Curtin University’s Earth and planetary sciences and health technology research has been boosted with new state-of-the-art equipment courtesy of more than $1.4 million in Federal Government funding awarded today.

Federal Education Minister, the Hon. Dan Tehan, announced three Curtin-led research projects had been successful in the latest round of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2020 scheme.

Led by Professor John Mamo, the Director of the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, a team of WA-based researchers has received $620,000 to establish the State’s only super-rapid-speed confocal microscopy facility, providing health, environmental biology and agriculture researchers access to contemporary, state-of-the-art equipment. It will give these researchers the clearest 3D-pictures to monitor fast biological processes inside living cells and to scan large areas of tissues with an unprecedented degree of detail.

Under the leadership of Professor Noreen Evans, from Curtin’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the John de Laeter Centre, a $610,000 ARC grant will provide a mass spectrometer for Australian researchers to characterise unique samples of dust and rock collected from asteroids, meteorites and the Moon as part of global collaborations with international space agencies. The instrumentation will also support Federal geoscience agencies generate nationally significant isotopic datasets to improve mineral exploration success, as well as scientists monitoring Earth’s environment.

Awarded $250,000 by the ARC, a research team led by Dr. Clancy James, from the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), will also construct a particle detector array for the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope. The particle detector array will allow the MWA to study high-energy particles from space, called cosmic rays, to determine where they come from, and what happens when they collide with the atmosphere.

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran congratulated the Curtin researchers who had been awarded funding in the ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2020 scheme.

“The ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme enables researchers to purchase expensive research equipment to support their collaborations with global and national academic and industry partners,” Professor Moran said.

“These three Curtin-led research projects will give Western Australian researchers access to state-of-the-art equipment that will provide important support for planetary sciences and health research.”