UNSW's national research leadership in quantum computing, climate science and population ageing has been recognised with three Centres of Excellence awarded by the Australian Research Council.

The centres will receive $58.6 million in combined funding over seven years - the best result of any university.

The Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, headed by Professor Michelle Simmons in the Faculty of Science, received $24.5 million. The Centre's work will enhance Australia's lead in the race to develop the world's most secure information networks based on the laws of quantum physics.

Professor Andy Pitman, also in the Faculty of Science, will lead the Centre for Climate System Science, which was awarded $21.4 million. The Centre will undertake world-class research targeting identified weaknesses in the physical, chemical and biological components of the climate system, dramatically enhancing our capacity to project the scale of future regional climate change.

The Centre for Population Ageing Research headed by Professor John Piggott from the Australian School of Business, was awarded $12.7 million. Bringing together researchers, government and industry to address one of our major social challenges, the Centre's work promotes policy outcomes that will improve the well-being of the aged.

ARC Centres of Excellence are prestigious hubs of expertise through which high-quality researchers develop Australia's international standing in research areas of national priority.

A total of 13 centres have been announced by the ARC for 2011. UNSW is also a partner in a centre led by Macquarie University studying cognition and its disorders, through a UNSW/Neuroscience Research Australia team headed by Professor John Hodges.

This announcement builds on recent awards and grant success. Earlier this month three UNSW researchers won Australian Laureate Fellowships and the University topped the country in the latest round of ARC Linkage grants.

Media contact: Denise Knight, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8920