$1.53m in ARC Linkage grants awarded

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has awarded three La Trobe University researchers a combined $1.5 million in the Linkage Projects grants scheme. The La Trobe-led projects focus on enhancing employment prospects for autistic adults, preventing turtle extinction and conserving threatened orchids.

The Linkage Program promotes national and international research partnerships between researchers and business, industry, community organisations and other publicly funded research agencies.

La Trobe University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement) Professor Susan Dodds said the University’s strength in establishing and maintaining industry partnerships has been recognised in these important grants.

“This grant funding will enable our researchers to continue what they do best – world-class research which positively impacts our communities. We look forward to working with our industry partners on these important projects, as well as our other research partners” Professor Dodds said.

The three successful research projects are:

Professor Cheryl Dissanayake – Promoting Long-Term Employment of Autistic Individuals

Autistic adults tend to have poor employment outcomes and poor well-being, but these outcomes have mostly been treated separately. This project aims to investigate the links between sustainable employment and well-being of autistic adults.

Expected outcomes include enhanced capacity of both employers and employees to pro-actively manage job demands and build resources of autistic employees. This should provide significant benefits by improving sustainability of autism employment programs, thus providing social and financial benefits to autistic individuals, employers, government, and society.

This project is a collaboration between La Trobe University and DXC Technology Australia and Autism Spectrum Australia. Other researchers on this project include: Dr Jennifer Spoor, Dr Darren Hedley, Associate Professor Leila Karimi, Dr David Nicholas and Professor Timothy Bartram.

Dr James Van Dyke - Outfoxing the fox:  new cost-effective ways to protect threatened species

This project will generate new knowledge in the areas of conservation biology and invasive species management by comparing the effectiveness of fox control strategies for improving the population viability of declining freshwater turtles.

Expected outcomes of this project include a community-based conservation model that prevents turtle extinctions in south-eastern Australia at considerable cost savings.

This project is a collaboration between La Trobe University and North East Water, Winton Wetlands Committee of Management, Wodonga City Council, Tiverton Rothwell Impact Company and Greening Australia. Other researchers on this project include: Associate Professor Ricky Spencer; Dr Deborah Bower and Emeritus Professor Michael Thompson

Dr Ryan Phillips - Using pollinators to optimise plant conservation translocation

This project aims to address the global trend of low success rate of conservation translocations of threatened orchids. The key outcome will be best-practice protocols to fast-track the establishment of self-sustaining populations.

Due to their novelty, the approaches developed in this project will benefit plant translocations worldwide, and lead to enhanced conservation outcomes at reduced financial cost.

This project is a collaboration between La Trobe University, the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, and the Australian National University. Other researchers on this project include: Professor Rod Peakall and Dr Noushka Reiter.

Other projects

Congratulations to the following La Trobe researchers who are involved in Linkage grants being led by other universities, including: Professor Christine Bigby (with Flinders University), Professor Wei Xiang (with the University of New South Wales) and Dr Anne-Marie Laslett (with the University of Melbourne).

Media Contact: Kathryn Powley | k.powley@latrobe.edu.au | 0456 764 371