Category Archives: Grants

Current Fellowships/Grants Available

ARC Linkage round successes

The Waite Campus will be home to two new projects funded by the ARC Linkage Projects scheme.

In all, the University of Adelaide won $5.4 million for industry-linked research, 58% of the funding awarded to SA.

A team led by Prof Geoff Fincher from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls and A. Prof Jason Eglinton from the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine was awarded $675,000 a to study the physiology and genetics of barley grain germination in the malting and brewing industries. This project was highlighted in the recent edition of The Stock Journal and the Plant Cell Walls blog.

The other successful linkage project, led by Dr Trevor Garnett and Dr Sigrid Heuer from the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics ($524,718 over 3 years) aims to improve the nitrogen use efficiency of cereal plants. The project will identify and investigate nitrogen uptake pathways to find what is limiting plants’ nitrogen uptake. Improving the nitrogen uptake process in plants will increase the plant’s ability to use nitrogen more efficiently, leading to reduced and more sustainable nitrogen fertiliser usage. This project has been highlighted on the ACPFG blog.

WRI Director Prof Mike Wilkinson is also an investigator on two projects based at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA.

Breeding superior almonds for a growing industry

This story was orginally posted in News from the University of Adelaide, Monday, 20 May, 2013

Almonds. Image courtesy of Dr Michelle Wirthensohn

Almonds. Image courtesy of Dr Michelle Wirthensohn

More nutritious almonds for consumers and a greater range of high-quality varieties for industry – these are the aims of the Australian Almond Breeding program at the University of Adelaide, which has just received industry funding of $2.35 million to continue developing new almond varieties.

The almond breeding program, based in the School of Agriculture, Food & Wine at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus, is the only one of its kind in Australia.

The new project, which will cost $2.35 million over five years, has been funded by Horticulture Australia Ltd using the Almond Industry levy and matched funds from the Australian Government. This funding will enable the program to run commercial trials of promising almond selections already developed at the Waite Campus.

“Australia is now the second biggest producer of almonds in the world, with most being exported to India. Our goal is to increase current production by 15% in the next five years, and to decrease the reliance on existing cultivars over the next 10 years, to allow the industry to take advantage of this growing market,” says the leader of the Australian Almond Breeding program, Dr Michelle Wirthensohn, a Horticulture Australia Research Fellow at the University.

Dr Wirthensohn says the major challenges for the almond industry are kernel yield and quality, disease tolerance and self-fertility.

“The best almond variety currently in Australia is Nonpareil, which needs other varieties and bees for pollination. This means that up to half of the trees in some orchards are less productive, and potentially decreasing bee populations could limit production even further, which places the industry at some risk,” she says.

“That’s where our breeding program will have benefits for industry, by providing a bigger range of almond varieties, by improving the productivity of those varieties, and at the same time producing a more nutritious almond for the consumer.”

Dr Wirthensohn says the program currently has a number of promising breeding lines in large-scale trials, which have been developed from crossing Australian, Spanish, French and American cultivars.

“We expect to release up to five superior almond varieties by 2018,” she says.

$2.4m to help make the wine consumers want

This story was orginally posted in News from the University of Adelaide, Wednesday, 1 May, 2013

Wine research and training has been given a significant boost today with the announcement of $2.4 million for a new training centre focussed on innovative wine production at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus.

The Australian Research Council grant was awarded under the Federal Government’s Industrial Transformation Research Program and is one of just four training centres and four research hubs from the program’s first round.

Training Centre Director Professor Vladimir Jiranek, Professor of Oenology, said the Centre would provide new knowledge, methods and technologies, as well as skilled researchers, to help the wine industry tackle its big challenges. Key objectives are to better manage flavour and alcohol content in Australia’s wines.

“The Australian wine industry is facing major challenges through climate change, water restrictions, changing consumer preferences and rising wine alcohol content. As such this research training initiative comes at a critical time for the industry and will help in retaining the global competitiveness of Australia’s wine industry,” Professor Jiranek says.

“Essentially we seek to help the industry make wines of the composition, style and quality that consumers want despite these challenges.”

The Industrial Transformation Research Program aims to support industry-research partnerships to boost the competitiveness of Australian industries.

The Training Centre provides an opportunity for the University of Adelaide’s Waite Research Institute to work with its research partners in the Wine Innovation Cluster (the Australian Wine Research Institute, CSIRO – Plant Industry, and SARDI) as well as industry partners: BioSA, Laffort Oenologie Australia Pty Ltd, Lowe Wines Pty Ltd, Memstar Pty Ltd, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd (UK), Tarac Technologies and Treasury Wine Estates Vintners Ltd.

The Centre will incorporate at least 12 PhD candidates and 3 postdoctoral fellows, all of whom will have an opportunity to spend extended periods embedded within a partner organisation.

A major goal of the Training Centre is to provide researchers with extensive experience working at the university/industry interface, enabling them to move seamlessly between the two and facilitating interactions between these groups.

New ARC Linkage Projects to increase plant nutrient use efficiency and yield

Waite researchers have once again attracted significant funding through the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects Scheme. Linkage Projects encourage collaboration between University researchers and industry to develop solutions to key challenges and provide economic and social benefits.

“These new Linkage Projects represent significant new investment in research at the Waite” said Waite Research Institute Director, Professor Roger Leigh. “Both projects involving Waite researchers have the potential to deliver significant benefits to Australia’s agricultural sector and I personally congratulate all of the researchers involved.”

The new ARC Linkage Projects for 2011 involving the Waite researchers are:

“Transport systems that underpin nitrogen efficient maize”

Dr Brent N Kaiser, Prof Stephen D Tyerman, Dr Kanwarpal S Dhugga, Dr Jan A Rafalski

Nitrogen applications to grain crops are a major determinant of grain yield and quality. Greater efficiency in the use of nitrogen will contribute to more sustainable grain production systems. This project aims to identify plant-based processes involved in nitrogen use by maize. It will define the nitrogen transport network underpinning in the uptake, storage and redistribution of inorganic nitrogen (nitrate and ammonium) over the developmental life cycle of maize. This information will provide novel insight into the genetic control of nitrogen use in maize and other cereal crops.

Partner organisation: DuPont Pioneer

Value: $750,110 over 5 years

“Improving yield through image-based structural analysis of cereals”

Prof Anton J van den Hengel, Prof Mark A Tester, Dr Anthony R Dick, Dr Joerg Vandenhirtz

Feeding an increasing world population under the threat of climate change requires the development of new plant varieties capable of delivering higher yield in more marginal conditions. This project will develop image-based technologies for accurately estimating plant yield which will improve the effectiveness of plant breeding processes.

Partner organisation: LemnaTec GmbH

Value:$475,000 over 5 years

The Waite Research Institute congratulates these ARC Linkage Project recipients and all of the successful researchers at the University of Adelaide.

For more information on successful ARC Linkage Projects, see the University of Adelaide’s media release and the ARC’s Linkage Project Funding Outcomes

L’Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowships

L’Oréal has three $20,000 Fellowships intended to help early career women scientists to consolidate their careers and rise to leadership positions in science. The Fellowships are awarded to women who have shown scientific excellence in their career to date and who have an appropriate research plan that will be assisted by the one-year Fellowship.

Applications for the 2011 fellowships will open on April the 1st.

If anyone from the Waite is thinking of nominating (or has already nominated) please contact Heather Bray so any nominations can be tracked. Heather is also able to provide editorial feedback/advice to people preparing nominations if desired.

For more information about these Fellowships please visit the Science in Public website.