Research Funds

Botany Research Funds and Fellowships

Fellowships support early career researchers. The Pauline Ladiges Plant Systematics Research Fellowship, shared with the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, is focussed on Australia’s plant biodiversity, underpinning species conservation. Further funds will provide research support for the Fellow.

Profile: Dr Tanja Schuster, Pauline Ladiges Plant Systematics Fellow

During 2013, Dr Tanja Schuster arrived to take up the inaugural Pauline Ladiges Plant Systematics Fellowship, funded jointly through the School of Botany Foundation and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.

Tanja completed her PhD in 2011 at Wake Forest University, North Carolina, USA. Her PhD research was on the evolutionary relationships of a group of plants in the family Polygonaceae, particularly the genus Muehlenbeckia, which occurs around the Pacific.

The fellowship is a great opportunity for me as an early career researcher in plant systematics and taxonomy. There are few opportunities globally at present, yet never before has there been so much focus on the need to document the world’s biodiversity. Documenting species diversity and naming groups are the basis for other areas of science, such as agriculture, ecosystem management, conservation and economic botany. I will continue my work on the buckwheat family, Polygonaceae, which has applications in ecology, invasiveness of weedy species, plant-fungal interactions, and Southern Hemisphere biogeography. I will be applying new molecular tools, such as Next Generation Sequencing, microscopy techniques and field-work. I am also enjoying interacting with students, and with staff at both the University and the Gardens. Dr Tanja Schuster

Botany Research Funds and Fellowships

  • Unrestricted use including research

    This fund allows us to allocate funding to priority areas and areas of greatest need in the School of BioSciences.

  • The Adrienne Clarke Chair of Botany

    This fund enables us to recruit and retain distinguished researchers and support their research programs. The fund was established by The Foundation to honour Adrienne Clarke FAA ATSE AC who was a Laureate Professor in the School of Botany until 2005. Professor Clarke is one of Australia’s most distinguished plant scientists working in the field of molecular biology of plants, particularly plant reproduction, self-incompatibility and plant resistance to insect attack and fungal diseases. She has made a major contribution to Australian industry, business and government. Further gifts can be added to this fund.

  • Pauline Ladiges Plant Systematics Research fellowship

    This fellowship is a joint initiative between the School of Botany and the Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation Victoria. It was established to support the appointment of a Fellow in Plant Systematics and Evolution. The Fellow it supports contributes to the teaching of plant txonomy and undertakes research jointly at the University and the National Herbarium of Victoria. Professor Pauline Ladiges FAA AO is renowned for her work in the field of plant systematics and biogeography, specialising in the evolutionary history of the Australian flora, particularly the eucalypts. She was Head of the School of Botany from 1992 to 2010 and was a member of the Board of the Royal Botanic Gardens for a number of years. Further gifts can be added to this fund

  • Plant Systematics Research Fund

    This fund supports research by staff or students on the systematics, taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of living or extant flora, with preference for studies on, but not restricted to, the Australasian flora. It was established in 2003 with an anonymous donation. Further gifts can be added to this fund.

  • Protist Systematcis Research Fund

    This fund provides financial assistance to a researcher, postgraduate student or alumnus associated with the School of Botany, who is undertaking systematic and taxonomic research on single-celled eukaryotic organisms. The fund was established in 2007 by Dr Roberta Cowen (Townsend), an alumna of the School of Botany who specialised in algal taxonomy and biology. Donations have been received on a regular basis since then from the Foundation’s annual giving program.

  • The V Sarafis Research Fund

    The late Professor Vassilios Sarafis bequeathed the residual of his estate for the purpose of funding research on bryophytes, ferns, gymnosperms and algae. The donor, who died on 13 June 2012, was a biologist, microscopist and physicist. After his retirement Professor Sarafis was an honorary academic at various institutions including the University of Melbourne, and was a donor of the Botany Foundation. Further gifts can be added to this fund.

  • The Fern Research Fund

    In 2014 the Foundation received a donation from The Fern Society of Victoria and fund was established to support student postgraduate research on ferns or curatorial work on ferns in the University of Melbourne Herbarium. Further gifts can be added to this fund.

  • Melbourne Pollen Count, a free service for allergy sufferers

    The Melbourne Pollen Count Service provides a daily count and weekly forecast of grass pollen in Melbourne’s air from October to December to support hay fever and asthma sufferers. It is supported by gifts to the Botany Foundation. See Melbourne Pollen Count.