AINSE - Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering

 AINSE Ltd  facilitates access to the national facilities at Lucas Heights by universities and other research institutions and provides a focus for cooperation in the nuclear scientific and engineering fields. AINSE arranges for the training of scientific research studentships in matters associated with nuclear science and engineering.


Funding opportunities offered by AINSE 



Applications for AINSE Honours Scholarships have now CLOSED. Applicants will be advised of the results in late March 2015.

AINSE Research Awards 2015/16 are NOW OPEN

Applications for 2015 Round 2 are NOW OPEN

For funding 1st July 2015 - 30th June 2016.

The Chief Investigator must be employed as a researcher at the member organisation. 

AINSE Strategic Directions 2014-8

The AINSE Council has in its recent meeting formally endorsed AINSE’s Strategic Directions 2014-18. This provides the framework for developments which will give AINSE more agility, options and influence in facilitating the delivery of nuclear science and engineering. More information

AINSE Winter School 2015

AINSE Winter School 2015 13th-17th July

More Information


2015 Post Graduate Research Awards NOW OPEN.

Applications for 2015 Post Graduate Research Awards (application form PGRA-2015) are NOW OPEN! Applications are due on 15th April 2015 and the successful students will commence 1st July 2015.

AOCNS_2015_V2 For more information click here

The AINSE Trust

The purpose of the AINSE Trust, established in 2008, is to provide scholarships and fellowships for Australian students and researchers who are participating in AINSE programs.

You can help by providing a donation to the AINSE Trust. More Information

Research Highlights

The chronology of human settlement, palaeoclimate variability, and marine fisheries in the southern Cook Islands 


Study site of Moturakau Islet, Aitutaki lagoon

As the first island group east of Samoa and Tonga, the southern Cook Islands are a gateway archipelago that stands to inform on the timing and patterning of East Polynesian settlement. Moturakau Rockshelter on Aitutaki Island is one of a few early occupation sites in the Cook Islands, and renowned for its exceptionally large, stratified assemblage of marine archaeofauna and fishing gear. First analysed in the late 1980s, these collections are now the focus of an interdisciplinary study of palaeoclimate effects on marine fisheries and human foragers over the last millennium. High precision dates were required to refine the timing of initial site activities, major marine events (major storms and/or tsunami), and changing patterns of resource use.

The AINSE-funded analysis evaluated an extant radiocarbon chronology defined two decades ago on unidentified bulk charcoal, materials now known to include long-lived trees with the potential for inbuilt age. Archived collections were sampled for short-lived materials (e.g., coconut shell and Pandanus keys) and AMS-dated. Bayesian analysis of the overall date assemblage was used to identify outliers and refine age estimates for the site’s 12 stratigraphic zones, while changing depositional rates were assessed using the Classical Age-Depth Model (CLAM) program.

The resulting geo-chronological model indicates that initial islet use began at a time when human populations were dispersing across East Polynesia in the mid-11th to 13th centuries AD. The 13th to 15th centuries were a period of recurring and significant marine intrusions which disrupted cultural activities. Perhaps related, after the mid-15th century archaeofish remains and fishhooks began to decline. These changes are now being assessed against an emerging carbonate-based (corals, otoliths) palaeoclimate record.

Assoc Prof Melinda Allen (University of Auckland) led the research in collaboration with Prof David Fink and Dr Geraldine Jacobsen (ANSTO). Archaeobotanist Jennifer Huebert (UA) identified the plant samples. Dr Alex Morrison (UA) undertook the Bayesian analysis. The AINSE supported geo-chronological model provides a crucial framework for interpreting prior analyses and supporting our on-going Royal Society of New Zealand–funded palaeoclimate study.





Wood charcoal specialist Jennifer Huebert at work (photo by T. Mackrell)

Fourteenth century shell fishhooks (photo by T. Mackrell)

Short-lived plant remains, Pandanus (A-C) and coconut (D) (photos by J. Huebert, T. Mackrell)

AINSE Winter School 2015


AINSE is offering a prestigious scholarship to selected senior undergraduate students from AINSE member universities interested in the use of nuclear science and techniques, across a range of disciplines.

The School will be held at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at Lucas Heights about 30km south of Sydney.


The Winter School includes:

-tours of ANSTO labs and facilities;

-lectures and experimental sessions;

-an opportunity to develop an honours year experiment;

-high profile guest speakers;

-an extensive social program including an evening cruise on Sydney Harbour.


The AINSE Winter School is from the 13-17th July 2015.