Science students win high-level research awards

Published 6 March 2001

Three students in the Applied Science field at Southern Cross University have gained prestigious national awards and scholarship grants for excellence in their fields of research.

PhD students Jeremy Habberfield-Short and Jeffrey Parr have won two of the ten Postgraduate Research Awards offered nationally by the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE).

The awards are designed to support research projects associated with nuclear science or its applications and which require access to the facilities at the Lucas Heights Science and Technology Centre. Worth more than $15,000.00 per annum, the awards include an amount of $5,500.00 for accessing the specialised facilities at Lucas Heights.

Jeremy Habberfield-Short's successful research project is entitled "Site formation processes of pre-historic mounds, Upper Mun River flood plain, north-east Thailand". Jeffrey Parr's focuses on "The identification of temporal changes to pre-historic land use in the Numando region of West New Britain, PNG".

Both projects are being supervised by Associate Professor Bill Boyd from SCU's School of Resource Science and Management who explained that the PhD students - whose scholarships run for three and two years respectively - will spend a month at the Lucas Heights laboratories analysing sediment samples and fossilised plant material gathered during their field research.

"The grants will enable them to do further analytical work and help them better understand processes that many students do not get to see at first-hand," Dr. Boyd said.

In addition, significant research funding has been awarded to PhD student Dave Newell whose conservation work on frogs and snakes has attracted $5000 through the SCU-based Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism ($3000 towards a stipend and $2000 towards training; $4000 and the use of equipment from the Conservation and Planning Division of the National Parks and Wildlife Service; and $3650 from the NPWS' Declining Frog Working Group.

The Head of SCU's School of Resource Science and Management, Professor Don Gartside, said that "In a tight funding environment for conservation work of this kind it is a real achievement to receive money to work on such projects."

He added "It is tremendously exciting for a regional university to have fared so well in such highly competitive fields. As well as being a huge vote of confidence in the students themselves, the results reflect very favourably on the research environment fostered by our academic staff".