Griffith research projects awarded ARC grants

Education Minister Christopher Pyne speaking at a lectern
The Federal Minister for Education, The Honourable Christopher Pyne MP

Seven Griffith University research projects have secured grants totalling more than $2.33 million under the Australian Research Council Linkage Projects scheme.

The grants for projects commencing in 2014 were announced today (June 27) by the Federal Minister for Education, The Honourable Christopher Pyne MP.

Among 251 recipients awarded a total of more than $88 million, Griffith received$2,333,055, a 57.5 per cent increase on last year.

Mr Pyne said outcomes identified through the research projects would inspire innovation, adding that collaboration and co-investment in quality research was fundamental to a prosperous future.

“It is critical we have opportunities for our researchers to work together with industry and business, who hold the knowledge and are often the end-users or commercialisers of the innovations that flow from research,” he said.

Griffith University Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor congratulated the successful research teams.

The seven projects to be administered by Griffith University are as follows:

Anthropology (Dr Michael Westaway, Dr Duncan Wright, Professor David Lambert, Professor Adrian Miller, Professor Brian Fry, Dr Margaret Clegg, Professor Mark Collard, Dr Subashchandran Sankarasubramanian, Dr Ruigiang Li, Professor Eske Willerslev, Mr Nicholas Hadnutt)

The largest of the Griffith grants, totalling $740,880 to be allocated during 2014-17, this project is centred on the repatriation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander remains. Researchers aim to use advances in the fields of ancient DNA, isotope analysis and craniometrics to resolve the provenance of 113 trophy skulls from the Torres Strait Islands.

Curriculum and Pedagogy (Associate Professor Tim Mavin, Professor Wolff-Michael Roth, Captain Ian Munro, Captain Gregory Wallace, Commander Benjamin Cook)

This study aims to follow two cohorts of pilots at critical stages in their careers – new pilots entering an airline and first officers seeking promotion to Captain. The project aims to fill a gap in research on pilot training through closely observed investigation into how pilots learn to fly, creating innovations in pilot training with applicability to other complex work environments. It will receive $190,000 for 2014-17.

Urban and Regional Planning (Associate Professor Heidi Muenchberger, Professor Elizabeth Kendall, Dr Jennifer Whitty, Mr Colin Wilson, Dr Natalie Spearing, Dr Dianne Smith, Dr Clare Townsend)

Researchers contend that disability housing is problematic largely because stakeholders find it difficult to agree on priorities while incorporating consumer needs and wants. This project seeks to develop a systematic approach to improving multi-stakeholder decision-making that can increase the reliability of decisions and improve consumer outcomes. The project will receive $230,400 for 2014-17.

Urban and Regional Planning (Associate Professor Rodney Stewart, Professor Poh-Ling Tan, Dr Kelly Fielding, Professor Adrian Miller, Ms Nerida Beard, Mr Garry Peach, Ms Madeleine Jenkins, Ms Pamela McDowell)

Receiving $241,366 for 2014-17, this project uses a novel and unobtrusive smart metering system – aligned with culturally appropriate consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities – to reveal patterns of household water and water related-energy consumption. Researchers aim to identify effective behavioural and technological water and energy efficiency strategies in three remote communities in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Ecological Applications (Associate Professor Fran Sheldon, Professor Jonathon Olley, Dr Morag Stewart, Associate Professor Ian Rutherford, Professor Christer Nilsson, Dr Joanne Burton)

With degraded waterways anticipated to cost billions of dollars nationally and $500 million in Queensland alone, this project aims to link fluvial disturbance with the capacity for effective riparian restoration in subtropical river systems at a local, reach and whole of catchment scale. Receiving $435,000 for 2014-17, researchers aim to develop decision-support tools and methods for industry partners to invest in catchment-scale restoration activities to manage risks to drinking water quality and aquatic ecosystem health from riverbank erosion.

Atom, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle and Plasma Physics (Associate Professor Joan Vaccaro, Dr Luke Uribarri, Associate Professor Kimberley Hall, Professor Stephen Barnett)

Allocated $255,409 for 2014-17, this project aims to develop a device capable of converting waste heat into useful energy. A recent breakthrough discovery of a new way to erase information is intended to allow the device to operate using a battery that contains low entropy rather than energy. Researchers aim to seed a new technology that has the potential to revolutionise the way energy is harnessed and used.

Optical Physics (ProfessorDavid Kielpinski, Dr Luke Uribarri, Dr Damien Hicks)

This project aims to develop a new generation of bright, laser-like X-ray sources for laboratory use. It will receive $240,000 for 2014-16.