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UNSW Sydney researchers have topped the nation in the latest round of the federal government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) program in terms of involvement in projects securing the most grants and funding of any Australian university. The three industry-led projects involving UNSW researchers from Engineering and Science received a total of almost $9 million in grants, across solar energy storage, quantum data protection, and non-toxic restorative dental materials. The total value of the research will be over $25m with industry contributions.

Three million dollars has been awarded to a project lead by Providence Asset Group in collaboration with UNSW researchers Engineering Professors Joe Dong, Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou and Rose Amal, and Drs Ke Meng and Ziyuan Tong. The research will create solar farms with advanced energy storage, similar to lithium batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. For solar power to be a predictable source of energy for the grid, it needs to be dispatchable - able to adjust output according to demand. This project will use artificial intelligence to predict generation and demand, and thus deliver cost-effective and world-class energy efficiency.

Quintessence Labs Pty Ltd is collaborating with UNSW researchers Associate Professor Torsten Lehmann and Professor Andrew Dzurak from the UNSW School of Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications in another project that was awarded over $2.9 million to address the problem of how to integrate fast Quantum Random Number Generation (QRNG) technology to create high-speed, secure encryption on small, mobile (Internet-of-Things) platforms that can withstand powerful cyber-attacks. The project goal is to design and manufacture a QRNG device the size of a micro-chip, which is suitable for initial integration into a commercial device and generate first sales.  The team expects to create technology that is lower cost and higher speed than existing miniaturised quantum random number generators. 

Professor Gangadhara Prusty (Engineering), UNSW Dean of Engineering Professor Mark Hoffman and Professor Martina Stenzel (Science) are involved in a third project that’s been awarded $3 million. This will investigate the development of glass fibre dental materials to replace current materials containing toxic mercury. The project is being led by SDI Limited and will transfer the new material platform, together with tools for its manufacture and testing, to Australian industry.

More than $30 million worth of grants were delivered to 16 projects as part of the seventh round of the program announced by Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews last week. The CRC-P Program supports collaborations between industry, researchers and the community to develop technologies, products, and services that deliver tangible and commercial outcomes for the country. It is a proven model for linking researchers with industry to focus on research and development for practical use and commercialisation.

Professor Hoffman is delighted by the high number of UNSW researchers who are involved in this round of CRC-P projects.

“This program enables Australia’s pioneering researchers to work with innovative industry partners to take new technologies to market,” Professor Hoffman said.

“It helps ensure that Australia remains competitive on a global scale and our citizens benefit from jobs creation and better goods and services.

“And that UNSW topped the nation in terms of our involvement is recognition of the quality and relevance of our researchers’ work.”

More information and a full list of recipients can be found on the Department of Industry, Science and Technology website.