$108m research push to build industry links, skills

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Dozens of new research projects, hubs and training centres will partner with industry to explore areas of national priority like renewable energy, quantum computing and the circular economy after securing more than $100 million in federal funding.

The Australian Research Council on Friday announced which universities will lead Industrial Transformation Training Centres and Research Hubs and the 72 investigators receiving grants from the Linkage Project scheme’s latest round.

The funding for the three programs reflects the federal government’s national priorities like renewable energy, critical technologies and low carbon products like green steel.

University of Sydney Professor Stephen Bartlett

ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centres

$30 million will go to six new Industrial Transformation Training Centres, with two focused on quantum technologies and another two to explore net zero technologies.

Since the first round in 2021, the training centres have been established to provide Higher Degree by Research and postdoctoral training for industries deemed vital to Australia’s future.

The new centres are:

  • ARC Training Centre for Future Leaders in Quantum Computing: The University of Sydney, led by Professor Stephen Bartlett
  • Industrial Transformation Training Centre in digital platforms for Net-Zero Building Ecosystem Lifecycle (NOBEL): Western Sydney University, led by Professor Vivian Tam
  • ARC Training Centre for Smart and Sustainable Horticulture: Western Sydney University, led by Professor Oula Ghannoum
  • ARC Training Centre in Current and Emergent Quantum Technologies (CE-QuTech): The University of Adelaide, led by Professor Glenn Solomon
  • ARC Training Centre for Resource Efficient Alloys in a Circular Economy: Deakin University, led by Professor Matthew Barnett
  • ARC Training Centre in Electrifying Australia for a Net-zero Future: RMIT University, led by Professor Mahdi Jalili

University of Sydney Professor Stephen Bartlett said his new centre will aim to develop the researchers, workforce and technologies for Australia’s promising quantum sector.

“Our training centre will prepare the leaders of Australia’s future quantum computing industry, and will equip this industry to harness the diverse range of talent and deliver these opportunities to all of Australian society,” he told InnovationAus.com.

“Research outcomes from the training centre will accelerate the commercialisation of quantum computing hardware and software by Australian companies.”

ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hubs

Another $34.7 million will go to seven 7 Industrial Transformation Research Hubs.

Also running since 2021, the hub program focuses on building links with industry through cutting-edge research in areas of national priority.

The new hubs are:

  • ARC Research Hub for Photovoltaic Solar Panel Recycling and Sustainability (PVRS): The University of New South Wales, led by Professor Yansong Shen
  • ARC Research Hub for Human-Robot Teaming for Sustainable and Resilient Construction: University of Technology Sydney, led by Professor Dikai Liu
  • ARC Research Hub in the Internet of Things for Water: Queensland University of Technology, led by Professor Yang Liu
  • ARC Research Hub for Molecular Biosensors at Point-of-Use (MOBIUS): La Trobe University, led by Professor Conor Hogan
  • ARC Research Hub for Protected Cropping: La Trobe University, led by Professor Tony Bacic
  • ARC Research Hub for Infrastructure Net Zero: Monash University, led by Professor Wenhui Duan
  • ARC Research Hub for Intelligent Energy Efficiency in Future Protected Cropping: RMIT University, led by Professor Tianyi Ma

 ARC’s Linkage Project scheme 2023 Round 2

The ARC on Friday also individual research projects to receive $43 million in grants from the latest Linkage Project Round.

Aimed at building connections between university researchers and industry, recipients receive funding up to $300,000 a year for up to five years, with industry partners required to match with cash and in-kind contributions.

“There are 170 Partner Organisations involved with these new projects and an additional $61 million in cash and in-kind support. This will help researchers, industry, and community organisations drive innovation and deliver research outcomes for the benefit of all Australians,” ARC acting chief executive officer, Dr Richard Johnson said.

The largest grant in the latest round went to the University of Western Australia, which will partner with schools, education groups and industry to explore teacher training and education of physical sciences in primary and high schools over five years with $1.48 million.

Australian Catholic University’s Professor Rhonda Craven was also awarded $1.48 million over five years to explore improvements to Indigenous students’ school attendance, engagement and wellbeing. Project partners are the Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Catholic Schools NSW.

Victoria University’s Professor Hua Wang will lead a $542,000 project on the growing carbon footprint of artificial intelligence and mitigation strategies for a net zero economy.

The full list of recipients is available here.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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