University’s new projects to make ‘a real difference’

University’s new projects to make ‘a real difference’

Over the past few weeks, the Federal Government has been releasing research funding to various universities across Australia.

Griffith University managed to make it among these institutions by securing more than $2.1m worth of research funding through the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA).

Member for Moncrieff, Angie Bell said the projects – which will be conducted by five Griffith University researchers – seek to address “important issues that will make a real difference to every Australian.”

Professor Carolyn Evans, who serves as Griffith University’s vice chancellor and president, said the newly-announced funding recognises the University’s reputation in the research sector.

“The diversity of projects approved for 2020 further highlights the university’s commitment and capacity to produce high-impact, future-focused research for the betterment of society in Australia and across the world,” Professor Evans said.

Receiving the largest share of funding at $462,742, Dr Laura Grogan from the Environmental Futures Institute will be developing improved strategies to better conserve Australia’s unique amphibian fauna, particularly targeting barred frogs in subtropical rainforests.

Another environment-related project, the Queensland Micro and Nanotechnology Centre, will be receiving $426,087 to look into the physical properties of silicon carbide nanosensors. The study seeks to develop next-generation electronics which can withstand harsh elements.

Two researches related to healthcare also made it into the list. Dr Jamie Ranse from Menzies Health Institute Queensland will be receiving $422,241 to develop predictive models which will help ambulance service and emergency planning for mass gathering events.

With $424,607 worth of funds, Dr Chin Hong Ooi from Queensland Micro and Nanotechnology Centre, will also look into the development of liquid-marble based three-dimensional cell culture platform to further biomanufacturing in Australia.

This aims to speed up the screening of anti-cancer drugs as well as growing new cells for implantation therapy – particularly for spinal cord injuries. 

Last but not the least, some $419,498 will be allocated for the development of a cost-effective and scalable real-time tool for identifying online fake news through artificial intelligence, minimising human efforts in the process.

 “This will benefit everyone who uses social media and is worried about the impact of fake news on society,” Bell said.

This research, which will be under the supervision of Professor Abdul Sattar, from the Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems, also aims to restore the public’s trust in various institutions such as the government and the media.

These two institutions were the least trusted by Australians, as found by the 29th ANUpoll.

High hopes for research
Aside from promoting social good, the Federal Government is supporting the research sector to spur economic growth. Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan previously said the government also wants to boost the commercialisation of Australia’s research outputs.

Through the DECRA program, the Federal Government also said it is providing $81.8m to support 200 research programs.

The productive capacity of our nation relies on educated workers, able to access innovation and research, to drive growth and opportunity," Minister Tehan said.

"Our Government is making a significant investment in Australia’s next generation of researchers working in key priority areas to grow our research and innovation capacity.”