$1.95 million for world-class science facilities
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Science at the University of Adelaide has been given a major boost, with $1.95 million awarded for new equipment and facilities that will support cutting-edge research in areas such as mining, high-performance computing, chemical testing for wine and food, and improvements in the tolerance of crops to drought and salinity.
The funding, announced today by the Federal Government, will support five facilities in the state involving the University of Adelaide and its research partners from 2011. The funding has been awarded under the Australian Research Council's (ARC) Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grant scheme.
This is the latest competitive research funding won by the University of Adelaide, adding to the $45.7 million in total funding already awarded to the University since October for 101 new research projects and fellowships, supported by the ARC and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Today's funding announcement will support:
- High-performance electron microprobe analyser optimised for the microanalysis of sulphides and heavy elements
$700,000 awarded to a team led by Associate Professor Joel Brugger (School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Discipline of Geology & Geophysics).
This new electron microprobe facility will provide more accurate results for research that is of benefit to Australia's mining industry. Understanding the chemistry of materials at micrometre scale is critical for deciphering the geological history of rocks, measuring the mobility of heavy metals in the environment and optimising the removal of metals from ores.
- Enhancement of South Australian high-performance computing facilities
$430,000 awarded to a team led by Professor Derek Leinweber (School of Chemistry & Physics).
This aims to more than double the high-performance computing capability provided to South Australian researchers through eResearch SA. It adds to existing computing facilities located at the University of Adelaide and Flinders University and will benefit research in a wide range of disciplines.
- Advanced gas chromatography mass spectrometry instrumentation for the analysis of highly complex systems
$370,000 awarded to a team led by Dr Kerry Wilkinson (Waite Research Institute, School of Agriculture, Food & Wine).
This will enable the compositional analysis of highly complex material, such as extracts from plants, soils, petroleum, water and sludge, foods and wine. It will support research in flavour chemistry and biochemistry, analytical and forensic chemistry, environmental biotechnology, geochemistry and other areas.
- Ultraviolet, visible and infrared spectroscopic ellipsometers for advanced materials and device characterisation
$300,000 awarded to a team led by Associate Professor Heike Ebendorff Heidepriem (Institute for Photonics & Advanced Sensing, School of Chemistry & Physics).
This will enable more sophisticated measurements of the glass and sensing materials produced by the Institute for Photonics & Advanced Sensing (IPAS), at a wide range of 250 nanometres to 30 micrometres. With new types of glass and surfaces being produced by IPAS, this will assist in improving materials for manufacture.
- Non-invasive rapid plant phenotyping for root architecture in soil and acquisition of micro-nutrients
$150,000 awarded to a team led by Dr Ann McNeill (Waite Research Institute, School of Agriculture, Food & Wine).
New, hi-tech equipment and facilities purchased with this grant will boost the understanding of how plants perform in stress conditions such as water deficit, salinity, or nutrient imbalances. It will involve equipment for imaging root growth in soil and a clean air growth room for 'in situ' plant micro-nutrient analyses.
In addition to the ARC funding announced today, these facilities and infrastructure will attract a further $2.24 million in cash and in-kind support. The University is also a partner in another eight of the successful LIEF proposals, with total funding to the external institutions of $4.54 million.
"To conduct world-class research and provide real outcomes for the community, government and industry, our staff, students and collaborators need access to the best possible facilities," says the University's Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Research), Professor Mike Brooks.
"Today's announcement will boost the University of Adelaide's and Australia's reputation in key research areas."