31 May 2017

Research undertaken hand-in-hand with business and industry received a $4.3 million boost at The University of Queensland today, in the latest Australian Research Council Linkage Projects grants.

The full list is here:

  • Professor Annemaree Carroll from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences receives $546,000 to investigate how student outcomes can be augmented through coaching teachers in effective feedback practice. The project addresses a critical problem of stagnating levels of student achievement in Australian schools with the innovative research design combining evidence-based, pedagogies of feedback, formative assessment and instructional coaching to improve teacher practice and ultimately raise student achievement levels. The project aims to guide policy implementation in pedagogy to raise the quality of teaching standards and to improve learning outcomes for Australian students. Ultimately, outcomes from the research will help close the gap for low-achieving students, and challenge and extend those who may already be meeting required benchmarks.
  • Professor Evgueni Jak in the School of Chemical Engineering receives $420,000 to develop new, powerful and sophisticated computer-based models that can reliably predict the results of chemical reactions in complex, high-temperature metal production processes. This project expects to use these models, initially applied to copper smelting systems, to enable the improved recycling of other valuable metals.
  • Professor Brian Lovell in the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering receives $546,000 for his project that aims to develop advanced computer-aided analytics systems with the goal of improving workflow and automation in the pathology industry. Improvements will be achieved by fusing information from digital images and plain text medical reports. In collaboration with industry partner Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, the project team will field trial the new analytics systems against traditional pathology tests to evaluate efficacy and reliability. The project also aims to construct a large digital slide databank which will aid training and education. The project is expected to allow existing tasks to become cheaper and more efficient.
  • Professor Murray Mitchell at the UQ Centre for Clinical Research will partner with DairyNZ, will lead a project titled Improving dairy cow fertility: targeting exosome-responsive cell pathways, and receives $750,000 from the ARC. The project aims to identify biomarkers of improved fertility, which will be used to develop superior breeding stock to deliver higher industry productivity.
  • Dr Kim Nichols from UQ’s School of Education -- partnering with Queensland Museum, Queensland Government Department of Education and Training and QGC Pty Ltd -- receives $278,000 from the ARC for a project titled Community-based STEM professional learning for teachers of middle years. The project aims to develop a museum-based, teacher professional development program based on students’ awareness and performance in STEM education. The project's aim of developing a STEM professional learning model will help create a more skilled and educated STEM workforce.
  • Associate Professor Steven Pratt from the School of Chemical Engineering receives $173,000 to work with Norske Skog Paper Mills Australia Ltd on a project titled Tough bio-derived and biodegradable wood-plastic composites. The project expects to generate key innovations such as developing a new, high performance, bio-based and biodegradable composite by incorporating native spinifex-derived nano-cellulose fibres, ensuring excellent, molecular-level dispersion with a novel low-cost and energy-efficient wet-mix technology. This is expected to lead to new products and markets for the Australian forestry industry and for rural and indigenous Australia, maximising Australia’s competitive advantage in biomass-derived products.
  • Dr Tom Rufford in the School of Chemical Engineering receives $239,727 to develop a completely new approach to control solids production in coal seam gas wellbores using a selective phase-inversion polymer coating. This will take advantage of the low permeability of mudrocks to form a protective barrier across clay-rich layers while remaining permeable across the gas-producing coal seams. The project’s potential economic impacts are lower gas production costs and improved gas supply security.
  • Dr Karen Steel from the School of Chemical Engineering receives $546,000 for a project that aims to understand the physical/chemical mechanisms occurring when benign chemicals interact and dissolve minerals and coal surfaces in the natural fractures during the extraction of coal seam gas. Technologies for increasing the permeability of coal have become necessary for commercially viable coal seam gas (CSG) extraction in Australia. The intended project outcome is a range of new coal-specific technologies for enhancing permeability that avoid unwanted and irreversible damage to seams and protect the environment. Combined with reduced costs, these methods would benefit sustainable growth of Australia’s CSG industry.
  • Associate Professor Tamara Walsh from the School of Law receives $156,000 for a project that aims to assess the policing and enforcement of public order crimes and related offences (e.g. obstruct/disobey police, breach of bail, and minor property offences) on individuals experiencing poverty and homelessness. The project endeavours to collect and analyse qualitative data from across Australia on the lived experience of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, regarding the impact of criminal laws and police powers concerned with presence in, and movement around public places. It will particularly focus on the impact on women, children and Indigenous peoples. The outcomes will seek to reduce the criminalisation of homeless people, by identifying law and policy reform options, and comparing their cost with that of “business as usual”.
  • Professor Chengzhong Yu from the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology receives $295,000 for a project that aims to develop a next-generation nano-platform and lateral flow assays (LFA) device for ultra-sensitive detection of biomarkers. LFAs are used for the rapid detection of biomarkers; however, their sensitivity is relatively low. Improving the detection sensitivity of the inexpensive and disposable LFA diagnostic technology will open up new applications for rapid and accurate biomarker detection. The resulting technology will advance Australian industrial capability and competiveness in the global lateral flow assays market, which is estimated to be valued at US$ 6.78 billion by 2020.
  • Professor Firuz Zare from the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering receives $270,000 for a project that aims to monitor and analyse grid power quality, which deteriorates due to the high penetrations of inverter-based renewable energy systems. The project will develop a multi-domain simulation model based on power grid configurations and operating condition. Developed methodologies will assist network service providers to better analyse harmonics and resonances within low and high voltage power systems.
  • Professor Guoxiong (Geoff) Wang receives $173,000 for a project that aims to develop economical and scalable carbon dioxide electrochemical technologies to convert carbon dioxide in blast furnace flue gas to formic acid as a value-added product in steel-making plants. The expected outcomes of this project will provide an efficient and economically viable electrochemical technology to convert carbon dioxide to a valuable product such as formic acid or syngas, with the potential to significantly reduce the emission of carbon dioxide from steel-making processes and coal-fired power plants.

The ARC announced other successful Linkage scheme projects early this month.

Media: Fiona Cameron, UQ Communications, +61 7 3346 7086, communications@uq.edu.au.