Welcome boost in major research funding

Posted on November 13, 2012

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Professor Brown: Increased support for research in a wide range of fields

La Trobe University has received about $6.4 milllion in this year’s funding allocations from both the National Health & Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Tim Brown, says in winning support for highly competitive major ARC ‘Discovery Projects’, La Trobe has achieved a very pleasing 15 per cent increase on last year.

He says $2.4 million in health and medical research funds will support critical work at the University into improving cancer drugs, cardiac, muscle and pulmonary health as well as mechanisms for controlling mitochondrial diseases.

Also funded is an on-line parent-training project to help prevent anxiety problems in young children. At the other end of the age spectrum – where mobility disorders can be a personally disabling and costly national health problem – new studies will look at improving osteoarthritis and foot wear.

La Trobe research supported by the Australian Research Council totals just under $4 million. This is for studies into computer ‘data mining’ – from business, bio-medicine and power systems – to probing harassment and sexual violence against women in cyberspace with implications for possible legislative and policy reform.

Other projects include the genetic pathways of pollen development, very relevant to improving agricultural and food production, and work on an ‘open source Biochemical Property Prediction System’ called BioPPSy.

 Equal second in humanities and social sciences 

Professor Brown says another highlight for the University is that researchers in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences were placed equal second among Victorian universities in gaining the highest number of Discovery grants in comparative disciplines.

More than $600,000 for in-depth history of the Mallee

Researchers from La Trobe’s Melbourne and regional campuses, in a project titled ‘Changing landscapes, changing people’, will study the history of the Mallee, back to its Indigenous inhabitants.

Another rural project, on the archaeology of the Murray River Valley, will shed light on human adaptation in this very important semi-arid area of north-western Victoria.

Leading La Trobe researchers, says Professor Brown, also play key roles in major ARC and NH&MRC studies funded at other universities.

This work ranges from multi-scale imaging of biological structures and how these structures function, to ‘sub-nanometer’ imaging and fabrication for material science.

Another such joint study – significant given China’s new global standing and what has been dubbed the ‘Asian Century’ – will examine China’s ‘intangible cultural heritage across borders’; its laws, structures and strategies, and its Association of Southeast Asian Nations neighbours.

Download the  full lists of all grants and names of key researchers:

Australian Research Council awards

National Health & Medical Research Council awards