Grants to accelerate research commercialisation

Six University of Adelaide-led projects have received funding from Australia’s Economic Accelerator (AEA), for a range of research projects, including improved electric-vehicle batteries, efficient hydrogen production and better diabetes treatment.


More than $1.8 million was awarded to the projects, as part of the Federal Government’s AEA program, which aims to help universities translate and commercialise their research so Australian industries can benefit from this generation of knowledge.

These research projects, recognised by the AEA program for their commercialisation potential, not only further understanding of the world we live in, but also benefit society through the implementation of this knowledge towards practical outcomes.

They are each examples of how the University is helping create a healthier and more sustainable world.

The University of Adelaide projects awarded in tranche one are:

On-sun testing of thermo-photocatalytic water-splitting for hydrogen production
Awarded $470,511 and led by Professor Greg Metha from the School of Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences, this project will develop a thermo-photocatalytic water-splitting reactor for the production of hydrogen. The reactor has been proven at lab-scale, and when fully developed will provide an alternative to fossil-fuel-based hydrogen that is cost competitive and has little-to-no carbon footprint.

Improving diabetes treatment with a point-of-care device to objectively assess disease
Awarded $445,000 and led by Professor Robert McLaughlin from the School of Biomedicine, this grant will allow researchers to prototype a new device to help guide treatment for diabetic foot ulcers by measuring skin blood flow. Diabetic foot ulcers are the major cause of foot amputations worldwide. The device, when finalised and adopted by the healthcare industry, could help doctors choose better treatments for patients, reducing healthcare costs and speeding up patient recovery.

Developing high-performance nickel-rich layered cathodes for automotive lithium-ion batteries
Awarded $191,897 and led by Dr Gemeng Liang from the School of Chemical Engineering, this project aims to produce high-energy and durable nickel-rich layered cathode materials for high-performance automotive lithium-ion batteries. The development of this technology will promote transportation electrification, reduce the use of non-renewable fossil fuels, and lead to fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

The University of Adelaide projects awarded in tranche two are:

Revolutionising Agriculture: Innovative Encapsulation Technologies for a Sovereign Supply Chain
Awarded $299,994 and led by Dr Yue Hui and Prof Chun-Xia Zhao from the School of Chemical Engineering, in collaboration with Bioproton Pty Ltd, this project aims to develop and upscale an innovative enzyme encapsulation technology, using 3D printing, to enhance enzyme stability and activity, which will have applications for the generation of value-add agriculture products, reduction of animal feed costs, decreased waste, and improved animal performance.

Sustainable metal extraction and recovery from metal-containing waste for renewable energy transition and circular economy
Awarded $199,783 and led by Associate Professor Philip Kwong in collaboration with Professor Volker Hessel, both from the School of Chemical Engineering, this project aims to provide the essential knowledge and intellectual property required to commercialise a sustainable metal-extraction process, using continuous-flow technology, for low-emission recycling of metal-containing wastes, such as e-waste spent lithium-ion batteries, and copper chromium arsenic-treated timber.

Rapid development of new medical treatment compounds from radioactive mine waste
Awarded $196,248 and led by Danielle Questiaux from the School of Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences, this project will investigate a new and economical source of cancer radiotherapy drugs, making use of radionuclides extracted from radioactive mine waste for use in targeted alpha therapy and potentially theranostics.

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