UNSW Sydney researchers have topped the nation in the latest round of the federal government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) funding, with five projects valued at more than $13 million.
UNSW and the University of Melbourne led all universities with five projects each.
Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic announced the outcomes of CRC-P Round 14 on 30 June with $50 million in funding granted to 24 projects. The CRC-P Program supports collaborations between industry, researchers, and the community. The focus is on linking researchers with industry to develop products with commercial uses.
Professor Nicholas Fisk, UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research & Enterprise, said he was thrilled to see UNSW leading the way in Australia alongside the University of Melbourne, in this round of CRC-P projects.
“This program enables Australia’s top researchers to work with innovative industry partners to take new technologies to market,” Prof. Fisk said.
“It’s impressive to see UNSW academics leading Australia in strong relationships with industry to translate research in diverse fields ranging from quantum computing and cloud gaming, through to recycling technologies and sustainable healthcare packaging.”
The five projects include:
Growing Australia’s Cloud Gaming Industry with AI
A project enhancing Australian AI capability, accelerating cloud gaming adoption globally, and benefiting Australia’s game studios and creative digital economy has been awarded $2 million. This is led by UNSW Engineering Professor Vijay Sivaraman, from the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications.
UNSW spin-out Canopus Networks, specialising in artificial intelligence-based analytics of high-speed network traffic, will partner with Pentanet, an operator of cloud gaming, and research partner UNSW to develop and commercially launch a novel on-demand network boost capability.
“Cloud gaming is attracting huge investments from the likes of Nvidia, Microsoft, Sony, and Amazon, and is slated to become a $22.53 billion industry by 2030,” said Prof. Sivaraman.
“This project will develop advanced AI techniques to adjust network capacity dynamically to match the needs of cloud gaming and provide a superlative user experience at affordable cost. We are excited to partner with local SMEs to be the first in the world to bring this innovative capability to the market.”
Commercialising technologies to convert wastes
A project creating construction materials from thermal treatment facility wastes has been awarded $2.7 million. UNSW in collaboration with Enviropacific, Flexiroc Australia and Membrane Systems Australia will commercialise technologies to convert wastes from thermal treatment facilities and soil washing residues into value-added products for construction.
UNSW Engineering Associate Professor Ailar Hajimohammadi at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering will lead the UNSW research, contributing to a move towards a circular economy in Australia.
“Australia is facing a shortage of landfill space, prompting a shift towards Energy from Waste technologies”, A/Prof. Hajimohammadi said.
“This project aims to explore the potential of these wastes as supplementary cementitious materials. Success of this collaboration will lead to new industries, increased productivity, and alignment with the circular economy.”
Addressing housing conditions in rural Australia
UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture Associate Professor M. Hank Haeusler is involved in a project responding to the needs of the mining sector and communities and addressing a critical aspect of the government’s commitment to deliver more homes for Australians. The project will receive $2.9 million.
UNSW will partner with Luyten 3D and Hanson Construction Materials to develop a 3D print system, with hard and software, to build houses faster and cheaper using local materials.
"The project strongly aligns with the objectives of the ARC Industry Transformation Training Centre for Next-Gen Architectural Manufacturing, which aims to address Australia's housing crisis through sustainable and digital approaches,” A/Prof. Haeusler said.
“What excites me the most is that through the CRC-P project, we can extend our efforts to remote and very remote communities, who face additional financial challenges in affording housing due to increased costs of material and labour transportation over vast distances in Australia. Our innovative approach of bringing the factory to the construction site while utilising locally sourced materials will effectively tackle these issues, enabling the construction of custom-designed homes at a more affordable price."
Solving bottlenecks in quantum computing
A project improving bottlenecks in the development of full-scale quantum computing to deliver world-changing impact has been awarded $3 million. Led by UNSW spin-out company Diraq in collaboration with the University and Perceptia Devices Australia, the project will also augment local expertise in cryogenic electronics, which is in high demand in the emerging quantum computing market.
The technology delivered will grant Diraq and partner organisations a clear roadmap into the quantum computer market. The project has been led by Diraq Founder and CEO, Professor Andrew Dzurak, and a team of UNSW Engineering Senior Research Fellow Kok Wai Chan, Senior Research Fellow Andre Saraiva and Research Fellow William Gilbert.
“This opportunity will accelerate the effort to realise a full-scale quantum computer by tackling the challenges in complex low temperature wiring and electronics to control a quantum processing unit,” Dr. Chan said.
Innovative development of biodegradable plastic packaging
UNSW Engineering Scientia Senior Lecturer Jin Zhang, in collaboration with ARC Laureate Fellow Cyrille Boyer, is involved in a project focusing on the development of biodegradable plastic packaging products, awarded $3 million. Ecopha Biotech is leading this project in collaboration with UNSW, Santevation, and Refresh Waters, developing sustainable healthcare packaging products to replace petroleum-based plastics.
This technology is applicable to including drug delivery, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and orthopaedics and will contribute significantly to recycle healthcare plastic waste.
“At UNSW, we will develop a new generation of safe, high-performance, and sustainable healthcare packaging products from biodegradable polymers fermented from canola oil,” Dr. Zhang said.
“As global healthcare sector continues to grow at a significant rate, it intensifies the urgent need for sustainable and biodegradable packaging materials. Our project will offer a paradigm shift in healthcare packaging, reduce plastic waste, and protect the planet.”
More information and a full list of recipients can be found on the federal government’s Business website.