Three international postdoctoral researchers have been awarded prestigious Forrest Research Foundation fellowships to conduct research in the fields of astrophysics, marine bioacoustics and chemistry in Western Australia.
Forrest Research Fellowships are provided to outstanding early career researchers to undertake high quality research at any of the five universities in Western Australia, with the 2018 postdoctoral fellowship recipients appointed at The University of Western Australia and Curtin University.
Minderoo Foundation Chief Executive Nicola Forrest said the Forrest Research Foundation fellowships compete with some of the most prestigious fellowships around the world and serve to attract and retain the brightest minds in Western Australia.
“These exceptional new Forrest Research Fellows are such bright additions to our great state’s thriving scientific research community,” Mrs Forrest said.
“I wish them all the best as they answer difficult questions and help to inspire the next generation of scientists.”
Dr Chong Wei, who completed his PhD at the College of Ocean and Earth Sciences at Xiamen University and is currently researching dolphin bioacoustics at the National University of Singapore, will undertake his research at Curtin University.
Dr Alfred Tiley, who completed his PhD at the University of Oxford and is now in a post-doctoral position at the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy at Durham University, and Dr Marcus Korb, who completed his PhD at Chemnitz University of Technology and is based at its inorganic chemistry department, will complete their research at The University of Western Australia.
Dr Wei said his research would investigate the effects of underwater noise on marine animals, including fishes, dolphins and whales, and involved international collaboration with universities in the USA and China.
“My research aims to develop fast, reliable, objective and non-invasive methods to determine what animals hear and how noise impacts on them,” Dr Wei said.
“We will be able to test an unprecedented variety of noise sources and animal species relevant to Western Australia and beyond.”
Dr Tiley said his research would explore the properties of star-forming galaxies over the last 10 billion years.
“Integral field spectroscopy provides a new, three-dimensional view of galaxies and is revolutionising our understanding of large-scale structure in the cosmos,” Dr Tiley said.
“My aim is to help explain how galaxies have grown and evolved over cosmic history – a fundamental and as yet unsolved puzzle piece in our understanding of the Universe.”
Dr Korb said his research would develop iron catalysts for a range of chemical transformations, with a focus on demonstrating chemical bond forming reactions important in the fine-chemicals sector.
“By decreasing reliance on noble metal catalysts we can develop lower cost, less toxic chemical processes. This will allow preservation of the valuable noble metal resources for those processes which are necessary for future generations,” Dr Korb said.
The Forrest Research Foundation aims to attract the brightest minds to conduct research in Western Australia. The Foundation provides support to international and domestic students to enrol in a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at one of the State’s universities and also supports leading researchers who are at the start of their career by providing post-doctoral fellowships.