Alfred Deakin Institute
The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) is a leading humanities and social sciences research institute based at Deakin University, Australia. Our researchers aim to understand the complex meanings of citizenship, social inclusion and globalisation, and investigate the imp
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ADI receives $1.86 million in Australian Research Council funding

Environmental gene influences, information technology and human activity are just some of latest Deakin-led research projects to have secured funding by the Australian Research Council.


Close to $2 million in funding will support five new research projects led by members of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI).

ADI’s Professor Emma Kowal, Dr Amelia Johns and Professor John Powers are leading new Discovery Projects, in collaboration with the Australian Research Council (ARC).

The diverse issues explored by the researchers have been deemed of national importance by the ARC.

In addition to these Discovery Projects, Dr Rose Butler has received a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) worth over $400,000 to pursue research concerned with strengthening intercultural relationships among Australia’s rural youth. Also receiving a DECRA from the ADI is Dr Timothy Neale, whose project titled ‘Pyrosecurity: understanding and managing bushfires in a changing climate’ was awarded $372,574.

The new projects build on the 15 current ARC-funded projects led by members of ADI.

Epigenetics and Indigenous Australia

ADI Professor Emma Kowal was awarded $348,000 to examine how epigenetics, or the science of how environmental factors can influence our genes, is being received by Indigenous Australians.

“Epigenetics is a rapidly evolving science concerned with how life experiences, such as trauma or stress, can modify DNA and be passed on to negatively affect children's (and possibly grandchildren's) health and development,” Professor Kowal said.

“The project aims to outline the relationships between Indigenous health and epigenetics in a way that will help Indigenous researchers, policymakers, and government bodies make informed decisions about the application and direction of this new science.”

Professor Kowal will lead the project alongside the University of Adelaide’s Professor Megan Warin and ADI’s Associate Professor Maurizio Meloni.

This investment into the implications of epigenetics has been of large focus to the ARC. Professors Kowal’s project was preceded by another grant announced earlier this year worth almost $1 million awarded to Associate Prof Meloni.

Fostering global digital citizenship: diaspora youth in a connected world

Dr Amelia Johns will identify the global digital citizenship dimensions of diaspora youth’s everyday digital media use.

The $310,000 grant will assist Dr Johns to explore how global digital citizenship can be fostered through policies and programs that aim to improve inclusion and participation of culturally-diverse young people.

Professor Anita Harris and Dr Jessica Walton from ADI, as well as Dr Gilbert Caluya from the University of Melbourne, will join Dr Johns’ Discovery Project.

Tibet’s rivers in the Anthropocene: history and present trajectories

Professor John Powers’ project aims to produce a multifaceted history of the eastern Tibetan Plateau’s rivers, focusing on the increasing human impacts characterised by the Anthropocene – the current geological age in which human activity has been the dominant influence on the Earth’s climate and environment.

Professor Powers has been awarded $418,268 for the project. 

The research will look at data from archival, cultural and oral sources in multiple languages to produce both historical narratives and graphic representations that model past land and water use. This project will be supported by a team of seven from a range of universities including Dr Gillian Tan from ADI.

Collaborative Research Projects

ADI members will also be investigators on three other ARC projects not led by Deakin University. Dr Kristy Hess, who was recently announced by ‘The Australian’ newspaper as the top communications research in the country, will join a team with Deakin’s Associate Professor Lisa Waller on a Discovery Project led by the University of Canberra analysing the role of media, journalism and social media activism in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013-2017).

A/Prof Waller will also be a member on a Linkage Project led by the University of Melbourne’s Dr David Nolan titled ‘Amplifying Indigenous news: a digital intervention’, and Associate Professor Mirjana Lozanovska will be an investigator on a University of Melbourne-led Discovery Project on the migrant contribution to nation-building in Australia.

Matthew Guy