17 ARC Discovery Projects greenlit for Griffith researchers

A diverse group of Griffith researchers have received $6.96 million in funding from the ARC.

Griffith University researchers will lead 17 new Discovery Projects across a broad field of knowledge after being awarded over $6.96 million from the Australian Research Council.

Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research Professor Sheena Reilly AM said the outstanding results placed Griffith in the top ten in Australia for the number of grants awarded and success rate.

“Our researchers are at the forefront of discovery.”

“These high impact research projects will not only expand our knowledge and understanding across a broad spectrum of areas, but give solutions and better outcomes both in Australia and internationally.”

Australian Research Council Discovery Projects (DP22) led by Griffith University researchers

Dr Kirsten Besemer and Professor Susanne Karstedt (Griffith Criminology Institute, AEL) awarded $229,029 for the project Lifting the burden of imprisonment: Creating safer and stronger communities. This project aims to identify how a reduction in imprisonment rates could benefit Australian communities and enhance their safety and wellbeing. It will link a range of statistical data sources on imprisonment, crime and community wellbeing. We will, for the first time, comprehensively demonstrate the impact of imprisonment on individuals and communities in Australia and beyond. Expected outcomes of this project include expansion and innovation of coercive mobility theory, novel integration of data, and a forecasting tool to assess the impact of imprisonment reduction on communities.

Professor Julian Meyrick (Creative Arts Research Institute/Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, AEL) awarded $165,000 for The impact of immigrant theatre artists on Australian culture 1919-1949. Using an innovative mixed-methods research design, this project aims to investigate the lives and impact of immigrant theatre artists working in Australia from 1919 to 1949, focusing on the influential Latvian “power couple” Dolia and Rosa Ribush. After 1918, increased migration flows led numbers of foreign artists to come to Australia. These have been studied individually but never as a network, so their contribution to Australian culture has been greatly undervalued. Benefits of the project include better understanding of the way Australian theatre has been creatively shaped by diverse patterns of immigration.

Dr Jacqueline Drew (Griffith Criminology Institute, AEL) awarded $296, 730 for the project Innovation in police gender equity management: Looking back, moving forward. This project aims to investigate gender equity recruitment and career support policies in all nine Australian and New Zealand policing agencies. A wide range of equity initiatives that have been implemented across police agencies will be examined, along with affirmative action measures including recent 50/50 male/female recruitment targets. (With Professor Timothy Prenzler, University of Sunshine Coast).

Professor Sue Trevaskes (Griffith Criminology Institute and Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, AEL) awarded $228,000 for China’s Law-Based Governance Revolution under Xi Jinping. To sustain its unmitigated power, the Chinese Communist Party is transforming its legal ideology and governance focus to make politico-legal institutions more capable of supervising and moulding people’s behaviour and beliefs. This project aims to examine how this transformation is constructed by key institutions and digested into public policy and legal decision-making guidelines. It expects to generate new knowledge on how Xi Jinping-era legal ideology guides policy and decision-making in China. The expected outcomes include an enhanced conceptual and empirical understanding of politico-legal change in China. This project has significant implications for Australia given China’s increasingly assertive role in international governance. (With Associate Professor Delia Lin, The University of Melbourne and Professor Zhiyuan Guo, China University of Political Science and Law).

Professor Sara Davies (Centre for Governance and Policy and Griffith Asia Institute, Business), Dr Cosmo Howard and Dr Jessica Kirk (Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Business) awarded $230,329 for the project The politics of expertise during COVID-19. Experts play a crucial role during crises. This project aims to examine how four governments (Australia, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States) have incorporated public health expertise into their decision making during COVID-19. These countries have similar economic resources, liberal democratic institutions, health system capacities and pandemic preparedness. Yet, their governments responded differently to COVID-19. (With Associate Professor Clare Wenham, The London School of Economics and Political Science; Dr Jeremy Youde, University of Minnesota and Dr Rachel Irwin, Lund University).

Dr Cosmo Howard (Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Business) and Professor Juliet Pietsch (Griffith Asia Institute and Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Business) awarded $233,777 for Understanding the Antipodean ‘Fair Go’. There is bipartisan support for the ‘fair go’ in Australia and New Zealand, but what does the fair go actually mean? This project aims to generate new knowledge about the role of the fair go in political debate and policy making. It will examine the values that have been historically connected to the fair go. It will assess how the public and politicians currently understand the fair go and will investigate how the fair go has influenced public policies. (With Professor Jennifer Curtin, The University of Auckland).

Dr Lee Morgenbesser (Griffith Asia Institute and Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Business) awarded $166,134 for Agents of Disinformation: The Rise of Counterfeit Election Observers. This project investigates the rise of “counterfeit” election observers as agents of disinformation. Using four case studies and four qualitative methods, it identifies how autocratic regimes entice partisan individuals to imitate genuine international observers. The expected project outcome is an explanation for the origins, features and impact of counterfeit election observers that is practically applicable to our foreign affairs and national intelligence communities as well as genuine observation organisations. The knowledge gained from this project will not only help defend Australia from malign disinformation, but advance its interest in the promotion of good governance and stronger democratic institutions everywhere.

Associate Professor Thomas Haselhorst (Institute for Glycomics, Sciences) and Dr Christopher Day (Institute for Glycomics, Sciences) awarded $523,000 for the project Glycan-based prebiotic approaches to increase food safety in Australia. Since the launch of the first Australian Animal Sector National Antimicrobial Resistance Plan (2018) several approaches have been suggested to reduce the use antibiotics in agriculture, however no alternatives to antibiotics have been suggested or trialled. In this proposal we aim to develop a novel glycan-based prebiotic strategy to reduce Campylobacter jejuni colonisation in chicken and poultry by disrupting important glycan-glycan interactions. Outcomes of this proposal is a cost-effective antibiotic- and vaccine-independent animal feed supplement strategy that will decrease the risk of human food-borne illness and therefore promoting food safety and public health in Australia.

Professor Melanie Zimmer-Gembeck (Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Health) and Dr Jaimee Stuart (School of Applied Psychology, Health) awarded $320,639 for Parenting in an unsteady world across nations. Overinvolved and overcontrolling parenting seems to be on the rise as families are confronted with an unsteady world. This project aims to investigate how overparenting affects youth’s achievements and well-being as they transition out of secondary school, and will isolate societal and cultural determinants of overparenting. This project will generate new knowledge on family influences on youth’s progress, and will substantially contribute to an existing multinational study to identify macro social-cultural determinants of overcontrolling parenting. (With Dr Stijn Van Petegem, Free University of Brussels; A/Prof Bart Soenens, Ghent University; Prof Grégoire Zimmermann, University of Lausanne).

Professor David Lambert (Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution, Sciences) awarded $430,182 for The genetics of four ancient ‘Kings’ of Sahul and Sunda. This project aims to recover all the genetic information from four ancient humans. Two of these iconic specimens come from Australia and two from Malaysia. We will sequence the entire DNA (genomes) and proteins (proteome) of Mungo Man (Willandra), the Yidinji King (Cairns), the Deep Skull (Borneo) and the Bewah specimen (Malaysian Peninsula). This will provide a better understanding of the settlement of Australia and new knowledge about the ancient people of Australasia and their relationship to other human populations worldwide. The research will use cutting-edge methods of DNA and protein sequencing of ancient human material and will provide critical reference genomes / proteomes that will anchor future research. (With Associate Professor Craig Millar, The University of Auckland; Dr Edinur Atan, University of Science Malaysia; Prof Enrico Cappellini and Prof Eske Willerslev, University of Copenhagen; Mr Gudju Gudju Fourmile, ABRICULTURE).

Professor Nam-Trung Nguyen, Dr Chin Hong Ooi and Associate Professor Helen Stratton (Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre, Sciences) awarded $495,000 for Microfluidics with core-shell beads: handling liquids like solids. Reducing waste of consumables in chemical reactions promises to solve environmental problems as well as enable novel applications in space. This project aims to establish a revolutionary fluid handling technology that lowers waste in the labs and in satellites. The project deciphers the fundamental physics behind our recent discovery of encapsulating a tiny liquid content in a solid shell, allowing for handling liquid samples like solid particles. Examples of the benefit of this project are more precise detection of bacteria on earth and compact reactors in space. The research outcomes are instrumental for promoting a clean environment, good health, and creating new business opportunities, particularly in space industry, for Australians. (With Professor Dr Volker Hessel, The University of Adelaide).

Professor Maxime Aubert (Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, AEL), Professor Adam Brumm (Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution, Sciences), Dr Tim Maloney and Dr Andrea Jalandoni (Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, AEL) awarded $848,116 for Early art, culture and occupation along the northern route to Australia. This project aims to uncover archaeological evidence for early humans in Indonesia’s northern island chain (from Borneo to West Papua). This poorly known region harbours the world’s earliest known figurative cave art (>45,500 years old), and it is also the most likely maritime route used by modern humans during the initial peopling of Australia ~65,000 years ago. The project aims to use cave excavations and rock art dating to fill the 20,000 year gap between the earliest known archaeological evidence from these islands and the oldest human site in Australia. Expected outcomes include new insight into the ancient past of Indonesia and a greatly improved understanding of the art and cultural lifeways of the ancestors of the First Australians. (With Associate Professor Renaud Joannes-Boyau, Southern Cross University; Dr Rebecca Jones, Australian Museum; Mr Marlon Ririmasse, Indonesian National Research Center for Archaeology; Dr Pindi Setiawan, Bandung Institute of Technology).

Professor Dzung Dao and Professor Nam-Trung Nguyen (Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre, Sciences), Associate Professor Erik Streed (Centre for Quantum Dynamics and Institute for Glycomics, Sciences) and Dr Yong Zhu (Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre, Sciences) awarded $585,000 for Nano optoelectronic coupling: towards an ultrasensitive sensing technology. This project aims to elucidate ultrasensitive mechanical and thermal sensing effects that are tens of thousands of times better than conventional sensing technologies. This is achieved through controlling interactions between photons and electrons at the interface of two semiconductors. Outcomes of this project include scientific breakthroughs that are expected to revolutionise and disrupt the established sensing technologies. Microscopic low power mechanical and thermal sensors with ultra-high sensitivity have great value to enhance safety, security, and productivity of industry and society. (With Dr Toan Dinh, University of Southern Queensland).

Associate Professor Susan Bengtson Nash (Centre of Planetary Health and Food Security, Sciences) awarded $724,450 for the project Uncovering Antarctica’s Secret Chemical Voyagers for Expedited Regulation. This project aims to strengthen global chemical policy by rapidly identifying chemicals that demonstrate environmental persistence and mobility, two requisite risk criteria for regulatory action. It will take the novel approach of applying powerful non-target chemical screening approaches to Antarctic environmental media, leveraging the remoteness of Antarctica to derive unambiguous evidence against the key risk criteria. Research will uncover a new catalogue of proven persistent and mobile chemicals, and further assess their ubiquity and biomagnification potential in the Antarctic system. (With Dr Xianyu Wang, The University of Queensland; Dr Pernilla Bohlin-Nizzetto and Dr Martin Schlabach, Norwegian National Institute for Air Research; Dr Derek Muir, Environment Canada).

Professor Howard Wiseman (Centre for Quantum Dynamics, Sciences) awarded $512,835 for Heisenberg-limited lasers: building the revolution. The project aims to design and build a revolutionary new type of laser based on the ground-breaking 2020 Nature Physics paper by the two Chief Investigators. The significance of this work is that it overturns 60 years of theory about the limits to laser coherence, by applying 21st century quantum theory and quantum technology to the problem. This project expects to greatly advance the theory and, by instigating a collaboration with world-leading experimentalists working with superconducting quantum devices, to demonstrate a laser with coherence beyond what was thought possible. Benefits of the project should flow from the manifold applications for highly coherent radiation, including scaling up superconducting quantum computing. (With Associate Professor Dominic Berry, Macquarie University; Professor Benjamin Huard and Dr Audrey Bienfait, ENS Lyon; Dr Mazyar Mirrahimi, National Research Institute in Digital Sciences and Technologies).

Professor Bernd Rehm, Dr Frank Sanisbury and Dr Shuxiong Chen (Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery, Sciences) awarded $560,000 for Bioengineering self-assembly of innovative core-shell nanomaterials. This project aims to generate new knowledge in nanoscale bioengineering. It expects to develop a disruptive platform technology for design and manufacture of advanced nanomaterials to provide solutions for unmet needs in industry. It will explore an innovative bioengineering concept that merges biopolymer synthesis with virus-like particle self-assembly to produce innovative tunable core-shell nanomaterials. Expected outcomes are the development of advanced techniques for design and manufacture of innovate nanomaterials with enhanced stability and performance. This innovative platform technology for precision engineering of high-performance nanomaterials should provide significant benefits for biotechnological and agricultural industries.

Professor Sally-Ann Poulsen and Professor Katherine Andrews (Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery, Sciences) awarded $415,495 for Chemical probes to dissect the cell cycle of globally important parasites. This project aims to develop new reagents, called chemical probes, to visualise key biological events in globally important pathogens. We will use innovative chemistry to modify the building blocks of DNA and provide researchers with essential tools to ‘see’ DNA synthesis in order to study growth and replication of pathogens in combination with microscopy. This project expects to support a major technical advance that will address important gaps in our understanding of many pathogens (e.g. those that cause malaria and tuberculosis), at both the cellular and molecular levels. This should provide significant benefits by enabling researchers worldwide to identify new intervention opportunities that target unique aspects of pathogen biology. (With Dr Martin Blume, Robert Koch Institute).

Australian Research Council Discovery Projects (DP22) with Griffith University researchers as team members

Associate Professor Kylie Burns (Law Futures Centre, AEL and Menzies Health Institute Queensland) is part of a team led by UNSW’s Prof Jill Hunter awarded $540,000 for the project titled, Judges’ work, place and psychological health – a national view.

Dr Margaret Gibson, (Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, AEL) is part of a team led by UNSW’s Prof Michael Balfour awarded $300,000 for the project titled, Future stories: creating virtual worlds with young people in hospital.

Dr Natalie Osborne, (Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, AEL) is part of a team led by the University of Sydney’s A/Prof Thom van Dooren awarded $427,000 for the project titled, Narrative Ecologies of Warragamba Dam.

Associate Professor Fuwen Yang (Institute of Integrated and Intelligent Systems, Sciences) is part of a team led by QUT’s Prof Yu-Chu Tian awarded $490,000 for the project titled, Mitigating the risks of cyberattacks on cyber-physical power systems.