Six University of Queensland researchers have been named Australian Research Council (ARC) Australian Laureate Fellows – the most ever awarded to a single university in the scheme’s history.
Only 16 Laureates were awarded nationally.
The six Laureates, who will share in more than $17.66 million funding, also represent the equal largest contingent of female awardees in history, with three women receiving the prestigious fellowships at UQ.
The funding will be used for projects that include improving food security, increasing understanding of dark energy, and discovering the impact of environment on human genetic traits.
UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the funding showed the strength of UQ’s research excellence.
“The Laureate Fellowships are among the most prestigious and contested awards in the research community,” he said.
“To have six fellowships awarded in a single round proves that UQ’s strategic research is of exceptional value to both industry and society, and demonstrates why UQ is the university of choice for so many outstanding researchers.”
The six ARC Laureate Fellows are plant scientist Professor Christine Beveridge ($3.0 million), astrophysicist Professor Tamara Davis ($2.9 million), psychologist Professor Jolanda Jetten ($2.7 million), structural biologist Professor Bostjan Kobe ($2.8 million), geneticist Professor Peter Visscher ($3.5 million, the largest in the nation) and incoming German quantum physicist Professor Hanns-Christoph Nägerl ($2.8 million).
UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Bronwyn Harch said it was extremely satisfying to see the Laureate Fellowship outcomes for UQ delivering equality in the number of fellowships for women and men.
“The UQ community has worked hard to make sure the research achievements of women are recognised, and to provide support and opportunities to women researchers to ensure they can achieve their goals while also creating value and making impact for society,” she said.
“It’s fantastic to see more women receiving these awards and being recognised for their outstanding contributions to their fields.”
UQ received more than $27.75 million in ARC funding from the announcement.
In addition to the six Laureates, seven ARC Future Fellows will share in more than $5.7 million in funding.
Pyrometallurgy expert Professor Evgueni Jak received an ARC Linkage grant of $825,000 for his studies into the behaviour of metals under extreme temperatures, with an aim of minimising the waste of valuable mineral resources.
The ARC also awarded $3.6 million over five years for an industrial training centre to be led by Associate Professor Yasmina Sultanbawa.
The centre will aim to transform the native food and agribusiness sector by partnering with an Indigenous governance group to convert traditional knowledge into branded products.