The University of Queensland has recognised a group of top researchers and supervisors at the 2012 Research Week.


The 2012 UQ Foundation for Research Excellence Awards and Awards for Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision saw $626,000 bestowed on eight researchers from a range of different faculties, centres, schools and institutes from the university.


The 2012 winners of the Foundation for Research Excellence are:

  • Dr Brock Bastian, of the School of Psychology, receives $72,000 to explore the potential benefits of physical pain, in particular how controlled and moderate pain may be energising and rejuvenating for individuals, may be meaningful, and may motivate interpersonal connection and strengthen group life. 
  • Dr Oliver Baumann, of the Queensland Brain Institute, receives $70,000 to investigate the role of the human cerebellum in emotion regulation, which may enable a better understanding of and potential treatment for a range of disorders that have been linked to cerebellar dysfunction, including schizophrenia, autism and depression. 
  • Dr Tamara Davis, of the School of Mathematics and Physics, receives $85,000 for her research into the nature of dark energy – making new predictions for astronomical observations that may help explain why the expansion of the universe is accelerating. 
  • Dr Daniel Franks, of the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, receives $81,000 for his project to critically reflect on how the resources sector is addressing the challenges of sustainable development and the role of communities, civil society, government and industry sustainability professionals in such change. 
  • Dr Richard Fuller, of the School of Biological Sciences, receives $85,000 for his project to determine how much of the world should be set aside for conservation to enable long-term survival of wild plant and animal species, and to improve the planet's resilience to environmental challenges such as climate change. 
  • Dr Ryan Taft, of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, receives $85,000 for his research to discover the genetic mutations that underlie rare paediatric brain deterioration disorders, which will eventually lead to reliable and rapid genetic screening and the development of tailored therapies. 
  • Dr Da-Wei Wang, of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, receives $78,000 for his research to develop highly reliable, high-energy lithium batteries that can be used to power electric or hybrid vehicles and smartphones. 
  • Dr Graeme Were, of the School of English, Media Studies and Art History, receives $70,000 for his research into how people in the Asia-Pacific region access, use and apply digital images in the course of their lives. The research will lead to an understanding of how local people utilise digital images to relate to their past and their land, a revival of local traditions and practices, as well as assisting museums in understanding issues around cultural restitution. 


UQ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Alan Lawson congratulated this year’s winners, saying all projects show exceptional promise to be leaders of discovery.


"These awards matter not only for the future of research at UQ, but also for the global competitiveness of Queensland and Australia," Professor Lawson said. 

"By encouraging young innovators to continue careers in research, we help Australia foster the talent that will contribute to addressing global problems," he said.