Industry laureate fellows to progress recycling technology, electrolyser manufacture

Support for university-industry research continued on Monday, with $27 million in funding across eight Industry Laureate Fellowships announced.

Following Friday’s awarding support for 50 projects in a new round of the Australian Research Council’s Early Career Industry Fellowships, the ARC announced the 2023 Industry Laureate Fellows.

“Complementing the early and mid-career Industry Fellowship schemes, these outstanding laureate researchers bring experience and leadership to industry challenges,” said ARC CEO, Judi Zielke.

Research funded (a list of fellows is reproduced below) includes for manufacture of fluoride glass optical fibres, quantum computer technology, and design and commercialisation of sodium-based batteries.

The list features recycling scientist Professor Veena Sahajwalla (pictured) from University of NSW, the founder of the university’s Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Centre and 2021’s NSW Australian of the Year, and Gerry Swiegers, Professor at University of Wollongong and CTO at hydrogen electrolyser startup Hysata. 

“I look forward to seeing how these researchers translate their skills and knowledge into real world outcomes for industry partners and the Australian community — from speeding up decarbonisation with green hydrogen, to the manufacture of material that will transform internet speeds,” added Zielke.  

The ARC Industry Laureate Fellows are:  

  • Associate Professor Phillip Cassey, The University of Adelaide ($3.8 million) — develop new digital and wildlife forensic tools to improve the surveillance and detection of the illegal killing and trade of wild animals and plants, to safeguard Australia’s biodiversity and natural environment.  
  • Professor Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem, The University of Adelaide ($3.3 million) — improve the purity and manufacturing scale of fluoride glass optical fibres which promises faster internet speeds, communication, and laser surgery applications touching many aspects of Australian lives.  
  • Professor Timothy Fletcher, The University of Melbourne ($3.5 million) — to enable a market-driven smart-grid of stormwater storages, providing consumers with nonpotable water supply, while financially rewarding them for contributions to flood mitigation and environmental flows to waterways.
  • Professor Alexander Hamilton, The University of New South Wales ($3.8 million) — develop a groundbreaking silicon quantum computer technology and create new quantum components to dramatically speed up quantum computing capabilities. These advances will enable Australia to maintain its global lead in quantum technologies.
  • Professor Shizhang Qiao, The University of Adelaide ($3.5 million) — design and commercialise safe, cost-effective, long-lasting, and fast-charging sodium-based batteries to store renewable energy and manage the release of excess energy into power grids during peak demand in Australia.  
  • Professor Veena Sahajwalla, The University of New South Wales ($3.5 million) — develop approaches that can be implemented locally anywhere in Australia, for using waste as a resource, recovering metal alloys, rare earth elements, generating jobs, skills and new business opportunities. 
  • Professor Jennifer Smith-Merry, The University of Sydney ($2.5 million) — address deficits in the National Disability Insurance Scheme for people with psychosocial disability, to make the scheme more effective and efficient for this group, with community benefits for all Australians.  
  • Professor Gerhard Swiegers, University of Wollongong ($3.7 million) — accelerate the decarbonisation of industry by advancing the manufacture of high efficiency water electrolysers, a key component of green hydrogen, an energy-dense renewable fuel.  

Picture: credit UNSW

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