14 November 2011

Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

Starting—and keeping—researchers on the path of discovery

Jobs for hundreds of our brightest early and mid-career researchers will ensure Australia continues to make the discoveries that improve our lives.

That is why the Gillard Labor Government is investing over $248 million in funding for 480 talented researchers through the Australian Research Council’s Future Fellowships and Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA) schemes.

Announcing the 2011 Future Fellows and the inaugural DECRAs in Parliament House today Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said the funding was helping Australia grow its vital research workforce and keep Australia’s researchers on the path to discovery.

“Over $144 million is being awarded to 203 talented mid-career researchers under the Future Fellowships scheme, which promotes research in areas of critical national importance by giving outstanding researchers incentives to conduct their research in Australia and to attract and retain the best and brightest mid-career researchers,” Senator Carr said.

“Almost $104 million is being awarded to 277 stand-out early-career researchers under the DECRA scheme, which specifically supports and provides opportunities for promising early-career researchers.

This DECRA funding brings the total of ARC Discovery projects funding announced this year to over $344 million, an increase of around $20 million from last year.

“This support for our researchers is crucial if we want to keep Australia ‘the clever country’, one which continues to come up with solutions to the big problems and issues facing Australians and the world every day.”

Senator Carr said some of the benefits that could flow from the support being provided to the 480 researchers include better approaches to mental health, robotic wall-climbing lizards and a new way to mend the heart.

“Dr Kazu Kikuchi from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute will receive a $673 728 Future Fellowship to study how the zebra fish’s extraordinary ability to regenerate damaged heart tissue might provide insights into the repair of human hearts after injury,” Senator Carr said.

“Professor Robyn Langdon from Macquarie University will receive $674 019 to learn more about life-long social disability in cases of schizophrenia.

“And Dr Christofer Clemente from the University of Queensland will receive a DECRA grant of $375 000 to challenge the current limitations of robotic design by creating a robotic lizard actually capable of climbing and running up and down walls.”

For summaries of all funding outcomes and for more information about the Future Fellowships and DECRA schemes, visit the ARC website or the media announcement kits.

Media contact: 
ARC Stakeholder Relations
0412 623 056 or communications@arc.gov.au