Strong season of funding and research success

Flinders University enjoyed significant success at the close of 2021, with several funding rounds and major announcements in late December and over the closedown period – from ARC Discovery Grants to successful NHMRC funding.

ARC Discovery Projects

Ten Flinders-led projects were awarded Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project funding in an announcement shortly before Christmas.

The various projects – from the colleges of Medicine and Public Health, Science and Engineering, and Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences – will share just under $5.5 million from the federal government, representing an almost three-fold increase from the same grant round the previous year.

Read more: 

Meanwhile, the grant round attracted significant attention for a number of projects recommended by the ARC expert panel but declined funding by Minister Stuart Robert – including one involving CHASS researcher Dr Erin Sebo, joint CI on a grant with the University of Sydney, titled “Finding Friendship in early English Literature”.

It’s prompted calls for greater independence of funding decisions, a petition and questions on social media, including from VC Colin Stirling.

In a letter to MPs Dr Sebo writes,  ‘Notably, the projects rejected each had a political aspect (climate change activism, China) and my own project (led by a colleague at the University of Sydney, Prof. Dan Anlezark) included a strand of research on (mis)appropriation of medieval culture by white supremacists and extremists such as the Christchurch terrorist. It may not be obvious to the non-specialist that research into medieval studies of this nature can help us to understand, explain and hopefully prevent such atrocities. This is precisely why the College of Experts opinion matters and why single-handed veto by politicians should cease. In simple terms, this is government over-reach and cancel culture at its worst.

Medical Research Futures Fund

Two Flinders University projects were collectively awarded more than $4.5 from the Medical Research Future Fund’s Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need Grant Opportunity scheme, announced in early January.

Professor Raymond Chan, Director of the Caring Futures Institute, will lead a trial testing a new way of caring for people with neuroendocrine tumours (NETs). Read more here:

Professor Alan Wigg from the College of Medicine and Public Health will lead a project establishing a randomised control trial on non-invasive stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy for inoperable early-stage liver cancer. More information will be available soon.

NHMRC Development Grants

A Flinders University research project aiming to find a solution to chronic pain received almost $1 million in the latest round of the National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC) Development Grant scheme, announced on Boxing Day.

Led by Professor Stuart Brierley, NHMRC Investigator Fellow and Director of the Visceral Pain Research Group within the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University, this project aims to test the effectiveness of a drug derived from spider venom on pain caused by irritable bowel syndrome. Read more here:

ARC Linkage grants

In welcome news during Christmas week, it was announced that three Flinders University-led projects will share more than $2 million in funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Two of the projects will share $1.6 million after successfully securing an ARC Linkage Project grant, while a third project will receive more than $400,000 as part as part of the ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme.

Flinders University’s $1,667,959 sum was the largest amount awarded to a South Australian institution.

Read more:

Principal Committees of the National Health and Medical Research Council

In mid-December, five Flinders University academics were named new members of the Principal Committees of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for 2021–2024.

Professor Jonathan Craig, Professor Raymond Chan, Dr Yee Lian Chew, Professor Steve Wesselingh and Professor Julian Grant will each join one of three committees, designed to support and advise the government’s peak health and medical statutory and funding body.

Read more:

Posted in
Caring Futures Institute College of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences College of Medicine and Public Health