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UniSA Secures Government Tech Research Grants

World-leading advances in measuring fetal blood flow, new virtual reality tools to foster innovative architecture, and a better understanding of chatbot technologies will be the focus of three UniSA research projects starting in 2022.

The projects are among seven successful UniSA Discovery Grants announced in late December by the Federal Government, totalling $3 million.

Details of some of the five-year projects are:

  • Associate Professor Haolan Xu will lead a $405,000 project to develop a solar-thermal desalination system to simultaneously produce clean water and generate electricity.
  • Professor Anthony Elliott will use his $423,799 grant to investigate how chatbot technologies can improve the retail and services sector and benefit the economy and society more generally.
  • Professor Jun Ma will lead a $210,000 project to develop nanomaterials encased in elastomers to improve composite manufacturing, particularly underwater monitoring of infrastructure and personalised health monitoring.
  • Professor Bruce Thomas will lead a $455,000 project to create new virtual reality tools to support free-form architectural concepts known as parametric design. Parametric tools are an emerging design technology but are currently available only on traditional desktop computers. This project will allow designers to use VR instead.
  • Professor John Hayball will collaborate on a $529,846 project led by Professor Krasimir Vasilev (Flinders University) to better understand how surface nanotopography affects inflammatory responses. Their findings are expected to provide a breakthrough in the next generation of biomaterials.

The Federal Government awarded $258.6 million for 587 ARC Discovery projects nationally.

The Federal Government of Australia had earlier announced via the ARC that investigating mechanisms of seed germination to help farmers in Australia’s significant agri-food sector, extending understanding of major evolutionary events in the Earth’s history, and ways to advance economic opportunities for Indigenous communities across Northern Australia will be the focus of some of the outstanding research projects to get underway in 2022.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Research Council (ARC) welcomed the approval by the Acting Minister for Education and Youth of $258.6 million for 587 new projects funded through the ARC Discovery Projects scheme over the next five years. It was noted that the Discovery Projects provide funding to support excellent basic and applied research projects to be undertaken by individual researchers or research teams.

The Discovery Projects scheme aims to support excellent basic and applied research and research training; promote national and international research collaboration, and enhance the scale and focus of research in Australian Government priority areas. This investment will see an expanded knowledge base and research capacity in Australia, and economic, commercial, environmental, social and/or cultural returns for Australia.

Moreover, it was earlier also announced that an automated mobility facility, new technologies for data governance for cultural heritage records, a portable sea laboratory and a national fire simulation facility were some of the exciting new research projects now possible with funding through the Australian Research Council (ARC).

The ARC Chief Executive Officer welcomed the approval by the Acting Minister for Education and Youth of more than $32.6 million in funding for 46 new collaborative research infrastructure projects to be undertaken as part of the ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme.

The Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme provides critical funding for the tools required for universities to conduct vital research in our national priority areas.

The scheme fosters important research collaboration through cooperative use of these national and international research facilities allowing large-scale infrastructure, equipment and facilities to be shared and accessed by researchers in partnered organisations.


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