22 November 2016

On the 8 September 2016, the Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, announced the outcomes of the 2017 round of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres of Excellence scheme. The announcement saw $283.5 million in funding (over seven years) awarded to nine outstanding ARC Centres of Excellence, following a competitive and rigorous assessment process.

The ARC Centres of Excellence scheme supports highly innovative and potentially transformational research that will lead to a significant advancement of Australia’s research capabilities and knowledge. The scheme provides Australian researchers with opportunities to work on large-scale problems over long periods of time.

ARC Centres of Excellence link existing research strengths and build critical mass to address Australia’s most significant and challenging research problems. Centres involve significant collaboration, allowing complementary research resources to support outstanding research. These Centres will be administered by seven Australian universities, involving a further 163 participating organisations from across 27 countries—together, they will provide a total of $761.4 million in cash and in-kind support to the Centres.

The 2017 ARC Centres of Excellence offer exciting opportunities for Australian research, each one will create new knowledge, or build on existing knowledge in a new and creative way, to generate new concepts, methodologies, inventions and understandings.

  • The ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions, led by Professor Lisa Kewley at The Australian National University, will answer fundamental questions in astrophysics, including the origin of matter and the periodic table of elements, and the origin of ionisation in the Universe.
  • The ARC Centre of Excellence of Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, led by Professor Richard Roberts at the University of Wollongong, will establish a world-class, interdisciplinary research program to understand Australia’s unique biodiversity and heritage.
  • The ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, led by Professor Andrew Pitman at The University of New South Wales, will transform Australia’s capacity to predict future climate extremes through data modelling, research collaboration and researcher training programs.
  • The ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems, led by Professor Andrew White at The University of Queensland, will harness the quantum world for the future health, economy, environment and security of Australian society.
  • The ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, to be established at the Swinburne University of Technology and led by Professor Matthew Bailes, will explore the extreme physics of black holes and warped spacetime.
  • The ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science, to be established at The University of Melbourne and led by Professor Paul Mulvaney, will manipulate the way light energy is absorbed, transported and transformed in advanced molecular materials.
  • The ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low Energy Electronics Technologies, to be established at Monash University and led by Professor Michael Fuhrer, will develop the scientific foundation and intellectual property for new electronics technologies.
  • The ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research, led by Professor John Piggott at The University of New South Wales, will undertake multidisciplinary research that will inform social and economic responses to population ageing.
  • The ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, led by Professor Michelle Simmons at The University of New South Wales, will develop new quantum technology to improve information security and potentially transform all industries dependent on computers.

In the following articles, we highlight two of the funded Centres—ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research and ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery—to reflect the innovative and exciting research that will be undertaken across diverse disciplines.

Full details of the successful ARC Centres of Excellence for funding commencing in 2017 are available on the ARC website.