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New Centres of Excellence to push research boundaries

New Centres of Excellence to push research boundaries

Image: Tanya Monro and Alexandre Francios—Biosenor development. Photo courtesy Jenny Groom

Image: Tanya Monro and Alexandre Francios—Biosenor development. Photo courtesy Jenny Groom
The Minister for Education, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, last week approved $285 million over seven  years for 12 ARC Centres of Excellence.

The funding was awarded under the ARC Centres of Excellence funding scheme (for funding commencing in 2014), with the Centres establishing their research programs through 2014.

The Centres will collaborate with 106 partner organisations from 44 different countries and will also receive more than $392.2 million cash and in-kind support from participating  organisations.

ARC CEO, Professor Aidan Byrne, said the ARC Centres of Excellence scheme was an important funding scheme that provided  long-term support to world-class researchers who work across disciplines and push research boundaries.

"This is one of our most prestigious schemes and I look forward to hearing about the many important research outcomes that I know will be produced from these Centres."

Excitement about the funding outcomes for the scheme was quick to spread throughout the sector.

Researchers who will form part of the new $23 million ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, at the University of Adelaide, said its work will develop technologies to create a "window into the body" in ways never achieved  before.

Centre  Director and Australian Laureate Fellow, Professor Tanya Monro, the new Centre will cross boundaries of biology, lasers and nanoscience, using light-based sensors to probe molecular processes within living systems.

"Our understanding of the processes of life is limited by constraints imposed by studying cells and biological systems outside the body. Much more can be learned if we can  work within," Professor Monro said.

"We  will use nanomaterials and photons to serve as an interface between organisms  and artificially engineered systems. By bringing these fields together we will transform our understanding of nanoscale events in living systems.

"We will create a window into the body, with tangible outcomes from our research in areas such as reproductive health, the immune system, and cardiovascular health," Professor Monro said.

Other Centres that will be established under this round of funding include:  

  • ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging—which will develop new  imaging methods to visualize atomic, molecular and cellular details of how proteins  interact and effect immune responses. The Centre will enable Australia to be an international leader in biological imaging, to train the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists, and provide new insights into combating common diseases; and   
  • ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision—which will create the  fundamental science and technologies that will allow robots to 'see' the environment  as we do, allowing robots to perform useful tasks in complex, unstructured and changing situations.       

For more information about these funding outcomes please visit the ARC website. A full  list of the 12 ARC Centres of Excellence is below.

ARC Centres of Excellence (for funding commencing in 2014)

ARC Centres of Excellence Title

Centre Director

Administering Organisation

ARC funding

ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging

Prof James Whisstock

Monash University


ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course

Prof Janeen Baxter

The University of Queensland


ARC  Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology

Prof Thomas Davis

Monash University


ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language

Prof Nicholas Evans

The Australian National University


ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science

Prof Gordon Wallace

University of Wollongong


ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies

Prof Terence Hughes

James Cook University


ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function

Prof Gary Egan

Monash University


ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers of Big Data, Big Models, New Insights

Prof Peter Hall

The University of Melbourne


ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics

Prof Tanya Monro

The University of Adelaide


The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology

Prof Andrew Millar

The University of Western Australia


ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision

Prof Peter Corke

Queensland University of Technology


ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis

Prof Murray Badger

The Australian National University


Image: Tanya Monro and Alexandre Francios—Biosenor  development. Photo courtesy Jenny Groom 

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