First researchers revealed for $1.6bn commercialisation push

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

21 research projects from 11 universities will share in $4.9 million in the pilot phase of Australia’s newest research commercialisation push, which has struggled to get off the ground after high demand.

The inaugural projects for Australia’s Economic Accelerator (AEA) — an 11-year, $1.6 billion stage-gated funding program — include battery recycling, direct air carbon capture, green hydrogen, and solar cell technologies in the pilot’s renewables and low emissions stream.

Another stream for medical science is backing projects like treating kidney disease and diabetes, predicting and preventing epileptic seizures, and cancer immunotherapy.

To be eligible for AEA funding, projects must have high translation or commercialisation potential and align with the priorities of the government’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund.

Recipients were quietly revealed on Tuesday, around five months later than the planned announcements for the pilot.

The Department of Education published the list after some recipients had been revealed through administrative documents earlier this month and following questions from about the AEA’s slow start.

The AEA had planned to launch in May or June with the announcement of initial seed grants, but was pushed back to quarter three after hundreds of applications sought more than 10-times the pilot’s available funding.

The revised deadline was also narrowly missed, but a full list of recipients for the AEA seed grants tranche one is now available.

Renewables and Low Emission Technologies

University Project Title Lead Entrepreneur Grant Funding
Griffith University Lithium-ion battery recycling and reclamation Dr Zhenzhen Wu $280,623
Macquarie University Industrially viable manufacturing for next generation solar cells Prof Shujuan Huang $196,621
Monash University Direct air capture of carbon dioxide and water to enable sustainable biomanufacturing Dr Masood Sheikh Alivand $194,439
RMIT University NanoVibeH2: High frequency sound wave electrolytic enhancement for efficient green hydrogen production A/Prof Amgad Rezk $157,282
The University of Adelaide Developing high-performance nickel-rich layered cathodes for automotive lithium-ion batteries Dr Gemeng Liang $191,897
The University of Adelaide On-sun testing of thermo-photocatalytic water-splitting for hydrogen production Prof Greg Metha $470,511
The University of New South Wales Low-emission carbon dioxide recycling technology for concrete masonry production Dr Alireza Kashani $199,865
The University of New South Wales Commercialisation of a novel conductive polymer for next-generation solar modules Dr Ziheng Liu $195,000
The University of New South Wales Geothermal cities: Transforming urban energy supply with innovative and cost-effective shallow geothermal systems Dr Asal Bidarmaghz $199,953
The University of Queensland Market-relevant rechargeable aluminium battery prototyping Dr Xiaodan Huang $151,960
University of Southern Queensland Development of low carbon emission and sustainable reformable thermoplastic GFRP composites Dr Omar Alajarmeh $160,000

Medical Science 

University Project Title Lead Entrepreneur Grant Funding
Monash University Targeting the Kv1.3 potassium channel to treat chronic kidney disease Dr Dorothy Wai $196,297
Queensland University of Technology Development of a mini-gut reactor system for functional screening of gut microbiome modulators Prof Yi-Chin Toh $180,041
The Australian National University Developing spatial adaptive imaging for clinics Dr Woei Ming Steve Lee $141,483
The University of Adelaide Improving diabetes treatment with a point-of-care device to objectively assess disease Prof Robert McLaughlin $445,000
The University of Melbourne High resolution cortical recording for the prediction and prevention of epileptic seizures Prof Steven Prawer $294,119
The University of Melbourne A better fail-safe device to reduce femoral fractures in patients with osseointegrated implants Dr Hans Gray $199,937
The University of New South Wales Establishing vision-BaDGE anti-VEGF DNA therapy for age-related macular degeneration Dr Georg von Jonquieres $199,840
The University of Queensland Utilising alternative cytokine receptor signalling for enhanced cell-based cancer immunotherapy A/Prof Andrew Brooks $307,524
The University of Queensland ChimerDx – Next-generation rapid diagnostics using chimeric viral antigens Dr Jody Hobson-Peters $239,992
The University of Queensland Antigen specific immune tolerance induction technology using liposomes for treatment of drug free remission rheumatoid arthritis Dr Hendrik Nel $294,317

Education minister Jason Clare is yet to comment on the initial grants and is understood to still be considering appointments to the AEA advisory board that will guide the program and develop formal strategies.

The full AEA Ignite program is now expected to start next year with more one-year, $500,000 grants for more proof of concept projects.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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