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CCD 2015 Annual Report

CCD 2015 Annual Report

CCD 2015 Annual Report

Director's Report - Professor Stephen Crain:

I am pleased to present this year's Annual Report of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders. Centre membership has grown to 397 members, including 177 students, 21 Centre research fellows, and 15 research support staff.

This year we welcomed three new Centre members: Chief Investigator Suncica (Sunny) Lah, and Partner Investigators Wendy Best and Naama Friedmann. Associate Professor Lah has already been contributing to the Centre as an Associate Investigator with the Memory Program. Professors Best and Friedmann also have long standing collaborations with Centre members through the Language and Reading Programs.

It has been another successful year for the Centre's higher degree research candidates. We are delighted to acknowledge the following honours and awards: Danielle Colenbrander was recognised with the Tertiary Student Award by Learning Difficulties Australia; Amy Dawel received the Award for Excellent PhD Thesis in Psychology from the Australian Psychological Society; the award winners for our Annual Workshop Poster competition, Nichola Burton and Lina Teichmann, and our Research Excellence Student Award winners for outstanding 2014 publications Amy Dawel; Wei He; Robert Ross; Sharon Savage; and Leslie van der Leer. The success of the Centre's research training activities is also attested by the fact that many students have secured positions at prominent international institutions.

The Centre expanded it's investment in research training for students and early career researchers (ECR) with two new initiatives: the Student Exchange Scheme and the Student/ECR Development Day. We supported four successful student exchange visits this year, enabling students to visit: University of Bristol, UK, Zentrum fur Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Germany, University of Reading, UK, and Washington University, USA. Increased support for our students and early career researchers was also through the inaugural Student/ECR Development Day which was part of the Annual Workshop. This day provided a stimulating forum for discussion of research and non-research related matters that researchers face as they endeavour to achieve their career goals.

I would like to make special mention of the achievements by our team of researchers this year. Our leading female researchers were recognised for their outstanding contributions to their disciplines: Professor Amanda Barnier was awarded The Jim Piper Award for Excellence in Research Leadership by Macquarie University; Professor Katherine Demuth was named a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences of Australia; Associate Investigator Dr Muireann Irish received the L'Oréal UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship; Associate Investigator Associate Professor Anina Rich represented our Centre at the Global Youth Academy; and Associate Investigator Dr Alexandra Woolgar received the Early Career Researcher of the Year Award from Macquarie University. Our Centre is extremely fortunate to have women like these as role models for our future research leaders.

Recognition of our Centre researchers continues: Emeritus Professor Brian Byrne was awarded the Mona Tobias Award, Learning Difficulties Australia; Emeritus Professor Max Coltheart was awarded the Eminent Researcher Award, Learning Difficulties Australia; Professor John Hodges was awarded the Bengt Winblad Lifetime Achievement Award in Alzheimer's Disease Research and the British Neuropsychiatric Association Medal for lifetime contributions; Professor John Sutton was inducted as Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities; and Professor William (Bill) Thompson was invited to be a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (USA).

The CCD continues to benefit from the CCD Cross Program Support Scheme. In 2015, we funded eight cross program projects across a range of research areas including the effect language training on reading performance, the relationship between music and brain stimulation, the representation of word meaning in people with semantic dementia and people with aphasia, gaze processing in people with schizophrenia, and virtual reality technology and body representation. We look forward to the research outcomes from these projects. We also funded two Neural Markers Training Scheme projects designed to expand the skills and knowledge of our researchers in new research technologies and techniques.

This year also delivered another series of successful academic engagement activities. These included the 2015 Annual Workshop and many other successful events throughout the year: the Developing Mind Workshop series, the Reading and Spelling Conference, the International Person Perception Workshop, the Neuroimaging Methods and Analysis Workshop, Eye-tracking: Language, Vision, Perception and their Interface Workshop and Memory Day 2015, held at the University of Otago, NZ.

I wish to thank our Scientific Committee and Advisory Board for their valuable guidance in 2015. I was especially pleased by their active participation in the CCD Stakeholders' Workshop and the Annual Workshop.

Finally I want to express my sincere thanks to all Centre members for your continued enthusiasm and your many achievements throughout the year.

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