The fate of the galaxies, the achievement of health equity for all and the manufacture of new materials from “crystal chemistry” will be the focus of three major research projects of the Australian National University (ANU) receiving more. of $ 9.7 million in federal government funding.
Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths, Professor Sharon Friel and Professor Yun Liu have all won prestigious Laureate Fellowship from the Australian Research Council, the country’s largest research funding award.
The three join 14 other Australian researchers sharing more than $ 53.7 million in funding. Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt congratulated the three ANU laureates.
“The ARC Laureate Awards are Australia’s most prestigious research funding program, recognizing the best of the best,” he said.
“Sharon, Yun, and Naomi are world-class researchers examining some of the most fundamental and pressing problems we face today.
“They embody the spirit of ANU – research that transforms our understanding of the world and the development of new knowledge that makes all of our lives richer and better.
“I congratulate them all on this highly deserved recognition and look forward to seeing what these fascinating and important projects deliver.
The three ANU researchers will now embark on ambitious, multi-year, multi-million dollar projects to answer some of the most complex questions we face today.
Professor Liu of the ANU School of Chemistry Research has been named the recipient of the 2021 Georgina Sweet ARC Australian Fellowship. $ 3.1 million project will examine how to use crystalline chemistry to construct new functional materials for industry.
“Traditional crystalline chemistry can no longer meet the demands for the development of new functional materials – the foundation of modern industry. This program aims to overcome this challenge, ”said Professor Liu.
“We hope to build new crystal chemistry that includes nanoscale interactions and deep machine learning to improve predictability of material properties.
“Our work tries to understand how to better control material properties for optimal functionality and do it on a much smaller scale than before.
“The potential results of the program include an increased capacity to develop breakthrough materials, thus maintaining Australia’s leadership position in innovative technologies. “
Applications include solar panels, carbon capture technology, and sensors in smart devices.
Professor Sharon Friel, from the ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance, will use his $ 3.4 million project to explore how we can achieve global health equity – the “environmentally sustainable and equitable enjoyment of good health”.
It will use a new approach to tackle existing global health inequalities with a focus on food and energy, and in particular climate change.
“If transformative action on climate change is not taken quickly, the risks to human health, health inequalities and indeed human survival will be immense,” said Professor Friel.
“The effects of climate change are profound, with more extreme weather events, sea level rise, ocean acidification, species extinction, and increased food and water insecurity, contributing all of them at increased health risks.
“COVID-19 has highlighted the deep and entrenched social and health inequalities we experience in Australia and around the world. These inequalities will only worsen with climate change unless there are marked improvements in the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.
“My laureate will enhance understanding of how to tackle the systemic drivers of health inequalities and climate change. “
Going from Earth to the night sky and beyond, Professor McClure-Griffiths will use it $ 3.2 million project to examine how gas and magnetism determine the fate of galaxies.
“This program aims to reveal how gas and magnetic fields interact to define the fate of galaxies,” said Professor McClure-Griffiths, of the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
“The question of how galaxies evolve is one of the most fundamental in all of astronomy.”
Gas is one of the fundamental building blocks of galaxies. Magnetism shapes gas in galaxies and how it is formed – “like scaffolding”.
“Magnetism, along with gravity, is one of the most influential forces in determining the evolution of galaxies, and yet one of the least understood,” said Professor McClure-Griffiths.
“So what we want to understand is to what extent magnetism shapes the structure of galaxies and to what extent it changes the way they evolve.”
Professor McClure-Griffiths will use Australia’s latest telescope – the Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder – to explore the inner workings of our own Milky Way and its galactic neighbors, the Magellanic Clouds.
His project will help position Australia at the center of international efforts to understand how galaxies work.