15 June 2018

Twelve projects at The University of Queensland will share more than $4.69m in funding from the Federal Government’s Australian Research Council Linkage Project grants announced in Canberra today. 

UQ researchers will work with industry on projects such as addressing crown-of-thorn destruction, improving sorghum crops, developing the next-generation of laser systems, unlocking the benefits of digital investments, and helping train the next generation of policing and security experts.

Acting UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Aidan Byrne said the funding was an outstanding result that further demonstrated the University’s commitment to partnering with industry to deliver innovative solutions in areas of need. 

“A key focus of our new Strategic Plan is to deliver globally significant solutions through partnerships,” Professor Byrne said.

“So it’s enormously reaffirming to see UQ’s ongoing success in the Linkage Grants scheme which requires researchers and to work with other parts of the national innovation system

“In the announcement today, no other Australian University secured more grants than UQ.

“I congratulate the researchers who have been successful in securing grants and I look forward to seeing the impact of their collaborative research."

Across Australia, 66 new Linkage Projects were supported for a total of $26.5 million, with partner organisations to contribute additional cash and in-kind contributions of more than $55.4 million.

The 12 successful UQ projects were:

  • The sorghum project aims to ‘unlock’ available heat-stress tolerant genes and deliver new varieties better adapted to the future climate. ARC funding amount: $605,000. UQ Investigators: Professor Graeme Hammer, Professor David Jordan, Dr Solomon Fekybelu, Dr Emma Mace. Partner organisations: Advanta Seeds and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
  • Biocontrol of crown-of-thorns starfish using genomics and proteomics project aims to address destructive outbreaks of the crown-of-thorn starfish (COTS) by fabricating COTS-specific baits out of natural attractants. ARC funding amount: $559,124. UQ Investigators: Professor Bernard Degnan, Professor David Craik, Associate Professor Sandie Degnan, Dr Conan Wang. Partner organisations: Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, Great Barrier Reef Foundation. 
  • The Using photosynthesis to power fine chemical production project aims to use algae to inexpensively produce complex molecules such as pharmaceuticals. ARC funding amount: $460,800. UQ Investigators: Professor Benjamin Hankamer, Professor Elizabeth Gillam. Partner organisations: Astrazeneca, University of Copenhagen - Denmark.
  • Restoring tropical peat swamp forests. This project aims to investigate the climate and health benefits of restoring tropical peat swamp forests, determining how restoration activities affects regional climate, peatland fires, regional smoke haze, and how this affects human respiratory health and heat stress. ARC funding amount: $421,000. UQ Investigators: Professor Clive McAlpine, Professor James Shulmeister, Dr Luke Knibbs, Professor Stuart Phinn, Associate Professor Paul Dargusch, Dr Scott Lieske, Dr Kelly Johnstone. Partner organisation: Badan Restorasi Gambut.
  • The new high energy density cathode materials for lithium ion batteries project is working to identify new materials to be used in lithium ion batteries which, will lead to significantly cheaper and higher capacity battery storage for things such as electric vehicles and solar-battery storage systems in the home.  ARC funding amount: $389,000. UQ Investigators: Professor Lianzhou Wang, Dr Han Hu. Partner organisation: Baoshan Iron and Steel.
  • Next generation lasers for short-reach optical fibre communication. This project will develop the next-generation of laser systems for fibre-optic communications which will help enable vastly improved capacity and speed for short-reach networks such as LANs and datacentres.  ARC funding amount: $385,000. UQ Investigators: Dr Joel Carpenter, Professor Aleksandar Rakic. Partner organisation: Finisar Corporation.
  • The transformative human mobilities in a changing climate project aims to investigate the potential for diverse forms of human mobility, particularly relocation and migration, with climate change adaptation across the Pacific Islands region.  ARC funding amount: $379,768. UQ Investigators: Dr Karen McNamara. Partner organisations: International Organisation for Migration, Pacific Conference of Churches, The Foundations of the People of the South Pacific International, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
  • High quality and robust energy conversion systems for distribution networks. This project aims to improve the stability and efficiency of Australia’s power distribution network, reducing system failures and optimising its performance. ARC funding amount: $369,000. UQ Investigators: Professor Firuz Zare, Professor Amin Abbosh, Professor Dirk Kroese. Partner organisations: Danfoss Drives, Aalborg University - Denmark.
  • A project to improve how policing and national security agencies interpret crime scene evidence by developing national training programs to produce experts that are accurate, reliable, and continuously improving. ARC funding amount: $364,188. UQ Investigators: Associate Professor Jason Tangen, Dr Rachel Searston, Dr Matthew Thompson. Partner organisation: Australian Federal Police, Police Department (Vic), Queensland Police Service, Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency, Western Australia Police, NSW Police.
  • Hospitals are shifting from paper-based and siloed systems to fully integrated digital systems that can underpin new models of care. This project will pinpoint how these new platforms need to be used to best to generate value from their investments. ARC funding amount: $330,000. UQ Investigators: Professor Andrew Burton-Jones, Associate Professor Paul Spee, Dr Saeed Akhlaghpour, Adjunct Professor Michael Draheim, Dr Andrew Staib, Dr Clair Sullivan. Partner organisations: Metro South Hospital and Health Service, Vancouver Coastal Health, Cerner Corporation.
  • The enhanced productivity of coal seam gas wells by continuous gas circulation project aims to develop a foam-assisted method of removing water from coal seam gas wells, removing the need for the use of mechanical pumps, increasing the efficiency of production and reducing the cost of gas extraction. ARC funding amount: $228,838. UQ Investigators: Dr Mahshid Firouzi, Professor Victor Rudolph, Professor Anh Nguyen, Professor Brian Towler. Partner organisations: QGC, Australia Pacific LNG, Flowdyne.
  • Unlocking the secrets of mangrove conservation project aims to investigate how different factors – from human interaction through to policy decisions – affect mangrove conservation and restoration. It will help guide the long-term protection of this important ecosystem and future environmental protection efforts. ARC funding amount: $207,812. UQ Investigators: Dr Megan Saunders, De Katherine O’Brien, Professor Catherine Lovelock, Professor Kerri Wilson, Professor Peter Mumby. Partner organisations: Healthy Land and Water, The Nature Conservancy.