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High-tech research attracts millions in new federal funding

Projects involving University of Southern Queensland researchers working across a range of innovative fields have received more than $3.2 million from the Australian Research Council (ARC).
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Acting Minister for Education and Youth Stuart Robert MP yesterday (December 22) announced the successful recipients of the Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme and Linkage Projects.

Five initiatives awarded featured University of Southern Queensland experts in astrophysics, smart materials, and education, on the project research teams.

ARC Chief Executive Officer Professor Sue Thomas said LIEF provided critical funding for the tools required for universities to conduct vital research in 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,” she said.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) and smart materials expert Professor John Bell is part of the Queensland University of Technology-led team to receive $817,476 in order to develop a demonstration platform for emerging materials that convert light into electricity.

The funding will help secure a suite of essential facilities to enable upscaled fabrication and assessment of the commercial feasibility of promising advanced materials and clean energy technologies.

A University of New South Wales project to survey the southern sky has been allocated $1,275,295 in funding with University of Southern Queensland astrophysicists Professor Brad Carter and Professor Jonti Horner on board to assist.

Legacy Survey of Space and Time is a 10-year mission that will take images every few days starting in 2023 to provide the highest resolution and sensitivity pictures ever recorded, as well as 10 million alerts per day to transient objects that will transforming many areas of astrophysics.

Fellow members of University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Astrophysics Dr Duncan Wright and Professor Robert Wittenmyer are on the Macquarie University team that will receive $296,339 to deliver critical parts for a $6M international MARVEL exoplanet facility.

MARVEL is a robotic telescope array and cutting-edge spectrograph dedicated to collecting critical data on rocky exoplanet candidates from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) space missions.

The simultaneously announced Linkage Projects promote national and international research partnerships between researchers and business, industry, community organisations and other publicly funded research agencies.

ARC’s Professor Sue Thomas said by supporting the development of partnerships, the ARC encouraged the transfer of skills, knowledge and ideas as a basis for securing commercial and other benefits of research.

“This new funding is provided to universities across Australia to lead new Linkage Projects that involve significant collaboration between higher education institutions and their partner organisations,” she said.

Honorary Professor Zhigang Chen from the University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Future Materials received $698,441 to work with wool marketer Merino & Co on wearable thermoelectrics technology.

The project aims to design eco-friendly wearable thermoelectric textiles to realize high-efficiency solid-state power generation and meet individual needs with human comfort and health.

Education researcher Associate Professor Stewart Riddle is part of a Queensland University of Technology team to receive $179,998 to provide strategies that can be implemented by teachers, schools and systems to address differing access to high-quality curriculum.

The project will aim to work closely with teachers to determine a framework that can encourage pedagogical approaches that make a rich curriculum accessible to all.

University of Southern Queensland Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie commended the researchers on their success.

“This is a fantastic outcome for the University of Southern Queensland and reaffirms our strength in numerous research areas,” Professor Mackenzie said.

Find out more information about ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities and Linkage Projects schemes here. 

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Projects involving University of Southern Queensland researchers working across a range of innovative fields have received more than $3.2 million from the Australian Research Council (ARC).