Here you will find information on ARC Grant success, from 2015 onwards.


Paul Taçon

Griffith University

Australian rock art history, conservation and Indigenous well-being. This project would examine the significance of Australia’s rock art heritage and why rock art is important for Indigenous identity and well-being but undervalued by others. It would produce new national strategies and knowledge about Australian rock art to enhance Indigenous empowerment and well-being; address threats to rock art and its conservation to protect it for future generations; and develop innovative ways to manage and promote rock art in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, especially in northern Australia, where unprecedented development threatens rock art landscapes. The anticipated outcome is that Australia would become the world authority and leader for rock art conservation.

Total: $2,553,690.00

Future Fellowships

Griffith University

Dr Adam Brumm

This project aims to research the archaic hominins of Sulawesi and discover when and why they became extinct. Recent discoveries of ancient stone tools on Sulawesi show that an archaic and as-yet unidentified hominin species inhabited this remote Indonesian island before modern humans arrived around 50,000 years ago. This project will search for the earliest traces of habitation, attempt to uncover the Sulawesi hominins’ fossil record, and look for evidence of hominin-modern human interaction on this island. This project is expected to illuminate a previously unknown chapter in the human story.

Total Project Funding: $833,000

Project Duration in years: 4

Dr Julien Louys

This project aims to test whether humans moving through Southeast Asia used a savannah corridor, facilitating their migrations into Sumatra and Java, and examine the effect of rainforests on human movements and evolution. This will be accomplished by examining ecological proxies from vertebrate remains found in established and newly identified fossil sites in Sumatra. These results are expected to provide a new understanding of the environmental context of human evolution in Asia, and identify routes ancient people took as they moved south through Asia and into Australia.

Total Project Funding: $652,000

Project Duration in years: 4

The University of Queensland

Associate Professor Christopher Clarkson

This project aims to re-examine two well-known sites (Malangangerr and Ngarradj) in Kakadu, an iconic World Heritage area and home to some of the oldest and richest archaeology in Australia. Little excavation has been carried out there in recent decades, and almost none using modern high resolution recovery techniques. This project will re-excavate Malangangerr and Ngarradj to determine whether other sites have a similar antiquity and record of early complex behaviour. This project could enhance understanding of Aboriginal culture in Kakadu, Australia’s unique cultural heritage, the nature and timing of modern human dispersal, and how early Indigenous peoples responded to social and environmental change.

Total Project Funding: $965,000

Project Duration in years: 4

University of Wollongong

Dr Alexander Mackay

This project aims to understand the evolution of humans’ adaptive landscape use. The dispersal of modern humans from Africa occurred relatively late in our evolutionary history, which suggests a complex pattern of behavioural evolution in our species. Flexible systems of landscape use underpin human adaptation to different environments resulting in our late expansion and modern global distribution. The project will use a configuration of archaeological and environmental information recovered from around the Doring River, South Africa. The project is expected to open a new avenue of research into the evolution of human behaviour, and address key scientific and general-interest questions about humanity’s emergence.

Total Project Funding: $863,000

Project Duration in years: 4


The Australian National University

Dr Ursula Frederick

This project aims to investigate contemporary archaeology method and theory, specifically the proposition that art practice can create and communicate archaeological knowledge. Connecting contemporary Australian society with its material past is part of developing ideas about place, identity, and community. Using qualitative research and art practice-based studies, the project will trace the emergence of art-archaeology collaborations and investigate the application of visual methods in representing Australia’s rich heritage. Through the visualisation of archaeology and heritage, the project seeks to further understand how the past is mediated in the present. This will enable better engagement in public discussions about what Australia is as a society and how it values its heritage.

Total Project Funding: $335,427

Project Duration in years: 3

Dr Catherine Frieman

This project aims to investigate how resistance to new and foreign practices and technologies can be a dynamic response to rapid cultural change, rather than a failure to innovate. The project will examine the underlying factors that influence innovation adoption and rejection. It will examine settlement structure and ritual activities in later prehistoric Cornwall, which was simultaneously a key node in the prehistoric economy and a periphery, with a distinctly local material culture and way of life. The intended outcome is a model of innovation and conservatism, linking the uptake of new ideas and technologies to participation in local and more widespread networks of contact and exchange. This project will increase the profile of Australian research in archaeology and technology on the world stage.

Total Project Funding: $360,724

Project Duration in years: 3

Dr Michelle Langley

This project aims to study Indigenous Australian technologies made from animal bone and tooth to provide insights into pre-contact Australia and the development of human ingenuity. The project will use modern analytical techniques to examine Australia’s ancient bone tool industry, and apply use wear techniques to deduce the cognitive, social, and technological processes behind their manufacture and use. This project expects to contribute to knowledge of Australian and world prehistories of colonisation, environmental interaction, social interaction and innovation, and supply a material culture-based perspective on the cultural behaviour of humans’ earliest ancestors.

Total Project Funding: $358,752

Project Duration in years: 3

The University of New South Wales

Dr Ben Shaw

This project aims to explore the antiquity of human settlement in the Massim islands of eastern Papua New Guinea and investigate the long-term adaptive strategies prehistoric people used to live in changing island environments. Ecological constraints shaped indigenous cultural identities as sea levels fluctuated and island sizes varied after initial colonisation of Sahul (Ancient New Guinea-Australia). This project will examine how exchange networks facilitated settlement of resource impoverished island ecosystems. The anticipated outcome is to incorporate empirical data into a theoretical framework of adaptive cultural plasticity to develop a temporal-spatial model for human settlement in the Massim, New Guinea and Sahul with multi-disciplinary benefits for understanding climatic and human effects on flora, fauna and ecology.

Total Project Funding: $365,516

Project Duration in years: 3

The Flinders University of South Australia

Dr Daryl Wesley

The project aims to identify fauna in rock art in the Warddeken Indigenous Protected Area, NT, an area with no Pleistocene palaeontological fauna record. Rock art in Arnhem Land preserves information about past fauna species unavailable archaeologically beyond the Late Holocene. This repertoire has been vastly under-exploited as a source of data about changing human-animal relationships past and present. The research will augment zoological methods with insights from Aboriginal people. Securely identifying and dating fauna species in rock art is expected to enhance understanding past human-animal relationships. Potential benefits include enhancing international significance of Australia’s rock art and informing debates on megafauna extinctions, climate, and environmental change in Australia.

Total Project Funding: $359,586

Project Duration in years: 3


The Australian National University

Dr Sophie Lewis

This project aims to address fundamental questions about the causes of Australia¹s rainfall variability, providing crucial information about how changing climates affect the water cycle. Bringing together earth system data from ground-based and satellite observations, palaeoclimate reconstructions and climate model simulations, it plans to analyse the processes that cause change in Australia¹s rainfall. The project aims to integrate these datasets using the novel analysis of water isotopes, an important diagnostic of the water cycle. This approach is expected to help evaluate how Australia’s rainfall responds to natural and anthropogenic drivers and identify the processes behind recently observed rainfall extremes.

Total: $389,742

The University of Adelaide

Dr Ian Moffat

This project aims to trial new techniques for extracting environmental information from the sediments contained within archaeological rock shelters. Homo sapiens evolved during a period of dramatic climate variation, which almost certainly influenced human development and global dispersal. High-resolution climate records are rarely available for Pleistocene archaeological sites and so it is challenging to quantify the degree of behavioural response to environmental change. This project aims to apply novel geophysical and geochemical techniques to provide new climate records for Indonesia and South Africa, facilitate correlation with other climate archives and thus create a means of directly evaluating the degree of environmental influence on human behavioural evolution.

Total: $346,536

Dr Martina Demuro

This project aims to ascertain the timing, context and nature of early human evolution and associated cultural turnovers in southern Europe using cutting-edge dating techniques. The project plans to use recent advances in extended-range luminescence dating to establish unequivocal, multifaceted chronologies for a comprehensive range of human fossil and stone tool sites from the Iberian Peninsula. The outcomes of this project are expected to advance our understanding of early human history by providing a critical temporal reappraisal of modelled hominin evolutionary relationships, determining the mode and tempo of cultural turnovers, and unravelling how past human populations responded to major climate change and environmental pressures.

Total: $388,496

The University of Queensland

Dr John Faith

This project aims to refine our understanding of when and why early Homo sapiens began to display the behaviours that define us as human. Two questions central to modern human origins research will be addressed through archaeological excavations at Lukenya Hill in Kenya: firstly was the emergence of behavioural modernity the outcome of an abrupt behavioural revolution or instead a long-term process? secondly, what was the role of environmental change in driving our behavioural evolution? This project aims to provide a 50 000-year case study documenting the response of humans and past ecosystems to environmental change, which may provide a long-term perspective important to predicting and ameliorating the effects of such change in the future.

Total: $379,536


The University of Western Australia

Partners: Western Australian Museum, State Library of Western Australia, Art Gallert of Western Australia, British Museum
Professor Alistair Paterson; Professor Andrea Witcomb; Adjunct Professor Alec Coles; Professor Jane Lydon; Professor Stephen Hopper; Professor Jenny Gregory; Dr Shino Konishi; Dr Jacqueline Van Gent; Dr Toby Burrows; Dr Tiffany Shellam; Dr Jeremy Hill; Dr Sarah Longair; Dr Gaye Sculthorpe; Dr Katherine (Kate) Gregory; Mr Damien Webb; Ms Corioli Souter; Ms Amy Wegerhoff; Ms Patricia McDonald; Dr Moya Smith; Ms Diana Jones; Ms Melissa Harpley

This project aims to understand how collecting and display practices created knowledge about Western Australia that shaped its social relations, mediated its relationship to the environment and produced its identity in Australia and overseas from pre-colonial times to the present. This research will contribute to the largest museum development in the country. This research is expected to lead to collecting and display practices that enable a new vision of Western Australia’s place in the world to emerge, one better suited to the demands of the future.

Total: $750,192.00

Discovery Indigenous

The University of Adelaide

Mr Raymond Tobler; Dr Bastien Llamas; Dr Keryn Walshe; Professor Peter Sutton; Professor David Reich; Dr Chris Tyler-Smith; Dr Wolfgang Haak

The aim of the project is to analyse genomic DNA from historic hair samples collected by anthropological expeditions in the early 20th century to generate a detailed genetic map of Aboriginal Australia and to reconstruct Australia¹s pre-European genetic history. The genomic data and detailed contextual and genealogical information from museum archives will be used to work with Aboriginal individuals to trace past population movements and augment oral historical records. The project aims to reconstruct the first detailed genomic history of indigenous Australia, including adaptation to the challenging Australian environment, and to generate important information for indigenous communities and the Australian public more widely.

Total: $635,000


La Trobe University

Associate Professor Andrew Herries; Dr Justin Adams; Professor David Strait; Dr David Fink; Dr Renaud Joannes-Boyau; Dr Colin Menter; Dr Jessie Birkett-Rees

This project aims to reconstruct the early evolution of our genus, from 2.6 to 1.8 million years ago. This was a time of faunal and environmental change, the extinction of apelike human ancestors (Australopithecus), the speciation of a specialised human genus, Paranthropus, and the origin of our own genus, Homo. This project will study South African cave sites, the surrounding karst, and the oldest known Homo ergaster fossil to model changing dietary patterns and landscape use by hominins. This project expects to reconstruct the early evolution of our genus and to address how species reacted to changing environmental conditions and increasing aridity.

Total Project Funding:

Project Duration in years: 4

Associate Professor Andrew Herries; Dr Matthew Meredith-Williams; Dr Jayne Wilkins

This project aims to excavate and date the Amanzi Springs archaeological complex. From 600 to 300,000 years ago, Acheulian stone tool technology, defined by large generalised cutting tools, changed to a Middle Stone Age industry dominated by smaller, specialised technology (points/blades). This transition is poorly defined throughout Africa due to lack of layered archaeological sites at high resolution that can be dated. The project will provide a detailed record of changes in technology across the Early to Middle Stone Age transition. The project could increase our understanding of the climatological, ecological and biological processes that shaped our shared ancestry.

Total Project Funding: $199,968

Project Duration in years: 2

Monash University

Dr Liam Brady; Dr Amanda Kearney; Associate Professor John Bradley; Dr Karen Steelman

This project aims to understand the roles and meanings of archaeological heritage in the lives of Indigenous people today. Archaeological investigations typically rely on objects, images and places as evidence of past human activity, but these “artefacts” could also tell us about present-day relationships between people and their archaeological heritage. The project will examine how Aboriginal people from the south-western Gulf of Carpentaria engage with rock art, one of the most visual aspects of the archaeological record. By focussing on the cultural re-working of relationships to rock art, this project aims to provide new understandings to inform national and Indigenous futures, and support progressive advancements in land and sea management.

Total Project Funding: $361,625

Project Duration in years: 4

Flinders University

Dr Jonathan Benjamin; Professor Sean Ulm; Professor Peter Veth; Professor Jorg Hacker; Dr Michael O’Leary; Professor Geoffrey Bailey; Professor Mads Holst

This project aims to investigate the records of the now-submerged Pilbara coast (50,000 to 7000 years ago). Nearly a third of Australia’s landmass was drowned after the last ice age, and sea-level change displaced generations of people. Submerged landscape archaeology will help reveal past sea-level rise, population resilience, mobility and diet. The project integrates cultural and environmental studies and material analysis, and adapts a method from the world’s only confirmed submarine middens. It will use marine and aerial survey techniques to investigate physical and cultural submerged landscapes. This project expects to influence heritage and environmental management and the marine heritage sector.

Total Project Funding: $597,000

Project Duration in years: 3

University of Sydney

Professor Roland Fletcher; Dr Dan Penny; Dr Martin Polkinghorne; Dr Damian Evans; Associate Professor Christophe Pottier; Dr Mitch Hendrickson; Professor Miriam Stark; Ms Louise Cort; Associate Professor Ashley Thompson

This project aims to understand changes after the breakdown of low-density urbanism in Cambodia. Recognising the emergence of urban forms after the demise of Angkor challenges the global “Collapse of Civilisation” trope, and redefines the Middle Period of Cambodian history (15th-19th century). This project proposes that continuity, renewal, variety and adaptation are as apparent in Cambodia’s middle period as loss and failure. Applying landscape archaeology to this ‘dark age’ of Southeast Asian history embeds the demise of low-density urbanism and the development of towns in an environmental context. Identifying adaptive pathways after ‘collapse’ could have implications for urbanism in the tropics.

Total Project Funding $787,945

Project Duration in years: 5

Professor Alison Betts; Professor Frantz Grenet; Dr Michele Minardi; Dr Makset Karlibaev

This project aims to explore the importance for Zoroastrianism of images of Avestan gods in Uzbekistan. Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion, but little is known of its early development. Recent finds of massive six-metre-high murals of Avestan gods decorating the royal ceremonial centre of Akchakhan-kala in Khorezm provide evidence of early formal Zoroastrian practices, in a region not considered a centre of early religious development. The project will study this data and its implications for later religious beliefs, drawing particularly on evidence for burial practices in the early Islamic period and indigenous tribal practices. The project aims to enhance understanding of one of the world’s significant religions.

Total Project Funding: $437,000

Project Duration in years: 3


The Australian National University

Dr Janelle Stevenson; Dr Marco Coolen; Professor James Russell

This project aims to generate knowledge of long-term changes in vegetation and rainfall for the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool (IPWP). The IPWP exerts enormous influence on the Earth¹s climate through its interactions with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, the Austral­Asian monsoons and the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone. Yet despite its importance, the response of the IPWP to global climate change remains uncertain. Through palynology, ancient sedimentary DNA and compound specific stable isotope analyses, this project aims to produce a terrestrial vegetation, fire and biodiversity record for the last 600 000 years in Sulawesi. The unrivalled length and resolution of this record for the region would make it a benchmark reconstruction of palaeoclimate that may transform our understanding of the IPWP.

Total: $412,570

Associate Professor Geoffrey Clark; Dr Christian Reepmeyer; Professor David Burley

The project aim is to investigate warfare in the ancient Tongan state through a study of earthwork fortifications. The conflict record for an Archaic state in Oceania that survived for 650 years contributes a new perspective to global research on warfare in complex societies. The effect of conflict is a prominent issue for Australia and long-term records of warfare in our region will improve our understanding of it. Intra-state conflict is the most pressing threat to political stability in South-East Asia and the Pacific and the project would benefit Australia by showing how changes to political systems are associated with phases of conflict and peace.


Dr James Flexner; Dr Stuart Bedford; Dr Frederique Valentin

This project aims to conduct an archaeological survey of Vanuatu. One of archaeology’s most significant contributions is providing models for the emergence of cultural diversity through time. Vanuatu is one of the most diverse regions on Earth. The southern islands were an important hub in early settlement and long-term inter-island interactions of Island Melanesia. Yet little is known about the origins of cultural contacts and diversity in the area. A major archaeological survey of the Polynesian outliers Futuna and Aniwa and neighbouring islands Tanna and Aneityum would greatly improve our knowledge of settlement patterns, long-distance exchange, and cross-cultural interaction in the region, from initial Lapita settlement 3000 years ago through to the arrival of Christian missionaries in the 1860s.

Total: $317,698

Dr Catherine Frieman; Professor Dr Rainer Grun; Professor Matthew Spriggs; Dr Rachel Wood; Dr Mathieu Duval; Dr António Valera

The project plans to build on the strength of current collaborations between archaeologists and geochemists to ask novel questions about the movement of people and ideas in prehistory. The project plans to examine spatial and temporal patterns in population mobility to clarify their relationship with the appearance of new and exotic materials, technologies and practices. The project focuses on the ways in which the movement of individuals and groups of people is both an instigator and a response to sociocultural change, using both key European and Pacific Island examples, to help build a comparative archaeology of phenomena of rapid social and economic change, with pertinence to general theories of innovation and adoption.

Total: $502,246

University of Tasmania

Professor Christopher Johnson; Professor David Bowman; Professor Barry Brook; Professor Simon Haberle; Professor Steven Higgins

The project aims to provide a coherent understanding of the effects of extinct and extant large herbivores on ecosystems over space and time. The structure and distribution of vegetation types is determined not only by climate and soils, but also by the impacts of herbivores and fire as consumers of plant biomass. Recent research has shown how fire shapes the large-scale distribution of vegetation types, but we do not have an equivalent understanding of the effects of large ground-dwelling herbivores. The project plans to test the effects of such animals on vegetation structure in the Pleistocene, when mega-herbivores were common, and today, and thus to compare the impacts of fire and herbivores on the distribution of vegetation types.

Total: $379,400

Macquarie University

Associate Professor Ian Goodwin; Dr Michael O’Leary; Dr Shari Gallop; Professor Jerry Mitrovica

The project is designed to contribute to answering important questions in climate change: Which polar ice sheets are the most vulnerable to warming? How fast will sea levels rise? What will be the impact on global coasts during the 21st century? The response of polar ice sheets to modest increases in global temperature and the rate of future sea-level rise remains highly uncertain. The project plans to examine the retreat of the polar ice sheets during the last warm interglacial period and the sea-level record archived in the Australian coastal sediments and morphology. It plans to use this unique sea-level signal to fingerprint the ice sheets that contributed the excess meltwater to the oceans and tomap the configuration of the southern Australian coast under higher sea levels than present.

Total: $332,900

The University of Sydney

Professor Peter Hiscock; Associate Professor Claire Bowern; Professor Russell Gray; Dr Valerie Attenbrow

This project aims to understand the development and spread of technological systems in pre-contact Aboriginal Australia and the connection between that diffusion process and the major expansion of Pama-Nyungan languages spoken over much of our country. Fundamental change occurred in Aboriginal societies over the last ten millennia, as new technologies and languages were adopted during a period of climatic shifts. Using archaeological observations and statistical methods from evolutionary biology, the project plans to map the spread of ancient technologies across the continent and compare the direction and sequence of that expansion to the reconstructed pattern of language spread. The result is expected to be a new understanding of the evolution of Aboriginal cultural systems.

Total: $572,547

Professor Iain McCalman; Professor Libby Robin; Dr Kirsten Wehner; Dr Josh Wodak; Dr Caitilin de Bérigny; Dr Martha Sear; Dr Jennifer Newell; Professor Jan Zalasiewicz; Professor Gregg Mitman

The project aims to undertake a comprehensive investigation of Australia as a distinctive locality within the global idea of the new epoch of humanity known as the Anthropocene. It aims to analyse and narrate how human interventions have come to transform Australian environments in fundamental and enduring ways, showing the history, impact and implications of human-influenced biophysical planetary change within our distinctive and vulnerable continental and ocean environments. It alsoplans to use both print and museum environments to develop new understandings of the cultural dimensions of the ŒAge of Humans.

Total: $431,150

The University of Newcastle

Associate Professor Silvia Frisia; Dr John Hellstrom; Professor David Mattey

This project plans to use stalagmites from the South­West Pacific to generate continuous rainfall records for the last 2000 years. Stalagmites contain uncorrupted data that are not available in other archives, and provide unparalleled accurate chronologies. The spatial and temporal variations of the data may highlight the interplay of climate drivers, such as El Niño Southern Oscillation, and how they change the distribution of rainfall in the Pacific. This knowledge would increase our scientific understanding and enable better predictions of the recurrence of droughts and wet events in Australia.

Total: $448,062

The Flinders University of South Australia

Associate Professor Heather Burke; Professor Bryce Barker; Professor Iain Davidson; Dr Lynley Wallis; Dr Noelene Cole; Ms Elizabeth Hatte; Dr Larry Zimmerman

This project plans to conduct a systematic archaeological study of the Queensland Native Mounted Police. While previous studies have focused on policing activities as revealed by the historical record, this project will combine material, oral and historical evidence from a range of sites across central and northern Queensland to understand more fully the activities, lives and legacies of the Native Police. This project aims to provide an alternative lens through which to understand the nature of frontier conflict, initiate new understandings of the Aboriginal and settler experience, and contribute to global studies of Indigenous responses to colonialism.

Total: $765,727

The University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Russell Drysdale; Professor Jonathan Woodhead; Associate Professor Giovanni Zanchetta; Dr Eleonora Regattieri; Dr Patrizia Ferretti; Professor Gerrit Lohmann; Professor Maria Sanchez-Goni; Dr Luke Skinner; Professor Dr Polychronis Tzedakis; Professor Eric Wolff

This project intends to improve our understanding of interglacial processes. Interglacials, the relatively brief warm intervals of Quaternary ice-age cycles, have varied significantly over the last 800 000 years in terms of their duration, timing, intensity and complexity. The reason for such diversity has eluded palaeoclimatologists for decades. This is because of the difficulty of dating marine and ice records, which best preserve interglacial histories. The projects plans to compile precisely dated time series of past interglacials that can be linked directly to these records, allowing robust comparisons between interglacial properties and changes in Earth’s astronomical parameters. This would advance palaeoclimate theory and provide a new perspective on the future evolution of the climate system.

Total: $479,000

La Trobe University

Associate Professor Susan Lawrence; Associate Professor Ian Rutherfurd; Dr Ewen Silvester; Dr Darren Baldwin; Professor Mark Macklin

By considering rivers as cultural artefacts, this project aims to evaluate how historical gold mining has shaped river systems in Victoria. Victoria¹s historic mining industry led to extensive and long-lasting change to waterways across the state. The project plans to integrate approaches from landscape archaeology, physical geography, geomorphology and environmental chemistry to identify and map the extent of changes, including increased sedimentation, erosion, and chemical contamination. The project plans to demonstrate how historical mining continues to influence chemical and physical processes in Victorian streams and to develop understanding of the landscapes experienced by Victorians at the height of the mining boom. Project outcomes may provide improved context for catchment and reservoir management and counter prevailing impressions about causes of observed damage to rivers.

Total: $650,187

The University of Queensland

Dr Lyn Cook; Professor Gimme Walter; Dr Lucy Terry; Dr Robert Roemer; Dr David Booth

The project aims to determine whether Australian cycads were threatened by historical processes, such as ancient climate change, megafaunal extinction, increased fire regimes and pollinator disruption, or by post-European changes to their environment. Globally, and in Australia, a majority of cycad species are currently listed as vulnerable or endangered. Land-clearing post-European settlement is thought to be the major threat, but Australian cycads might already have been restricted to refugia following the aridification of Australia or landscape changes induced by the arrival of the first humans. Project findings should inform management of a group of vulnerable plants, and contribute to our understanding of the maintenance of biodiversity in general.

Total: $388,800

Griffith University

Professor Paul Tacon; Dr Sally May; Dr Liam Brady; Dr Duncan Wright; Professor Joakim Goldhahn; Professor Ines Domingo Sanz

The project aims to investigate one of Australia’s most extraordinary bodies of rock art, spread across Arnhem Land¹s Wellington Range, in order to answer important archaeological research questions, provide Traditional Owners with a comprehensive digital record of their rock art heritage and develop a long term management plan. Field research will include survey, 2-D and 3-D rock art recording, limited excavation and sampling for dating. The project is designed to situate Wellington Range rock art in regional and global contexts in order to better understand long-term north Australian Aboriginal experience and its expression in relation to other hunter-gatherer groups and to gain new insight into human cultural and cognitive development.

Total: $490,100

Charles Darwin University

Professor Lindsay Hutley; Professor Michael Bird; Associate Professor Samantha Setterfield; Dr Jonathan Wynn

This project aims to improve our understanding of carbon cycling in natural and transformed savannas. It seeks to resolve a large discrepancy in savanna carbon sink size as measured by flux towers compared to long-term direct measures of carbon stock change. This would improve our fundamental understanding of carbon balances (gains/losses) and residence times in these dynamic ecosystems. The long-term impacts of these land use changes on carbon storage are poorly understood, therefore this new knowledge is vital in determining the viability of ‘carbon farming’ in these landscapes. More accurate information would guide improved land management given the intensification of land use, weed invasion and fire regime change in northern Australia.

Total: $397,900

Curtin University of Technology

Dr Martin Danisik; Dr Noreen Evans; Professor Dr Axel Schmitt; Associate Professor Phil Shane; Professor Takehiko Suzuki; Professor Shanaka de Silva

This project plans to use cutting-edge instrumentation to develop a novel method for dating geological materials formed in a critical time window for which no dating technique currently exists. The last million years of Earth¹s history has seen dramatic changes in global climate and environment, with catastrophic volcanic eruptions and numerous other natural processes shaping landforms and ecosystems. A major challenge for studying these phenomena and their impacts is the dating of geological archives in the time window between 50 000 and 1 000 000 years. This project aims to develop a method for dating young volcanic rocks that can close this critical gap. The result would be a new dating tool with broad implications for the Quaternary sciences globally, including paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental reconstructions, natural hazards assessment, hominin evolution and archaeology.

Total: $289,500

Professor Michael Bunce; Professor Marcus Gilbert

This project aims to make a unique study of fossils to determine how the composition and biodiversity of ecosystems have changed in response to anthropogenic influences. Fossil bones provide a window through which to study past environments and how they have changed, and the stories these fossils tell can be further enhanced by ancient DNA analyses. This project plans to use bulk bone metabarcoding where hundreds of low-value (fragmented) bones are collectively ground together to provide a cost-effective genetic audit of fossil assemblages. Working on bone from across Oceania and south-east Asia, this project aims to provide a historical perspective on biodiversity. Understanding former ecosystem composition and extinction may facilitate effective restoration and conservation initiatives.

Total: $340,425


The University of Adelaide

Professor Andre Luiten; Professor Robert Sang; Dr Axel Suckow; Dr Philip Light; Professor David Kielpinski; Professor Pere Masque; Professor Carolyn Oldham; Dr Dioni Cendon; Reader D C ³Bear” McPhail; Dr Mike Hotchkis; Professor Stephen Eggins
Australian national facility for noble-gas radio-isotope measurements:

This facility is designed to provide researchers with the ability to accurately date water and ice cores using the natural radio-isotopes in the sample. Radiocarbon dating has been a revolutionary tool in providing answers to a range of questions in anthropology, archaeology and the earth sciences. However, radiocarbon dating has a strong limitation in that it can only date periods from 1000-50 000 years: the use of radioactive noble-gas isotopes can extend this range out to 1 year to 1 million years. This capability in the new facility is expected to support new understanding of processes in artesian reservoirs, ocean currents and geology that may affect questions of water availability, climate and environmental change.

Total: $600,000.0

The Australian National University

Professor Richard Arculus; Associate Professor David Cohen; Associate Professor Stephen Gallagher; Professor Paulo Vasconcelos; Professor Christopher Elders; Professor John Foden; Professor Millard Coffin; Associate Professor Oliver Nebel; Dr Helen McGregor; Dr Michael Clennell; Dr Craig Sloss; Dr Andrew Heap; Associate Professor Jody Webster; Dr Anthony Kemp; Professor Simon George
Australian membership of the International Ocean Discovery Program:

This project is for a 5-year membership of the International Ocean Discovery Program, the world¹s largest collaborative research program in earth and ocean sciences addressing international priorities. The program conducts seagoing coring expeditions and monitoring of instrumented boreholes to study the history and current activity of the Earth, recorded in sediments and rocks below the seafloor. The program¹s aims include understanding past global environments on multiple time scales, the deep biosphere, plate tectonics, occurrence and distribution of resources, and generation of hazards. Several multinational expeditions are scheduled and planned in our marine jurisdiction and within the Australasian region.

Total: $10,000,000

The University of Western Australia 

Professor David Sampson; Professor Michael Berndt; Professor Shaun Collin; Dr Elin Gray; Dr Massimiliano Massi; Associate Professor Kevin Pfleger; Dr Jeremie Rossy; Professor Ian Small; Dr Killugudi Swaminatha-Iyer; Professor Richard Thompson; Professor Mel Ziman
A single-molecule super-resolution microscopy facility in Western Australia:

The project aims to establish a facility combining single-molecule imaging with super-resolution microscopy to enable biologists in Western Australia to resolve and directly observe interacting macromolecules in plants, animals and organisms, Interacting macromolecules form the basis of cell biology. Imaging and characterising such interactions in living cells and tissues has become possible with the latest molecular imaging techniques and super-resolution optical microscopy (with spatial resolutions of 20 nanometres or better). The facility seeks to advance science across diverse regional priorities in agriculture, environment, marine ecology, medicine and health.

Total: $850,000

2015 Summary

2015 Summary of Discovery, Discovery Indigenous and DECRA’s

There are 4 DECRAS, 1 Discovery Indigenous and 17 Discovery Projects equating to approximately $10 million investment in this Quaternary (including Archaeology) grouping, for this round (LIEF grants equate to an additional $11.5 million).

This break down provides information on gender and job status for CI’s in DP projects – there is encouraging equity across the early/mid career level, whilst the senior career level remains heavily skewed towards males.

Gender Dr. Ass. Prof. Prof
Male 19 6 31
Female 19 5 5