UNSW tops ARC Research Hub grants

More than $9 million in ARC grants have been awarded to two UNSW Sydney projects providing research into sensors for the health sector and new technologies for Australia’s infrastructure needs.

UNSW Sydney has secured $9.9 million in Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Research Program grants for 2021, topping the nation for the largest share of funding.

The two UNSW projects will provide innovative research and create stronger connections between research and industry in the health, urban, energy and resources sectors.

In a media release, Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge announced the federal government is investing $74 million to open 16 new research hubs and training centres around the country, as part of the commitment to commercialising Australian research.

UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise) Professor Nicholas Fisk said: “To secure a quarter of the national awards to transform research for the new industrial economies is outstanding, and I congratulate Professors Nasser Khalili and Chun Wang. These two hubs are exemplars of scale and collaboration, involving a total of nine universities, nearly 50 partner organisations, over 60 chief investigators with two thirds at UNSW, and a total cash and in kind spend of around $25 million.”

Professor Chun Wang, Head of the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at UNSW Engineering, will lead a hub awarded $5 million to co-design, verify, and certify sensors that industry partners will deploy to global health markets.

The hub aims to position Australia at the forefront of connected health by integrating sensor science with cyber-secure data analytics, regulatory approval and certified manufacturing capabilities.

“The health sensors will be able to monitor biophysical and biochemical markers to aid rehabilitation and chronic disease management, and support frail, ageing and at-risk populations. By bringing together 30 industry partners and seven universities, the hub aims to build a national end-to-end ecosystem for the design, manufacturing, and commercialisation of clinical-grade sensors and predictive analytics tools,” Prof. Wang said.

Professor Nasser Khalili, Deputy Head of the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UNSW Engineering, will lead a hub awarded $4.98 million. The hub aims to deliver technologies that will address Australia’s critical infrastructure needs in the urban, energy and resources sectors.

The hub will integrate sensor technology, connectivity, data analytics, machine learning, robotics, smart materials, and reliable models.

“A frontier arena of research, the hub will provide a fully integrated platform for the development and delivery of next-generation digital technologies for Australia’s infrastructure. The technologies will enable design, real-time performance analysis and life-management of infrastructure,” Prof. Khalili said.

“The hub will solve industry challenges and translate research and development into commercial opportunities and outcomes.”

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