Research funds to boost capacity at JCU

James Cook University will receive more than $2million in federal funding to undertake critical research that will, among other things, continue the careful and sustainable management of the Great Barrier Reef.

Northern-based LNP Senator Ian Macdonald said James Cook University researchers at its Townsville and Cairns campuses will share in a total of $2.405m in grants through the Australian Research Council (ARC) to fund new research projects.

“JCU has a well established reputation for leading the way in marine science, and this additional funding will help continue to build that world-leading research capacity,” Senator Macdonald said.

“This funding will enable some of the north’s best researchers to continue to their ground-breaking work and add to the university’s extensive knowledge pool.”

Research grants include:

  • Professor Joshua Cinner ($940,000) – to solve the global problem of unsustainable coral reef fisheries from ‘bright spots’ in reefs
  • Professor Peter Cowman ($372,000) – to discover how evolutionary processes, biogeography and molecular change drive biodiversity patterns in coral
  • Professor David Miller ($290,608) – to understand how animals can control their bacterial associates
  • Professor Mark McCormick ($462,500) – to determine how reef degradation modifies predator-prey dynamics in fish communities and how parental changes may help species cope with habitat change
  • Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald ($340,666) – to see associations between social and life-style differences and language structure.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham today announced funding of more than $400million for 989 new research projects across a number of Australian universities.

He said the new research, funded through the ARC’s National Competitive Grants Program, represented a significant investment in a wide variety of fundamental and applied research projects, growing the nation’s research capacity and infrastructure, and supporting the next generation of researchers.

More information on the ARC’s Major Grants is available on For details on the research grants awarded to JCU researchers, visit

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