School of Chemical Engineering

University of Queensland researchers have been awarded Australian Research Council (ARC) Australian Laureate Fellowships – with UQ securing the largest share of funding in the competitive grants.

Professor Lianzhou Wang from the School of Chemical Engineering is one of three researchers to have attracted more than $9.8 million in funding over the next five years, for his research project in next-generation solar technology.

Professor Debra Bernhardt, Professor Sara Dolnicar will use the funding for research in the areas of molecular science and environmental tourism. 

UQ Acting Vice-Chancellor Aidan Byrne congratulated each new fellow on their achievement.

“The ARC Australian Laureate Fellowships are fiercely competitive and awarded to Australia’s best and brightest researchers,” Professor Byrne said.

“Each of our Laureate Fellows are highly regarded academics in their respective fields, and securing five years of funding means they can continue their innovative research that could have not only national but also global impact. 

“UQ has an exceptional track record in this program, and the fact that we have three new fellows named this year is further testament to the outstanding and important research work being undertaken here at UQ.

“It’s also fantastic to see that two of our three new fellows are women – it reflects UQ’s commitment to ensuring the research achievements of women are recognised and that they are supported so they can achieve their goals.”

Professor Debra Bernhardt has received $3.43 million in funding for her project to predict the dynamic behaviour and properties of physical matter at a molecular level, and develop state-of-the art molecular simulation models. Her research will have important applications for technologies such as robotics, batteries, and fluids at a microscopic level, and will lead to the development of new clean energy sources and storage technologies.

Professor Sara Dolnicar has been awarded $3.2 million to manage the environmental impacts of leisure and tourism activities by creating a new theory explaining, predicting and eliciting pro-environmental behaviour in these pleasure-focused settings.

Professor Lianzhou Wang has received $3.18 million to develop revolutionary next-generation materials that harness solar energy. The research will produce valuable fuels and chemicals from water and carbon dioxide, replacing the need for fossil fuels.

UQ now has a total of 27 ARC Australian Laureate Fellows – more than any other university in Australia – with nine awarded in the last two years alone. 

A full list of the 2019 ARC Australian Laureate Fellows can be found here.