ARC Linkage Project success for Faculty of Science

2 June 2011

The Faculty of Science has been successful in securing funding from the Australian Research Council for six Linkage Projects worth $2.438 million in total, to start in July 2011. ARC Linkage Projects link researchers in higher education with partner organisations outside of the higher education sector to conduct collaborative research in any discipline.

Across all faculties, the University of Sydney will receive funding for 19 ARC Linkage Projects worth $6.709 million, making the Faculty of Science's funding a significant proportion of the total funding across the University.

The University of Sydney was successful in gaining the highest number of ARC Linkage Projects funded in NSW (19 projects) in this round, with UNSW following with 18 ARC Linkage Projects and Macquarie University having the third highest number with eight ARC Linkage Projects.

"The Linkage Projects scheme is a vital component of the ARC competitive grants suite because of the partnerships it encourages - with manufacturers and private enterprise here and overseas. These partnerships help produce tangible, workable solutions to real issues, like climate change, health and national security," said Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, on announcing the ARC Linkage Project funding to commence in July 2011.

"The Linkage Projects scheme supports research that helps Australian manufacturers become more innovative and create high-wage, high-quality jobs by tackling important issues and improving the quality of life for all Australians."

This latest round of ARC Linkage Project funding will see $67 million worth of funding delivered by the federal government to collaborative research projects across Australia.

"The Faculty of Science has done extremely well in having six ARC Linkage Projects successfully funded in this round of funding. Six successful Linkage Projects in the same funding round is an extraordinary number to have from the one Faculty, so we are very proud of our researchers and the strength of their funding applications," said Professor Trevor Hambley, Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney.

The six successful ARC Linkage Projects in the Faculty of Science are:

Professor David McKenzie, from the School of Physics, and Dr Natalie James, from Cochlear Limited, with partner organisation Raymax Applications Pty Ltd, will receive $585 000 over four years for 'Feed through technologies for polymeric encapsulated active implants'. The project will address the scientific challenges of signal transfer between tissue and novel active implantable medical devices, with major implications for cochlear implant manufacture. This will lead to improvements in the quality of life of the hearing-impaired, and will make an important contribution to the development of other sensory implants.

Professor Marcela Bilek and Professor David McKenzie, both from the School of Physics, and Professor Anthony Weiss, from the School of Molecular Bioscience, will receive $540 000 over four years for 'Multifunctional surfaces for implantable biomedical devices'. They will work with three collaborating organisations: Cochlear Limited, LfC Sp. z o.o. and Spinecell Pty Ltd. This project aims to improve the quality of life of patients receiving biomedical implants. The project will develop new plasma processing methods to create surfaces for implants that will give control over the response of human tissues. Tissue integration with the device will be achieved where required and infection suppressed.

Professor Rick Shine, from the School of Biological Sciences, will receive $530 000 over six years for 'Ecology, impact and control of cane toads on the southern invasion front'. He will work with partner organisations: Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Foundation for Australia's Most Endangered Species Inc, Lismore City Council, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority and Tweed Shire Council. The invasion of cane toads has killed many native animals in tropical Australia, but the toads' southern (NSW) invasion front remains unstudied. This project will build on recent research to understand how toads affect southern biodiversity, and will develop new ways to reduce that impact.

Professor Thomas Maschmeyer and Associate Professor Anthony Masters, both from the School of Chemistry, and Professor Tony Vassallo, from the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, have secured $420 000 over four years for 'New high performance zinc bromine batteries with novel electrode/electrolyte systems'. They will work with partner organisations Alpha Chemicals Pty Ltd and ZBB Technologies Ltd. Renewable sources of energy are of particular interest in the era of diminishing fossil fuels. Efficient energy storage is a missing link for renewable energy. Zinc-bromine batteries have great potential as energy storage. This project will aim to fundamentally re-design the existing first generation systems to improve power density by 300-400 per cent.

Professor Dale Bailey, from the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr Stephen Jones, from Sirtex Technology Pty Ltd., and Professor Clive Baldock and Associate Professor Zdenka Kuncic, both from the School of Physics, will receive $265 000 over four years for 'A phenomenological approach to improve radioembolisation treatment of cancer'. In recent years, radioembolisation for liver cancer has become an effective therapeutic option. However, it is likely that patients are being 'under-treated' as doses remain based on results from external radiation therapy. This project will develop a phenomenological approach to radionuclide therapy to improve outcomes for cancer patients.

Dr Will Figueira, from the School of Biological Sciences, with Dr Aldo Steffe, from the NSW Department of Industry and Investment, will receive $98 166 over four years for 'Closing the loop: understanding the relationships between recreational fishing surveys, fishing regulations and fisheries management objectives'. The project aims to improve the management of recreational fisheries in Australia by using model-based evaluations to understand the effects of recreational fishing regulations and survey design on the realisation and assessment of fisheries management objectives.

Contact: Katynna Gill

Phone: 02 9351 6997

Email: 59063715580f0a48255c3d0806124b34234a2b623d21395a2c21