes in marine microbiota? A metagenome study.

The Margaret Middleton Fund for endangered Australian native vertebrate animals offers annual science grants of up to $15,000 each to support field-based, high-quality ecological research of postgraduate students and early career researchers. The objective of the grant is to provide financial support for conservation-based research of Australian ecosystems that ultimately will lead to tangible outcomes for management. The 2019 awardees are:

  • Ms Rebecca Jane Webb, James Cook University: A novel conservation tool for controlling chytridiomycosis in Australian amphibians.
  • Dr Teigan Cremona, Charles Darwin University: Can predator enclosures support recovery of small mammal populations in Kakadu National Park?
  • Ms Heather Neilly, Australian Landscape Trust: Malleefowl as ecosystem engineers and drivers of restoration.

Boden Research Conference Award—up to $10,000 of funding is offered for specialist conferences in the biological sciences to enable active research workers in rapidly advancing fields to discuss current advances and problems. The 2019–20 conference will be on Evolutionary transformations in vertebrate history.

Elizabeth and Frederick White Research Conference Award—up to $10,000 of funding is offered for research conferences in the physical and mathematical sciences related to the solid Earth, the terrestrial oceans, Earth's atmosphere, solar-terrestrial science, space sciences and astronomy. The 2019–20 conference will be on Linking galaxies from the epoch of initial star formation to today.

Fenner conferences on the environment—up to $10,000 of funding is offered for conferences that bring together those with relevant scientific, administrative and policy expertise to consider current environmental and conservation problems in Australia, thereby contributing to the formation of policies that can alleviate some of these problems. The 2019–20 conference will be on Managing wild and weedy Australia across boundaries and disciplines.

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