The latest round of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres of Excellence scheme, announced by Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, will fund nine ARC Centres of Excellence in areas of national importance.
Acting Chief Executive Officer of the ARC, Ms Leanne Harvey, said that she was pleased that $283.5 million in funding has been awarded to nine outstanding Centres of Excellence, following a competitive and rigorous assessment process.
“The ARC Centres of Excellence scheme aims to enhance and develop Australia’s research excellence through highly innovative and collaborative research, as well as build Australia’s human capacity in a range of research areas, including the humanities and social sciences,” said Ms Harvey.
“These new ARC Centres of Excellence—which all relate to the Australian Government’s Science and Research Priorities—offer exciting new opportunities for Australian research. Ranging across the full spectrum of research disciplines, they will each enhance Australia’s research capability and deliver valuable research outcomes.
“These Centres involve significant research collaboration which will allow the concentration of complementary research resources of universities, publicly-funded research organisations, other research bodies, governments and businesses, to support outstanding research.
“Seven Australian universities will administer these ARC Centres of Excellence, 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 ARC Centres of Excellence awarded funding commencing in 2017 are:
The ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions, 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 Centre, led by Professor Lisa Kewley, will capitalise on innovative Australian technology and instrumentation to propel Australia to the forefront of astronomical research.
The ARC Centre of Excellence of Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, at the University of Wollongong, will establish a world-class, interdisciplinary research programme to understand Australia’s unique biodiversity and heritage. The Centre, led by Professor Richard Roberts, will track changes to Australia’s environment to examine the processes responsible for the changes, and the lessons that can be used to continue to adapt to Australia’s changing environment.
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, 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 programmes. Led by Professor Andrew Pitman, the Centres research is expected to make Australia more resilient to climate extremes and minimise risks from climate extremes to the Australian environment, society and economy.
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems, at The University of Queensland will harness the quantum world for the future health, economy, environment and security of Australian society. The Centre, led by Professor Andrew White, aims to solve the most challenging research problems at the interface of basic quantum physics and engineering by working with industry partners to translate research discoveries into practical applications and devices and training scientists in research, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, to be established at the Swinburne University of Technology, will explore the extreme physics of black holes and warped spacetime, inspiring the next generation of Australian scientists and engineers. Researchers at this Centre, led by Professor Matthew Bailes, will build on decades of Australian investment in gravitational wave and pulsar science, coalescing research activities into a focused national programme.
The ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science, to be established at The University of Melbourne, will manipulate the way light energy is absorbed, transported and transformed in advanced molecular materials. Led by Professor Paul Mulvaney, the Centre’s research is expected to produce outcomes and benefits that include: new Australian technologies in solar energy conversion; energy-efficient lighting and displays; and security labelling and optical sensor platforms for defence.
The ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low Energy Electronics Technologies, to be established at Monash University, will develop the scientific foundation and intellectual property for new electronics technologies. Decreasing energy use is a major societal challenge. This Centre, led by Professor Michael Fuhrer, aims to meet that challenge by realising fundamentally new types of electronic conduction, expected to form the basis of integrated electronics technology with ultra-low energy consumption.
The ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research, at The University of New South Wales, will undertake multidisciplinary research that will inform social and economic responses to population ageing. The Centre, led by Professor John Piggott, will help governments, businesses, and consumers prepare for and make better decisions for an ageing world.
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, at The University of New South Wales, will develop new technology, expected to provide a strategic advantage in a world where information and security are increasingly important. The Centre, led by Professor Michelle Simmons, aims to implement quantum processors able to transfer information across networks with absolute security.