Published 14th November, 2011

 
UQDI’s Dr Ray Steptoe has been announced as a winner of an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship for 2011.
 
Dr Steptoe was one out of only 200 Future Fellowships awarded for the year and says the Fellowship will allow him to continue to work on new therapies for diseases of immune-regulation and basic mechanisms of immune intolerance.
 
His project submission targets chronic inflammatory diseases which affect up to 20% of Australians, and reduce well-being and life potential and shorten lifespan. His project will address the urgent need for effective therapies and focuses on developing strategies for disease cure and prevention.
 
“It’s wonderful to be recognised for my work, however this Fellowship is even better news for the researchers in my lab as it gives them more resources and improved support for their projects,” Dr Steptoe said.
 
“This Fellowship provides me the security I need as a scientist to develop new areas of research.”
 
In 2008, the Government announced the creation of the scheme to promote research in areas of critical national importance, by giving outstanding researchers incentives to conduct their research in Australia. The aim of Future Fellowships is to attract and retain the best and brightest mid-career researchers.
 
At present many highly qualified mid-career researchers choose to work overseas to further their careers due to lack of opportunities in Australia. The Future Fellowships scheme addresses this issue of retaining top researchers, and will significantly boost Australia’s research and innovation capacity in areas of national importance.
 
Over a five-year period (2009 -2013), Future Fellowships will offer four-year fellowships of up to $143,000 a year to 1,000 outstanding Australian and international researchers in the middle of their career. In addition, the ARC will provide Administering Organisations with funding of up to $50,000 per annum which may be used for infrastructure, equipment, travel and relocation costs directly related to the Future Fellow’s research.
 
Future Fellowships encourage proposals from researchers working in areas of national priority. Preference is given to those researchers who can demonstrate a capacity to build collaboration across industry and/or research institutions and/or with other disciplines.
 
Although international experience is important for Australian researchers, it is also important they have the opportunity to return home to continue their work. Future Fellowships will aim to encourage outstanding Australian researchers currently based overseas to return to Australia.
 
Dr Steptoe will be formally awarded his Future Fellowship at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday the 14th of November.
 
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