Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility Endowment

The Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility (HIAF) is one of The Australian National University’s largest pieces of research infrastructure, and is unique in Australia and the region. The HIAF supports Australia’s only experimental nuclear physics research and teaching program, as well as a broad spectrum of other research. This includes creating and characterising innovative materials, optimizing resource and energy exploitation, investigating environmental change, and archaeological and heritage studies.

The HIAF Endowment Fund was created in 2012 by Professor David Hinde, then Head of the Department of Nuclear Physics; Emeritus Professor Keith Fifield, then Director of the HIAF; and Professor Mahananda Dasgupta, an ARC Australian Laureate Fellow. Initially the three researchers wanted to offer technical staff at the Department of Nuclear Physics career advancement opportunities that would not otherwise be available.

Following further generous gifts, the Endowment is now aiming to provide support to other Department members beyond the accelerator staff. The proposed expansion will include:

  • PhD student scholarship top-ups with a travelling allowance to attract the best minds to undertake a PhD at the Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility.
  • Seed funding for new research initiatives and directions.

In 2018 the Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility Endowment Fund received a very generous bequest from the late Professor John Newton and Dr Silva Newton. Professor Newton was Head of the Department of Nuclear Physics from 1971 to 1998. As a result, the Fund activities are being significantly expanded. Four named awards have been created, to remember staff who played leading roles in the development of HIAF:

  • The John and Silva Newton Award for the support of graduate students from the Department of Nuclear Physics, and more widely from the Research School, to support expenses of international travel to conferences and experiments;
  • The George Dracoulis International Student Award to support local costs of international students visiting HIAF to carry out experiments using the Facility;
  • The Trevor Ophel Innovation Award to support new initiatives either in research using HIAF, or in related accelerator technology;
  • The David Weisser Award for Accelerator Staff Development to provide career development opportunities for accelerator staff associated with HIAF.

Awards have been made so far in 2018 to support Steve Battisson, Thomas Tunningley, Brent Graham, Drs. Peter Linardakis and Nikolai Lobanov, and to Dr. Lindsey Bignell for his new initiative in Dark Matter Research.


Your donation will support HIAF accelerator staff by providing wider opportunities for training and international networking. These will not only benefit the staff themselves, but will enhance Australia’s accelerator-based research capability through the dissemination of new skills and knowledge to colleagues, and the generation of strong links with the international accelerator networks.


Attracting top-ranked students into the field and training them to the best international standards are keys to future success. Through your donation the Endowment fund can provide PhD top-up scholarships and international travel support to talented students. International engagement through experiments, schools and conferences allows students to be well connected to international researchers and developments, with long-term benefits to the ANU and Australia.


Your support will allow the Endowment Fund in future to provide seeding funds to kick-start start new accelerator- based research initiatives and applications at the HIAF.

The achievement of the vision and goal of the Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility Endowment Fund will assist the Department of Nuclear Physics at the ANU Research School of Physic and Engineering to enhance Australia’s place in the global community of heavy ion accelerator experts and researchers.

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