A project led by Dr Mark Waters from UWA to find new ways to improve crop productivity and one by UWA’s Professor Alistair Paterson to help preserve the heritage of the state’s north-west are winners in the latest round of funding grants from the Australian Research Council (ARC).
The Turnbull Government announced $38.6 million worth of ARC funding for fifty new research projects under the Future Fellows Scheme, with $1,606,689 allocated to UWA.
UWA’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Robyn Owens, said the work by Dr Waters and Professor Paterson is an illustration of the innovative research being carried out across the University that is changing the lives of everyday Australians.
“As a research university, we have a mission to drive social and economic development by translating innovative research outcomes to the wider community,” she said.
“Our new Future Fellows and their four-year funded projects will have a real impact, both on improving crop yields and on how best to manage the nationally-significant archaeological resources of WA’s north-west region.”
A Research Fellow at UWA’s ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, Dr Waters will use his grant of $689,052 to investigate a recently identified ‘chemical signalling pathway’ in plants that affects seed germination, seedling growth, leaf development and water use.
“My research builds on a particularly Australian story in which UWA scientists discovered the compounds in smoke that stimulate seed germination after a bushfire,” Dr Waters said.
“Now we know that these compounds affect plant growth and development in quite profound ways, and I want to extend this knowledge to enhance the productivity of the plants we grow for food.”
It’s hoped the research will lead to a better understanding of how plants grow and new strategies for boosting plant performance in the field, with potential applications including reducing plant water use, regulating seed germination and encouraging early seedlings.
The $917,637 awarded to Professor Paterson, Historical Archaeologist at UWA’s Centre for Rock Art Research and Management (CRAR+M), will be used to build on recent exciting archaeological and rock art discoveries in north-west WA where there are significant cultural and natural heritage areas, including two National Heritage listed estates.
“We plan to analyse the cross-cultural encounters between Aboriginal people, Europeans and Asians in frontier colonial society and provide the data and tools necessary to preserve these archaeological resources for the future,” Professor Paterson said.
“This provides excellent leverage for my research in the north-west and provides great momentum within CRAR+M to build on other successful ARC projects in the Pilbara and Kimberley”, he said.
David Stacey (UWA Media and Public Relations Manager) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716