UniSQ researchers attract $1.1 million funding


The Australian Research Council Discovery Projects scheme is to support research at the University of Southern Queensland ranging from extreme weather-resistant building materials to next-generation advanced composites and fine tuning cybersecurity systems.

Australian Research Council (ARC) Chief Executive Officer Judi Zielke PSM announced more than $221 million under its Discovery Projects scheme.

UniSQ’s successful initiatives included $420,000 for ‘developing a new cybersecurity system for web-based services and workflows’; $399,236 towards ‘carbon fibre thermoplastics as next-generation carbon fibre composites’; and $302,100 for ‘developing new highly durable structural composites that can withstand extreme weather’.

Ms Zielke said the scheme supported individual researchers or research teams to innovate and build the ‘new’ knowledge essential for a knowledge-based economy.

Zielke said: “Funding these cutting-edge research projects will expand the knowledge base and research capacity in Australia.”

Computing research leader Professor Yan Li will create a prototype system to help organisations overhaul their business networks to embed cybersecurity protocols.

Professor Li said: “Due to continual changes in networking technologies and web services, almost all organisations need to develop new workflows to either replace existing procedures which are inadequate for current conditions or for new services.

“It is essential that these new or modified workflows have no security gaps.

“This project aims to develop an innovative cybersecurity system for workflows, which enables organisations to provide flexible and more secure web-based services and business communication.”

Materials engineering researchers Professor Hao Wang and Dr Venkata Chevali received $399,236 to develop novel carbon fibre composites using high-performance thermoplastic polymers.

Professor Wang said the project aimed to enable rapid production, reduce manufacturing costs, and explore the potential for these composites to be reprocessed and recycled.

Civil Engineering Professor Allan Manalo will lead a $302,100 project into understanding the degradation mechanisms of structural composites under extreme weather and using this knowledge to develop new, highly durable materials.

Professor Manalo said: “The changing weather patterns and increasing solar radiation in Australia have greatly impacted the durability of construction materials and caused substantial damage to critical infrastructure.

“We’re looking into the synergistic effects of different environmental conditions on advanced polymer composites in order to develop new models on the materials’ long-term performance, crucial knowledge for the longevity of Australian infrastructure.”

University of Southern Queensland researchers will also contribute to externally-led projects such as Associate Professor Ingo Jahn in The University of Queensland’s ‘Expanding the scramjet operating envelope through oxygen enrichment’.

Picture: University of Southern Queensland

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