The Australian Research Council (ARC) has awarded three UNSW researchers grants totalling more than $2.1 million in the latest round of Linkage Projects. The projects will also receive an additional $3.9 million in cash and in-kind support from partner organisations.

Overall, the ARC approved more than $29 million to 61 projects over the next five years in the latest round of Linkage Projects.  

Linkage projects promote national and international research partnerships between researchers and business, industry, community organisations and other publicly funded research agencies.

Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Scientia Professor Sven Rogge congratulated the University’s researchers on their grants.

“It’s pleasing to see UNSW researchers develop strong relationships with industry and community partners, translating research into practical outcomes from paediatrics to solar cells. The UNSW projects showcase the collaboration of our researchers with partners to tackle problems facing Australian society,” Prof. Rogge said.

Associate Professor Susan Woolfenden from UNSW Medicine & Health has received $917,000 for a project that will assess the effectiveness of integrated kids’ hubs. It will determine their effectiveness in increasing access to child and family services for disadvantaged families with young children.

“Improving early identification of children with developmental needs, parental wellbeing and capacity, and addressing unmet psychosocial needs early is imperative. If not identified and addressed, children may go on to struggle in school and life,” A/Prof. Woolfenden said.

Professor Xiaojing Hao from UNSW Engineering has received $798,000 for a project to unlock the full potential of low-cost solar cells through an emerging material called “perovskites”. Despite impressive conversion efficiency, perovskites' poor stability impedes their commercialisation. This project aims to develop strategies for stable perovskite solar cells.

“Extending the working life of perovskites could further reduce the cost of solar panels with the potential to revolutionise photovoltaic technology and cement Australia’s leading position in this area,” Prof. Hao said.

Dr Matthew McCurry at UNSW Science received $386,000 for a project that will determine the fossilisation processes of a rare iron-rich fossil-deposit in NSW. The new site appears to demonstrate a new set of conditions for the preservation of soft tissues. This project aims to constrain the age of and assess the fossilisation processes that produced this site.

“The work will provide significant advances in our understanding of the process of fossilisation and guide the discovery of other exceptionally-well preserved fossil deposits, critical in reconstructing the biological history of Australia,” Dr McCurry said.