UTAS Fulbright winners
Researchers US-bound with Fulbright scholarships
Two University of Tasmania research fellows have won prestigious Fulbright scholarships.
Dr Jessica Walker (right), a research fellow with the Centre for Renewable Energy and Power Systems, School of Engineering, is the 2012 winner of the Fulbright Tasmania Scholarship, sponsored by the Tasmanian Government’s Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts and the University of Tasmania.
Dr Sue Baker (left), from the School of Plant Science, has won a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship to spend three and a half months working with the University of Washington and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.
Through her Fulbright Dr Walker will go to the United States Naval Academy Annapolis, Maryland, for 12 months to undertake research into the renewable energy technology of tidal power.
Unlike other renewable sources such as solar, wind and wave, tidal power is predictable as it relies on lunar gravitational forces rather than the weather, she says.
“This makes it easier to integrate into the electricity grid. However there are two potential performance issues in the operation of tidal turbines: the roughening of the turbine blades due to impact, cavitation or scour due to particulates, and the fouling of the turbine blades by marine growth.”
Through her Fulbright, Dr Baker will evaluate the benefits of retention forestry practices for biodiversity conservation.
Dr Baker’s forestry project will critically assess the role of unlogged patches within coupes in facilitating re-establishment of mature-forest biodiversity in logged areas.
“The retention forestry approach was developed in Western North America based on insights into species recovery following the massive volcanic eruption of Mt St Helens in 1980,” she explained.
“Contrary to traditional theory emphasising immigration of organisms from outside of the affected landscape, diverse refuges within the blast area allowed some organisms to survive volcanic impacts. The same is expected from unlogged refuges, and my project will determine how far beetles and plants re-colonise into logged areas.”
A third scholarship has been awarded to Hobart-born Dr Richard Adams, a UTAS alumnus (BA, 1987) who is now a Lieutenant Commander within the Royal Australian Navy Directorate of Leadership and Ethics.
Dr Adams has won a Fulbright Professional Scholarship to go to Yale University for four months. There he will examine expectations in military doctrine that soldiers subjugate their will to command. His research will illuminate the obligation of soldiers to act with moral purpose and autonomy as a force for good in the world, rather than as brute instruments of state power. The research aims to establish the basis upon which military doctrine may take a more morally sophisticated form.
The Fulbright program is the largest educational scholarship of its kind, created by US Senator J. William Fulbright and the US Government in 1946. Aimed at promoting mutual understanding through educational exchange, it operates between the US and 155 countries.
In Australia, the scholarships are funded by the Australian and US governments and corporate partners and administered by the Australian-American Fulbright Commission in Canberra.
Twenty five scholarships have been awarded in the 2012 round. Applications for 2013 Fulbright Scholarships open on 1 June.