30 October 2015

 The University of South Australia has won support for exciting new infrastructure to support its Future Industries Institute as well as a range of enterprising new research projects from the Australian Research Council (ARC).

The University won $3.1 million funding for nine ARC Discovery Projects and received $370,000 for an advanced nanomaterials characterisation facility as part of ARC Linkage Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities funding.

The ARC funding for 2016 was announced in Adelaide today by Federal Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham at the National Wine Centre.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says funding for the advanced nanomaterials characterisation facility provides infrastructure to support the University’s new Future Industries Institute, which focusses on building knowledge and capacity in core future industries.

“The advanced nanomaterials characterisation facility will provide currently unavailable information that will ultimately help our researchers find solutions for a whole range of applications,” Prof Lloyd says.

“The integrated facility aims to provide precise characterisation of physiochemical properties of natural and engineered particles and their interaction with biological matrices.

“The industries that could benefit from this facility and the information it can provide range from manufacturing, bioengineering and energy production, through to environmental and forensic science and nanomedicine.”

Prof Lloyd congratulated Dr Gary Owens, a Senior Research Fellow with the Future Industries Institute, for his lead role in securing the facility funding.

The University’s nine successful ARC Discovery Projects provide funding for research across a range of disciplines, including social science, human resources and choice.

UniSA’s Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Tanya Monro, attended the grants announcement today and said she was delighted for the researchers who had been successful in securing support, with competition for competitively awarded grants being increasingly strong.

“The research being funded in this ARC round adds to UniSA’s capacity to engage in transformative research that can translate into real world impact, with societal and economic benefits,” she says.

Successful UniSA projects announced today include:

Professor Nico Voelcker, Strand Leader for the Future Industries Institute, will lead a $461,000 project which aims to harness high-precision silicon nanofabrication methods to create the next generation of bio-inspired sensors for virus contamination. The new technology would enable prompt, cost-efficient and accurate detection of harmful pathogens of our water and food supplies. The project plans to explore innovative capabilities for ultrasensitive detection of norovirus and bacteriophages.

Professor Cheri Ostroff from the Centre for Human Resource Management has secured $200,000 funding to explore workplace change. The project plans to examine three different types of change – human resource management practices, team composition, and daily work environment pressures – to determine their impact on organisational processes and effectiveness, team adaptability and performance, employee wellbeing and performance, and service to clients.

Professor John Rose, Director of the Institute for Choice, along with Prof Joffre Swait, and Discovery International Award recipient Prof William Greene, secured $360,000 to develop a micro-economically consistent framework for demand forecasting and analysis. The project is set to lead to an improved understanding of consumer behaviour as well as demand forecasting, with benefits to studies involving the need for benefit cost comparisons.

Professor Anthony Elliott, Director of the Hawke Research Institute will lead a $429,000 project which aims to generate new and powerful understandings of the social consequences of robotics and artificial intelligence. It will develop an understanding of technologically-mediated mobility processes and test their capacity to address such issues as social futures and the sorts of digital skills that Australians will require for future jobs.

Emeritus Professor Phil Howlett from the School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences will lead a $388,000 project which seeks to deepen understanding of how complex systems may be significantly changed by incremental changes to ambient conditions. Mathematical models of complex system such as climate change processes, optimal driving strategies, and efficient distribution policies will be investigated.

Media contact: Kelly Stone office 8302 0963 mobile 0417 861 832 email Kelly.stone@unisa.edu.au

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