ANU to boost Australia's nuclear and biosecurity expertise

04 Aug 2023

The Australian National University (ANU) has been awarded a total of almost $10m in funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) to bolster the nation's capabilities in nuclear and radiation science, and plant biosecurity.

The money will be used to establish two ANU-led Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centres. They will help train workers in industries vital to Australia's future.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt congratulated those involved in securing funding for the centres.

"This achievement recognises the commitment of ANU to look to the future, drive innovation, cultivate knowledge and create solutions that address the complex challenges of our time," he said.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Keith Nugent said the training centres will play a pivotal role in fuelling Australia's economic growth and securing a prosperous future for the nation.

"ANU is delighted to be collaborating with partners across government, academia and industry towards a shared vision," Professor Nugent said. 

Professor Mahananda Dasgupta is the Centre Director of the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Radiation Innovation (RadInnovate), which has received $4.99m. The centre will provide students with the skills they need to help propel Australia's nuclear and radiation science capabilities.  

Led by ANU, in partnership with the University of South Australia (UniSA), the University of Adelaide and industry, RadInnovate students will receive hands-on training from Australia's nuclear experts and will have the opportunity for industry and government placements.

"Nuclear and radiation science, policy and regulation underpin a range of national priority sectors including natural resources, health, space and national security," Professor Dasgupta said. 

"RadInnovate will deliver nationally networked, sovereign training that is driven by industry needs, and will include programs to increase diversity in science as well as socially and environmentally responsible innovation." 

Professor Peter Solomon will lead the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Plant Biosecurity, which has received $5m to boost Australia's capacity to prevent, respond to and recover from pests and diseases that threaten the economy and environment.

"The centre will transform the plant biosecurity sector to protect Australia's natural and productive ecosystems," Professor Solomon said.

"Our future leaders in plant biosecurity will need not only technical skills, but the skills to communicate, collaborate and engage with multiple stakeholders."

The Centre is being led by ANU in collaboration with James Cook University (JCU) and the University of Canberra (UC), as well as more than 20 partners from industry and government.

ANU is also involved with the ARC Training Centre in Critical Resources for the Future, led by the University of Western Australia (UWA), and an ARC Research Hub for Zero Emission for Carbon Neutrality, led by Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

The ARC has announced funding of more than $64.8m for a total of eight new ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centres and five new ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hubs across Australia.

For more information, visit the ARC website

For Journalists

      Kathryn Vukovljak
      +61 2 6125 7979