An image of a building on UOW's Wollongong Campus. Photo: Paul Jones

Ten UOW projects awarded ARC Discovery Grants

Ten UOW projects awarded ARC Discovery Grants

Battery technology, blue energy, industrial and medical research projects funded

The University of Wollongong (UOW) has been allocated more than $5 million in funding by the Australian Research Council (ARC) for projects under the Discovery Projects scheme.

The scheme aims to support forward-thinking research that will generate the crucial information and data necessary for the knowledge-based economy of the future. The funded projects are expected to yield significant outcomes in areas such as battery technology, medical science, industry, taxation and maritime law.

Professor David Currow, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Sustainable Futures) at UOW, expressed his enthusiasm for the potential ground-breaking research that will result from the ARC Discovery Projects funds.

“The projects that have been awarded funding in the latest round of ARC grants are where pioneering research and innovative discoveries will surface. I look forward to the revelations that will emerge from UOW's laboratories.”

19 per cent of UOW applications were successful in picking up ARC funding in this round, exceeding the average of 16 per cent.

The ARC Discovery scheme has provided funding for projects to the following Chief Investigators and their respective teams:

  • Dr Nana Wang’s project aims to enhance the safety and performance of solid-state sodium-ion batteries through innovative approaches to electrolyte and electrode design and a deep understanding of ion transport. The expected outcomes have the potential to contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy storage solution.
  • Professor Kiet Tieu seeks to create a more environmentally friendly and efficient lubricant for cold rolling – a metal manufacturing process – that will address issues such as lubricant starvation at high speeds. The team will develop a novel lubricant that can benefit both the environment and manufacturers by improving efficiency and product quality.
  • Associate Professor Caiyun Wang aims to create specialised biomembranes that can improve the efficiency of blue energy (a renewable energy source derived from freshwater and saltwater) harvesting, leading to the development of innovative power devices and self-powered wearable electronics that could have transformative effects on industries such as healthcare and entertainment.
  • Professor Mirella Dottori’s project will explore the gap in understanding of human mechanosensory neurons by creating these neurons in a laboratory environment and studying their properties. The ultimate benefits include expanding our knowledge of human mechanosensation and potentially developing new treatments and medications.
  • Dr Lisanne Spenkelink will use a novel single-molecule directed-evolution system to enhance the performance of DNA polymerases - enzymes that synthesizes long chains of polymers or nucleic acids - with a view to improving biotechnological tools, such as DNA sequencing and PCR tests, while advancing the techniques of directed evolution for broader scientific applications.
  • Associate Professor Andrew Ainsworth will investigate how two tax incentives – franking credits and negative gearing of investments – impact individual taxpayer risk-taking behaviour, voluntary savings and retirement outcomes. The project aims to improve individuals’ financial literacy and retirement outcomes.
  • Professor Anthony Dosseto’s project aims to investigate the role of ocean chemistry on the evolution of eukaryotes during the “Boring Billion” (1800-800 million years ago) and how sedimentary rocks record past ocean chemistry, by using innovative geochemical proxies.
  • Professor Weihua Li’s project will develop an advanced Tuned Mass Damper that can improve the protection of buildings from external forces such as wind and earthquakes, making them safer and more stable. The project incorporates innovative technologies and will benefit the building protection industry and the safety of building occupants.
  • Professor Stuart Kaye’s project will address a gap in national and international law relating to the use of modern technology in fisheries enforcement. It will advance the fight against illegal fishing by developing model legal frameworks to underpin the use of remotely sourced data in fisheries surveillance and enforcement. 
  • Professor Willy Susilo aims to make key-evolving signatures more practical and secure in the context of blockchain technology by to providing innovative solutions for enhancing the security and effectiveness of blockchain systems.

UOW researchers will also work on another six successful projects led by other institutions. Professor Clare Murphy is researching Southern Ocean atmospheric aerosols; Associate Professor Stewart Vella will be studying physical activity levels and promotion; Professor Penny Van Bergen will work on a project to understand growth in emotion regulatory flexibility in emerging adults; Associate Professor Todd Mitchell will work with ANU researchers on understanding malaria transmission; Professor Adam Trevitt will work with QUT on atmospheric chemistry; and Associate Professor Christopher Richardson will work with Monash University on chemical separations associated with metal extraction.