Release type: Media Release


Research to better understand properties of dark matter


The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Education

A world-leading Australian physicist has been awarded a research grant to investigate new models of dark matter.

The Morrison Government is providing $445,688 to fund research conducted by Dr Peter Cox from the University of Melbourne into dark matter.

Dr Cox’s research will improve our understanding of the fundamental properties of dark matter and how it interacts with ordinary matter. Dark matter makes up 84% of the matter in the universe, but its properties remain unknown.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the Morrison Government had provided $35 million to establish the Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics and a further $5 million towards building the underground laboratory at Stawell.

“The discovery of dark matter will be one of the greatest achievements in science, helping to improve our understanding of the universe. Australia is leading the world in dark matter research,” Mr Tehan said.

“The work undertaken by Dr Cox, and researchers in the Centre, will add to our knowledge, enhance Australia’s research capability and help train a new generation of researchers.

“Understanding the nature of dark matter will lead to invaluable insights into the history and evolution of our universe,” Dr Cox said. “This research will develop new theoretical models of dark matter and explore new approaches for its detection.”

Dr Cox will collaborate closely with researchers in the Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics and at the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory (SUPL). Dr Cox’s research will be used to guide future experiments at SUPL and to interpret their results.

The Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory, the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere, is specially-built deep underground to allow scientists to conduct cutting-edge research. It will attract researchers from around the world to pursue new knowledge in dark matter.