Southern Cross University receives new research funding

Published 11 October 2006

A project designed to increase the sale of Australian milk in the Asian market and another promoting innovation in the film music industry are among four Southern Cross University projects to receive national funding through the Australian Research Council.

The other projects which received funding, announced today (October 11) by the Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, are the management of acid sulphate soils and carbon sequestration.

Professor Peter Baverstock said it was a terrific result for the University to receive close to $900,000 out of a very competitive field.

A total of $124.2 million in funding has been awarded to NSW researchers, selected from a record number of 4834 applications, for work to be carried out over the next five years.

Southern Cross University received an ARC Linkage grant of $225,000, to be matched by $180,000 from Norco. It also received a total of $668,000 through the ARC Discovery scheme.

“These are highly competitive grants, and this is our best performance ever in the ARC Discovery scheme. This is strong evidence of our rapidly growing reputation in research across a diverse range of fields,” Professor Baverstock said.

An ARC linkage grant of $225,000 has been awarded to Associate Professor Carol Morris, Associate Professor David Leach and Brad Gratzin, of Norco, to study the chemical components that influence the flavour and quality of milk under different pasture management systems.

The project is designed to substantially increase the penetration of Australian milk into the Asian import market for dairy products.

Professor Baverstock said this research had the potential to counteract the decline in dairy farm numbers in Northern NSW, attract new suppliers to the region and stimulate rural community growth.

Dr Jeff Parr has received $255,000 for a project to enhance long-term sequestration of terrestrial carbon. The project will provide benefits including incentives for farmers to improve on-farm soil health and health benefits through the reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

A total of $277,000 has also been allocated under the Discovery scheme to Dr Ed Burton, Dr Richard Bush and Professor Leigh Sullivan, to investigate drainage from acid sulphate soil and the impact on water quality, ecosystem health, agricultural sustainability and fisheries productivity.

“The award of this grant further enhances the reputation of Southern Cross University’s Centre for Acid Sulphate Soils Research (CASSR) as the world leader in this area of research,” Professor Baverstock said.

Dr Rebecca Coyle and Professor Michael Hannan, from Southern Cross University, and Professor Jeff Hayward, from Macquarie University, have received funding of $136,125 for a project designed to improve music production and technology in Australia.

Professor Baverstock said it was particularly pleasing that the University had received funding in the area of the Arts.

“I congratulate all the winners in this round of funding and look forward to the outcome of their research, which will have significant benefits both in this region and at a national level,” he said.

Media contact: Brigid Veale Southern Cross University communications manager, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.