Fourteen visionary UOW projects green-lit by Australian Research Council Discovery scheme

Fourteen visionary UOW projects green-lit by Australian Research Council Discovery scheme

Innovative research for the knowledge economy

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has committed more than $6 million to the projects led by the University of Wollongong (UOW) through the Discovery Projects scheme.

The Discovery Projects scheme supports innovative research that will build the information and data essential for the future knowledge-based economy. The funded projects will deliver significant outcomes in fields such as advanced manufacturing, environmental change, health and water.

Professor David Currow, UOW’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Health and Sustainable Futures) and Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), said the ARC Discovery Projects funds will propel ground-breaking research.

“The kinds of ventures funded by the Discovery Projects scheme are the places where exciting, trailblazing findings emerge. Congratulations to all the researchers supported by this round of funding. I can’t wait to see what will be uncovered in UOW labs.”

The Chief Investigators and projects funded in the ARC Discovery scheme are:

Distinguished Professor Anatoly Rozenfeld – Space Radiation Monitoring System for safe space missions

The goal of the project is to develop a comprehensive space radiation monitoring system that can evaluate the radiation-related hazards for astronauts and radiation damage to electronics during space missions and ground radiation to minimise the number of space missions aborted due to space radiation’s adverse effects on astronaut health and electronics failure.

Distinguished Professor Xiaolin Wang – Giant magnetic-thermoelectricity in topological materials

This project aims to explore magnetic field-induced exotic thermoelectricity in emerging topological materials and develop novel magnetic-field-mediated heat-to-electricity generators and coolers. The project will establish a solid foundation for the next generation of thermoelectric devices.

Dr Natalie Matosin – Phenotyping doublecortin+ cells to unravel human adult neurogenesis

Dr Matosin’s team will investigate one of the brain’s most remarkable phenomena: adult neurogenesis, the birth of new brain cells in a specialised brain area (the hippocampus) occurring well into adulthood. 

Associate Professor  Roger Patulny – How parents manage climate anxiety: coping and hoping for the whole family

This project will study how Australian parents manage climate anxiety for themselves and their families. It will examine whether an increase in climate disasters is accelerating the spread of collective anxiety amongst families, how parents manage this anxiety for their children and partners, and if there are associated mental health burdens and gendered inequities in this management. 

Dr Marianito Rodrigo – Weather, climate and geological risks: derivative pricing and risk management

This project aims to create new mathematical models and approaches for the fair valuation and hedging of financial derivatives, tackling funding for climate change adaptation and catastrophic disaster risk management. 


Distinguished Professor Gordon Wallace – 3D Bipolar Electroactive Architectures for Wireless BioStimulation

Professor Wallace’s team will generate advanced knowledge of wireless-powered electromaterials and novel wireless biotechnology in medical engineering, which could help position Australia as leaders in smart bionic devices for human well-being.

Professor Alex Remennikov – Structural safety guidelines for accidental hydrogen explosion hazards

This project will develop structural safety guidelines to mitigate hydrogen explosion hazards, which are a major safety concern due to the global higher demand for sustainable energy sources with no carbon emission.

Associate Professor Sharon Crozier-De Rosa – Archiving Social Movements and Building Historical Literacy for a Digital Age

Professor Crozier-De Rosa will investigate how the history of social movements has been collected, catalogued and curated by archives and museums, with a view to make these histories available to form an equitable and inclusive civic culture.

Senior Professor Weihua Li  – Liquid metal composite tactile sensor

Tactile sensing electronic skin is a key technology for smart robotic grippers and neuroprosthetics. However, the traditional electronic skin is still underdeveloped in sensing slip and force direction. This project will enable future manipulators and prosthetics to detect complex forces for precision manipulation.

Senior Professor  Geoffrey Spinks – Smart materials for atmospheric water management and water harvesting

Fresh water is a scarce resource in many parts of the globe and uncomfortably over-supplied in other regions. Dehumidifying machines are extensively used in humid climates to enhance human comfort, but with great energy costs. Likewise, the production of portable water in remote dry regions is energy-intensive. This project will investigate the use of polymers and plant-inspired engines to develop highly efficient dehumidifiers and water-harvesting machines. 

Associate Professor Alexander Mackay – The evolution of human innovation in an arid biodiversity hotspot

Professor Mackay’s team will examine the archaeology and environmental history of South Africa’s Succulent Karoo, the world’s only arid biodiversity hotspot to produce comprehensive new datasets relating to the climatic, environmental and social contexts of innovation among early humans occupying the site of Varsche Rivier 003.

Associate Professor Jiakun Liu – Singularity and regularity for Monge-Ampere type equations

The Monge-Ampere equation is a premier nonlinear partial differential equation that arises in several areas including geometry, physics and optimal transportation. This project will significantly enhance Australia’s leadership and expertise in a major area of mathematics and applications.

Professor Guang Shi – Reading the past to predict future biodiversity: a deep-time perspective

By examining the characteristics of species’ and ecosystem’s response to climate change from a major geological Ice Age approximately 320-265 million years ago in eastern Australia, this study will investigate how marine species and ecological communities evolved in response to repeated glacial/interglacial cycles, and associated warming and cooling climate changes.

Associate Prof Wei Kong Pang – Enabling High-performance Layered Oxide Sodium-Ion Battery Cathodes

The abundance of sodium on the earth's crust has made sodium-ion batteries the most promising replacement for commercial lithium-ion batteries, which are increasingly costly. This project aims to advance knowledge of cathode materials design and the development of clean energy to revamp the energy structure of Australia.

UOW academics Associate Professor Caiyun Wang, Professor Stephen Palmisano and Professor Zengxi Pan also received funding through projects led by University of New South Wales and University of Sydney.