Increase to Asia Pacific research in 2018 ARC funding

14 November 2017

ANU College of Asia & the Pacific (CAP) has been successful in securing four Discovery Projects and five Discovery Early Career Research Awards (DECRA) projects as part of the latest ARC funding round.

The ARC funding highlights CAP’s central role in contributing to positive social change and generating public knowledge about the world’s most dynamic region.

This year, success of College DECRAs represented a 42 per cent success rate, compared to the national average of 16 per cent.

Congratulations to all ARC grant recipients!

Meet CAP’s 2018 DECRA recipients

Larissa Schneider - A Long-Term History of Mercury in Australasia

My research involves the application of geochemistry techniques in palaeontological studies, with a focus on mercury studies in Australasia. This significant research project will build on my work to date in an environment which will support me to perfect new techniques, build collaborations with leading international scholars and develop the research infrastructure I need such as a data library for Australasia, and new, more accurate, and proven models of mercury transport.

Through this DECRA project I will fill the significant knowledge gap that exists in the Southern Hemisphere concerning the magnitude and extent of human impacts on the biogeochemical cycle of mercury to the environment and consequently on human, plant and wildlife populations. I will be able to identify the main sources of mercury in Australia which will enable governments to create effective regulations to control mecury contamination through understanding how it is distributed. It will be of even greater relevance to the Australian government to comply with the Minamata Convention on Mercury to be ratified.

Dr Shelley Bielefeld - Regulation and Governance for Indigenous Welfare

My research will explore the intensive regulation of Indigenous peoples through welfare reform and investigate what type of approaches are necessary to ensure that their needs are met.



Dr Christian Downie - Who governs global energy? The role of informal international organisations

The DECRA award will enable me to improve our understanding of global energy governance and the role played by international organisations such as the G20 and G8.

I hope to produce new data and analytical tools for policymakers seeking to govern energy at the global level in the face of mounting challenges, including energy-related emissions.

In a rapidly changing international energy system, this research will enhance Australian policymakers’ capacity to strengthen the national energy sector, which by the end of the decade is expected to have yearly export earnings of $114 billion.

Dr Hannah Sarvasy - Telling the whole story in one sentence: clause chains across languages

Millions of people around the world speak so-called 'clause chaining' languages. Speakers of these languages often use extra-long sentences that differ dramatically in structure--and likely require different cognitive processes to plan than from those of English. For instance, as a non-native speaker of the Papuan language Nungon, I still (after six years) find these sentences challenging to produce, because I'm unaccustomed to planning such intricate sentences in my native language. The DECRA award will enable me to investigate clause chaining in depth across languages from both structural and processing perspectives.

Dr Thomas Cliff - Welfare Entrepreneurs and Paradoxes of Social Control in Rural China

This project aims to examine how non-state welfare systems run by local private entrepreneurs affect power relationships in contemporary rural China. Combining humanistic and social science approaches, the project expects to generate new knowledge about how welfare policies and practices interact with or develop alongside institutions of social control. The study will set the direction for a research agenda into non-state welfare systems as the locus of an emergent social contract between local elites (fund operators) and local state officials in rural China.

Meet some of CAP’s 2018 Discovery Projects recipients

Professor Edward Aspinall - Local Politics Governance and Public Goods in Southeast Asia

The project, which is being run with Professor Paul Hutchcroft, of the Coral Bell School, and Professor Allen Hicken of the University of Michigan and Meredith Weiss of the State University of New York, Albany, investigates how variations in local government across four Southeast Asian states affect the delivery of critical public goods - infrastructure and healthcare - to citizens. It does so by comparing "local governance  regimes" across 16 municipalities in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. The grant will make possible a deep process of international collaboration – for example, we will be able to employ teams of local researchers who will be embedded in urban communities, investigating how they go about lobbying local political leaders to get access to much-needed local services.

Professor Susan Sell - Drugs  Books and Seeds: The Politics of Access to Intellectual Property

My research examines transnational activism that seeks to improve access to affordable medicines, new agricultural products and educational materials provided over the internet. The work focuses on how patents, plant-variety protection and other intellectual property can create obstacles to global access to new products, and the effectiveness of activist campaigns to expand availability of these new technologies, especially in developing countries.

The project, “Drugs, Books and Seeds”, also seeks to identify institutional innovations that promote human development in the public health, agriculture and education sectors.

Dr Sango Mahanty - Rupture: nature-society transformations in mainland Southeast Asia

Mainland Southeast Asia's impressive growth since the 1990s has catalysed dramatic, synergistic and cumulative social and environmental change. As infrastructure, industry and extractive booms in the region's resource frontiers start to reveal stark socio-ecological limits, new ARC funds will enable a team of human geographers to study nature-society ‘rupture’, and local, civil society and government responses. The project team comprises ANU Crawford School researchers Sango Mahanty, Sarah Milne, Phuc Xuan To and Keith Barney, as well as University of Sydney’s Philip Hirsch, a group of leading international scholars, and national partners.

Through research on hydroelectric dams in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, the team will examine how large-scale and connected infrastructure developments contribute to socio-ecological rupture, catalyse new forms of social agency, and shape governance in our region. The research findings will inform development planning, more inclusive social and environmental policy, and Australia's security policies.

Other recipients:

Professor Margaret Jolly - Engendering Climate Change  Reframing Futures In Oceania




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Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team