Minister announces first Wollongong Federation Fellow
May 11, 2006
A University of Wollongong (UOW) scientist, whose research efforts promise to revolutionise medical science, was today (11 May) honoured with UOW’s first-ever Australian Research Council (ARC) Federation Fellowship to develop a nanobionics research base.
Federal Education, Science and Training Minister, the Hon. Julie Bishop, at a ceremony in Canberra announced the awarding of the fellowship which carries over $1.5 million in funding over the next five years from the ARC to Professor Gordon Wallace. UOW will provide matching funding for new staff and infrastructure.
Professor Wallace is Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials which was officially opened earlier this year.
Nanobionics is the merging of biology and electronics using recent advances in nanotechnology. [Nanotechnology is simply the building of devices that are 1-100 nanometre in size – one nanometre is a billionth of a metre, so nano-scale devices are composed of just a handful of atoms/molecules].
With previous research achievements in the use of organic conductors to assist in communication across the biology-electronics interface in the body, Professor Wallace’s future research efforts promise to revolutionise medical science and dramatically improve the quality of life for many individuals by creating new bionic materials.
Established under the Australian Government’s 2001 innovation action plan, Backing Australia’s Ability, the ARC’s Federation Fellowships are highly prestigious awards designed to develop and retain Australian skills. Federation Fellowships provide opportunities for outstanding Australian researchers to return to, or remain in, key positions in Australia. Up to 25 Federation Fellowships with a standard tenure of five years are available each year.
Professor Wallace plans to use the Fellowship to further develop his research team and introduce new and multi-skilled researchers to the University of Wollongong.
His research, within the framework of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Electromaterials Science, already builds on a world-class expertise and infrastructure which is looking at endothelial cell growth (cells that make up the inside of blood vessels) and nerve cell regeneration.
This work involves collaborations with Professor Graeme Clark (Bionic Ear inventor), Associate Professor Rob Kapsa at St Vincent’s Hospital (Melbourne), Professor Rick Kaner at UCLA (USA), Professor Suzi Jervis at Trinity College (Dublin), Professor Doug MacFarlane (Monash University), Professor Maria Forsyth (Monash University), Professor Alan Bond (Monash University), Professor Geoff Spinks (UOW), Professor Mark Wilson (UOW) and Professor Philippe Poulin (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France).