In summary

  • Two Swinburne researchers have received Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards from the Australian Research Council
  • The funded projects will focus on origami engineering and structural mechanics, and the maltreatment experiences that increase risk of youth re-victimisation and offending
  • The research projects are funded for three years, and include a salary as well as $50,000 in additional funding per year for other costs essential to each project

Two early career researchers at Swinburne have been awarded funding for three-year research projects as part of the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme.

Dr Jianjun Zhang and Dr Nina Papalia are the pioneering researchers to have received grants. Dr Zhang’s research covers origami engineering and structural mechanics, and Dr Papalia’s research is in the areas of child abuse, neglect and exposure to domestic violence.

The grants are in addition to Swinburne’s recent ARC success with five industry and community connected grants worth more than $2.5 million in the latest round of ARC Linkage Projects, and four Future Fellowships projects worth more than $4.2 million, taking Swinburne’s recent ARC funding to over $7.7 million.

Advancing innovation research

Swinburne’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Bronwyn Fox, said the DECRA funding grants were an important part of providing promising early career researchers with the support they need to advance Swinburne’s innovative research programs.

"Our two successful early career researchers are exceptional in their respective fields, and these projects are at the cutting edge of materials technology and our collective social consciousness. This is research that will help create the industries, sectors and policy settings of the future. The ARC's DECRA funding support is a welcome acknowledgement of this work," Professor Fox said.

“Congratulations Dr Zhang and Dr Papalia. Your work is laying the foundations to create transformative technology solutions and influence policy to shape societal transformation.”

Swinburne’s DECRA projects

Dr Zhang’s research is part of Swinburne’s Innovative Planet research program, focusing on sustainability and sustainable materials. His study of origami engineering and structural mechanics will help improve the safety, stability and performance of new materials for future vehicles and engineering projects.

Dr Papalia is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, and clinical and forensic psychologist with the Alfred Health Youth Forensic Specialist Service, and her research will help build increased knowledge to inform effective policy interventions to identify at-risk children and support young people through potential adversarial legal issues. This should help improve public safety, reduce the economic impact of maltreatment and support vulnerable children to thrive.

The objectives of the DECRA scheme are to support excellent basic and applied research by early career researchers; support national and international research collaboration; enhance the scale and focus of research in Australian Government priority areas; advance promising early career researchers; and enable research and research training in high quality and supportive environments.

DECRA projects are funded for three years, and include a salary as well as $50,000 in additional funding per year for other costs essential to each project.

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