Manufacturing News

Research teams secure ARC LIEF funding through NSSN support


Research teams from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and University of Newcastle have secured $958,000 under the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme, through support of the NSW Smart Sensing Network (NSSN). 

The LIEF scheme provides universities with funding for major research facilities that are essential for vital research in Australia’s national priority areas. 

UTS researchers, led by Professor Guandong Xu, will receive $538,350 to establish a world-first large-scale experimental facility for research in edge computing, smart sensing and analytics for industry 4.0. 

“The facility will integrate various devices, equipment, and technologies into a fully controlled and automated testbed, including AI and data analytics, sensors, IoT and edge computing, robotics, cybersecurity, cloud and distributed computing,” Xu said. 

“The project will bolster Australia’s capability in manufacturing, benefitting the recently launched national manufacturing roadmap. The facility will advance knowledge translations in a range of areas such as renewable energy, agribusiness, waste recycling, circular economy, and healthcare.” 

Former NSSN Data Theme leader, Dr Zhitao Xiong, will continue to collaborate with the project team as an investigator. 

Led by Professor Paul Dastoor, a University of Newcastle research team will receive $420,347 to build Australia’s first scanning helium microscope designed for the biological sciences (BioSHeM). The instrument will be the first of its kind in the world.  

“The microscope has been designed for non-destructive imaging in the biological and medical sciences,” Dastoor said. 

“Biological samples typically degrade rapidly while being imaged using electron (and other energetic) microscopies. Our unique microscope uses ultralow energy helium atoms which completely eliminates sample damage.” 

NSSN MedTech Theme leader, Jane Evans, will continue to collaborate with the project team as an investigator.  

The successful LIEF 2021 outcome is a testament to the NSSN’s capabilities to foster collaboration between universities, industry and government, according to NSSN co-directors Professors Benjamin Eggleton and Julien Epps. 

“Our Theme leaders are experts in connecting researchers with industry and government end-users, positioning NSW and Australia as a leader in the development and adoption of innovative sensing technologies,” they said. 

Some of the other research projects receiving funding in this LIEF round include:  

  • $1.2 million to Western Sydney University to establish a national facility for physical fire simulation to conduct high-quality research in fire-related disciplines; 
  • $480,000 to the University of Sydney for a unique multi-wavelength pulsed and continuous wave laser system that will support fundamental and applied research and industry projects benefitting Australia by boosting capacity for advanced manufacturing; and 
  • $158,845 to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to improve our understanding of groundwater recharge through a sensor network deployed in underground spaces. The recharge observing system will generate new knowledge which is fundamental for water resource management.  

More details on the LIEF projects announced are available here. For further information about the Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme, visit the LIEF page on the ARC website. 

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