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Manufacturing projects lead in $32 million ARC Linkage grant round

Manufacturing News

Australian Research Council Linkage grants have been announced, totalling $32 million over six years, with 12 of the supported projects categorised as “advanced manufacturing”.

The Linkage projects announced on Tuesday involve a total of 141 industry partners and a cumulative $52 million contribution from these.

Linkage grants support projects involving Australian researchers and industry or community participants, as well as other publicly-funded research agencies.

ARC acting Chief Executive Officer Judi Zielke said in a statement that collaborations were “about bringing together the scientists in our research institutions with those who can apply the outcomes of research to create meaningful outcomes that benefit the Australian community”.

Some of the grants awarded to teams were:

  • $485,000 to University of Melbourne researchers, Hazprotect, M Modular and Bestech Australia for a polymer concrete composite system for the safe and efficient storage of industrial quantities of hydrogen;
  • $488,684 for a project between the University of Queensland and IQM aiming to improve superconducting quantum computing circuits by “new strategies to reduce decoherence… using an interdisciplinary approach based on quantum physics, materials science, and engineering”;
  • $449,714 for a Monash University and HJ Heinz Company Australia project on high-value ingredients from bean processing waste, recovering “valuable polyphenols and soluble dietary fibres normally lost in the wastewater”; and
  • $210,000 for a project between University of NSW, Tyre Stewardship Australia, Flexiroc Australia and Humes Concrete Products creating environmentally-friendly, high-performance, lightweight concrete noise walls and acoustic barriers using recycled tyre and glass products.

(A full list of successful Linkage Projects 2021 round 2 can be viewed here.)

A breakdown by the ARC of the 68 funded projects shows that 12 of these were defined as “advanced manufacturing”, the leading category among projects, followed by nine in “environmental change” and seven each in “energy”, “food” and “soil and water”. 11 were in no definable category.

Only a third of all applications were successful.

The Linkage program was singled out by acting federal education minister Stuart Robert in December last year.

Prior to his controversial Christmas Eve vetoing of six ARC Discovery projects after their approval by a peer review process, Robert wrote an open “letter of expectation” to the ARC. 

He requested that in 2022 the research council “align its Linkage programs with the Government’s research commercialisation agenda” and “will recommend 70 per cent of its applied research grants fall under the six National Manufacturing Priorities”.

Picture: Stephen Shankland/CNET

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