Quantum Dynamics researchers among Griffith foursome to be awarded research funding 

Two Griffith University researchers from the Centre for Quantum Dynamics are among the university’s four researchers to have been announced as 2018 Australian Research Council Future Fellows.  

The projects form part of the $180.4 million worth of national funding announced this month by Minister for Education and Training The Honourable Simon Birmingham. 

Associate Professor Mirko Lobino

Associate Professor Mirko Lobino was granted $878,125 for the project The internet of the future: towards an intercontinental quantum network, which will be hosted by the Centre for Quantum Dynamics. The project aims to address the security vulnerabilities of online data transmission. 

“It is a great honour and recognition of what myself and my group have accomplished so far,” Assoc Professor Lobino said.  

“While the fellowship is awarded to a single person, this result was possible because of the hard work of my students and post-docs who produced excellent scientific results and worked with passion and determination.  

“It is also a sign of the great reputation that Griffith has in the field of quantum physics since two of the four fellowship awarded were to members of the Centre for Quantum Dynamics.”  

Assoc Professor Lobino said the funding would help enable a new technology for the secure transmission of data of the optical fibre network.  

“This is a timely topic; if you think of the recent debate about the new My Health Record platform where security was one of the main concerns,” he said.  

“We share more and more sensitive data over the internet, and this data constantly travels between hospitals, banks, companies, etc. Every step we make towards more secure data communication will benefit society and its reliance on the internet.”  

Dr Eric Cavalcanti was granted $878,125 for the project Fine-tuning the Quantum: Foundations and Applications of Quantum Causality, which will be hosted by the Centre for Quantum Dynamics. The project aims to investigate the nature of causality in the quantum world. 

Dr Eric Cavalcanti

Dr Cavalcanti said he was very proud of the achievement, for the recognition of his contributions to quantum theory and for the new opportunities that the award brings.

“Every child understands from an early age that actions have consequences, causes have effects,” he said.

“In Science it’s very important to distinguish cause-and-effect relationships from spurious correlations. But in the quantum world the usual causal rules – that allow us to test, say, the effectiveness of a medical treatment or of a change in economic policy – strangely break down. This project will investigate how the rules of causality operate in the quantum world, and how this fact can be harnessed to power technologies like quantum computers or efficient communication over the future quantum internet.

“I’m very excited in particular about the growth of our Gold Coast node of the Centre for Quantum Dynamics. This fellowship will fund top-up scholarships to help attract bright PhD students. With Brisbane a stone’s throw away and with the beautiful Gold Coast beaches as a backdrop, it’s hard to find a better place to study the mysteries of quantum mechanics.”

Professor Tina Murphy was granted $970,917 for the project Engaging Muslims in the fight against terrorism, which will be hosted by the Griffith Criminology Institute. The project aims to investigate engagement between the Australian police and Muslim communities by emphasising mutual fairness, voice, neutrality and respect.

Dr Michael Westaway was granted $936,468 for the project New bioarchaeological perspectives on pre-contact lifeways in Sahul, which will be hosted by the Environmental Futures Research Institute. This project aims to establish a new bioarchaeology research program to study socio-economic changes in the Australia-New Guinea continent Sahul and provide new insights into the complexity of societies from diverse environments.

Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Ned Pankhurst said the grants were a great honour for the researchers and the University. 

“I congratulate the researchers for winning this support against tough national and international competition,” Professor Pankhurst said. 

“The research projects are providing solutions to major national challenges and we are delighted to receive this major funding support from the Federal Government.” 

The University has also been awarded funding for one 2018 ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub.