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Government awards AU$150m in ‘brain gain’ grants

Federal government funding announced on 25 July will bring 12 Australian mid-career researchers home to conduct their research and 23 international scientists to Australia.

The cash is part of an AU$151 million allocation through the national research council’s Future Fellowships programme. A total of 209 leading mid career researchers have received grants in this round.

Research institutions in New South Wales claimed the lion’s share of the funding with 68 awards totalling AU$49.7m.

The University of Sydney was the single biggest recipient, scooping 22 awards worth a combined AU$16m.

Projects funded include work that aims to advance the understanding of mechanisms promoting unstable breathing in sleep and the effects of disturbed sleep. Another will study the health and wellbeing of adolescents in the Northern Territory, 40 per cent of whom are Indigenous, with the aim of providing an evidence base that will inform health policy. Funding has also been given to an investigation of how animals respond to extreme climatic events, in order to understand if their response is fast enough to avoid extinction.

The Future Fellowships scheme was launched in 2009 to increase opportunities for highly qualified mid-career researchers and to avoid brain drain.