Stellar achievement for UNE in ARC funding round

Published 13 November 2019

Four of the University of New England’s (UNE) young research stars have been awarded more than $1.5 million in research grants under the latest round of Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) funding from the Federal Government’s Australian Research Council (ARC).

The prestigious grants will enable UNE researchers to investigate the best management of farm dams, a highly contagious disease in commercial poultry production, pathways towards making Australian agriculture carbon neutral and the importance of poetry in the nation-building process.

UNE Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Professor Heiko Daniel said that ARC grants are amongst the most competitive and sought after research funds in Australia.

“The DECRA round is considered the most competitive early career researcher award round in the world,” Professor Daniel said.

UNE’s success in being awarded this prestigious ARC funding demonstrate the excellence and quality of research that is being conducted here by our upcoming researchers.

“UNE is one of the largest regionally-based research organisations in Australia. We are committed to supporting innovation that will have a real impact on the lives of people living in our region, nationally and around the world.

I congratulate the four recipients and look forward to seeing the results of their dedicated and impactful work as these important projects are rolled out over the coming months and years,” he said.

Federal Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, congratulated the researchers who will the conduct the studies.

“These are world-leading research projects, led by academics right here on our doorstop, addressing important issues that will make a real difference to every Australian,” Mr Joyce said.

“History has proven that Australia is an innovative nation and this investment will help ensure Armidale and the New England remains at the cutting edge of pioneering development in this country.”

This success builds on ARC’s recent recognition of UNE’s research as part of the Excellence in Research for Australia assessment as being rated well above world standard in 18 disciplines, including Environmental Sciences, Agriculture, and Mathematics.

The successful researchers are:

Dr Deborah Bower – $425,469 to investigate the capacity of farm dam management strategies to simultaneously support nature conservation and agricultural production.

Dr Priscilla Gerber - $425,941 to investigate the mechanisms of immune protection against infectious laryngotracheitis virus, a highly contagious respiratory disease in poultry.

Dr Valentina Gosetti - $329,246 to rediscover, document and analyse prominent regional voices swept aside by the powerful forces constructing national identity.

Dr Benjamin Henderson - $373,857 to design an economically sound policy strategy for making the Australian agriculture sector carbon neutral by 2040.