Australian Indian-origin researcher bags $3.3mn grant

Sydney: An Indian-origin researcher at University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney has received $3.3 million grant for developing advanced manufacturing capabilities that focus on small-scale processing of materials produced from battery and consumer wastes.

Professor Veena Sahajwalla who is Founding Director of UNSW’s Centre for Sustainable Materials Research & Technology (SMaRT), will lead the research hub.

Professor Rebecca Guy, an epidemiologist from the Kirby Institute and UNSW Medicine, will lead another research hub — awarded nearly $5 million — to develop an integrated diagnostic and pharmaceutical approach to antibiotic resistance, the university said in a statement.

UNSW Sydney has secured a total of $8.3 million in Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Research Programme (ITRP) Hub grants for 2019.

The two UNSW projects, awarded funding over five years, will tackle critical challenges, including antimicrobial resistance and finding solutions to global waste and recycling issues.

“Our government is investing in these Research Hubs to push the boundaries of our knowledge and to develop solutions that benefit Australians and improve the capacity of our university and industrial sectors,” said Minister for Education Dan Tehan.

In collaboration with mining manufacturer Molycop and other industry partners, Professor Sahajwalla’s project will deliver new information about high-temperature reactions of waste and selective synthesis techniques to transform waste into valuable materials and products, including metallic alloys, oxides and carbon.

“It’s time to rethink attitudes towards all of the materials we design, produce, use and discard, to see them as renewable resources if we want to reduce our reliance on finite resources,” said Professor Sahajwalla.

The hub is supported by a further $2.6 million of industry contributions.

“With this new work on battery waste, we can help create circular economies where waste materials can be reformed into new high-value materials to boost our manufacturing industry and supply chains,” she added.

“I congratulate Professor Guy and Professor Sahajwalla and look forward to watching the valuable work of these hubs over the coming years,” said UNSW’s Pro Vice-Chancellor and Research Professor Ana Deletic.