Research Council unveils 11 new “Centres of Excellence”

Cosmos Magazine


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The Australian Research Council (ARC) has announced $385 million in research funding for eleven “ARC Centres of Excellence” to conduct research in areas of national priority over a seven-year period.

It says the funding will be matched by Universities and 221 other partners for a total of cash and in kind financial support of more than $1 billion.

ARC CEO, Ms Judi Zielke, said that the scheme plays an important role in supporting partnerships between universities, industry, community and government to produce “transformative research outcomes” and will “…address Australia’s most important research problems.”

One of the recipients was James Cook University which is to receive $89million over 7 years to host a new “Centre of Excellence for Indigenous and Environmental Histories and Futures.”

It will be led by Professor Sean Ulm.

“Australia’s future depends on learning lessons from the past and applying them to problems that confront our modern world. Yet we know surprisingly little about how tens of thousands of years of Indigenous engagement and management have shaped Australia’s lands and seas,” said Ulm.

“The recent Australian State of the Environment Report paints a grim picture of how climate change, land-clearing, and habitat modification are impacting the Australian environment.

“But conventional approaches to land and sea management frequently fail to incorporate or value Indigenous histories and knowledges, leading to poorer outcomes for Country.

“We simply can’t plan for the future without understanding both the long and short-term interactions of people, climate, lands, and seas.”

Selection report for 2023 funding grants.

The ARC Centres of Excellence awarded funding to start in 2023 are:

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Carbon Science and Innovation, led by the University of New South Wales, will develop carbon-based catalysts for clean energy, CO2 capture, and green chemistry to reduce emissions.     

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Indigenous and Environmental Histories and Futures, led by James Cook University, aims to generate a new direction in knowledge creation based on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led approaches to managing Land and Sea Country.  

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Green Electrochemical Transformation for Carbon Dioxide, led by The University of Queensland, will develop new manufacturing businesses for Australia based on the conversion of carbon dioxide into value-added products, such as alcohols, and help transition Australia to a carbon-neutral economy.   

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Quantum Biotechnology, led by the University of Queensland, aims to develop new quantum technologies to observe biological processes and transform our understanding of life.  

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Futures, led by the University of Queensland, will transform and improve the life chances of Indigenous Australians by utilising Indigenous knowledges to enhance our understanding of the complex nature of Indigenous intergenerational inequity.  

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Plants for Space, led by the University of Adelaide, aims to create on-demand, zero-waste, high-efficiency plants and plant products to address grand challenges in sustainability for Space and on Earth.  

The ARC Centre of Excellence for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, led by Monash University, will work closely with practitioners and Indigenous leadership across Australia and the Indo-Pacific to generate new knowledge to understand the root causes of violence against women.  

The ARC Centre of Excellence for the Weather of the 21st Century, led by Monash University, aims to determine how Australia’s weather is being reshaped by climate change. 

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Optical Microcombs for Breakthrough Science, led by RMIT University, aims to explore the society wide transformations that will flow from optical technology by leveraging and building upon the latest breakthroughs in physics, materials science, and nanofabrication.     

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, led by Swinburne University of Technology, will harness a national and international network of highly trained astrophysicists to detect and analyse gravitational waves, which will expand our knowledge of fundamental physics, the Universe, and the nature of ultra-dense matter.  

The ARC Centre of Excellence for the Mathematical Analysis of Cellular Systems, led by the University of Melbourne, will deliver advanced mathematics to study biological processes through whole cell modelling and will develop methods for engineering biotechnological applications.  

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