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2014 Victoria Fellows

Fellows are recognised for their research and are supported to continue their study overseas.

Award Overview

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The Victorian Government provides 12 Victoria Fellowships annually valued at up to $18,000 each (tax-free) for short-term study missions.

2014 Victoria Fellow Physical Sciences

Dr Timothy Crouch

Monash University
The popularity of sports in Victoria is influencing career choice for young people with growing student interest in the subjects of sports engineering, applied aerodynamics and sports innovation. Dr Crouch’s work in the development of applied solutions to sports engineering recognises collaboration as a key to successful outcomes. His study mission in the USA will provide first hand access to the experience of collaboration in the STE@M program (Sports, Technology and Education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) that is dedicated to building an interconnected community of faculty, students, industry partners and athletes passionate about tackling challenges associated with engineering and sports. Dr Crouch will also visit the Specialized Bikes’ wind tunnel in California to support his work at Monash University on the largest wind tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere.

Dr Zongsong Gan

Swinburne University of Technology
Cloud computing requires technological infrastructure to meet increased demand for big data storage while limiting energy consumption. Dr Gan is investigating the possibilities of optical memory and has already realised optical super-resolution fabrication with a feature size of 9 nm (nano metres). This ground-breaking achievement has the potential to revolutionise information industries and provide a new technology platform for big data centres. This study mission will allow Dr Gan to visit research institutes and data management organisations in Germany, the USA and China to further improve existing optical storage instruments in Australia. His work will help to ensure Victoria retains a leading position in ultra-high capacity photonic information technologies.

Mr Tobias Horrocks

Fold Theory
Mr Horrocks is an architect who designs cardboard installations, exhibitions and furniture using computer-aided technology to push the limits of this product beyond what was previously imagined. Cardboard is a light-weight material but when engineered intelligently is strong enough to replace less sustainable materials currently used in construction and interiors. This study mission will allow Mr Horrocks to visit leading international designers in Italy, Spain, Poland, the USA and the UK and to share the learnings with architecture and design communities in Victoria. Cardboard manufacturing capabilities already exist in Victoria but innovation in materials has been limited by lack of new experience and knowledge among local designers. The study mission will also be used to investigate new computer software for developing models.

Dr Gregory Knowles

Monash University
Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the main drivers of global warming and climate change with the largest impact coming from fossil fuel power generators. Dr Knowles from Monash University is working on technologies for carbon dioxide capture and sequestration (CCS) as well as its utilisation. The application of CCS technologies in Victoria is a strategic interest as it would leverage the state’s competitive advantage in energy while minimising the impact of emissions. The study mission to laboratories and facilities in Scotland and France will assist the understanding and development of amines and the CCS technology.

Dr David McCarthy

Monash University
Urbanisation, population growth and a changing climate are placing increased pressures on urban rivers and estuaries in Australia including Melbourne’s Yarra River. Dr McCarthy from Monash University is evaluating the health risk posed by an increased concentration of pathogens in the water to people who use these rivers and estuaries. This study mission will connect Dr McCarthy with experts in recreational water epidemiology in the USA which currently has the most active community in this field of research. On his return, Dr McCarthy will integrate the knowledge to conduct an epidemiological study of the Yarra River to identify risk to recreational users of this iconic water system and to build Australia’s expertise in recreational water epidemiology.

Mr Steven Wang

CSIRO & Monash University
Mr Wang has been working on a new approach to separating solids and liquids that presents exciting opportunities for a number of Victorian industries including those in the processing of chemicals, minerals, pharmaceuticals, food, water and waste products. In particular, Mr Wang’s work on particle clustering has potential commercial application in the Australian minerals industry as it has shown to increase product purity, reduce waste, better integrate biotech processes and accommodate lower quality raw materials. Mr Wang’s travel to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA will further develop his research work on particle clustering.
2014 Victoria Fellowships (life sciences)

2014 Victoria Fellow Life Sciences

Dr Jacqueline Flynn

Burnet Institute
With more than 35 million people world-wide reported to have HIV and a further 700 new cases reported in children each day, there is a critical need to develop an effective vaccine and antivirals. A key to developing such preventative therapies is an understanding of how HIV spreads infection among immune cells. This study mission to the UK and France will provide Dr Flynn with specialist training in performing cell to cell HIV infection assays between macrophages and T cells. It will be an invaluable skill that can be incorporated into Victoria’s HIV research capabilities.

Dr Peter Macreadie

Deakin University
Green infrastructure can manage human and climate stress to the coastal landscape using a network of components, both natural and designed, to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits. Dr Macreadie’s work involves exploring the green infrastructure approach to reduce urban runoff, improve air, soil and water quality, enhance fisheries and recreational activities and improve resilience to extreme weather events. The Victorian Coastal Council has identified a range of measures to deal with erosion and inundation and is evaluating whether green infrastructure could replace grey infrastructure. Dr Macreadie’s study mission will involve visits to the USA’s foremost authorities on green infrastructure to undertake training and develop collaborative networks. It will inform the future directions of Victoria’s coastal infrastructure development.

Ms Heather Nuske

Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, La Trobe University
Over the past decade, autism research using brain-imaging techniques has enabled important discoveries not possible using behavioural research methods alone.Ms Nuske’s study mission to a range of university research centres across the UK will allow her to engage in lab-based training in brain-imaging and psychophysiology recording techniques relevant to young children with  autism. The techniques provide an understanding of how the brain and body of individuals with autism respond to certain types of information, such as social stimuli. These insights have the potential to aid the detection and treatment of autism. Ms Nuske will be able to apply these insights to her continuing research in Victoria on the emotional responses of children with autism as well as early diagnosis of autism.

Dr Udani Ratnayake

Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Schizophrenia is a severely debilitating disorder affecting around one per cent of the world’s population. Dr Ratnayake and her colleagues have been working on a revolutionary neuroanatomical technique, CLARITY that allows for the first time, the simultaneous imaging of molecular markers and network structure in the intact brain. The study mission to Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory will provide Dr Ratnayake with knowledge and  training in the most current and innovative technologies in neuroscience. The insights and techniques will subsequently be shared with researchers at the Melbourne Brain Centre as well as other universities and research institutes in Australia.

Dr Megan Rees

Monash University
Tuberculosis (TB) from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) is the world’s greatest cause of death by a single species of bacteria with 1.4 million deaths recorded each year. Victoria’s strong public health policies have helped maintain relatively low rates of TB in the state. However rates of infection have started to rise in the past decade as well as an increase in the cases of multiple drug resistance recorded in Victorian hospitals. There is an urgent need for a deeper understanding of the specific ways in which M.tb causes TB. Dr Rees will use the study mission in Canada to investigate the cutting edge technology of proteomics to unravel the differences between two species of mycobacteria and to identify disease-causing proteins. The study will inform her future research in Victoria.

Miss Freya Thomas

The School of Botany, University of Melbourne
The Royal Commission into the Black Saturday bush fires re-emphasised the need to manage Victorian landscapes to protect life and property, while maintaining biodiversity. A key part of this process is evaluating the appropriateness of fuel reduction burning, or wildfire for Victorian landscapes, using tolerable fire intervals and plant attributes. These tools draw on expert knowledge of the reproductive lifespan of various species to identify which fire regimes sustain the majority of species. Data underlying the tools is scarce. Miss Thomas is developing methods to incorporate plant traits into multi-species models of plant growth and reproduction in order to predict demographic rates for plant species. This research can support fire management decisions. Miss Thomas will visit universities and training institutes in South Africa, Ireland, Spain, France and the USA.

Australian French Association for Science & Technology (AFAS) Associate Award

Victoria Fellows are also eligible to apply for an AFAS Associate Award. A Victoria Fellow may receive an AFAS Associate Award to undertake a study mission to France.

This supplementary Fellowship is awarded by AFAS Victoria to facilitate science and technology innovations that mutually benefit Victoria and France. The Victoria Fellows who received the AFAS Victoria Award in 2014 are Dr Jacqueline Flynn and Dr Gregory Knowles.

For more information contact the AFAS.

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