The space capsule supported by orange-coloured solar panels photographed above Earth carrying the Australian satellites and several other cubesats as arrives at the ISS. University of sydney/NASA

Fellowships and training centres accelerate research capacity

5 June 2017

The University of Sydney has secured more than $22.7 million in funding for Australian Research Council fellowships and training centres. 

Developing a world-class Australian industry in commercial space and unmanned aerial vehicles is the goal of one of the centres which today received $4,619,950 in government funding.

In the same announcement the Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham committed $4,420,408 in funding to a centre for musculoskeletal biomedical technologies and another $13.7 million for research fellowships at the University. 

A total of $170.6 million was provided by the Australian government across a number of Australian Research Centre (ARC) funding schemes.

Three ARC Australian Laureate Fellowships and five ARC Future Fellowships were awarded to the University of Sydney.

Professor Duncan Ivison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), said: “‘I am delighted that our outstanding researchers have been recognised by the ARC. These are among the most prestigious grants offered by the ARC and our success confirms the extraordinary work our researchers are doing.”

"To secure multiple fellowships and two centres is particularly satisfying – and we are joint leaders in Laureate Fellowships this round. It has been a tremendous team effort on the part of our researchers, their schools and faculties and the Research Portfolio to help support these efforts. But we are ambitious to do even more and even better."

The Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme attracts and retains outstanding researchers and research leaders of international repute to undertake ground-breaking, internationally competitive research in Australia.

Australian Laureate Fellows:


This project will analyse the genomes of viruses from Australian fauna including iconic native mammals and their major invasive pests.

It hopes to resolve major questions around virus ecology and evolution. The benefits will include determining the viruses present in and on native and invasive species and enhancing the efforts to protect highly valued Australian species from infectious disease.


The project aims to develop a suite of original models and algorithms for processing and understanding videos captured by moving cameras. The goal is to establish the mathematical foundations for deep learning-based computer vision.

The project expects to generate new knowledge that will transform moving-camera computer vision and will be critical in enabling autonomous machines to perceive and interact with the environment.


This project will develop a new theory of health and disease to accommodate the most recent developments in contemporary biology such as the role of the microbiome in physiology and the fact our bodies are sites of evolutionary conflict between multiple genomes, particularly in early life.

The project expects to create a close collaboration between philosophers and biomedical scientists to make the discipline of philosophy an active participant in the creation of integrative biomedical research.

The Future Fellowships scheme encourages research in areas of national priority, with preference given to researchers who can demonstrate a capacity to build collaboration across industry, with other research institutions and with other disciplines.

Future Fellows:


This project will look at how the line between humans and animals is drawn and re-drawn in a number of ancient world texts and contexts. As the real and imagined foundation of Western civilisation, the ancient Greek world is frequently invoked in current debates about what separates humans from animals.

Yet, in the modern debate the ancient position is restricted mainly to philosophy. The expected outcome of this project is a comprehensive study of the place of the animal in ancient Greek conceptions of humanity. It will refocus classical scholarship and prompt the re-evaluation of our contemporary understanding of what makes us human.


This project aims to explore the connection between theories of time and timelessness in metaphysics and physics, and our lived experience as agents.

The story of our lives is one that unfolds through time but there is disagreement about the nature of time: about what time is and whether, in fact, it really exists at all. The project’s investigation will include whether we could make any sense of our lived experience if, as some physicists suggest, there was no temporal dimension.


The development of electroactive nanoporous solids is highly sought as their properties underpin the next generation of technologically and industrially useful devices.

Using a combined experimental, theoretical and computational approach this project expects to provide new insights of relevance to understanding biological photosynthetic systems and porous semiconductors. An expected benefit will be the development of devices for applications in energy storage and conversion, including electrochromic devices, electrocatalysts and battery materials. 


This project aims to investigate the department store’s role in spreading modernism and cosmopolitanism worldwide in the first half of the 20th century.

With a focus on Sydney and comparative studies of Tokyo and New York, it will advance understanding of the department store’s role in driving new forms of creative engagement, consumer knowledge and social interaction that shaped aspiring cosmopolitan cities. As vital civic and commercial institutions, the department store’s innovative history will provide important knowledge for current initiatives using the arts to revitalise commercial and urban space.

$824, 000

As a soap bubble is carried through the air by the wind its overall shape remains the same while its geometry changes. There are an infinite number of different shapes for surfaces, each allowing different geometries. A surface has only two dimensions, length and width. This project concerns multi-dimensional equivalents of surfaces, called manifolds. It will develop tools to study the shape and geometry of manifolds, provide methods to tell them apart and analyse what happens as geometry collapses.

Also announced today are 12 new Research Hubs and Training Centres funded under the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Program.  


The Training Centres strengthen Australia’s research capability and future workforce by establishing pathways for early-career researchers, including learning opportunities within industry.

The University was awarded funding for two Industrial Transformation Training Centres:

Lead: Professor Hala Zreiqat, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies


The ARC Training Centre for Musculoskeletal Biomedical Technologies will provide the next generation of graduates skilled at addressing challenges in musculoskeletal regeneration. The centre expects to engineer a set of integrated technologies to personalise implants for the unique biological, physical and lifestyle characteristics of the recipient.

Expected outcomes of the centre include embedded bioelectronic sensors to assess the healing process for the best possible outcome. The centre will produce data for use in producing next-generation implants, giving rise to improved health outcomes, economic benefits, and a skilled workforce able to advance this important field.

Lead: Professor Iver Cairns, Faculty of Science


The ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Their Applications aims to train the next generation of workers in cutting-edge advanced manufacturing, entrepreneurship and commercial space and UAV applications.

Of great commercial value and with very low costs, CubeSats are a new class of small satellites which, with UAVs, are disrupting the international satellite market. The expected outcome of this centre is to develop new instruments, technology and products to develop a world-class Australian industry in CubeSats, UAV and related products.

Verity Leatherdale

Manager, Faculty Media and PR

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