Aerial view of the University's Quadrangle.

Over $1.5 million in ARC funding awarded to Sydney researchers

10 July 2019
Disaster risk reduction practices to assist people with disabilities and relationship-building practices that foster lifelong connections for children in permanent care are two of four projects that have received funding through the federal government's ARC Linkage Project scheme.

Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan announced $28.7 million in national ARC Linkage Project grants, including over $1.5 million for four University of Sydney research teams.

The Linkage Project grants helps support national and international research partnerships between researchers and industry, with each project requiring one or more partner organisations.

“The University of Sydney has a long history of partnering with industry to collaborate on research,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison.

“I am pleased the ARC will support the work of these four research teams and their industry partners through these new linkage grants.

“This announcement is further confirmation of the outstanding work our researchers are conducting which can make a real difference, improving the lives of Australians and others around the world.”  

Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DIDRR) practices

Dr Michelle Villeneuve from the Faculty of Health Sciences and her team will receive $408,000 for their project, ‘Disaster risk reduction practices that leave nobody behind’.

“People with disability experience barriers that increase their vulnerability during disasters,” explained Dr Villeneuve. “In Australia, their vulnerability is further increased because it is not clear whose responsibility it is to address the unique needs of people with disabilities in disasters.”

The research being conducted by Dr Villeneuve and her team will provide critical data on the inclusion of people with disability in emergency preparedness, their level of preparedness, functional capabilities and support needs in emergency situations.

“Together with the NSW Office of Emergency Management, we have partnered with six peak disabled people’s organisations who will lead by example on how to include people with disability, their family and carers in each community and use their role as advocates to develop DIDRR participation and practice through their networks.”

A game changer for out-of-home care

Director of the Institute of Open Adoption Studies, Associate Professor Amy Conley Wright and her team have secured $612,000 for their project, ‘Fostering lifelong connections for children in permanent care’.

“Our project is aiming to build practice change in the out-of-home care sector, starting in New South Wales and influencing practice nationally and internationally,” said Associate Professor Wright.

“We know from adults who grew up in adoption and out-of-home care that they have a deep identity need to know their life stories and stay connected to their birth relatives and culture. But these relationships between children’s adoptive or permanent carers and birth families are not always easy.

“This grant means that we can start to translate our research into specific casework practices, as well as learn from the good practice already happening with our partner organisations. A particular focus will be learning from Aboriginal families and communities about how to keep children connected to Kin and country.”

Associate Professor Wright and her research team will be working with their partner organisations at four sites across New South Wales to do action research to develop, evaluate and scale-up practice change.

Funding success for a further two other projects

Associate Professor Joanne Arciuli from the Faculty of Health Sciences and her team have secured $155,084 for their project, ‘Literacy Instruction for Children with Autism’, which aims to develop and evaluate new ways to support comprehensive literacy instruction for children with autism spectrum disorder.

Professor Michael Swain from the University of Sydney School of Dentistry and his team will receive $389,409 for their project ‘Microstructural-Functional Effect of Silver Diammine Fluoride on Apatites.’ Their project aims to develop a fundamental understanding at the nanostructural level of the factors that contribute to the enhanced mineralisation and mechanical properties of dentine and enamel following the treatment with silver diammine fluoride (SDF).

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