Six research leaders win Fulbright scholarships

22 March 2013

Game changing research on quantum nanoscience, greenhouse gas emissions, managing wild dingos and finding a cure for cerebral palsy are among the achievements that have won 2013 Fulbright Scholarships for one University of Sydney staff member, two PhD candidates and three alumni.

The six recipients, including honorary research fellow Dr Thomas Newsome, PhD candidates David Waddington and Craig Roussac, and alumni Iona Novak, Allan Young and Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine have all won Fulbright Scholarships, which will allow them to pursue their studies in the US.

The prestigious Fulbright program is the largest educational scholarship program of its kind, and aims to promote mutual understanding through educational exchange. Founded by US Senator J William Fulbright in 1946, the program operates between the US and 155 other countries.

The Australian-American Fulbright Commission will host an information event for staff and students considering applying for Fulbright Scholarships in 2014 on campus on Monday 29 April. Current honours and prospective master's by research students, current and prospective PhD students, postdoctoral fellows and professional academic and research staff, industry partners and research affiliates of the University are invited to attend. Contact the Scholarships Office for more information on 8627 8450.

Dr Thomas Newsome
Dr Thomas Newsome

Dr Thomas Newsome, Honorary Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences: Fulbright New South Wales Scholar

Thanks to his Fulbright Scholarship, the re-introduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park will give Dr Thomas Newsome new inspiration for his research on dingo management in Australia.

Sponsored by the NSW government and universities, Dr Newsome's scholarship will take him to Oregon State University where he will collaborate with local researchers to determine whether or not there would be benefits for Australia in using similar measures with dingoes in areas where they have become locally extinct.

"Research on the dingo is important for two reasons," Dr Newsome says.

"Wild dogs, including dingoes, cause millions of dollars of damage to agricultural productivity annually. However, recent studies suggest that the reintroduction of the dingo into areas from which it has been made locally extinct could be the key to restoring Australian ecosystems decimated by introduced predators such as the feral cat and European red fox."

Dr Newsome completed his Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and PhD at the University of Sydney. Along with working as an honorary fellow in the Desert Ecology Research Group in the School of Biological Sciences, he is also a senior ecologist at the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation.

Craig Roussac
Craig Roussac

Craig Roussac, PhD candidate, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning: Fulbright Professional Scholar in Climate Change and Clean Energy

"Up to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the operation of buildings worldwide and the proportion is set to grow," says Craig Roussac, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning and CEO at Buildings Alive Pty Ltd.

To further his research on the potential for information-based approaches to reduce energy use in commercial buildings, Roussac will join the Energy Performance of Buildings group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Center for the Built Environment at UC Berkeley.

Roussac's research allows building managers to monitor their building outputs and compare them against their buildings' personal bests across both locations and historical data. He is director and CEO of his own company, Buildings Alive, formed in November 2012 to provide an independent energy efficiency information service for building owners and operators.

"Despite well accepted assessments that buildings present by far the largest opportunity for cost effective emissions reductions, relatively little is known about the potential contribution from non-technological (i.e. human) approaches," Roussac says.

David Waddington
David Waddington

David Waddington, PhD candidate, Faculty of Science: Fulbright Scholar in Nuclear Science and Technology

David Waddington, a PhD candidate in the School of Physics, will travel to the Harvard-MIT division of Health Sciences and Technology to continue his research in the burgeoning field of nanotechnology.

"My project involves investigating the potential medical applications of quantum nanoscience," Waddington says.

"What I am aiming to do is to develop an entirely new bio-probe based on the detection and tracking of nontoxic nanoparticles in biological environments."

By applying fundamental quantum nanoscience, Waddington hopes his project could be used clinically in the foreseeable future.

Associate Professor Iona Novak
Associate Professor Iona Novak

Associate Professor Iona Novak, University of Sydney alumna and head of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute: Fulbright Professional Scholar

"Cerebral palsy is under-researched but deserves our attention because it is the most common physical disability in childhood, and for the first time scientists believe a cure may be possible," says Iona Novak, an alumna from the University's Faculty of Health Sciences and head of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute.

Novak's Fulbright Professional Scholarship will take her to the University of California San Francisco, where she hopes to accelerate the rate of curative research by establishing and leading an Australian-American Cerebral Palsy Stem Cell Research Consortium.

Allan Young
Allan Young

Allan Young, University of Sydney alumnus and manager, Coastal Policy, NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure: Fulbright Professional Scholar in Climate Change and Clean Energy

Allan Young, an alumnus from the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, will use his Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Climate Change and Clean Energy to travel to the New York City Mayor's Office and MIT in Boston, where he will work on urban planning issues around adapting to climate change.

"Sea level rise due to climate change will affect almost every aspect of coastal life for communities in Australia and the US," Young says.

"How we plan and adapt is a vitally important global issue but it is still a relatively young field of enquiry."

Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine
Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine

Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine, University of Sydney alumna and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Australian Council of Social Service: Inaugural Fulbright Professional Scholar in Non-Profit Leadership

While Australian non-profit organisations pride themselves on identifiying community needs and finding solutions to them through independent, community-led approaches, Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine believes the sector has neither the data collection processes nor the relationships to sustain strong, sector-led accountability.

An alumna of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Sydney Law School, Dr Boyd-Caine will travel to New York City and Washington DC to research issues around how non-profit organisations can strengthen and lead the trust and confidence in which the sector is held.

"My project will examine the work of the Foundation Center, an organisation instrumental to building openness with the American non-profit sector, and its partnership with the National Center for Charitable Statistics," Dr Boyd-Caine says.

Follow University of Sydney Media on Twitter

Media enquiries: Katie Szittner, 02 9351 2261, 0478 316 809,