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Engineering and IT research gets $1.5m boost

Professor Chris Leckie

Professor Christopher Leckie

Cleaner, greener 5G wireless networks and a revolutionary method for targeting the delivery of drugs to diseased cells are just some of the major engineering and IT industry partnership projects that have been greenlit at the University of Melbourne thanks to the Australian Research Council’s Linkage grants for 2015.

Melbourne School of Engineering researchers working with key industry partners have secured nearly $1.5m in research funding for five major projects in this latest round of grants. As a whole, the University of Melbourne was awarded $11m for 30 projects, the largest proportion of ARC linkage research funding of all Australian universities.

One of the key projects to go ahead in this round will look at how best to minimise energy consumption from next-generation telecommunications systems, such as 5G wireless networks. Professor Christopher Leckie from the Department of Computing and Information Systems is working with Alcatel-Lucent Australia on the project to examine solutions to this growing problem for telecommunications providers.

Also from the Department of Computing and Information Systems, Associate Professor Andrew Turpin will work on a new approach to measure both central and peripheral vision. Peripheral vision is important for tasks involving navigation and hazard avoidance such as driving, yet current testing methods are not efficient. Associate Professor Turpin will work with Haag-Streit AG on this three year project.

Dr Tuan Ngo

Dr Tuan Ngo

Dr Tuan Ngo from the Department of Infrastructure Engineering will head a three year project to explore the use of auxetic technologies to protect engineering structures against extreme loads. Auxetic materials are fascinating in that they expand rather than contract as they are stretched. The applications of this technology can potentially be extended beyond civil infrastructure to be applied in areas as diverse as armouring for defence vehicles and the creation of protective sporting and defence equipment. Dr Ngo is partnering with leading engineering firms Thales Australia, PPG Industries and 3D Systems Asia-Pacific.

Professor Greg Qiao from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is working with new types of polymer gels to bind drugs and allow them to be delivered to the affected cells by means of sonophoresis; the application of ultrasound to increase the absorption of drugs. This process will have significant advantages for patients, eliminating the risks associated with injections such as infection and damage to local tissue, and reducing a patient’s discomfort, pain and fear. Professor Qiao will work with Seagull Technologies on the project.

Bill Shieh

Dr William Shieh

Dr William Shieh from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering will partner with Hawk Measurement Systems on high-performance and cost-effective fibre optic distributed sensing systems. The research is planned to include design, simulation, and experimental verification of the new system.

For information on projects selected in the latest round, visit the Australian Research Council website.

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