Fellowship grants accelerate AIBN research for a better world

31 Jul 2014

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) research in areas stretching from food security and sustainable aviation fuel production to low-cost dengue vaccines are among seven University of Queensland (UQ) research projects recognised in the State Government’s latest round of science and innovation grants.

UQ’s AIBN has secured three highly-competitive Accelerate Fellowships across the Mid and Early Career brackets.

AIBN’s Dr Claudia Vickers has been awarded a Mid-Career Accelerate Fellowship. Dr Vickers is developing new synthetic biology technologies to improve crop productivity. This will help feed the world’s growing population on limited and increasingly degraded agricultural land ($300,000). Dr Vickers will partner with the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Early Career Accelerate Fellowships have been awarded to Dr David Muller and Dr Esteban Marcellin from AIBN.

Dr David Muller aims to develop a low-cost and effective dengue vaccine based on innovative Nanopatch technology, pioneered in Queensland by the AIBN ($180,000).

Dr Esteban Marcellin is researching how municipal waste can be turned into alcohols that can be used by the aviation industry ($180,000). Working in close collaboration with LanzaTech’s Synthetic Biology group, Dr Marcellin’s research will lead to better production of alcohol-to-jet fuel.

Associate Professor Neena Mitter from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation and has been awarded an Accelerate Partnership to work on a non-genetically modified and non-toxic spray for crop protection ($498,146). Dr Mitter will lead an international team involving AIBN’s Associate Professor Zhi Ping (Gordon) Xuand the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Kenya, Washington State University and Nufarm Australia Ltd.

UQ has received nearly $2.5 million in grants under the State Government’s Accelerate Partnerships and Accelerate Fellowships schemes.

Both schemes aim to connect universities with industry and government partners to accelerate Queensland projects that are close to moving from research to reality.

These grants add to UQ’s outstanding successes in the recent ARC Linkage Grant round, where UQ had the largest number of grants exceeding $0.5M nationally.

The ARC Linkage grants also aim to connect universities with partners.

UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Anton Middelberg said the grants would underpin excellent research across a range of topics relevant to Queensland.

“These seven new projects all embed knowledge leadership for a better world,” Professor Middelberg said.

“Working with partners in Queensland, as well as nationally and internationally, is exactly what a top-100 ranked global university does every day.

“These exciting new projects will indeed accelerate our excellent research, and add the ‘plus’ factor that comes from working with partners.”

To read more on all seven UQ research projects recognised in the State Government’s latest round of science and innovation grants please click here.