ARC Linkage Grants reward cutting-edge research

1 July 2013

Innovative systems to support cancer survivors and young people with mental health conditions, new alloys to benefit the mining industry, and technology to secure water for drought-affected regions are some of the University of Sydney research projects to benefit from the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project grants.

ARC Linkage Projects link researchers with partner organisations outside of the higher education sector to carry out collaborative research in any discipline.

Professor Jill Trewhella, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) said: "Our linkage projects are important platforms for research translation. We are pleased to see that Sydney's success in the latest linkage round will enable our researchers to work with industry and community partners to benefit Australians by providing solutions to diverse societal challenges such as water management, materials in mining, improving literacy, recovering from cancer, mental health, and supporting people with disabilities."

The University of Sydney will receive $4.3 million over the next four years from the Australian Research Council for 14 projects, some of which are outlined below:

A team led by Associate Professor Julie Cairney, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, will receive $300,000 for collaborating with Weir Minerals to create new wear-resistant alloys for use in the Australian mining industry.

Dr Catalina Lawsin, Faculty of Science, and her team, will receive $302,000 to collaborate with Cancer Council NSW on a project to develop Rekindle, the first web-based resource that addresses sexual concerns of both cancer survivors and their partners, across all cancer types and tailored to the concerns of each user.

A project led by Associate Professor Rafael Calvo, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, and Professor Ian Hickie, Brain and Mind Research Institute, will receive $357, 574 to partner with Inspire Foundation to create Cyber Mate. The first of its kind, CyberMate will use digital social media and internet data to support interventions for young people affected by depression and other mental health states.

Dr Chiara Neto, Faculty of Science, and her team will receive $325,000 to produce micropatterned surface coatings that collect large amounts of water from the atmosphere. Developed in partnership with Nubian Water Systems this technology will help isolated and drought-prone regions of Australia to partially satisfy their water supply needs, in a manner that is economically and environmentally sustainable.

In partnership with the Social Inclusion and Vocational Access Unit, Clinical Excellence Commission, NSW Ministry of Health and National Prescribing Service, a team led by Associate Professor Kirsten McCaffery, Sydney School of Public Health, will receive $169,000 to develop a health literacy program to help socially disadvantaged adults to improve their health knowledge, literacy and numeracy skills and to participate in decisions about their health.

Other projects to receive funding include improving the capabilities of small underwater robots used in surveying systems for environmental consultancies and the development of an inhalation medicine to provide the best treatment for pulmonary lung fibrosis.

These projects will be supported by additional cash contributions and further 'in-kind' contributions from partner organisations and other collaborators.

The funding is part of $101.8 million being awarded to Australian universities for 306 new research Linkage Projects.

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