Huge congratulations to Dr Bojan Tamburic from UNSW Civil & Environmental Engineering’s Water Research Centre for his significant achievement in securing an ARC Mid-Career Industry Fellowship to a value of $865,628.00. 

The Fellowship will support his project with industry partners Melbourne Water Corporation on ‘Large scale urban stormwater reuse: safe, clear and odourless water supply.’

The project aims to improve the resilience of Australian water supplies by building capacity in urban stormwater reuse and addressing an industry-identified need to determine the suitability of urban lakes and wetlands for stormwater harvesting. This will inform adaptive planning and infrastructure readiness at water utilities, guiding Australian policy on stormwater reuse. 

As Dr Tamburic explains, “Australia has a growing population – which increases our demand for water – and a drying climate – which reduces supply. This project aims to improve the resilience of water supplies by building capacity to reuse stormwater at scale.  Satellites will be used to image urban lakes and wetlands and identify the best sites to supply stormwater. New monitoring techniques will be developed to ensure that reused stormwater is safe and fit for purpose. “

“Stormwater can be reused to maintain additional street trees and public open spaces, helping develop greener, cooler and more liveable suburbs. This approach will also reduce demand on river water so that it can be used as drinking water or returned to the environment.”

“The project outputs will be shared with my industry partner, Melbourne Water, and more broadly across the sector to inform adaptive planning, future-proof water supplies by guiding where and when to invest in water reuse infrastructure, and to improve Australian policy on stormwater reuse.”

The Mid-Career Industry Fellowships scheme aims to help solve industry-defined challenges using the expertise and skills of researchers from both universities and industry.

Head of School, PSM Professor Nasser Khalili declared, “This is an outstanding achievement and testament to Bojan’s pursuit of excellence, commitment to quality, and working closely with industry.  This achievement is particularly significant noting the national success rate of applications was 8% and that only 9 Fellowships [out of 25] were awarded across Australia in engineering. “

Four academics from UNSW’s Faculties of Engineering and Science were Fellowship recipients. Professor Nicholas Fisk, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, said UNSW’s outstanding success in this first wave funding program validates the University’s prioritisation of working with industry to translate research into tangible outcomes that benefit Australian society. 

“We’re very proud of these UNSW researchers, … their exceptional dedication and track record in translating cutting-edge research into real world applications.” Prof. Fisk said.

Australian Research Council (ARC) Chief Executive Officer, Ms Judi Zielke PSM, said the Fellowship aim is to support mid-career researchers from both universities and industry to translate and transfer their research skills and knowledge into real world applications to deliver significant, actionable outcomes for industry partners, end-users, and the Australian community.

“For example, one of the ARC’s fellowships awarded today will assist Australia’s not-for-profit sector in aligning services for the disadvantaged more appropriately and at the right time for their clients. Another will build capacity in urban stormwater reuse to future-proof water supplies and reduce the demand on Australia’s river system particularly during drought,” said Ms. Zielke, specifically referring to Dr Tamburic’s project.