UWA research grants top $5m

07/06/2017 - 13:53

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The University of Western Australia has been awarded more than $5 million in research funding from two federal programs during the past week.

UWA has received federal funding for five of its projects through the Australian Research Council grants.

The University of Western Australia has been awarded more than $5 million in research funding from two federal programs during the past week.

Last week, UWA received $1.25 million in funding from the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects scheme for two projects focused on the environment and resources sector.

Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham followed up yesterday to announce an additional $3.9 million in funding for three UWA research projects under the Australian Research Council’s Laureate Fellowships and Future Fellowship schemes.

Of the latest ARC funding, $757,000 will go to the UWA School of Biological Sciences, which is studying declining global food stocks with the aim of improving crops’ efficiency in the uptake of phosphorous.

A grant of $880,000 was given to UWA School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, where Amir Karton and his team will explore how to make quantum chemistry more applicable to large molecules, allowing for unprecedented accurate predictions for large systems across the periodic table.

UWA School of Psychology head Colin MacLeod and his team were awarded $2.3 million, the largest grant out of all the projects.

The funds will go toward a study exploring the individual cognitive differences between productive worry (such as concern about bushfires) and unproductive worry (worrying over things that are outside their control), with the goal of helping people ultimately focus what they worry about in ways that help them to take beneficial action.

“The challenge is to sustain an optimal balance between emotional and situational wellbeing, by worrying in ways that reduce genuine risk, without engaging in worry that produces no benefit,” Professor MacLeod said.

“When our wellbeing is threatened by genuine future danger, worry can become a key component of effective planning. In such situations, when worry triggers useful actions, its long-term benefit can outweigh its short-term cost.

“Understanding the basis of productive worrying will help us enable people to respond optimally in situations where adaptive action can mitigate real-world risk.

The research project will deliver the capacity to assess, predict, and explain individual differences in unproductive and productive worrying. 

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