Second cohort of Robinson Fellows announced

28 October 2019
Supporting our early-career researchers
The second cohort of researchers to receive a four-year fellowship named after the University of Sydney's first Nobel Prize winner has been announced.

An initiative of the 2016-20 Strategic Plan, the Robinson Fellowships aim to support and retain the University’s best early-career academics by creating a pathway towards continuing teaching and research positions.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison said Robinson Fellows are identified on the basis of merit and potential, as well as their ability to help the University sustain a research community driven by a culture of excellence.

The Robinson Fellowships are part of a series of programs we offer to help support younger academics who are at critical points in their careers.
Professor Duncan Ivison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

“We are committed to investing in and developing outstanding researchers at all stages of their careers,” said Professor Ivison.

“The Robinson Fellowships are part of a series of programs we offer to help support younger academics who are at critical points in their careers.”

In addition to salary and research funding, the Fellows will have access to a structured mentoring and development program that will help prepare them to transfer into a continuing academic position.

Reflecting the University’s continued commitment to gender equity, over half of the Fellows have been awarded to women.

Sir Robert Robinson. 

The fellowships are named after Sir Robert Robinson, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1947. Sir Robert joined the University in 1912 as a 26-year-old organic chemistry academic before returning home to England in 1915.

He made significant contributions to work that led to the successful production of certain antimalarial drugs and, in 1947, Sir Robert was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Funding for the 2020 Robinson Fellowships comes through the Holt Bequest. Eric TW Holt was a World War II veteran and successful grazier who died in 1971, leaving his Marulan property, Arthursleigh, to the University along with a financial bequest. That bequest is now worth $6 million and supporting future generations of researchers through the Robinson Fellowships.

Faculty of Science / School of Psychology / Brain and Mind Centre

Associate Professor Sally Gainsbury is the Co-Director of the Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic in the Brain and Mind Centre and leads the Centre’s multidisciplinary Gather team which examines problematic risk taking involving emerging technologies and related mental health and public health issues.

Dr Gainsbury’s research focuses on gambling psychology and using science to inform the development of responsible gambling strategies. Her research draws together perspectives from across disciplines, including psychology, psychiatry, public health and behavioural economics for a comprehensive understanding of behavioural addictions including online gaming and gambling as well as the impact of personal, societal and design factors on decision-making and risk taking when using new technologies and online products.

Dr. Gainsbury has received numerous awards and fellowships including the 2019 NSW Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year, 2019 University of Sydney SOAR Prize, a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence in 2018 and an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award in 2016.

Faculty of Medicine and Health / School of Medical Sciences / Charles Perkins Centre

Dr Samantha Solon-Biet is an NHMRC Early Career Fellow in the Charles Perkins Centre. Her research investigates the complex role nutrition plays in mediating various aspects of metabolic health, reproduction, appetite and ageing. A major focus of her research is to explore how dietary balance influences the underlying biochemical and physiological processes that drive metabolic and behavioural responses.

Dr Solon-Biet has received numerous awards including the 2018 NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award, 2018 University of Sydney SOAR Prize and 2019 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence - Outstanding Early Career Research.

Faculty of Medicine and Health / Sydney School of Public Health

Associate Professor Anne Tiedemann is a Principal Research Fellow at the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health in the Sydney School of Public Health. Her research addresses the urgent public health challenges of physical inactivity and fall prevention in people aged 50+.

Associate Professor Tiedemann is the chief investigator for a 2019 NHMRC Project Grant on preventing falls in older age with yoga-based exercise. Her other current research projects focus on the design and evaluation of low cost, sustainable strategies to promote physical activity behaviour change using health coaching, activity trackers and online information and support. In 2015 Anne received the NHMRC Research Excellence Award for being the top ranked applicant in the Population Health - Level 1 category of the Career Development Fellowship (CDF).

Faculty of Medicine and Health / Central Clinical School

Dr Anna Waterhouse is an ARC Early Career Researcher Award recipient and Cardiovascular Medical Devices Group Leader with the Heart Research Institute. Her research focuses on understanding the interactions of medical devices with patients’ blood, proteins and cells to develop medical devices for the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

Based at the Charles Perkins Centre, she is the lead chief investigator for the ‘Reducing blood clotting complications from cardiovascular medical devices’ project funded through a Ramaciotti Health Investment Grant, in addition to co-leading one of Sydney Nano’s five Grand Challenge projects. Dr Waterhouse is also a chief investigator for a 2019 ARC Linkage Project on developing an in vitro blood vessel model to mimic arterial conditions, and a chief investigator for a research project funded through an Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (iMCRC) Grant on engineering a bioreactor system.

Faculty of Engineering / School of Electrical and Information Engineering

Dr Phee Lep Yeoh is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering and is a chief investigator for a 2019 ARC Discovery Project on secure communications. 

His research focuses on designing advanced security and privacy protocols for future generation communications systems. His current research interests are in ultra-reliable and low-latency communications, and industrial internet-of-things. Dr Yeoh is also the recipient of the 2018 Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers and is currently serving on the Technical Program Committee for the IEEE GLOBECOM and ICC.

Faculty of Science / School of Geosciences 

Dr Sabin Zahirovic is a postdoctoral research associate in the EarthByte Group within the School of Geosciences. His research has focused on understanding how plate tectonics and convection in the planetary interior has affected the evolution of our planet. By piecing together ancient tectonic plates and continents, Sabin’s work provides insight on Earth’s paleogeography, as well as the planetary ‘deep carbon cycle’ that is driven by geological processes. 

Sabin has led the New Guinea stream for the ARC Research Hub for Basin Geo-dynamics and Evolution of Sedimentary Systems (Basin GENESIS Hub) since 2015. This year he was appointed as Chair of Paleogeography in the IUGS ‘Deep-time Digital Earth’ program, and has been appointed to the Executive Committee of the international and cross-disciplinary Deep Carbon Observatory. Sabin is the recipient of the 2018 Deep Carbon Observatory Emerging Leader award, and the 2019 Geological Society of Australia A.H. Voisey Medal.