The Director of the University of Sydney Nano Institute, Professor Benjamin Eggleton, has announced five Grand Challenges that will define Sydney Nano’s strategic priorities for the next five years.
The five Grand Challenges are:
Professor Eggleton said: "I was impressed by the quality of entries we received. This is a strong indication of the University’s strength in nanoscience and technology. It was no easy task to narrow them down to five, and I applaud the selection committee for doing an amazing job.
"These projects, which are addressing some of the most important challenges facing our world, are truly multidisciplinary, with strong engagement and cooperation from many parts of the University."
Sydney Nano will provide up to $75,000 a year to each Grand Challenge team for two years to seed-fund their projects. The Grand Challenges bring researchers together into multidisciplinary teams supporting sustainable, long-term areas of research.
This approach is central to Sydney Nano’s strategic objectives and operational execution. Importantly, they will be critically enabled by advances in nanoscience or nanotechnology.
Sydney Nano received a large number of quality applications from across the Faculties of Science, Medicine & Health, Engineering & IT, and the Schools of Business and Architecture Design & Planning. Their areas of research span the wide range of disciplines that make up nanoscale science and technology and the three broad areas in which Sydney Nano seeks to have impact - energy and the environment; health and medicine; and communications, computing and security.
Grand Challenge: To develop and to utilise large, inexpensive, passively-cooled nanostructured materials that maximize the capture of atmospheric moisture.
Vision: To capture enough water from the atmosphere to alleviate the effect of drought by providing water for consumption by humans and animals, and for irrigating plants.
Team: Martijn de Sterke (Champion), Chiara Neto (Deputy Champion), Steve Armfield, Helen Bramley, Karla Straker, Willem Vervoort, Dianne Wiley, Rongkun Zheng.
Grand Challenge: To develop nanocatalysis to convert CO2 and new energy conversion and storage technologies to reduce CO2 emissions.
Vision: To harness CO2 as a resource to manufacture fuels and chemicals as well as use sustainable energy technologies to replace traditional energy devices.
Team: Jun Huang (Champion), Deanna D’Alessandro (Deputy Champion), Assaad Masri, Xiaozhou Liao, Dacheng Tao, Rongkun Zheng, Catherine Stampfl, Cameron Kepert, Chris Ling, Thomas Maschmeyer, Eric Knight, Dianne Wiley, Ali Abbas, Brian Haynes
Grand Challenge: To establish transforming capabilities to effectively mitigate the risks and social concerns associated with the use of nanomaterials.
Vision: To develop a ‘minimum nanotoxicity’ framework to assess safety-efficacy-toxicity of any class on nanomaterial as well as to direct the design of the next generation of nanomaterials, while protecting the sustainability and benefits of nanotechnology.
Team: W. Chrzanowski (Champion), E. New (Deputy Champion), B. Hawkett, W. Cai, I. Koprinska, R. MacLeod, B. Eggleton, M. Beck,
C. Di. Lernia, C. Hardy, H. Duong.
Grand Challenge: to build molecular nano-robots, self-assembled from biomolecules, to navigate the body to diagnose and treat early disease.
Vision: To detect early, treatable damage in coronary arteries, to prevent heart disease.
Team: Shelley Wickham (co-Champion) & Anna Waterhouse (co-Champion), P. Bannon, S. Wise, C. dos Remedios, S. Lal, Y Lau, C. Neto, L. New, K. Jolliffe, M. Muellner, R. Clarke, M. Sunde, R. Codd, T. Maschmeyer, B. Fulcher, M. Bilek, Z. Kuncic, A. Abbas, M. Large, A. Williamson.
Grand Challenge: Developing new techniques for simulating next-generation materials on computers
Vision: Ability to simulate any new material, from single atoms to fully functioning devices, Approach incorporates quantum computing, multiscale simulation and machine learning.
Team: Ivan Kassal (Champion), Lamiae Azizi (Deputy Champion), Stephen Bartlett, Michael Biercuk, Andrea Blanco-Redondo, Toby Hudson, Ahmad Jabbarzadeh, Meredith Jordan, Girish Lakhwani, Stefano Palomba, Catherine Stampfl, Asaph Widmer-Cooper, Dong Xu.