ACU success in ARC early career fellowships

Australian Catholic University’s leadership in philosophy and religion has been further endorsed by the Australian Research Council with two Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA):

  • Associate Professor Stephanie Collins, from the Dianoia Institute of Philosophy, will apply her work in organisational ethics to the Banking Royal Commission and Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Dr Matthew Champion, from the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, will look at how our understanding of time shapes our lives.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Wayne McKenna said the awards were an endorsement of ACU’s commitment to philosophical research, which had been enhanced with the establishment of the new Dianoia Institute of Philosophy.  The awards also recognised the University’s expertise in medieval and early modern studies.

“ACU is the leading university in the country for religion and religious studies, and is attracting international recognition for our recent growth in philosophy.  The work of these two researchers highlights the importance and relevance of our achievement in these areas of research,” Professor McKenna said.

Associate Professor Stephanie CollinsAssociate Professor Collins was awarded $368,216 for her project Organisations' Wrongdoing: from Metaphysics to Practice.  She said the project aims to use the methods of analytic philosophy and law to contribute to, and integrate, three increasingly isolated fields: metaphysics, moral philosophy, and law.

“Expected outcomes include a much-improved scholarly, legal, and public understanding of how organisations exist, persist, act, have characters, and can be punished—as distinct from the individuals on whom they depend, and despite the fact that we cannot see or touch organisations. This should provide significant benefits, such as guiding commercial, legislative, and regulatory responses to organisational wrongdoing.”

The project will look at issues such as how banks should be penalised following the Banking Royal Commission, how carbon emission targets can be enforced, and how corporate self-regulation can work.  It will help the public to understand organisational wrongdoing, via public lectures, blog posts, and podcasts.

Doctor Mathew ChampionDr Champion was awarded $424,813 for his project The Sounds of Time, which will focus on the perception and experience of time from the origins of the mechanical musical clock in fourteenth-century Europe to the spread of European time across the world by missionaries in the sixteenth century.

“In an age where questions of time management, social acceleration, and speed are increasingly putting strain on institutions and social structures, understanding how time shapes society and culture is of critical importance to Australia’s future wellbeing both as a nation and at the level of individual wellbeing,” Dr Champion said.

“This project aims to reveal ways of understanding and organising time that can improve how Australians use time to shape social and cultural life and production. By tracing the subtle uses of time in the past, it provides alternative visions of how time might be organised in the future.”

The project will include an interactive website, public outreach performance events, and academic publications.


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