Future Fellowship funding success attracts more than $2.8 million for Western Sydney University
Three Western Sydney researchers have been awarded Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowships, attracting more than $2.8 million in funding for the University.
The Future Fellowships scheme supports research in areas of critical national importance by giving outstanding researchers incentives to conduct their research in Australia. The aim of the Future Fellowships scheme is to attract and retain the best and brightest mid-career researchers.
Associate Professor Juan Salazar from the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and Institute for Culture and Society; Associate Professor Jeff Powell from the Hawkesbury Institute of the Environment; and Dr James East from the School of Computing Engineering and Mathematics, (SCEM) were all successful in their submissions.
Associate Professor Juan Salazar will receive just over $1 million for his project, Australia a space-faring nation: imaginaries and practices of space futures. The project will investigate the challenges, opportunities and implications of outer space as a site of economic, political, environmental and cultural interest for Australia.
Associate Professor Juan Salazar
“This funding will help me continue ongoing cultural research on human life in extreme environments that I have been conducting for a decade in Antarctica, and initiate a new study of Australia’s role in the new space economy, civil space sector and international engagement, through a better understanding of social and technological imaginaries of outer space and the role of government and commercial venture start-ups,” said Associate Professor Salazar.
Associate Professor Jeff Powell will receive just under $1 million for his project, Understanding mycorrhizal phenotypes using functional traits. The project will study plant-fungal partnerships which will lead to significant impact associated with trustworthy assessments of commercial products while supporting economic and environmental benefits linked with more productive soils and improved ecosystem health.
Associate Professor Jeff Powell
“This funding will help me to establish a collection of microbes obtained from varied Australian environments, to evaluate what makes some beneficial and others less so. It will also provide a fantastic opportunity to use facilities here and overseas to understand their interactions with plants and with global change drivers,” said Associate Professor Powell.
Dr James East will receive just under $800,000 for his project, Diagram categories and transformation semigroups. The project will focus on developing a structural understanding of diagram categories, which is essential in many branches of mathematics and science.
Dr James East
“This fellowship will allow me to devote much more of my time to study the important role played by diagram categories, and related algebraic structures, in so many parts of mathematics. It will allow me to form and strengthen international collaborations and take on more of a leadership role in Australia’s efforts in this area,” said Dr East.
- FULL PROJECT DETAILS:
- Associate Professor Juan Salazar
Title: Australia a space-faring nation: imaginaries and practices of space futures.
Total awarded budget: $1,022, 064
Project summary: This project investigates the challenges, opportunities and implications of outer space as a site of economic, political, environmental and cultural interest for Australia. Combining ethnography and creative practice, the project analyses how a range of imaginaries of outer space are produced through a study of the development of Australia’s National Space Agency, the role of new venture capital firms in Australia, and scientific research on alien life in terrestrial analogue sites in Australia, the U.S and Chile. Research outputs will contribute to national research capacity in social studies of science, foster opportunities for international interdisciplinary collaborations, and inspire Australian public engagement with space research.
- Associate Professor Jeff Powell
Title: Understanding mycorrhizal phenotypes using functional traits
Total awarded budget: $992,693
Project summary: This project aims to develop a new framework linked to tangible, measurable traits of beneficial plant-fungal partnerships that lead to empirical predictions. The project expects to deliver an understanding of how ecological strategies of plant-fungal partnerships control plant productivity and soil nutrient cycling. Expected outcomes include new methods for predicting whether beneficial partnerships can be realised and knowledge that can be transformed into recommendations for practitioners. This should lead to significant impact associated with trustworthy assessments of commercial products and of management recommendations, supporting economic and environmental benefits linked with more productive soils and improved ecosystem health.
- Dr James East
Title: Diagram categories and transformation semigroups
Total awarded budget: $785,823
Project summary: A structural understanding of diagram categories is essential in many branches of mathematics and science. Despite this, very few methods for studying such categories are available, a fact this pure mathematics project seeks to rectify. By building strong bridges between diagram categories and semigroup theory, a field of abstract algebra that models transformation and change, the structure of diagram categories may be unlocked with powerful semigroup tools developed by the applicant investigator. Diagrammatic insights will also yield new ways to study semigroups, and the many other mathematical structures they interact with. Outcomes will have a lasting impact on both theories as well as the many fields influenced by them.
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