Projects include;

  • Integrating land use, market equilibrium, and transport for city planning
  • designing composite clad steel-geopolymer concrete systems - towards Net-zero structural design
  • Improving our ability to predict and control the ultimate fate of emerging contaminants in our water sources
  • protecting vital infrastructure from flood extremes, through adapting rare event simulation techniques to water engineering design
  • establishing an advanced nondeterministic design methodology that will largely reduce the need for repetitive large-scale experimental tests on structures
  • The development of robust, PV-powered water treatment units with Digital Twins to improve resilience of water supply in remote communities 
  • Developing advanced computational multiphysics analysis and modelling techniques to assess quantitatively the impacts of climate change on structures.

“This is a stellar outcome and testament to the quality of our staff and the research conducted within the School,” said Head of School PSM Prof. Nasser Khalili. “Our success rate in this round has been over 38% compared to the national success rate of 16%.”

In total, 38 UNSW projects were granted $20.5 million, with UNSW Science and UNSW Engineering awarded the lion’s share.

UNSW Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Dane McCamey congratulated the University’s researchers on their grant success. “Discovery Projects support cutting-edge research that improves our understanding of the world we live in and generates knowledge that will help address society’s greatest challenges, now and in the future,” he said.  It’s great to see UNSW researchers perform strongly in this funding scheme once again this year,”


List of School of Civil  & Environmental Engineering ARC DP Grants 2024

Professor Wei Gao; Professor Dong Ruan; Associate Professor Zhen (Jeff) Luo

DP240102559 Award:  $519,537.00

Title: Experiment-numerical-virtual Generative Design for Nondeterministic Impacts.

Summary: This project will establish an advanced nondeterministic design methodology to uncover the optimised material properties and 3D printed metastructural capacity in real-time against impact loading. It will develop a rigorous framework that integrates numerical simulation, experiment, and machine learning-based virtual modelling to tackle practical challenges in design and manufacture of impact-proof materials and structures with intrinsic uncertainties. The generative design-calibration system unifying experimental-numerical-virtual processes will largely reduce the need for repetitive large-scale experimental tests. This project benefits civil, aerospace, automotive, and defence with competitive advantage through technological innovation.


Professor Denis O'Carroll; Professor Stuart Khan; Professor Clare Robinson; Associate Professor Martin Andersen; Dr Matthew Lee; Dr James McDonald

 DP240101865 Award: $400,573.00

Title:  Impact of redox condition on emerging contaminants fate.

Summary: This project aims to improve our ability to predict the environmental drivers that control the fate of contaminants of emerging concern in the subsurface. Emerging contaminants are a concern due to their potential negative ecosystem and health outcomes. Prediction of their environmental fate will be of benefit as it will help ensure the safety of our drinking water sources and ensure that water sources are fit for purpose. With increasing pressure on our precious water resources prediction of the risks to this resource is essential. Expected outcomes are of significance as they will include a much improved ability to predict and control the ultimate fate of emerging contaminants in our water sources.


Associate Professor Taha Hossein Rashidi; Professor John Rose; Dr Ali Najmi; Professor Dr Eric Miller; Dr Joshua Auld   

DP240102648 Award: $491,742.00

Title: Integrating land use, market equilibrium, and transport for city planning.

Summary: This project is significant because it offers a comprehensive travel demand modelling platform that provides realistic, robust, and self-consistent metrics for transport infrastructure planning addressing contemporary changes in the transport system. The expected outcomes of the platform are incorporating recent advances in activity-based methods for travel demand modelling, developing a dynamic and integrated system for modelling short- and long-term household decisions, and creating a systematic calibration mechanism to handle the large-scale model. The benefits of this platform to the Australian transport industry and authorities will be demonstrated in use cases to design and optimise pricing for a multiplayer transport network.


Professor Ashish Sharma; Professor Rory Nathan; Dr Conrad Wasko; Dr Kenneth Kunkel

DP240101365 Award: $399,260.00

Title: Rare Event Simulation: Protecting vital infrastructure from flood extremes.

Summary: This research aims to develop Rare Event Simulation to quantify the future risk of very rare to extreme floods. Expected outcomes include a framework for the design and maintenance of critical Civil Engineering infrastructure such as dams, extrapolation of extreme storm events beyond the observed record, and an assessment of change in rare flood risk across Australia. The significance of this world-first research lies in adapting rare event simulation techniques that have only been applied to computer system failure before, to water engineering design. With Australian riverine flooding projected to cause $170 billion in losses by 2050, the benefit of this proposal in reducing future infrastructure damage costs and liability is overwhelming.


Professor Chongmin Song; Associate Professor Ean Tat Ooi

DP240101471 Award: $528,283.00

Title: Computational MultiPhysics Analysis of 3D Structural Damage and Failure.

Summary: This project aims to develop advanced modelling techniques to assess quantitatively the impacts of environmental changes caused by climate on structures. New and existing structures need to be climate-resilient to sustain more frequent and hazardous climatic actions. Attention will focus on modelling structural damage caused by extreme loads and MultiPhysics mechanisms caused by climate change. The expected outcome is a new computational tool that will benefit Australian society by facilitating more reliable assessments of risks associated with structural damage and failure. This is significant in the design of structures where effective measures to improve functionality can be implemented to add value to an asset's life-cycle management.


Professor Brian Uy; Professor Zhong Tao

DP240100489   Award: $569,705.00

Title: Composite clad steel-geopolymer concrete systems for resilient structures.

Summary: This project aims to develop innovative clad steel-geopolymer concrete composite members that will significantly improve the safe and economical design and construction of civil engineering systems. The expected outcomes will result in improved durability which has become a key issue in the economic justification of civil engineering infrastructure systems. Fire resistance in multi-storey buildings will also be improved through this project, and the coupled use of clad steel and geopolymer concrete in composite systems will reduce consumption and contribute toward Net-zero structural design. This will provide considerable benefits to Australian structural engineers and constructors in advancing their capability in composite construction.

Professor T David Waite; Professor John Fletcher; Dr Yuan Wang; Professor Lina Yao

DP240101469 Award: $395,082.00

Title: Improving Resilience of MCDI for Water Supply in Remote Communities .

Summary: The aim of this project is the development of robust, PV-powered water treatment units based on the emerging technology of Membrane Capacitive Deionisation (MCDI). The development of a more resilient approach to provision of potable water is particularly significant to remote indigenous communities in central Australia where brackish groundwaters are unsuitable for use without prior treatment. Expected outcomes include development of resilient MCDI units incorporating innovative control of the charging and discharging cycles using "smart” (machine learning enabled) Digital Twins of these units. These MCDI units will benefit any community requiring removal of contaminants from brackish waters without the need for external mains power supply.


L-R Top to bottom ARC DP 2024 CVEN awardees; Martin Andersen, Wei Gao, Matthew Lee, James McDonald, Ali Najmi, Denis O'Carroll, Taha Rashidi, Ashish Sharma, Chongmin Song, Brian Uy, David Waite, Yuan Wang