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Australia Funds $250.9M for Mid and Early-Career Investigators

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Australian government has invested A$248 million ($250.9 million) in new grants to fund early and mid-career scientists at research centers across the country who are delving into a broad array of research areas, including genetics and microbial biology projects.

The new grants were awarded through the Australian Research Council's Future Fellowships awards and the inaugural round of its Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA) program.

The A$104 million awarded through the new DECRA program increases total funding for the Australia Research Council's this year by A$20 million to A$344 million, according to the office of the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science, and Research.

Meanwhile, more than A$144 million is being awarded to 203 talented mid-career researchers under the Future Fellowships program, which promotes research in areas of critical importance to Australia.

"This support for our researchers is crucial if we want to keep Australia 'the clever country', one which continues to come up with solutions to the big problems and issues facing Australians and the world every day," the office's Minister, Senator Kim Carr said in a statement.

As an example of the studies that are being funded, Carr said that an investigator at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute will receive a A$673,728 Future Fellowship "to study how the zebra fish's extraordinary ability to regenerate damaged heart tissue might provide insights into the repair of human hearts after injury."

The DECRA awards include 53 biology-focused projects, including nine grants for genetics, 10 for evolutionary biology, five for microbiology, and 10 for plant biology.
The Future Fellowship awards include 38 biological sciences projects, including six genetics grants, six evolutionary biology projects, eight biochemistry and cell biology awards, and four plant biology projects.

A full breakdown with descriptions of the projects funded was not immediately available.