Nineteen new Deakin-led projects and awards have been announced in the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) Scheme Awards.
Improved empowerment of Indigenous communities is a goal of Alfred Deakin Professor and Chair in Race Relations, Yin Paradies, who has been awarded a Discovery Indigenous 2018 project award – a first for Deakin – in an outstanding round of Australian Research Council awards and grants.
Almost $7 million has been awarded to Deakin researchers for 13 ARC Discovery Projects, four ARC Discovery Early Career Awards (DECRAs), one ARC Discovery Indigenous project award and an ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) award. The round was announced today by the Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham.
Deakin Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Peter Hodgson congratulated all new research award recipients, noting the funding would underpin important investigations across a raft of key disciplines, including culture and society, materials innovation, sciences, health, psychology and education.
“I’m delighted at the scale of Deakin’s success in these extremely competitive ARC funding schemes. They will enable a number of our researchers to make a difference to the national and international communities we serve, from the sciences to the humanities,” Professor Hodgson said.
“These awards are a well-deserved acknowledgement of our world-class researchers and demonstrate a recognition that high level research underpins all advances for Australia and the globe. The projects will play a vital part in improving the world around us.”
Professor Paradies is based within the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) and will work with colleagues Dr Victoria Stead and Dr Samantha Balaton-Chrimes on the project. Entitled “Beyond recognition: postcolonial relationality across difference,” Professor Paradies’ four-year project will investigate how Indigenous people are recognised and their rights provided for by various bodies, including governments.
“Issues such as the constitutional recognition debate and the move to treaties in Victoria and other states demonstrate a shift in societal thinking and indicate ways that we can improve outcomes for Indigenous people,” said Professor Paradies.
His team will develop case studies that reveal relationships and interactions that affect the rights and recognition of Indigenous people in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Kenya. These will focus on interactions with governments, corporations and other transnational organisations.
“We are seeking to understand how we can improve the capacity of Indigenous people to negotiate with more powerful bodies in a legal and policy context,” he said.
“We hope to enhance the capacities of Indigenous peoples to negotiate – and Australian policy makers, development workers and corporations to engage effectively and ethically in such negotiations.”
Professor Paradies is an Aboriginal-Anglo-Asian Australian from the Northern Territory. He has worked in Indigenous health research since 1995 and has received a range of awards, including a Fulbright scholarship to study at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the Wakaya people, who originate from land below the Gulf of Carpentaria.
“It is an honour to receive this Discovery grant to undertake research that will benefit Indigenous people here and abroad,” he said. “I believe that changes are afoot, with the potential to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples. Through this project, we hope to move policy-making in the right direction.”
Funding is being provided by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council’s Discovery, Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards, Discovery Indigenous and/or Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities schemes.
The Deakin-led Discovery Projects:
Prof Tiffany Walsh, Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM)
“Interfacial design for high performance carbon fibre polymer composites:” Working with Associate Prof Luke Henderson and Prof Russell Varley, this project aims to develop customisable surfaces on carbon fibres to complement any intended resin for composite materials. It aims to develop superior composites and build fundamental knowledge of the interfacial molecular interactions required to obtain composites able to tolerate high shear forces.
Dr Euan Ritchie, Centre for Integrative Ecology (CIE)
“Leader of the pack: social structure and predator management:” This project aims to quantify the importance of the individual in behaviour and social structures when managing social predator populations to protect economic and environmental assets, using dingoes as a model system. The project expects to improve understanding of how behaviour and social interactions influence ecological outcomes, improving conservation and management.
Prof Fethi Mansouri, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI)
“A transcultural approach to belonging and engagement among migrant youth:” This project aims to map experiences of migrant youth in developing and accessing trans-cultural capital, a set of skills, resources and knowledge accessed through multiple cultural repertoires. This will be undertaken through a comparative study of three highly diverse urban contexts: Melbourne, Birmingham and Toronto. The project's expected outcomes will contribute to scholarly and policy discussions on migrant youth in the West and improve understanding of their overall social well-being.
Prof Tong Lin, IFM
“Microstructure effect on energy harvesting ability of electrospun fibres:” With Dr Jian Fang, this project aims to provide new knowledge about how to manipulate the energy harvesting ability of electrospun fibrous mats by changing the fibre structure, components and mat configuration. Expected outcomes of the project are new fibrous materials capable of efficiently converting small mechanical forces and sounds into electricity. They will be useful for developing new power supplies, self-powered electronics, self-sustainable sensor networks and electronic textiles.
Prof Katherine Buchanan, CIE
“Revisiting the ontogeny of vocal learning in birds: from neuron to fitness:” With Dr Mylene Mariette, this project aims to test the hypothesis that acoustic exposure prior to hatching directly affects gene expression, neural development, behaviour and consequently fitness, in wild populations of songbirds. This study hopes to transform understanding of the adaptive potential of prenatal vocal learning, which will have significant benefits for human speech and language development.
Dr Yamini Narayanan, ADI
“Animals and urban planning: Indian cities as Zoöpolises:” This project aims to examine the everyday realities of selected wild, commensal, and commoditised species living close to humans in six ecologically-diverse, rapidly-growing, medium-sized cities in India. It is expected to generate new insights into the complex social dimensions of Indian urban biodiversity and offer an expanded empirical basis for planning that sustains urban biodiversity in cities of the future.
Prof Maria Forsyth, IFM
“Multifunctional and environmentally friendly corrosion inhibitor systems:” With Dr Anthony Somers and Prof Margaret Ackland, this project aims to design new, environmentally-friendly coating systems for steel in marine environments by incorporating novel, non-toxic pigments that can be combined to protect against both corrosion and microbial attack. Such coatings have the potential to significantly improve the lifetime of marine infrastructure.
Prof Shahram Akbarzadeh, ADI
“Women’s NGOs and gender-sensitive policy change in Iran:” With Dr Rebecca Barlow, this project aims to investigate how Iranian women’s non-governmental organisations (NGOs) work to influence gender sensitive policy change in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The expected outcomes will enhance scholarly understanding of Iranian civil society, and build the capacity of the Australian government to foster ties and invest in successful strategies for progress with Iran.
Prof Russell Tytler, Strategic Research Centre in Education, Research for Educational Impact (REDI)
“Enriching mathematics and science learning: an interdisciplinary approach:” With Dr Lihua Xu, Dr Peta White and Prof Vaughan Prain, this international project aims to investigate the effectiveness of an innovative interdisciplinary learning approach in mathematics and science. The project will form the bases for new curricular designs that leverage students’ representational practices across science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines to promote more robust and generative knowledge.
Prof Craig Olsson, Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development (SEED)
“The intergenerational origins of social and emotional wellbeing:” With Dr Delyse Hutchinson, Dr George Youssef and Prof Jennifer McIntosh, this project aims to map inter-generational pathways that connect parental life histories, from infancy to parenthood, to offspring development decades later. The project brings together rare data from three long-running studies of social development in Australia and New Zealand: The Australian Temperament Project (est. 1983), The Victorian Inter-generational Health Cohort (est. 1992), and The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health & Development Study (est. 1972). Expected outcomes include enhanced understanding of the factors that strengthen or undermine well-being in families from one generation to the next.
Prof Wanlei Zhou, School of Information Technology
“Enhancing information credibility using mathematical prediction:” With Dr Shui Yu Summary, the aim of this project is to develop theory, techniques, mathematical tools and practical algorithms for rumour detection and forecast in social media to enhance credibility of news, especially in time-sensitive situations and trending events. This project will advance human knowledge of rumour formation, detection, and forecast, which will enable timely and efficient counter attacks.
Prof Andrew Bennett, CIE
“Genomic diversity, tolerance and ecology of wildlife disease:” With Prof Soren Alexandersen, this project aims to understand the regulation of viral disease by vertebrate hosts. Viruses are rapidly evolving threats to humans, agriculture and wildlife. Combining the latest genomic, ecological and immune-pathological approaches should improve management, risk assessment and decision-making for animal disease and biosecurity in Australia and globally.
Prof Martine Powell, School of Psychology
“Determining elements that underpin learning of child-witness interviewing:” Working with Prof David Boud, this project aims to investigate the elements that underpin the learning of child witness interviewing skills. The findings will guide the planning and implementation of interviewer training programs and contribute to improved interview quality and better justice outcomes for child complainants of abuse.
ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award funding for 2018
Dr Ludovic Dumee, IFM
“Development of two-dimensional nanoporous membranes:” This project aims to develop new desalination membranes able to selectively remove contaminants from liquid effluents with greater cost efficiency and lower environmental footprint. It aims to do this by forming hierarchical membranes, which will reduce the cost of desalination and develop new markets beyond the sole field of water desalination, in resource, solvent recovery and protein fractionation.
Dr Trina Hinkley, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN)
“Impact of screen time on preschoolers’ social skills and cognitive function:” This project aims to determine how the quantity and nature of screen time interacts with parental co-participation to affect pre-schoolers’ social skills and cognitive functioning. Seventy per cent of pre-schoolers exceed current screen time guidelines and this causes considerable concern among Australian parents. Findings are expected to provide evidence for policy development and inform programs to support healthy behaviours to give young children the best start in life.
Dr Greg Kowalski, IPAN
“Phosphatidylserine: a regulator of muscle and mitochondrial biology?” This project aims to characterise a novel pathway involved in regulating skeletal muscle mass through effects on mitochondrial function. Understanding what makes muscle vulnerable to atrophy is fundamental to developing strategies to counteract muscle wasting conditions. Methodologies developed will have broad application in the field of life sciences research.
Dr Victoria Stead, ADI “Labour, race and belonging: strengthening Rural Workforces and Communities:” This project aims to strengthen understandings of race and labour relations in Australia’s horticultural industry. Horticulture is Australia’s third largest agricultural industry and the seasonal nature of work in this industry poses challenges for workforce recruitment and development. This project will generate new insights into race and labour relations that can improve the equity and sustainability of horticultural industry workforces, and strengthen belonging within rural communities.
Deakin’s ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) 2018 bid
Professor Maria Forsyth, Associate Professor Patrick Howlett, Dr Daniel Fabijanic and Professor Peter Hodgson.
“A glow discharge optical emission spectrometer for challenging surfaces:” With collaborating Institutions, Monash University and RMIT University, this project will address a critical surface characterization gap in Australian research by the implementation of a glow discharge optical emission spectrometer. Determining the composition depth profile of chemically-complex surfaces that are rough, fragile, and air-sensitive is very challenging. This technique allows rapid and accurate elemental depth profiling of surface layers, up to hundreds of microns in thickness and with nanometre resolution. It will fast-track research in battery materials, new methods to control corrosion, and the design of advanced engineered surfaces.
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Alfred Deakin Professor and Chair in Race Relations, Yin Paradies has been awarded a Discovery Indigenous 2018 project award in an outstanding round of Australian Research Council awards and grants for Deakin.