UNSW Science is a major contributor to UNSW securing the highest amount of Australian Research Council funding in Australia – with $45.3 million across three funding schemes announced today.

Overall, the university secured:

$31.5 million for 84 ARC Discovery Projects, the highest in dollar terms in Australia.

23 Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA) worth $8 million, which are given to the best and brightest young researchers – the equal highest number of awards in Australia.

12 Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grants worth $5.8 million – the highest in Australia by number and dollar amount.

Among the new Discovery project grant recipients was a team led by UNSW Science's Professor Rick Cavicchioli of the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, which received the largest grant of $835,200 over five years to provide fundamental insight into the processes that control which life forms colonise the planet.

Today’s announcement places UNSW as the leading Australian university for ARC funding this year with a total of $68.3 million.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Les Field welcomed the result.

“This impressive result in ARC grants recognises the calibre of research underway at UNSW. Our position as number one in the country this year is a testament to the importance and impact of the work we are doing,” he said.

“In particular, we have seen terrific results in grants for Science projects, up $5.5 million compared to last year, and Engineering projects, which are up $3.5 million.

Professor Field said that while it was pleasing that UNSW had increased its overall share of ARC funding, it was disappointing that the total size of the grant pie available to Australian researchers had shrunk this year.

Other UNSW Science winners of large Discovery grants include:

A team led by Professor Matthew England of the Climate Change Research Centre was awarded $621, 400 to study the influence of variability in the Pacific Ocean on the global climate.

Scientia Professor Victor Flambaum of the School of Physics was awarded $609,000 to conduct research on unification theories which may lead to proposals for new atomic, nuclear and molecular clocks.

A team led by Scientia Professor Alexander Hamilton of the School of Physics was awarded $613,400 to develop single hole quantum dots, research which could lead to new ways to store, process and transfer information.

A team led by Professor Scott Kable of the School of Chemistry was awarded $648,600 to use laser spectroscopy to study combustion chemistry, research that could lead to the design of more efficient new fuels.

UNSW Science recipients of DECRA awards include:

Psychologists Dr Oren Griffiths and Dr Nathan Holmes; climate scientists Dr Markus Donat, Dr Laurie Melviel and Dr Paul Spence; materials scientist Dr Jan Hinterstein; geologist Dr Laura Wilson; physicist Dr Chunming Yin; and  mathematician Dr Dmitriy Zanin.

UNSW Science was also highly successful in the LIEF scheme.

Recipients include:

A team led by Professor Sven Rogge of the School of Physics was awarded $760,000 for a low-temperature scanning tunnelling microscope for quantum research.

A team led by Dr Jan Seidel of the School of Materials Science and Engineering was awarded $760,000 for a facility to develop new electronic materials and nanoscale devices for future technologies.

And a team led by Professor Chris Tinney of the School of Physics was awarded $760,000 for a spectrograph that will facilitate the discovery of planets outside our own solar system.

Announcing the ARC funding, Federal Minister for Education Christopher Pyne said the Government “deeply values the need for a robust and thriving research sector that drives the future development of our industries”.

A full list of grant winners can be found on the ARC website.

UNSW science media contact: Deborah Smith: 9385 7307, 0478 492 060, deborah.smith@unsw.edu.au