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UNSW Funding to Tackle Critical Industry Challenges

Image Credits: UNSW, Press Release

The Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Mid-Career Industry Fellowships programme has awarded UNSW Sydney researchers AU$ 3.7 million, which has been supplemented by an additional AU$1.8 million from industry partners involved in the program. The initiative aims to assist mid-career researchers in using their research expertise to develop practical applications that can benefit society. Four academics from UNSW’s faculties of Engineering and Science will spearhead projects under this programme.

The Mid-Career Industry Fellowships programme by the ARC aims to address industry-specific problems by leveraging the knowledge and abilities of both university and industry researchers. UNSW has been granted four out of seven Fellowships in New South Wales and ranked second across the country, with 16% of the 25 Fellowships awarded in total.

Professor Nicholas Fisk, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Enterprise, has affirmed that UNSW’s exceptional performance in the inaugural wave of this funding programme serves as a confirmation of the university’s commitment to collaborating with industry to transform research into practical outcomes that enhance Australian society.

He expressed his pride in the university’s researchers for their impressive achievement of a success rate of 26.7%, in comparison to the national rate of only 8%, in the ARC’s Mid-Career Industry Fellowships program. This remarkable outcome is a testament to their unwavering commitment and proven ability to translate pioneering research into practical applications that have a positive impact on society. The projects that the UNSW researchers will lead under this programme encompass diverse fields, including quantum computing, urban stormwater reuse, environmental sensing, and materials for fusion energy.

Dr Patrick Burr, a researcher from UNSW Engineering, has been awarded AU$1,053,296 from the ARC for his project titled “Life Prediction and Optimization of Advanced First-Wall Fusion Materials.” The project’s primary objective is to expedite the production of radiation-resistant materials for fusion energy, in collaboration with two industry partners. This fellowship is expected to increase Australia’s standing in the global fusion energy sector.

Professor Dewei Chu, a researcher from UNSW Science, has been granted AU$1,019,275 from the ARC for his project named “Bio-inspired Sustainable Materials for Self-powered Environmental Sensing.” This initiative aims to meet the industry’s demand for lightweight, long-lasting, and self-powered Internet of Things (IoT) devices that are designed for environmental sensing applications.

The primary objective is to create a novel category of IoT devices with a high power density, sustainable output, and real-time environmental monitoring capabilities, which will provide the Australian industry with economical and effective tools to maintain safe working conditions.

Dr Bojan Tamburic, a researcher from UNSW Engineering, will be awarded AU$ 865,628 from the ARC for his project titled “Large Scale Urban Stormwater Reuse: Safe, Clear and Odourless Water Supply.” The primary goal of this initiative is to enhance the resilience of Australia’s water resources by bolstering capacity in urban stormwater reuse and meeting the industry’s requirement to assess the feasibility of urban lakes and wetlands for stormwater harvesting. This evaluation will inform adaptive planning and infrastructure preparedness at water utilities, as well as guide Australian policy on stormwater reuse.

Dr Kok Chan, a researcher from UNSW Engineering, will be granted AU$764,472 from the ARC for his project named “Scalable Semiconductor Quantum Processor with Flip Chip Bonding Technology.” Australia is well-known for its quantum computing research, which is based on electron spin in a silicon quantum dot. This project’s primary aim is to facilitate the production of scalable quantum processors, which will lead the country’s efforts in semiconductor quantum processors.

According to ARC’s CEO, the programme encourages industry-based researchers to collaborate with a university and university-based researchers to collaborate with a crucial industry partner, such as a government entity, not-for-profit, or company.

The objective is to assist mid-career researchers from both academia and industry to apply and transfer their research expertise and knowledge into real-world scenarios, resulting in substantial and effective outcomes for industry partners, end-users, and Australian society.

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