New research centres to underpin advanced manufacturing

New Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres of Excellence will provide funding for scientific research to advance manufacturing techniques in a range of fields, from synthetic biology, to nano materials, and automated decision-making.

Announcing the ARC Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems, Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, highlighted how the centre, and others like it will function.

“This Centre of Excellence will bring together world-leaders in science, technology and engineering to deliver research that will underpin future technologies,” said Tehan.

This Centre, in particular, will investigate how smart and miniaturised optical technologies can be applied for use in Industry 4.0, as Professor Dragomir Neshev said.

“Our ground-breaking research will improve our everyday lives with the development of optical technologies that will empower autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, wearable sensors and remote sensing,” said Neshev.

Light-based WiFi, which will be one of the Centre’s focus, enables communication a thousand times faster than current technology, which could lead to a burst of IT innovation.

“This research centre will help create Australia’s very own Silicon Valley – setting up a global epicentre for light-based research and development that will develop the products of tomorrow, today,” said Neshev.

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology will also produce new products, however by utilising biomass for agriculture and waste. The Centre hopes to turn these products into bioplastics and high value biochemicals, said deputy vice chancellor, research of Macquarie University, Professor Isak Pretorius.

“Macquarie is ideally placed to lead large-scale collaborative projects in this area, including the discovery and development of biosensors, bioenergy, biodegradable pesticides, ‘next generation’ antibiotics and vaccines, personalised medicine and gene therapies.”

Pursuing advances in the field of Automated Decision-Making will be researchers at the new ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society. These researchers will investigate how algorithms used in self-driving cars were making decisions.

“Macquarie is ideally placed to lead large-scale collaborative projects in this area, including the discovery and development of biosensors, bioenergy, biodegradable pesticides, ‘next generation’ antibiotics and vaccines, personalised medicine and gene therapies,” said Tehan.