In celebration of Science Week, the Foundation has drawn together three case studies of recent Science grants providing opportunities for early career researchers, in the form of fellowships and multi-disciplinary collaboration.
These case studies also focus on environmental science research, an area where we believe particular emphasis is needed.
The Ian Potter Foundation’s Science program is committed to supporting exceptional scientists with the aim of making a long-term contribution to deeper thinking and inquiry to attain knowledge vital to Australia. Each of these case studies reflects these objectives by presenting ‘deep’ research in different ways.
The Foundation has funded the Ian Potter Doctoral Fellowship program at Lizard Island Research Station (LIRS) since 2006. To date, the Foundation has funded 13 doctoral researchers enabling them to conduct marine research at this unique research facility on the Great Barrier Reef. Early Career researchers who are awarded these fellowships are also able to closely engage with each other’s research while at Lizard Island leading to possible future collaborative research.
Similarly, the Museum of Victoria has been supported by the Foundation in its Fellowship program for early career researchers. The Ian Potter Biodiversity Fellowship is designed to encourage research that contributes towards Museum Victoria’s biodiversity research as well as ensuring the next generation of researchers have the skills and research experience needed to tackle the big questions on biodiversity.
Through the Science program, the Foundation also prioritises support for collaborative projects where there are multiple partners. This is seen in the case study from the Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science (ACROSS) which is a strategic alignment among key researchers at the University of Tasmania, RMIT University and Western Sydney University.
What is separation science you ask?. We’ll leave that to the experts to explain but in this case it is being used to improve methods of extracting data from Antarctic ice cores. In many ways, this research exemplifies the ‘deep’ science that researchers across disciplines can use to further investigate our world and the changes occurring in it.
Whether it’s collecting data from Antarctic ice core samples, researching marine species and coral on the Great Barrier Reef or cataloguing the biodiversity present in our fauna, all these researchers are conducting deep investigations of the complexity of our environment that will contribute to a better understanding of many ‘bigger picture’ issues.
It is this kind of ‘deep’ scientific research that contributes to our understanding of complex environmental and ecological systems: how they work, how our actions as a species are affecting them and ultimately what we can do to ensure we don’t damage our environment or its natural inhabitants permanently.
So dive into these case studies and ‘go deep’ in Science Week.