arc-logoThe following researchers at the Waite will share in nearly $3 million in funding announced today under the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) National Competitive Grants Programme. Congratulations to all involved!

Discovery Projects

Professor Robert Fitzpatrick (CSIRO & University of Adelaide); Professor Michael McLaughlin (CSIRO & University of Adelaide); Dr Freeman Cook; Dr Diederik Jacques
$502,000 over three years
This project aims to study the effects of drought on pH and metal speciation in soils, and develop tools to assess current and future risks. The intended outcomes are improved management and preparedness for droughts and new research directions for geochemistry.

Associate Professor Matthew Gilliham (University of Adelaide & ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology); Professor Rainer Hedrich
$375,000 over three years
This project aims to decipher a mechanism that controls plant gas exchange – the process that emits oxygen, loses water, absorbs carbon dioxide and is essential for plant growth for food, fibre and fuel production. This project will help secure future food production, through improving crop tolerance to stresses such as low water availability and high temperatures – conditions associated with a changing Australian climate.

Professor Peter Langridge (University of Adelaide); Professor Robbie Waugh
$571,000 over three years
Plant breeding is based around genetic diversity, but modern breeding programs have captured only a small proportion of the variation available in wild varieties. Knowledge of diversity in this wild germplasm pool is increasing and the challenge is to quickly and efficiently introduce this variation into elite lines. This project is expected to transform wheat and barley breeding methods by unlocking the genetic diversity to produce new varieties.

Professor Dabing Zhang (University of Adelaide & Shanghai Jiao Tong University); Professor Rachel Burton (University of Adelaide & ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls); Associate Professor Martin Kater; Dr Ludovico Dreni; Professor Malcolm Bennett
$513,500 over three years
This project aims to understand the morphological diversity of inflorescence architecture between cereal crop species. A molecular understanding of the regulatory network that underpins inflorescence shape and grain number will advance fundamental biology, and could form the basis for significant yield improvements by manipulating key points in the developmental pathway.

Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA)

Dr Jayakumar Bose (University of Adelaide)
$372,000 over three years
This project aims to discover the genes involved in ion transport in plants that maintain growth and yield irrespective of high soil salinity. The expected outcome of this work is the development of crops with enhanced salt tolerance.

Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities Grant

Professor Sarah Robertson; Professor Shaun McColl; Professor Andrew Zannettino; Professor Stephen Tyerman (University of Adelaide & ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology); Associate Professor Jeremy Thompson; Professor James Mitchell; Professor Melissa Brown; Professor Ross McKinnon; Associate Professor John Hayball; Professor Allison Cowin; Professor Maria Makrides (SAHMRI and FoodPlus Research Centre); Professor Deborah White
This project aims to provide high-throughput fluorescence-activated Cell Sorting (FACS) and cytometric analysis with diverse applications in biological sciences. It will advance eukaryotic cell biology, plant biology and microbiology, and lead to innovation in stem cell technologies, animal breeding, food production and nutrition, mitigating environment change, and health. These outcomes are expected to boost Australia’s industries in tertiary education, primary production and technologies in the food / health / economy nexus.

ARC research grants are extremely competitive. This years round comprised funding totalling $416.6 million across some 989 projects under the following schemes: Discovery; Discovery Indigenous; DECRA; Future Fellowships; and Linkage, Infrastructure, Equipment, and Facilities grants.

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