Federal Government backs Murdoch research projects

July 10, 2015

Exchange photoMurdoch University has been awarded more than $1.5 million in the latest round of the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Linkage Projects scheme.

Murdoch’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Development, Professor David Morrison the University received funding for four research projects and two Murdoch staff members were involved on research projects led by different universities.

“This translates to a 44 per cent success rate in our grant applications, which is well above the national rate of 36 per cent and significantly higher than WA’s success rate of 21 per cent,” Professor Morrison said.

Professor Morrison said the Linkage program brings universities and industry closer together and is designed to support high quality research with a translatable outcome and as such fits perfectly with the narrative for our University.

“Success doesn’t come without a lot of sustained effort by everyone involved. In some cases the projects were conceived three years ago,” he said.

  • Balancing estuarine and societal health in a changing environments – $541,405

Lead Chief Investigator: Dr Fiona Valesini

This project aims to facilitate sustainable development in a fast-growing coastal region (Peel-Harvey, south-western Australia).       Envisaged outcomes include evidence-based catchment planning solutions that optimise trade-offs between socio-economic development goals and minimal downstream impacts on estuarine health.

  • Hazards, Tipping Points, Adaptation and Collapse in the Indo-Pacific World – $374,516

Lead Chief Investigator: Professor James Warren

The project aims to provide a new understanding of Indo-Pacific History since the 10th century based on an enhanced understanding of the inter-relationship between natural environmental cycles and events, and social and political cycles and events. The project highlights the importance of natural hazards as potential catalysts of historical change.

  • Turning sand into sheep feed – Lebeckia ambigua an agricultural perennial – $335,834

Chief Investigator: Professor John Howieson

This project aims to develop nitrogen-fixing legumes adapted to the changing climate. Nitrogen fixation from legumes is worth $3 billion to the Australian agricultural economy, but changing rainfall patterns threaten much of this. One solution is to transition pasture growth to a reliance on perennial plants, which are less affected by unseasonal rain.

  • Genome editing to improve the dietary quality of potato – $290,000

Lead Chief Investigator: Professor Michael Jones. Chief Investigator: Dr Stephen Wylie.

Chief Investigator: Dr Stephen Milroy

The research team are aiming to develop healthier potatoes with a lower Glycaemic index (GI), by reducing the rate of glucose release into the bloodstream when they are eaten.  GI will be lowered by increasing the amount of resistant starch, using a new technique called genome editing. This technique allows us to change starch production without introducing any new genetic material.

Professor Giles Hardy is the Chief Investigator on a project led by the University of Western Sydney titled Do hotter and drier regions harbour adaptive variation for climate change.

Dr Mike Van Keulen is the Chief Investigator on a project led by the University of Queensland titled Distribution, connectivity and sustainability species of national and international ecotourism value and conflicting international fishing pressure.

Murdoch was also successful in the Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) grants.

Associate Professor Martin Cake from the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences will be leading a project called VetSetGo. The project has received $349,000 in funding and aims to improve the resilience and employability of veterinary graduates.

To view the full research funding awards, including all project summaries, please visit the ARC website. For a full list of 2015 OLT grant and fellowship recipients see www.olt.gov.au



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