Monash University awarded $2.5 million to support world-leading research

A project to help 6.2 million Australians with respiratory troubles and another to explore the impact of problem-based learning in STEM education are among Monash University initiatives to receive funding in the latest announcement of Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grants.

Federal Education Minister, The Honourable Dan Tehan MP, announced a further five Monash projects will receive close to $2.5 million in ARC Linkage grants. This is in addition to another three Monash projects that received a total of $1.3 million in ARC funding in January.

The Linkage program promotes research partnerships between researchers and business, industry, community organisations and other publicly funded research agencies. By supporting the development of partnerships, the ARC encourages the transfer of skills, knowledge and ideas as a basis for securing commercial and other research benefits.

The funded projects are:

Exploring problem-based learning in schools

This project, led by Dr Kathleen Smith, investigates the potential contribution of problem-based learning to school based Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education. Expected project outcomes include a pedagogical framework developed with teachers, and illustrations of practice capturing problem-based learning in a range of school settings. Potential benefits include support for teachers, school leadership and sectors seeking to enhance STEM education.

Core loss mechanisms in soft magnetic nanostructures

Professor Kiyonori Suzuki will aim to clarify the mechanism of power losses in magnetic cores used in petrol-electric hybrid cars by investigating the relationship between the core losses and magnetic correlation lengths in iron alloys. The intended outcomes include an experimental confirmation of the random anisotropy model – a major theoretical model in nanostructured materials and identification of ideal magnetic domain configurations for lower power losses. These intended outcomes should bring great benefits to the development of low-carbon vehicle technologies for sustainable motorisation in Australia.

Next generation polymeric scaffolds for dual agent delivery

Dr John Quinn and his team will provide a novel suite of degradable polymeric scaffolds for releasing multiple active agents, with tailored release profiles by utilising both polymer and small molecule synthesis techniques. The expected outcome is the establishment of design criteria for tailoring the release of active agents from the polymer scaffold. This should provide significant benefits by developing a new technology platform that could be readily adapted to applications in agriculture, pharmaceutical science and veterinary medicine where controlled release is required.

Development of laser cladding technology to maintain rails in tram networks

Led by Associate Professor Ralph Abrahams, this project aims to develop a new cost-effective maintenance technique by applying laser cladding to enhance the characteristics of new rails and track components and repair damaged ones. Expected outcomes of this project are crucial for manufacturers and operators of railway networks to develop and improve their railway maintenance strategies. This should provide significant benefits, such as extending lives of rails and special track components, and reducing wheel squeal and flanging noise.

The fluid particle mechanics of a synthetic jet-based dry powder inhaler

Professor Julio Soria is leading a project that aims to untangle the fundamental principles that govern the fluid mechanics and particulate interactions in a novel concept chip-based micro-zero-net-mass-flux (micro-ZNMF) jet-assisted dry powder inhaler (DPI). Respiratory diseases affect 6.2 million Australians. The treatment of these diseases is hampered by the poor efficiency of current delivery systems, with conventional DPI devices exhibiting sub-optimum performance, delivering typically less than 20 per cent of the loaded dose to the target site, the lungs.

Monash University Provost and Senior Vice-President Professor Marc Parlange said additional government funding for these significant projects underlined the University’s strength and commitment to world-leading and life-changing research.

“Our unrivalled record of collaboration with industry partners to pioneer new discoveries in health care, education, engineering, science and transport is evidence of Monash’s reputation as Australia’s most innovative university,” Professor Parlange said.

“Warm congratulations to all Monash recipients who have been successful in the latest ARC Linkage funding announcement.”

For a full list of recipients, please visit: