$37 million funding for University of Sydney research

29 November 2018
The University of Sydney has secured over $37 million of funding across a wide range of areas including food insecurity, gravitational waves, and Indigenous disability in rural and remote areas.

The University of Sydney has been awarded just over $37 million in total Australian Research Council (ARC) grant funding for 84 projects this year, up from $28 million for 71 projects in 2017.

“Congratulations to all researchers receiving funding this round – it is immensely pleasing to see such ambitious and meaningful projects be supported," said Professor Laurent Rivory, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

"We know without doubt that our research advances national priorities and knowledge across a wide range of areas, and these results are all the more pleasing given the increasingly tight funding environment for research.”

Linkage Projects

Scientists researching lemons in the lab

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) Professor Kathy Belov was awarded a Linkage grant worth $1,046,628, along with Dr Samantha Fox and Dr David Pemberton, to measure the long-term genetic impacts of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program’s ‘Wild Devil Recovery’ initiative.

Professor David Schlosberg, Luke Craven and Dr Alana Mann will be addressing food insecurity by assisting vulnerable populations to participate in the development of new food businesses. Social and economic benefits of their projects will include increased access to food, greater participation in new food enterprises, and an improved quality of life for vulnerable people experiencing food insecurity in Australia.

Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities

Three Linkage, Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grants worth more than $1.5 million in total were awarded, including the completion of a revolutionary new instrument, Hector-1, to be installed on the Anglo-Australian Telescope to survey nearby galaxies in 3D.

Professor Julie Cairney and her team has also secured support to create a unique and comprehensive cryo-microscopy laboratory which is available to all Australian researchers in an open-access user environment, providing research infrastructure for a variety of projects.

Discovery Projects

62 University of Sydney Discovery Projects have been funded for 2019.

Projects receiving support include an analysis into the impact of workspace design on workers’ satisfaction, productivity and health, as well as a project developing consumer-centred approaches to reducing the harmful effects of confusion in financial decisions.

In space research, Professor Scott Croom, Professor Sara Ellison, Dr Bernd Husemann and Assistant Professor Jorge Moreno will be aiming to resolve the role of super-massive black holes in the life-cycles of galaxies. Associate Professor Tara Murphy, Dr Martin Bell and Associate Professor David Kaplan have secured support to use three Australian radio telescopes to search for and monitor radio waves from future gravitational wave events.

Improved electricity infrastructure would provide significant economic, social and environmental benefits to Australia. One project – a legal and governance framework to enhance the resilience of Australia’s electricity infrastructure in a changing climate – has been funded for Professor Rosemary Lyster, Dr Gregor Verbic, Professor Daniel Farber and Professor Robert Verchick.

Indigenous artwork of turtle on wall

Discovery Indigenous Grants

All three submitted Discovery Indigenous Grants were supported with funding, placing Sydney University as first in the country in this field.

The three projects will cut across the fields of disability and the oyster industry: two projects will be focussed on people with disability, in particular the experiences of people with disability in rural and remote regions, as well as retention strategies for the Indigenous frontline health and disability workforces. Finally, an investigation will be carried out into the impact of global environmental change on the survival of Australia’s oyster industry.

Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRAs)

Support for 15 DECRAs worth over $5M has been secured.

Sustainability around travel and car use is at the centre of one project: University of Sydney Fellow Dr Jennifer Kent will be providing a theoretical, methodological and policy framework that can be used to resolve the practice in Australian cities of private car dependency.

Dr Nicholas Scott’s project will measure the stellar populations of nearby galaxies that are apparently similar to the Milky Way. He also secured a University of Sydney Fellowship in 2015 to track the origin of dwarf elliptical galaxies.


The full list of projects in the November 2018 Australian Research Council funding announcement is available via

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