Friday, July 31st, 2020

Four University of Adelaide researchers have collectively been awarded more than $3.4 million from the Federal Government to advance their work. This work will strengthen the University’s Industry Engagement Priorities as encapsulated in its strategic plan, Future Making

The researchers’ projects will focus on safeguarding coral reef fisheries for future food security, using bioinspired computing to minimise real-world critical failures, advancing the science for sustainable production of fuels using electrocatalytics and shedding light on Neanderthal histories using luminescence chronologies. 

“Research generates knowledge and understanding that plays a major role in improving our lives including through informing solutions to global challenges,” says the University of Adelaide’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Anton Middelberg. 

“The University of Adelaide’s Future Fellows, with this latest Federal funding from the Australian Research Council, will increase its efforts to develop sustainable and reliable energy sources and improve food security, and to better understand early evolution.” 

The 2020 Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowships have been awarded to: 

  • Dr Camille Mellin, School of Biological Sciences. Safeguarding coral reef fisheries for future food security. Awarded $739,557. 

Dr Mellin’s project will address the vulnerability of coral reef fisheries in Australia and the Indo-Pacific by identifying fishery targets that benefit human nutrition and will persist despite declining coral habitats and rising water temperature. By advancing knowledge of coral and fish responses to increasingly frequent marine heatwaves the project aims to improve management of coral reefs and associated fisheries in Australia and beyond, and produce a model for predicting coral reef fishery responses to environmental change. 

  • Professor Frank Neumann, School of Computer Science. Bio-inspired Computing for Problems with Chance Constraints. Awarded $1,031,764. 

This future fellowship builds upon the area of bio-inspired computing for problems with chance constraints. It will develop high performing bio-inspired algorithms for stochastic problems in which the constraints can only be violated with a small probability. The outcomes of the project will lead to more effective optimisation methods for complex planning processes in areas of national priority such as mining and manufacturing. 

  • Dr Yao Zheng, School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials. Electrocatalytic Refinery for Fuels and Chemicals. Awarded $800,000. 

The outcomes of Dr Zheng’s research are expected to have a major impact on renewable energy use and clean fuel generation – the major energy and environmental challenges facing Australia and the world. The project will focus on developing an advanced electrocatalytic approach that uses abundant small-molecule sources like water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides as feedstocks. A range of highly active and selective electrode catalysts will be developed for electrolysis processes at ambient temperatures and pressures. The research will use an interdisciplinary approach combining atomic-level material design principles, in situ/ex situ instrumental techniques, and modern computation methods. 

  • Dr Martina Demuro, School of Physical Sciences. Shedding light on Neanderthal histories using luminescence chronologies. Awarded $866,502. 

Dr Demuro’s project aims to develop unprecedented reconstructions of Neanderthal evolution, cultural and extinction histories at European archaeological sites that haven’t previously been dated or have been understudied. It will use a versatile luminescence dating toolkit to provide comprehensive knowledge of the timing, context and nature of Neanderthal evolution. The project’s expected outcomes include unravelling past human responses to climate change, elucidating regional occupation patterns, emergence of complex behaviours, and causes of Neanderthal demise. 



Four University of Adelaide researchers have collectively been awarded more than $3.4 million from the Federal Government


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