Recipients to share in $2.2m International Research Grant funding

Almost $2.2 million will be awarded to leading South Australian researchers courtesy of round three of the International Research Grant Program.

The IRGP forms part of the Premier’s Research and Industry Fund and facilitates local research that is developed in collaboration with international partners.

Science and Information Economy Minister Gail Gago said investment in research is critical in helping South Australian companies compete internationally.

“To foster innovation and be positioned globally we need to support partnerships between local researchers and experts overseas,” Ms Gago said.

“All projects approved for funding fall within key state economic priorities that include growing advanced manufacturing, producing premium food and wine, creating a vibrant city, and unlocking the full potential of the state’s resources.

“Our investment in science, research, education and innovation is critical in helping transform the South Australian economy and increasing our productivity and competiveness.”

The latest round of recipients are working on projects that have links with international collaborators from Spain, New Zealand, France, Israel, Cyprus, England, South Africa, and the United States.

In total, 26 applications were submitted for round three of the IRGP and when incorporating the proponent’s investment, the value of projects in the round exceeded $5 million.

Ultimately, eight projects were successful in receiving funding:

 Dr Erica Donner ($400,000) – University of South Australia

Working with the Volcani Centre (Israel) and the University of Cyprus, this project will focus on understanding and addressing the challenges posed by the emergence and transfer of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in non-clinical environments. Antimicrobial resistance is designated by the World Health Organisation as a “global health security emergency”.

Associate Professor David Allan Beattie ($300,000) – University of South Australia

In collaboration with Ingredion Incorporated (US), this project aims to identify natural materials that can make food products last longer and taste better, and provide new unique eating experiences.

 Professor Markus Stumptner ($300,000) – University of South Australia

Working with Assetricity, LLC (US), this research seeks to develop flexible data transformation software that, as part of the International Oil & Gas Interoperability Pilot (‘OGI Pilot’), will enable operators of capital facilities to make effective use of data that is currently hidden in siloed information systems. This will minimise the impact of data errors and inefficient information that incurs unnecessary operational costs.

Dr David Ottaway ($300,000) – Adelaide University

This project aims to develop new laser sources operating in the mid-infrared. This would enable previously undetectable quantities of trace gases to be measured, which could provide critical information for decision makers in medicine, mining, environmental monitoring, and defence.

Dr Craig Priest ($298,000) – University of South Australia

This project aims to deliver new fundamental and applied knowledge, and a working micro- extraction prototype, to fast-track a UniSA- developed advanced manufacturing technology. The proposed technology targets faster, safer, and cheaper refining of platinum group metals.

Dr Mark Mackay ($220,000) – Flinders University

In collaboration with Cumberland Initiative (UK), this project aims to demonstrate how systems thinking and operational research can be applied in the health sector – approaches that are already established in the mining and manufacturing sectors. There will be three pilot projects aligned to South Australia’s health system and a fourth that creates a model that can be adapted to any acute care hospital.

Professor Mark Taylor ($210,000) – Flinders University

Working with DePuy Synthes Inc (US), this project aims to apply existing knowledge of computational modelling in orthopaedics to the more difficult problem of testing new designs of revision knee replacement. Revision surgery imposes a significant financial burden on Australian’s health care system, with an estimated cost of $120 million a year for the surgery alone.

Dr Frank Bruno, Dr Martin Belusko, Dr Ming Liu, Dr Nguan Hwee, Steven Tay ($167,700) – University of South Australia

In collaboration with GREA Innovació Concurrent, Universitat de Lleida (Spain), Gen-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel), Universitat de Barcelona (Spain), University of Lyon (France), the University of Auckland (New Zealand), and Auburn University (US), the research team seeks to further research phase change materials as an advanced thermal energy storage system.

Source: News Release, Government of South Australia, 12 May, 2015

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