Huge funding announcements for Chemistry

Posted 5 June 2017

Three Australian Research Council Future Fellowships have been awarded to UNSW Chemists for research into electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide, light-powered molecular machines, and nanomaterials for memory-switching devices, and more.

This morning, the Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, announced the funding outcomes of 91 ARC Future Fellowships, nine ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centres, and 17 Australian Laureate Fellowships for 2017.

Associate Professor Chuan Zhao, Dr Jon Beves, and Dr Suzanne Neville were each awarded ARC Future Fellowships, which had a funding rate of 31% this round. Their fellowships total over $2,400,000 of funding over four years.

Chuan Zhao was awarded $960,000 for the development of nanoconfined ionic liquids for electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide.
Jon Beves was awarded $762,504 for research to control chemistry with light-powered molecular machines.
Suzanne Neville – who has been recently recruited to UNSW – was awarded $748,904 for the development of molecular switching nanomaterials for modern technology.

UNSW Chemistry received three of the 13 Future Fellowships awarded to UNSW, and the most fellowships awarded in the field of Chemical Sciences in Australia.

Dr Pu Xiao was also awarded a Future Fellowship, which will be administered by ANU, where he will be relocating to.

“The Future Fellowships scheme encourages research in areas of national priority, with preference given to researchers who can demonstrate a capacity to build collaboration across industry, with other research institutions and with other disciplines,” said Chief Excecutive Officier of the ARC, Ms Leanne Harvey via the ARC Media release today.

Funding for ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centres was also announced this morning.

ARC Training Centre for the Chemical Industries – set to receive $3,279,502 over five years – will be led by Dr Anastasios Polyzos of Melbourne University, with our own Professor Martina Stenzel as Deputy Director.

This centre is set to transform how we train students for industry, and brings together expertise from Melbourne University, Swinburne University and UNSW, with partners including CSIRO, National Measurement Institute, Dulux, Qenos, PACIA, and PPG Industries.

Many other members of UNSW Chemistry will be involved in this project including, Associate Professor John Stride, Associate Professor Shelli McAlpine, Professor Richard Tilley, Dr Jon Beves, Professor Pall Thordarson, Dr Vinh Nguyen, and Dr Luke Hunter.

As part of this centre, John Stride will lead the establishment of a new Masters in Industrial Research degree at UNSW. This announcement follows last week’s announcement that he has been awarded a prestigious Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) STEM+ Business Fellowship, facilitated by CSIRO. This provides $352,000 of funding over two years for Stride to work with industry partner, Xinova Australasia to explore coconut waste as a valuable resource for carbon fibre.

Professor Pall Thordarson, Director of Research in the School of Chemistry, says that it’s great news that there will be well over $4 million coming into the school over the next few years with these projects.

“It’s definitely one of the best days the School of Chemistry has ever had, in terms of funding announcements!”