Stellar UQ research continues to lead nation with $4.3m in grants

2 Jun 2017

Projects that link University of Queensland research with business and industry have received a $4.3 million Australian Government funding boost today.

The Australian Research Council Linkage Projects funding will support 12 UQ projects designed to deliver practical solutions to problems across a range of industries.

UQ researchers will work with industry on projects to improve dairy cow fertility, support science, technology, engineering, maths teaching in middle school and develop biodegradable wood plastic composites.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the funding was “a massive result” for UQ, which continues to lead the sector and has had more successful projects and Commonwealth funding than any other institution in the linkage round.

“UQ has now been awarded 20 grants from 37 applications in this continuous round, reflecting a 54 per cent success rate,” Professor Høj said.

“We have scooped 22 per cent of ARC Linkage grants awarded across Australia’s 40 institutions over the continuous round.

“This is powerful recognition of the fact that our research is creating positive change for business and industry.

“Earlier this month we secured $1.28 million for four research projects under the same scheme, and last week the impact of our global scientific research was confirmed by impressive results in the prestigious international Leiden Ranking,” he said.

"This significant success in the national competitive scheme is synergistic with the significant investments the Queensland Government is making in university-industry partnerships through its outstanding Advance Queensland program."

Highlights of today’s ARC grants include $750,000 for the UQ Centre for Clinical Research’s Professor Murray Mitchell to partner with DairyNZ on a project to identify fertility biomarkers to develop superior dairy cow breeding stock and boost industry productivity.

Dr Kim Nichols from UQ’s School of Education has received $278,000 for a project to develop a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) professional learning model to help create a more skilled and educated STEM workforce.

“Improving STEM workforce readiness is critical to producing a more creative society and a leading, dynamic economy,” she said.

Dr Nichols will partner with the Queensland Museum, the Queensland Department of Education and Training and QGC Pty Ltd to create a museum-based teacher professional development program.

Cellulose fibres from native spinifex grass will feature in a project led by Associate Professor Steven Pratt, from the School of Chemical Engineering.

He has been awarded $173,000 to work with Norske Skog Paper Mills Australia Ltd to develop tough bio-based and biodegradable wood plastic composites.

“This will lead to new products and markets for the Australian forestry industry and for rural and indigenous Australia, maximising Australia’s competitive advantage in biomass-derived products,” Dr Pratt said.

Professor Høj said Government funding for each Linkage Project was matched or exceeded by contributions from industry partners.

“It’s immensely satisfying to know that UQ research is hitting the nail on the head in providing relevant and valuable knowledge and expertise to industry,” he said.

"UQ's success in this national competitive scheme is synergisitic with the investments the Queensland Government is making in university-industry partnerships through its outstanding Advance Queensland program."

A full list of the latest grants awarded to UQ researchers is here.