DECRA funding success for VC Fellows

Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor's Research Fellows, Dr Tijl Grootswagers (left) and Dr Benjamin Hanckel (right).

Western Sydney University’s Dr Tijl Grootswagers and Dr Benjamin Hanckel, have each been awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA), attracting a combined total of more than $850,000 for the University.

Dr Tijl Grootswagers, from the MARCS Institute and a VC Fellow under the University’s Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellowship Scheme, received $447,683 for the project, The dynamics of object representations in the human brain.

“It is still unknown how the brain effortlessly recognises and categorises objects. This project capitalises on cutting-edge advances in artificial intelligence and neuroscience to resolve the spatiotemporal dynamics of object processing in the human brain,” said Dr Grootswagers.

“The outcomes will be a step change in our understanding of the nature and development of neural object processing and ultimately facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders and accelerate the development of intelligent machines.”

Dr Benjamin Hanckel, from the Institute for Culture and Society and a VC Fellow under the University’s Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellowship Scheme, received $434,212 for the project, Examining Youth Digital Wellbeing in Australia, and the Philippines.

“Digital technologies are being harnessed for their potential to enhance health and wellbeing. How digital health interventions provide support across national borders in the ‘real world’ and lives of young people are key questions in the realisation of global health,” said Dr Hanckel.

“Focused on sexual health and mental health interventions for marginalised young people, this project will examine the promise of transnational digital health interventions from the perspective of marginalised young people across Australia and the Philippines.”

Professor Kevin Dunn, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and Vice-President (Research, Enterprise and International) at Western Sydney University also welcomed the funding.

“The DECRA scheme is vital not only in expanding Australia’s knowledge base and research capacity but also in developing research leaders of the future like Dr Hanckel and Dr Grootswagers. The University welcomes the funding of their future-focused projects, which reflect the University’s commitment to research excellence and making an impact in the communities we serve,” said Professor Dunn.

The Australian Government has, this year, awarded $85 million for projects under the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme. The scheme allows researchers in the early stages of their career to develop and apply their research skills on projects that benefit Australians and help them progress through a career in research.


19 September 2022 

Media Unit