Faculty of Science leads in industry-linked grants

15 July 2015

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has granted more than $2.2 million to researchers from the Faculty of Science under its Linkage Projects scheme in 2015.

A total of 6 projects were funded across 4 Schools, the highest number among the faculties at the University of Sydney. The announcement also represented a success rate of more than 85%, far out-stripping the scheme-wide average of 35%.

The ARC Linkage Projects scheme is aimed at promoting strategic alliances with industry and community organisations, by providing government funding to complement cash and in-kind support from partner organisations.

The grants will fund research that delivers impacts through advances in drug development, medical devices and pest control.

Professor Sally Andrews, the Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty, said "This is a great result for the Faculty, and confirms the Faculty's research strengths.

The following are the funded project leaders from the Faculty of Science, and their partner organisations:

  • Professor Margaret Allman-Farinelli from the School of Molecular Biosciences will receive $202,044 over 4 years. She will lead a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the Faculty of Engineering and IT and Sydney Medical School to explore the role that food prepared outside the home versus within the home plays in the diets of young adults. This work, in collaboration with The Cancer Council NSW, will assist in the formulation of policy and promotion strategies to reverse the problem of obesity among young adults in Australia.
  • Professor Zdenka Kuncic from the School of Physics will receive $288,170 over 4 years to work with Sydney Western Local Health District and PerkinElmer Pty Ltd. She aims to create a next-generation detector technology that delivers the first fully integrated solution to the X-ray imaging and dose measurement needs of cancer radiation therapy.
  • Professor Richard Payne from the School of Chemistry will receive $305,000 to understand the role of chemical modifications on the structure and function of the a fat cell-derived hormone called adiponectin, which has shown protective effects against obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Through his partnership with Novo Nordisk A/S, a global pharmaceutical company, unraveling the mechanisms behind the development of these diseases may lead to novel therapeutics.
  • Professor Rick Shine from the School of Biological Sciences will be granted $704,000 over 4 years to develop a method of controlling the population of cane toads, which are causing ecological havoc across tropical Australia. This work will extend the intellectual property that has been registered by the university, and will be done in collaboration with the Department of Parks and Wildlife of Western Australia, Sutherland Shire Council and Springstar Inc.
  • Professor Stephen Simpson of the School of Biological Sciences will work with the Australian Plague Locust Commission and BASF Australia Ltd to increase the effectiveness of Green Guard ®, which is a biopesticide used against the Australian plague locust. This work, which will receive $385,000 over 4 years, also aims to determine the impact of temperature and nutrition on immune function and disease resistance of plague locusts, and the knowledge will shape management strategies of these pests.
  • Associate Professor Matthew Todd from the School of Chemistry will work with Medicines for Malaria Venture to discover new drugs for the treatment of malaria. The project, which will by leverage global scientific inputs through online research methods, allowing anyone to participate, is a creative paradigm in drug development, particularly for deadly diseases that are affecting the developing countries. This project will receive $410,000 over 4 years.

"The leadership that is shown by our most-established researchers in collaborating with external partner organisations will hopefully encourage early and mid-career researchers to do the same", said Professor Andrews.

"I applaud our researchers who are delivering positive economic, social and cultural outcomes through active linkages with the community, and congratulate them on their success."

Please see here for the announcement from the university.

The next Linkage Projects scheme is expected to open in September 2016. If interested, please contact Ms Helen Jones, Commercial Theme Leader for Natural Sciences, at or Dr David Dall, Research Manager, at