16 November 2020

people-in-lab_500pNew research funding awarded to the University of South Australia this week will help advance stem cell development, boost food production, promote inclusivity in schools and reveal the impacts of childhood emotional abuse, among other projects.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan MP has announced that eight UniSA researchers have collectively secured $2.8 million for six ARC Discovery projects and two Linkage projects.

ARC Discovery grants have been awarded to the following researchers:

  • Professor Natasha Harvey (Centre for Cancer Biology) will lead a $613,035 project defining how molecular switches program cell identity during development. This project expects to generate new knowledge in the area of genetics and developmental biology using cutting-edge technologies. The data generated will underpin new approaches to stem cell development to help transplantation;
  • Professor Sharad Kumar (Centre for Cancer Biology) will lead a $502,000 project focused on the mechanisms that regulate cell death during animal development. The project will combine genetics with proteomics, bioinformatics and cell biology. In the long term the research findings are expected to boost agriculture, food production and human health outcomes;
  • Associate Professor Anna Sullivan (Education) will lead a $324,000 project to investigate how and why Australian schools use exclusionary practices to manage disorderly students. New policy recommendations are expected to emerge from the project to reduce youth alienation and improve the health and wellbeing of young people;
  • Professor Nicole Moulding (Justice and Society) will lead a $309,807 project looking at the long-term impacts of childhood emotional abuse, including adverse health outcomes, marginalisation and family violence;
  • Associate Professor Sue Nichols (Education) will lead a $251,176 project to identify forms of digital exclusion and inclusion on children’s education, investigate a new model of school-home relationships in the digital age, and provide a comprehensive map of digital tools and services.
  • Dr Bronwyn Hajek (STEM) will lead a $225,000 project to develop a new mathematical model to predict the pattern formation of a new class of permanent lubricant – ionic liquids. The new model is expected to provide a cheap, fast and reliable alternative for screening suitable liquid/surface pairs.

ARC Linkage grants have been awarded to the following researchers:

  • Associate Professor Drew Evans (Future Industries Institute) will lead a $420,000 project to improve agricultural efficiency, productivity and yield by advancing the understanding of polymer materials interacting with fertiliser. This project is expected to provide a pathway to a world-first real time in-ground fertiliser sensor.
  • Professor Jun Ma (STEM) will lead a $215,000 project to develop new elastomer/graphene composites which can transform into graphene sheets during melt compounding with elastomers. The outcomes are anticipated to transform the current manufacturing practice of rubber products for applications in agriculture, automobile, construction, medical and mining industries.