The projects are part of $7.6 million in research funding UOW received from the Australian Research Council today for Discovery Projects; Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF); Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA) and Discovery Indigenous Projects.

Researchers from the Australian Institute of Innovative Materials (AIIM) were awarded six grants, including $980,000 for an advanced focused ion beam microscope.

Led by Professor Elena Pereloma (pictured), Director of the UOW Electron Microscopy Centre, this cutting edge microscope is the first in Australia to offer researchers not only 2D and 3D analysis and micromachining capabilities but also a super-sensitive detector that is able to pick up traces of elements across the entire periodic table.

These capabilities will be particularly helpful in materials engineering, a field in which UOW is leading the way with superconductors that could be used to power next-generation electronics, energy-saving power lines and super-efficient offshore wind turbines.

This expansion of capabilities of UOW’s Electron Microscopy Centre will also support the pioneering work building 3D robotic prosthetics, energy storage solutions for electric vehicles and solar fuels, as well as expand the number of industry partners and researchers who are already using the skills, expertise and instruments available at the Centre.

UOW received a total of $3.1million in funding for nine DECRA research projects, which demonstrated how strongly the University was regarded for supporting researchers in the earlier stages of their career, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) Professor Judy Raper said.

“It was pleasing to see those in the early phase of their research career being rewarded in this funding round, with projects that represent a brave new world of discovery.

“The passion and determination of UOW researchers across the board to make significant, world-class contributions to human knowledge and our understanding of the world is inspiring and I look forward to seeing ongoing reward for these efforts.”

AIIM researchers received four DECRAs, including that of Dr Simone Ciampi, who is looking to gain a deeper understanding of electrical fields.

“The great majority of the technological processes we know today, from removing pollutants from drinking water to preparing high-tech pharmaceutical drugs, involve chemical reactions at solid or liquid interfaces,” Dr Ciampi said.

“This research will look at manipulating the precision of these processes by understanding the role of electrical fields on chemical reactions that happens at an interface. It is expected to start a new area of research in chemical catalysis.”

UOW received six Discovery Project grants, including $980,900 to Professor David Griffith and colleagues at the Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry in the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health. 

Their project will look at the southern hemisphere’s atmosphere and aims to help monitor Australia’s air quality, improve models for predicting future atmospheric change and develop a deeper understanding of the processes driving atmospheric composition worldwide.

“Australia’s geographic position in the relatively clean southern hemisphere allows a unique opportunity to study environments with limited human influence, an opportunity that has largely been lost in the more populous northern hemisphere,” Professor Griffith said.

Also announced today was UOW’s second ARC Discovery Indigenous project for Associate Professor Bronwyn Carlson, from the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts.

Professor Carlson will receive nearly $383,000 to undertake research on Aboriginal help-seeking behaviours on social media.

It is anticipated that the outcome of this research may influence the development of formal help sources in the services and programs relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including health (for example, suicide prevention), employment, housing, economic opportunities and legal services.

Associate Professor Carlson’s grant follows the announcement this week by Australian Minister for Rural Health Fiona Nash of a $200,000 scholarship fund to allow more students to study Australia’s first Indigenous Trauma Recovery Program at UOW from January 2016.

The program will provide health professionals and others working within the social services, education and justice sectors with the knowledge and skills to effectively address multiple layers of trauma across Aboriginal and other Indigenous communities around the world. 

ARC DISCOVERY PROJECTS
Professor Mark Wilson: $452,800.00Defining systems that clear dangerous misfolded proteins from body fluids
Professor David Griffith: $980,900Tackling Atmospheric Chemistry Grand Challenges in the Southern Hemisphere
Professor Chao Zhang: $395,000 – Coherent, tuned terahertz photons from nonlinear processes in graphene
Professor Susan Turnbull: $148,000.00 Border Crossing: The Transnational Career of the Television Crime Drama
Professor Shi Xue Dou: $610,000 Multifunctional 2D materials for sustainable energy applications
Dr Wendy Nielsen: $160,000The Quality of Learning as Students Create Digital Explanations of Science

DISCOVERY EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER AWARD (DECRA)
Dr Katherine Bagnall: $357,793Chinese seeking citizenship in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, 1860-1920
Dr Tran Vu Khanh: $315,000Partial Differential Equations in Several Complex Variables
Dr Luping Zhou: $300,000Learning Network Structures from Neuroimages for Diagnosing Brain Diseases
Dr Andrew Nattestad: $370,000Intermediate Band Solar Cells Based on Triplet-Triplet Annihilation
Dr Wenping Sun: $372,000Lithium-Ion Conducting Sulfide Cathodes for All-Solid-State Li-S Batteries
Dr Aleicia Holland: $368,394Dissolved organic carbon quality influences metal toxicity in freshwaters
Dr Simone Ciampi: $359,544Electrostatic Catalysis: guiding reactive interfaces using electric fields
Dr Nadim Darwish: $348,741Single-Molecule Circuitry for Nanoscale Electronic Devices
Dr Lucas Ihlein: $340,000Sugar vs The Reef: Socially-engaged art and urgent environmental problems

LINKAGE INFRASTRUCTURE, EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES (LIEF)
Professor Elena Pereloma: $980,000 – Focused ion beam microscope for trace element analysis and nanomachining
Distinguished Professor Antoine van Oijen: $355,000 – Superresolution fluorescence imaging in microbiology

DISCOVERY INDIGENOUS
Associate Professor Bronwyn Carlson: $382,929 – Aboriginal Help-Seeking behaviours on Social Media

All grant recipients and projects at uow.edu.au/research.

This article was originally published on UOW Newsroom. Read the original article.