La Trobe targets big issues of our time

La Trobe awarded almost one million dollars in federal funding for three collaborative research and development projects under the Australian Research Council Linkage Projects scheme.

Deputy Vice- Chancellor (Research) Professor Keith Nugent congratulated grant recipients and said their hard work would contribute to the University's research themes. 

'Our research aims to contribute to relevant issues and challenges facing our world. These linkage grants, which have a total value of $955,207, are a resounding acknowledgement of our ability and desire to help make a difference,' he said.

The result places La Trobe first in the Innovative Research Universities category. All projects received more than 84 per cent of the amount of funding requested, which is above the national average of 76 per cent.

ARC Linkage Grants Recipients

Dr Ashley Franks (Faculty Science, Technology and Engineering) has received funding of $310,000 for his ARC Linkage project on "Synthetic Biology Derived Electroactive Whole Cell Microbial Biosensors." 

The project aims to utilise the natural abilities of bacteria to act as sniffer dogs, detecting harmful compounds before they cause damage. He will be using synthetic biology to produce biobricks, which are small DNA programs that give bacteria special abilities, to train bacteria to detect toxic heavy metals in the waterways.

 Dr Franks will be collaborating with the Naval Research Laboratory and the Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development on this project.  

Professor Diane Kirkby (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences) has been awarded $374,451 for her ARC Linkage Project on "A Century of International Labour Organising for Maritime Safety and Economic Justice."

The project aims to undertake an innovative history of Australian maritime unionists and their contribution to developing international standards for the world's seafarers. It will assess how important their international work has been, how the role of Australian unionists developed at the International Labour Organisation and in the International Transport Workers Federation.

Professor Kirkby will be collaborating with The Maritime Union of Australia on this project.

Associate Professor Lawrie Zion (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences) has been awarded a total funding of $270,756  for his ARC Linkage project "New Beats: mass redundancies, career changes and the future of Australian journalism."

The project is a multifaceted analysis of the role of mass redundancies, forced career changes and the digital reinvention of Australian journalism at a time of industry restructure and technological change.

This research will see academics and industry stakeholders join forces to explore how to best address questions about professional journalism's experience of structural transformation and its capacity to adapt positively to change.

Associate Professor Zion will collaborate with the ABC, the National Library of Australia, and the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance on this project.

Media Contact:

Catherine Garrett 9479 6565

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