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Celebrating our newest Australian Laureate Fellows and research that ‘Makes a Difference’

Celebrating our newest Australian Laureate Fellows and research that ‘Makes a Difference’

ALF recipients

With a special event at the Australian Parliament House held on 21 August 2018, the Australian Research Council (ARC) celebrated the 2018 recipients of its prestigious Australian Laureate Fellowships, and took the opportunity to launch the 2017–18 edition of its publication Making a Difference: Outcomes of ARC supported research.

Distinguished attendees at the event included key representatives from the university sector as well as Australian Government representatives and parliamentarians. 

Australian Laureate Fellowships pin ceremony

At the event, the ARC’s newest Australian Laureate Fellows were awarded commemorative pins by Mr Andrew Laming MP, representing Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham; and Professor Sue Thomas, ARC Chief Executive Officer.

Announced earlier in August, sixteen outstanding new Australian Laureate Fellows are receiving a total of $46.4 million in funding to lead new Australian research projects commencing in 2018 and to mentor the next generation of researchers. The 2018 Australian Laureate Fellows are:

Professor Sue Thomas presenting a copy of Making a Difference publication to Mr Andrew Laming MP and Senator the Hon Kim Carr.

Speaking at the event, Professor Sue Thomas, said the competition for these prestigious fellowships is always very strong.

“The ARC is extremely proud of the Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme,” said Professor Thomas.

“Australian Laureate Fellowships are highly coveted in the Australian research sector and also highly competitive.”

Professor Thomas noted that by attracting and retaining outstanding researchers and research leaders of international repute, the Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme is facilitating ground-breaking, internationally competitive research to take place in Australia while also nurturing and mentoring early career researchers.

“An important component of each Australian Laureate Fellowship is support for postdoctoral research associates and postgraduate researchers,” said Professor Thomas.

“Australian Laureate Fellowships, as well as supporting our current research leaders, play an important role in cultivating the next generation of research leaders.”

Professor Thomas also took the opportunity to congratulate the two named Australian Laureate Fellows—the Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship in science and technology disciplines, awarded to Professor Christine Beveridge from The University of Queensland, and the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship in the humanities, arts and social sciences disciplines, awarded to Professor Marilyn Fleer from Monash University.

“To be considered for these named Australian Laureate Fellowships, candidates must first be selected as an Australian Laureate Fellow,” said Professor Thomas.

“Only candidates who can clearly demonstrate their capacity to promote women in research, mentor early career researchers, particularly women, and encourage them to enter and establish careers in research in Australia are awarded an ARC Georgina Sweet or Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship.”

One of these recipients, Professor Beveridge from The University of Queensland, spoke at the event, about the research that she would be undertaking with the new ARC funding, to discover the genes and processes that control the architecture of plant shoots. Explaining that she will use her supplementary funding to create resources to support broad-scale personal development activities for students and early-career researchers across Australia.

Also speaking at the event was Australian Laureate Fellow Professor James Whisstock, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging based at Monash University. Professor Whisstock spoke about how, with his Australian Laureate Fellowship, he intends to develop a new approach to enable the direct visualisation of large macromolecular structures in cells.

Professor Joy Damousi explaining the Invisible Farmer website.

Professor Joy Damousi explaining the Invisible Farmer website

Professor Barry Pogson and Ms Karina Price demonstrating the Virtual Plant Cell.

Professor Barry Pogson and Ms Karina Price demonstrating the Virtual Plant Cell.

Associate Professor Madhu Bhaskaran wearable electronics.

Associate Professor Madhu Bhaskaran describing her wearable electronics

Dr Sue Keay explaining RangerBot

Dr Sue Keay explaining RangerBot.

Professor Bryce Barker

Associate Professor Heather Burke, Professor Bryce Barker, Dr Lynley Wallis and Dr Noelene Cole showcasing their uncovering the history of the early Native Mounted Police archaeological finds.


The ARC congratulates all the new Australian Laureate Fellows, who are inspiring their fellow researchers to achieve research excellence, and we look forward to the breakthroughs that will flow from their new research programs and exemplary research leadership.

Launch of Making a Difference publication and research showcase

Following the Australian Laureate Fellowships pin ceremony, Professor Thomas officially launched the 2017–18 edition of the ARC publication Making a Difference: Outcomes of ARC supported research.

Published annually, Making a Difference is developed with significant collaborative input from ARC-funded researchers and media teams and research offices across Australian universities.

The publication is a snapshot of the research projects underway at universities across Australia—funded through the ARC’s National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP). It demonstrates the high quality research that the ARC supports, and the real difference that it is making to Australia and the world.

The publication provides examples of ARC supported research projects—across the full spectrum of humanities and social sciences disciplines through to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines—that are delivering cultural, economic, social and/or environmental benefits to Australia. It particularly showcases research that is making waves outside of the research sector.

A number of researchers who are featured in this year’s publication were present at the event to showcase and demonstrate their exciting research outcomes:

Professor Sue Thomas presenting a copy of Making a Difference publication to Mr Andrew Laming MP and Senator the Hon Kim Carr.

Presenting a copy of the publication to Mr Andrew Laming MP and Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Professor Thomas said that every day, the ARC is impressed by the fascinating stories of innovation, discovery and collaboration involving researchers that are funded through the ARC’s NCGP schemes.

“These stories are great examples that demonstrate that publicly funded research is delivering important and tangible outcomes to Australians,” said Professor Thomas.

Professor Thomas also emphasised that the publication is simply a snapshot, noting that it is impossible to capture all of the magnificent research underway in Australia in one book, and encouraged ARC-funded researchers to continue sending their stories to the ARC.

“In assembling this publication, we made a concentrated effort to feature research from all across the sector, from universities big and small, and across research disciplines,” said Professor Thomas.

“I encourage ARC-funded researchers everywhere to keep sending us new stories about their valuable research outcomes that are making a difference to Australia. We are already compiling ideas for the next edition!”

Making a Difference: Outcomes of ARC supported research is now available on the ARC website.




Additional images descriptions:

Australian Laureate Fellowships pin.

Group photo of 2018 Australian Laureate Fellows.

Professor Christine Beveridge and Professor James Whisstock accepting their Australian Laureate Fellowship pins from Mr Andrew Laming MP and Professor Sue Thomas.

Making a Difference publication.

Professor Sue Thomas presenting a copy of Making a Difference publication to Mr Andrew Laming MP.


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