Researchers at the University of Wollongong have been awarded $59 million in Cooperative Research Centres funding from the federal government, to accelerate development of new marine materials for health or sustainable products.
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterial Science (ACES), based at the University of Wollongong, will provide bioengineering and biomaterials expertise for the Marine Bioproducts Cooperative Research Centre (MB-CRC).
The MB-CRC’s research, industry and government partners aim to expand existing enterprises and drive new products, commercial technologies and employment opportunities Australia-wide. This will help meet the demand for certified, safe and sustainable products.
Meanwhile, the University of Wollongong’s Translational Research Initiative for Cellular Engineering and Printing (TRICEP) will help accelerate commercialisation opportunities in 3D bioprinting for seaweed molecules.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of this exciting project, which brings together a multidisciplinary group of experts to translate opportunities in marine bioproducts,” ACES director Professor Gordon Wallace said.
“Our leadership and extensive expertise in bioengineering, biomaterials, 3D bioprinting, and the design and development of innovative fabrication hardware will allow us to further our exciting research in the field and provide significant industry linkages for translation of this research.”
An integral program leader in the CRC bid, Venus Shell Systems’ Dr Pia Winberg will collaborate with ACES researchers to identify new molecules from seaweed, for successful biofabrication in clinical applications.
“I am passionate about the marine farming opportunities we have in the ocean, and I believe that sensitively and ecologically incorporating these practices into the ecosystem is a necessary way forward to achieving sustainable products across a number of industries,” Winberg said.
“It has been so exciting to begin the journey of unlocking molecules from seaweed to improve health outcomes for patients with wounds with ACES. Our continued partnership through the MB-CRC will allow us to build on our research and access advanced tools to develop, refine and validate marine bioproducts in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.
“This is such an opportunity for Australia and especially for the south-east coast of NSW,” she said.