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ARC funding boost for Southern Cross University


Brigid Veale
1 June 2011
Southern Cross University has received close to $600,000 for two research projects in the latest round of Australian Research Council Linkage Projects.

Professor Bradley Eyre, director of Southern Cross University’s Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry Research, will receive $396,761 for a three-year project investigating the cycling and pathways of nitrogen along a sub-topical catchment river estuary.

Professor Anne Graham, director of the University’s Centre for Children and Young People (CCYP), will receive $186,611 for a two-year project aimed at improving approaches to wellbeing in schools.

The funding, announced by Senator Kim Carr, the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, is part of the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects scheme, which encourages research and development projects that will enhance the lives of Australians.

Professor Graham, and a team of researchers from the CCYP including Dr Robyn Fitzgerald and Dr Renata Phelps, and Professor Nigel Thomas, from the University of Central Lancashire, will be examining teacher, student and policy perspectives on wellbeing in schools.

“The mental health of young Australians is a significant national concern. Schools play a critical role in supporting children’s social and emotional wellbeing, although the concept is not well understood,” Professor Graham said.

“This research will explore teacher, student and policy views on wellbeing and identify new approaches that will improve wellbeing outcomes for children and young people.”

The project will be done in partnership with the Catholic Education Office, Lismore, Interrelate Family Centres and Good Grief Inc.

Professor Eyre and Dr Isaac Santos, from the Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry Research, and Associate Professor Matt Hipsey from the University of Western Australia, are partnering with the Moreton Bay Regional Council to investigate the sources, pathways and cycling of nitrogen along a sub-tropical catchment-river-estuary.

“Nitrogen over-enrichment of coastal ecosystems is one of the major global issues facing humans,” Professor Eyre said.

“This project will provide our industry partner with some new cutting-edge stable isotope tools for tracing the sources of nitrogen in their catchment and estuary.

“In addition, the project will develop an entirely new type of physical-biogeochemical-ecological computer model, based on the stable isotope data, that will help the Moreton Bay Regional Council make informed decisions on how best to manage nitrogen enrichment of their coastal ecosystems.”

This project builds on Southern Cross University’s research strengths in the field of geochemistry, which received the highest rating of well-above world standard in the most recent Excellence in Research for Australia report.

Photo: Professor Bradley Eyre taking water samples for nitrogen analysis.