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Two UNSW commercialisation initiatives – one focused on recycling and clean energy and another on defence – are among eight bids shortlisted to receive a share in $242.7 million in federal government funding under the Australian Government’s Trailblazer Universities Program (Trailblazer).

Researchers from UNSW have partnered with researchers from the University of Newcastle and University of Adelaide for these projects.

Professor Nicholas Fisk, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research & Enterprise was thrilled that the two Initiatives have been shortlisted for the Australian Government's Trailblazer Universities Program.

“If successful in Trailblazer, UNSW will partner collaboratively with cutting edge leading industries and small to medium enterprises to create world-class leadership in research commercialisation and university-industry collaboration,” Prof. Fisk said.

“We have a proud track record at UNSW of research in the fields of defence, clean energy, recycling and related fields.

“These days it's imperative that research gets translated into outcomes that benefit all of Australia. UNSW has a great track record of doing so, as demonstrated by the solar panel IP invented by UNSW researchers which is currently manufactured around the world, and by the world’s first home hydrogen battery concept developed at UNSW.”

Recycling and clean energy

UNSW and the University of Newcastle’s initiative for Australian Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy (ATRaCE) bid will focus on the development and commercialisation of solutions helping Australia and the world transition to more sustainable energy and material systems.

Justine Jarvinen, CEO of UNSW’s Energy Institute said: “UNSW and the University of Newcastle have a huge pipeline of innovative technologies that are aligned with growing global markets in electrification and energy systems, ‘power to X’ including hydrogen, next-generation solar PV systems, recycling and MICROfactories. Our Trailblazer vision is to create a full innovation ecosystem that builds on our successful commercialisation history, accelerates impact and creates national capability.”


The University of Adelaide and UNSW’s Defence Trailblazer: Concept to Sovereign Capability bid will see two universities with a long and proud history of partnering with the defence sector join forces to lead a range of new initiatives to strengthen Australia’s defence capabilities and assets.

Vice Admiral (Ret’d) Professor Paul Maddison, Director of the UNSW Defence Research Institute, said: “Our two universities lead the nation in defence-related research, working closely with Defence, and defence industry to deliver ground-breaking capability to the Australian Defence Force (ADF). We have world-leading programs in priority technology areas such as space, quantum, cybersecurity, hypersonics, and AI, and have invested significantly in the translation of fundamental research into commercialised and deployable competitive advantage capabilities for the ADF and Australia’s allies.”

Professor Michael Webb, Director of the Defence and Security Institute (DSI) and Academic Coordinator for Defence, Cyber and Space at the University of Adelaide, said: “Our joint Defence Trailblazer: Concept to Sovereign Capability bid will see our Universities collaborate with defence partners in new ways to inject opportunities for industry in manufacturing, and equip the sector with a pipeline of graduates and researchers with industry knowledge and experience to support and grow the sector.”

Acting Minister for Education and Youth Mr Stuart Robert announced the eight bids shortlisted for funding under the Trailblazer program on Friday 28 January.

“The four selected projects that succeed in receiving funding will help demonstrate what it takes to build successful and enduring partnerships between university and private sector researchers that prioritise a focus on the national interest,” Minister Robert said.

Outcomes of the selection process will be announced in late March.