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USQ researchers benefit from $1m increase to research funding

Stephen Kuper

Minister for Education Dan Tehan has announced $84 million for projects led by emerging Australian researchers under the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award scheme – the University of Southern Queensland has attracted nearly $1 million in funding from the federal government’s ARC.

USQ researchers benefit from $1m increase to research funding
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Two University of Southern Queensland projects were recognised as promising early career research, led by astronomer Dr George Zhou and mechanical engineer Dr Toan Dinh.

Dr Zhou was awarded $425,489 to survey the origins and evolution of the most abundant planets in the galaxy.

“This project positions Australia as a global leader in the hunt for planets and delivers key techniques for characterising the environments and atmospheres of Earth-like worlds,” he said.

Dr Zhou currently works with the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in the US, and will soon join the University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Astrophysics team.

“My project aims to characterise super-Earths and Neptunes exoplanets at various stages of their evolution and help develop techniques for the next decade of exoplanetary research,” he said.

Mechanical engineer Dr Toan Dinh, who received $440,675 through the ARC funding round, is developing new ‘super’ sensors that are a thousand times more effective than current technology.

“Sensor technology can be used for monitoring structural health, reducing failure and extending the lifetime of structures, providing cutting-edge knowledge to petrochemical and mining industries, which are of particular importance to Australia,” Dr Dinh said.

University of Southern Queensland vice-chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie commended the researchers on their achievements.

“This is an outstanding outcome for the University of Southern Queensland and signals our position as national leaders in future materials and astrophysics research,” Professor Mackenzie said.

“It also reflects our strong commitment to supporting emerging researchers for their excellence in research.”

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