Dr Ivan Kassal, recipient of a Westpac Research Fellowship.
Dr Ivan Kassal, recipient of a Westpac Research Fellowship.
21 April 2016

Research into advanced solar-energy harvesting at the University of Queensland is getting a fresh spark, thanks to the inaugural Westpac research fellowships.

Dr Ivan Kassal from the UQ node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems was awarded a $330,000 fellowship to continue his research into quantum effects on photosynthesis.

He said the fresh funding would help create more efficient solar panels.

”The Westpac Research Fellowship means I can focus on my goal of translating fundamental scientific breakthroughs into advances in clean-energy technology,” he said.

“My project focuses on the design of better organic solar cells by examining the role of quantum coherence.

“Quantum coherence, which describes the wave-like properties of particles, is expected to play a fundamental role in the design of efficient, flexible and cheap renewable-energy devices,” Dr Kassal said. 

The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation has collaborated with Australia’s leading research universities — The Australian National University, The University of Melbourne, The University of Queensland and The University of Sydney — to offer a holistic package of support an early career researcher from each university.

The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation will contribute $330,000 toward each researcher’s salary, leadership development and global opportunities, while the university partners will cover associated costs of the research, ranging from $94,000 to $650,000. 

Westpac Bicentennial Foundation CEO Susan Bannigan, said the impact of the joint investment would last well beyond the lives of the recipients.  

“These early career researchers have the potential to shape our nation’s future,” Ms Bannigan said.

“The Westpac Research Fellowships aim to give them – some of our country’s best and brightest – the chance to shine and explore their potential.  In doing so, we are creating pathways for the innovators and true pioneers amongst us to really make their mark and shape history.”  

“The co-creation of this Fellowship with our University partners is a great example of industry and education working together towards addressing the opportunities and challenging facing Australia.”

For more information on the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation visit www.westpac.com.au/200years.

Media: Dr Ivan Kassal, i.kassal@uq.edu.au; Emma Foster, Westpac Bicentennial Foundation, efoster@westpac.com.au;  Communications, Tara Roberson, equs.engagement@uq.edu.au, 0404 516 635.