UOW researchers win $2.1 million for industry-connected research

Assessing the broader impact of pesticides used to control locusts plagues that threaten vital agricultural industries, designing more efficient batteries and building safe and durable roads and railways for faster and heavier traffic are among the projects that have been funded in the latest round of Australian Research Council Linkage grants.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham today (6 May) announced that six UOW-led projects connecting researchers with industry partners have been awarded $2.1 million in grant funding.

The ARC funding, which demonstrates UOW’s experience and capability in engineering, electrochemistry, information communication technology and environmental sciences, is augmented by cash contributions of $3.5 million from partner organisations in Australia and overseas.


The UOW projects funded from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences include:


  • Enhancing the longevity of roads and rail tracks for freight, $590,000

    Distinguished Professor Buddhima Indraratna, Associate Professor Cholachat Rujikiatkamjorn and Dr Ana Heitor.
    This project will use compacted industrial waste materials such as coal wash and fly ash for use in road and rail construction. This will help create sustainable and more resilient transport infrastructure to deal with increasing demand for safe and durable roads and railways that support faster and heavier traffic.

  • A new seating system for heavy vehicles to increase safety, $365,000

    Associate Professor Haiping Du and Professor Weihua Li.
    The project will develop a comfortable and ergonomic seating system for use in agriculture, transportation, mining and construction vehicles that reduces exposure to vibrations from uneven road surfaces, vibrating tools, and vibrating machinery. Long-term effects of poor seating design can lead to increased fatigue and reduced safety, as well as cause neck and shoulder pain, lower back injuries, and spinal injuries.

  • Improving voice communication in video conference technology for distance-based learning, $197,048

    Associate Professor Christian Ritz and Professor Farzad Safaei.
    This project aims to reduce audio echo and improve stability for video conferencing technology, which are barriers to wider use of the application in education. A key benefit will be a significantly enhanced product that provides a commercial advantage as well as a solution to remote learning for Australian students and educators.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Judy Raper congratulated the successful researchers for their funding.

“More than ever it is vital for industries to innovate and thrive in increasingly competitive markets. We can do this by connecting our researchers with businesses that will collectively support new and emergent industries and future jobs.”

Senator Birmingham said the industry cash and in-kind support across the suite of projects funded in 2016 represented $2.01 for every dollar from the Commonwealth and highlighted the value of research done at Australian universities and labs.

Full project descriptions and further information is available via the Research Services Office website.

Words by Grant Reynolds. Originally published by UOW Newsroom.