Bryant wins Laureate Fellowship

Professor Richard Bryant
Tuesday, 23 June, 2009

A major long-term research program aimed at reducing violence and mental health problems in Aboriginal communities is the focus of a prestigious new award for one of the Faculty's most distinguished researchers, Professor Richard Bryant.

Professor Bryant has been awarded one of only 15 Australian Laureate Fellowships funded by the Federal Government through the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Worth an average of $2.7 million each over five years, the Laureate fellows are selected from a highly competitive national field of 148 researchers. UNSW won two of the fellowships, along with Professor George Williams, from the Faculty of Law. The fellowships are awarded to researchers at the peak of their careers and are also designed to support high-powered teams of young postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers.

The research program to be pursued by Professor Bryant, from the UNSW School of Psychology, will identity specific factors that lead to the academic and physical and mental health problems experienced by Aboriginal children in remote communities. It will provide an evidence base to shape future empirically-informed interventions to reduce violence and mental health problems.

The ARC says Professor Bryant "is internationally recognised as the leading authority on early psychological responses after trauma".

He is on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Society and was Chair of the 2006 World Congress Committee for the International Society of Traumatic Stress Society. He is an advisor to the Trauma-Related Disorders Work Group for the American Psychiatric Association's revision of international classification of psychological disorders and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

Professor Bryant has been the recipient of many distinguished awards. These include the Australian Society for Psychiatric Research Founders Medal, the Australian Association for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Eureka Prize for Science, and the Academy Medal of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. He received the 2008 Australian Psychological Society Award for Distinguished Contribution to Science.

Earlier this year, the National Health and Medical Research Council awarded $7.1 million over five years to support his research program (see separate story here) into the mental aftermath of trauma.

"Congratulations to our successful fellows, Richard Bryant and George Williams, two of our most eminent researchers," said Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Les Field.

"It's an excellent achievement for them personally as well as a great result for UNSW, placing us equal second nationally.

"These awards showcase the depth of our research excellence and further cement UNSW's position as one of the best research-intensive universities in Australia," Professor Field said.

Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, who announced the inaugural fellowships this week at Parliament House, said the scheme took the best of the Federation Fellowships with an added focus on teamwork and careers progression.

"Australian Laureate Fellows will lead and mentor the next generation of research leaders, helping to build Australia's international competitive research capacity," Senator Carr said.