28 June 2013

Projects to enhance education for disadvantaged children, improve sustainable housing design and increase food production will share in almost $12 million in grants to The University of Queensland.

UQ has been awarded 30 grants worth a total $11,932,000 in the 2013 round of Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Projects announced today, placing it in the top three Australian universities for this funding round.

The University achieved a 48.4 per cent success rate, compared to the national average of 39 per cent.

Industry, business and community partners will contribute more than $22.2 million to the collaborative research projects starting at UQ this year.

UQ President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj congratulated the successful researchers, whose strong relationships with industry are helping ensure that Australia benefits from UQ’s high-quality discovery across a multitude of disciplines.

“This result reaffirms that Australian industry, businesses and not-for-profit organisations recognise UQ’s incredible research quality and breadth and the benefits this can bring to their stakeholders,” Professor Høj said.

“This is partnership and knowledge translation in action – Excellence to Excellence-plus.

“UQ is determined to form more strong partnerships, underpinned by the fact that Excellence in Research for Australia rates UQ as well above world standard in more specialised fields than any other Australian university.”

One of the largest grant to UQ – $675,000 – has been awarded to a project led by the School of Architecture’s Dr Mathew Aitchison, to focus on design and construction of quality, sustainable and affordable pre-made housing in Australia.

Partner organisations are Happy Haus Pty Ltd, Hutchinson Builders, BVN Donovan Hill and Arup Pty Ltd.

A project to designed novel breeding methods for canola improvement, led by Dr Jacqueline Batley in the School of Agriculture and Food Science, has been granted $549,000.

The research will draw on genomics to increase the production of canola, contributing to food security.

Industry partners are Bayer Cropscience Pty Ltd (Aust), Bayer BioScience and the NSW Department of Primary Industries

Improving the educational outcomes for disadvantaged children will be the focus of a project led by Institute for Social Science Research Director Professor Mark Western, in partnership with The Smith Family, and in collaboration with the university of New South Wales and Southern Cross University.

The research, granted $559,000 over three years, aims to identify effective ways of improving educational outcomes, thus contributing to Australia's prosperity and social well-being, helping to address problems such as unemployment and homelessness.

Other UQ research projects that received ARC Linkage Grants included:

A project led by Professor Mark Kendall at UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, granted almost $600,000 to investigate a novel way to improve immune responses of vaccines. Professor Kendall led the development of the ground-breaking Nanopatch needle-free vaccine delivery system. His latest research will explore vaccination involving practical devices that apply pressure on the skin, rather than approaches that put chemicals into our bodies. Vaxxas Pty Ltd is industry partner in the project.

Research to harness lessons from bird flight to develop air-safety strategies, awarded $652,000. Led by the Queensland Brain Institute’s Professor Mandyam Srinivasan, the project will examine how birds sense and avoid impending collisions, and use these results to design novel strategies for the detection and avoidance of aircraft mid-air collisions. The research is in partnership with Boeing Australia Ltd, and in collaboration with The University of Newcastle.

A project to enhance mothers' engagement with the workforce in the preschool years ($439,000). Dr Belinda Hewitt, from UQ’s Institute for Social Science Research, will provide insights into how leave arrangements, childcare, flexibility, job characteristics and individual circumstances interact to influence mothers' workforce engagement, and how this varies for different groups of mothers. The research will be in partnership with the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, in collaboration with The Australian National University, The University of Sydney and The University of Melbourne

Media: UQ Corporate Relations Manager Carolyn Varley, c.varley@uq.edu.au or 3365 1120.