UNSW excels in Laureate awards

Professor Matthew England
Tuesday, 6 July, 2010
Bob Beale

UNSW's excellence in science, engineering and environmental sustainability has been recognised with the award of three of the 25 new Australian Laureate Fellowships - one-fifth of the total awarded nationally.

Two of the fellowships will go to funding research into climate change and the third will focus on sustainable building systems.

The recipients are:

  • Professor Matthew England, who is the joint Director of the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre and a current Australian Research Council Federation Fellow. Professor England is an expert in the ocean's role in the global climate system, climate change, and large-scale climate dynamics. His project aims to improve Australia's preparedness for climate change by better quantifying the risk that ocean warming will transform the continent's climate, rainfall, and sea level; as well as the ocean's uptake of carbon and the global ocean circulation. This will ultimately benefit sectors including agriculture, water management, fisheries and tourism.

  • Professor Chris Turney, a Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Exeter, UK, will add to our growing expertise in climate change research when he joins UNSW. Professor Turney's research interests are past and future climates, how people respond to change, dating natural archives, and recent human evolution and migration. He aims to use novel and innovative palaeodata and modelling approaches to quantify and understand the mechanisms and impacts of abrupt climate changes in the Australasian region and place these in a global context on sub-annual to decadal timescales. The outcomes of this project will enable an improved understanding of the mechanisms of both past and future abrupt climate change in Australia and globally.

  • Professor Mark bradford is a previous Australian Research Council Federation Fellow and is with the UNSW Faculty of Engineering. His research interests include researching structures subjected to extreme actions; numerical methods; structural retrofit; design codes and dynamics and elasto-dynamic buckling. The aim of Professor Bradford's project will be to develop a "green" sustainable composite steel-concrete building frame system that reduces greenhouse gas emissions throughout the life-cycle of building construction, usage and deconstruction. The project will provide a solution to a major contemporary engineering challenge facing Australia.

"I'm delighted to have been selected for an ARC Laureate Fellowship," says Professor England. "These awards Bring in significant research support that will enable me to further grow the group I developed under an ARC Federation Fellowship. My focus now will be on the risks posed by ongoing surface warming of the oceans, a key issue for Australia in terms of climate, rainfall, carbon and sea level.  

"I'm also delighted to learn that Professor Chris Turney, a world-renowned paleoclimate expert, will be coming to UNSW on an ARC Laureate Fellowship.  This is a big boost for climate science research at UNSW."

Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr says the Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme gives outstanding research leaders the opportunity to solve big problems and pass on their skills to the next generation.

The scheme is administered by the Australian Research Council and provides funding for outstanding researchers from Australia and around the world. It aims to support excellence in research by attracting world-class researchers and research leaders to key positions, and creating new rewards and incentives for the application of their talents in Australia.

The scheme provides $239 million over five years for up to 75 talented research leaders, with 15 up to 15 fellowships valued at up to $3.1 million to be awarded each year. The first cohort of 15 fellows were announced on 22 June 2009, in which another two UNSW academics - Professor George Williams, of the Faculty of Law, and Professor Richard bryant, of the School of Psychology - also were given Fellowships.

The Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme announcement kit is available at

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UNSW  Director of Communications, Judy brookman  - 02 9385 3249; 0421 061 251 -