UNSW Sydney has received more than $2.3 million in Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grants for two projects led by researchers from UNSW Science and UNSW Medicine & Health.

The LIEF scheme enables researchers to participate in cooperative initiatives so that expensive research infrastructure, equipment and facilities can be shared between higher education organisations and with industry.

UNSW Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Infrastructure Professor Grainne Moran congratulated the University’s LIEF recipients.

“UNSW’s success in the LIEF Scheme is testament to the quality of our researchers. Alexander Hamilton and Kate Poole are leaders in their field and the outcome of their research will ensure Australian scientists have access to world-class infrastructure to support their cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines,” Prof. Moran said. “We also acknowledge our important research partners’ contributions in this highly collaborative scheme.”

Facility for developing materials used in electronic, magnetic, and optical devices

Scientia Professor Alexander Hamilton from UNSW Science has received over $1.3 million to lead a project with Professor Nagarajan Valanoor to create facilities for growing and characterising materials used in electronic, magnetic, and optical devices. New crystal growth tools will allow previously incompatible materials to be combined. The outcomes will underpin future developments in information processing, quantum technologies, sensors, and renewable energy, benefitting research at three ARC Centres of Excellence, two ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hubs, multiple projects with industry, and emerging research areas.

“This new facility will advance materials science and quantum technologies in Australia. I’m particularly proud that this facility will support many young researchers at UNSW, such as Dr. Karina Hudson and Dr. Feixiang Xiang, who spent many hours writing the grant application with us,” Prof. Hamilton said.

Infrastructure for bioprinting of 3D model systems        

Associate Professor Kate Poole from UNSW Medicine & Health has led a successful bid for over $1 million. The funding will enable researchers at UNSW to develop infrastructure using Australian-made bioprinting machinery to create miniature replicas of organs and tissues and access a new microscope to study the cells within these 3D structures. The models will minimise the use of animals in research and enable the study of cell and tissue function under more ‘life-like’ conditions.

“This equipment will further enhance the cutting-edge infrastructure within the Katharina Gaus Light Microscopy Unit, led by Dr Renee Whan who was central to the success of the bid,” A/Prof. Poole said.

“Initially conceived by Scientia Professor Justin Gooding and the late Scientia Professor Katharina Gaus and further advanced by Dr Vaishnavi Ananthanarayanan, this grant will help extend Professor Gaus’ vision to obtain unprecedented insight into how cells function through cutting edge imaging.”

Read more UNSW researchers awarded more than $7.9m for infrastructure and linkage projects

ARC Chief Executive Officer, Judi Zielke, said the LIEF Scheme provides funding for acquisition of key research equipment and infrastructure allowing Australian researchers to undertake excellent basic and applied research and training. It also prioritises collaboration and cooperative initiatives to allow Australian researchers access to expensive facilities nationally and internationally.