J G Russell Award


The call for nominations is currently closed

Applications are not sought for this award. Awardees are chosen from the recipients of the Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards.


The J G Russell Award is aimed at financially helping talented younger researchers in the basic sciences as a token of the community’s regard for them. It recognises the costs involved in experimental research, and can be used towards the costs of equipment, maintenance, and travel.

Applications are not sought for this award. Highly ranked recipients of the Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards will be contacted by the Academy and invited to apply.

These top-up funding awards are valued at $7,000 each and are supported by the generosity of the late Miss J Russell.

Funded activities are normally expected to have been undertaken within two years from the date of award. Awardees may apply for extensions due to extenuating circumstances or to apply for variations to remove or adapt to barriers encountered to their planned research or travel.

Supporting institutes and awardees are required to ensure that any research they undertake that is funded by the Australian Academy of Science adheres to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of research, severe breach of these codes may result in the withdrawal of current and refusal of future funding support. Research involving Indigenous Australians must  comply with the Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies.

For more information contact awards@science.org.au.



  • Dr Damien Esquerré - Dr Esquerré is using venom as a tool to understand fundamental processes in evolution, using a novel method he developed for characterising venom profiles from preserved museum specimens. His award will go towards the cost of producing isotopically labelled peptides for mass spectrometry analysis, which is necessary for precise quantification of the toxins in a venom sample.
  • Dr Rachael Lappan - Dr Lappan is a microbiologist investigating the role of atmospheric microbes in global processes and their impact on human and environmental health. She will use the award to purchase homogeniser equipment for DNA extraction, which will be housed in a dedicated clean laboratory and significantly improve the accuracy of her research.
  • Dr Giorgio Poggesi - Dr Poggesi is a mathematician studying partial differential equations, a cutting-edge area of mathematics used to understand real world phenomena such as the way fluids flow, temperature changes and sound moves. He will use his award to fund his travel for several international scientific visits, strengthening existing relationships and forging new ones.
  • Dr Kaitlin Cook - Dr Cook is a nuclear physicist working to understand the mechanics of nuclei fusion and fission. Her DECRA project focusses on taking novel measurements of the reaction dynamics of the first instant (one zeptosecond) of nuclear collision, and measuring the full evolution of the nuclear system to re-separation. She will use her award to purchase a new gas pressure controller and connecting components for the gas handling system of the detector.
  • Dr Scarlett Howard - Dr Howard is investigating the impacts of higher temperatures on cognition in native bees. Reduced bee cognition could have implications for food production, native plant reproduction, and the function of ecosystems. She will use the award to purchase a portable temperature-controlled apparatus, allowing her to conduct learning and memory experiments with native bees in remote field locations.


  • Dr Yaoxin Hu - Dr Hu is a chemical engineer who is improving the energy efficiency of heating large structures through the development of new construction materials. She will use the award to purchase an additional air-based cooling apparatus to investigate cooling performance of the materials.
  • Dr Amandeep Kaur - Dr Kaur develops new chemical tools to provide super-resolution imaging for the study of biological nanostructures and biochemical mechanisms relevant to food security, antibiotic resistance and viruses. She will use the award to establish new capabilities for her research group’s current super-resolution imaging microscope.
  • Dr Zhiliang Wang - Dr Wang researches ways to improve the generation of energy. He develops materials to convert sunlight into hydrogen-based energy sources, helping to address clean energy challenges. He will use the award to visit a top research group in the United States to discuss ways to incorporate artificial intelligence tools into his research.
  • Dr Xiaoxiao Zhang - Dr Zhang investigates disease resistance in cereal crops. Her aim is to reduce waste in global food production and address the environmental impact of toxic pesticide use. She will use the award to fund attendance at a conference of synthetic biologists, and to provide additional lab materials for gene editing and protein structure determination.


  • Dr Blanca del Rosal Rabes - Dr del Rosal's research aims to develop a contactless method based on near-infrared (NIR) light to get real-time maps of the temperature of the nervous system in living animals, to reveal the links between local heating and neural function. She will use the award to improve and expand her spectroscopy system to use laser sources, allowing her to study different fluorescent nanomaterials for use in research.
  • ​Dr Annie Colebatch -Dr Colebatch's research focuses on using liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs), which can release energy on demand and be “refuelled”, to meet the challenge of clean energy. She will use the award to purchase a second pressure reactor to facilitate multiple students conducting experiments concurrently, allowing flexibility in project design and improving productivity.
  • ​Dr Laura Grogan - Dr Grogan's research aims to model the relationship between tolerance, and resistance of, chytridiomycosis (an infectious disease that affects amphibians worldwide) in Fleay’s, Great and Giant Barred frogs. She will use the award to genetically sequence the tissues that are involved in immune response, allowing her to examine a greater range of genes related to immunity.
  • Dr James Baker - Dr Baker studies soil erosion driven by flowing fluids with the aim of predicting, and ultimately preventing, intense soil loss or problematic build-up of sediment. He will use the award to fund a two-day collaboration of Australian researchers, as well as for new X-ray equipment for meas


  • Dr Giulia Ghedini: towards their DECRA aimed at resolving how entire ecological communities respond to global warming and identify the mechanisms that drive these responses.
  • Dr Yu Heng Lau: towards their DECRA investigating bio-compartmentalised chemistry to control selectivity with bacterial encapsulins.
  • Dr Tatiana Soares da Costa: towards their DECRA identifying novel and smarter herbicide development strategies for effective weed management to sustain our fauna, flora and agricultural industry
  • Dr Qi Wu: towards their DECRA to develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI) agent that communicates with humans on the basis of visual input, and can complete a sequence of actions in environments by combining computer vision (CV), natural language processing (NLP) and reinforcement learning (RL).


  • Dr Lara Malins: to develop a new synthetic approach to valuable amino acid derivatives and their rapid incorporation into peptide analogues, including promising new antibiotic candidates
  • Dr Tara Clark: to determine the timing and associated drivers behind dramatic changes in coral communities on reef flat environments since European settlement.
  • Dr Jussi Lehtonen: to reconcile and unify alternative methods in social evolution theory.
  • Dr Nengkun Yu: to develop fundamental technology for analysing the big data that arises from quantum physics.


  • Dr Nicole Rijs: to develop ion-mobility mass spectrometry methods to observe the molecular evolution of model self-assembly reactions with high temporal and structural resolution, and interrogate the intrinsic gas phase functionality of the assemblies themselves, including aggregation, inclusion and disassembly behaviours. 
  • Dr Pengyi Yang: to map and model ‘trans-omic’ networks that cut through omic layers using machine learning and multi-omic data integration.
  • Dr Tong Wang: to understand the molecular mechanisms of neuronal communication and how neurons modify their synaptic strength.
  • Dr Brett Hallam: to understand hydrogen passivation mechanisms in silicon solar cells.


  • Dr Kristine Crous: to investigate how, and how much, rainforest tree species will adjust to warmer temperatures.
  • Dr Guohua Jia: to develop innovative colloidal nanocrystal heterostructures to provide the basis for eco-friendly optoelectronic devices and photocatalysis as well as other advanced applications.
  • Dr Jean-Baptiste Raina: to unravel microbiological processes in the ocean to help quantify the ecosystem services carried out by microbes that support our economy and environment.


  • Dr Andrea Giuliani: to study melt inclusions to provide new understanding of the constraints on melting processes and recycling of crustal material in the deep mantle.
  • Dr Sean Hodgman: to develop a quantum simulator using ultracold helium atoms in an optical lattice.
  • Dr Sasha Tetu: to design and validate novel, rapid environmental stress assays, based on gene expression profiling.

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