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CCD 2016 Annual Report

CCD 2016 Annual Report

CCD 2016 Annual Report

Director's Report - Professor Stephen Crain:

On behalf of our Centre members, I am pleased to present the 2016 Annual Report for the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders. This was another successful year for our Centre members. The CCD is comprised of 21 Chief Investigators, 12 Partner Investigators, 191 Associate Investigators, and 185 undergraduate and higher degree research students. This year was a resounding success both in research training and in educational outreach. A total of 53 students graduated, including 27 PhD graduates and three Masters/PhD graduates. Research at the Centre continues to be greatly enriched by the 24 postdoctoral researchers we employ, who have made major scientific contributions to the Centre's five research programs: Belief Formation, Language, Memory, Person Perception and Reading.

Our Centre provides a series of internal support schemes that are designed to support innovative and collaborative research. To support research training, we funded two extended lab visits for outstanding students as part of the CCD Student Exchange Scheme. This year, both students visited research institutions in Canada. Anna Fiveash visited the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto, and Valerie Pu visited the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute at the Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health and the Department of Medical Imaging at the University of Toronto.

Another highly successful internal scheme supporting research by Centre members is the Cross Program Support Scheme. This scheme provides funding for projects that involve researchers from two or more research programs. This year we funded five innovative research projects. These included an investigation of delusional beliefs and language disruption in dementia, a study of joint attention and distorted gaze perception in schizophrenia, a project on spelling problems in aphasia, and one on gaze perception. We also provided support for training in experimental techniques through the Neural Markers Training Scheme. We funded five projects this year. These included an investigation of self-monitoring during reading, a study of letter-sound integration in adults with dyslexia, a project on letter position coding, one on inhibitory processing in people with schizophrenia, and a study of the linguistic abilities of minimally-verbal children with autism.

We were again fortunate to be able to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding women in science. This year, three Centre members deserve special mention. CI Professor Amanda Barnier was inducted as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. AI Dr Muireann Irish received the Paul Bourke Award for Early Career Research from the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, was a Joint Winner of the NSW Early Career Researcher of the Year as part of the NSW Premier's Prizes for Science & Engineering, and was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship. And PI Professor Naama Friedmann received the Mifal Hapais Landau Prize for the Sciences and Research, Israel. We are indeed fortunate to have such outstanding women researchers as role models for our students and early career researchers.  

The Centre continued to provide outstanding opportunities for academic engagement for Centre members at various stages of their career. These opportunities included the first offsite Annual Meeting of the CCD, at The Fairmont Resort, Leura. In addition, the CCD co-sponsored the Moving Minds Conference, along with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Europe 1100-1800, and the Canadian Early Modern Conversions project on religions, cultures, and cognitive ecologies. The Centre also supported a series of workshops focusing on early cognitive development, as well as a series of workshops at the Program level. The Centre hosted almost 60 seminars, and provided sponsorship funding to five externally organised events. As part of the Annual Workshop, we sponsored a workshop on Student/ECR Development and we hosted a workshop on Transferable Skills, which was designed to showcase career paths outside academia for the benefit of our students and early career researchers.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our Centre members for their contributions to research, and for their enthusiastic support of the Centre throughout the year.

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