Southern Cross University has emerged as the only member of the Regional Universities Network to be successful in the latest round of federal government research funding.
The University was awarded $1.2 million from the Australian Research Council for two new Linkage Projects in collaboration with industry and community.
“It’s great to see Southern Cross University performing well against other RUN universities, but it should be noted that we equalled or outperformed a number of Go8s (Group of Eight) and ATNs (Australian Technology Network). This is an amazing achievement for an up and coming regional university,” said Professor Mary Spongberg, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research).
Researchers based in the University’s new Faculty of Science and Engineering are the recipients.
Associate Professor Dirk Erler’s project aims to transform meat residue into agricultural soil improver in collaboration with Northern Cooperative Meat Company, QUT, Justus-Liebig University of Giessen, and Department of Regional NSW ($510,507).
The second project, led by Professor Bradley Eyre, Founding Director of the University’s Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry in collaboration with University of Western Australia and Healthy Land & Water Ltd, will use new innovative measurements and modelling to investigate nitrogen removal pathways of the coastal zone ($704,711).
This latest round of funding is Professor Eyre’s 30th ARC grant and his 11th Linkage Project.
“The new Southern Cross Research Plan commits the University to producing regionally relevant, globally significant research. These Linkage-funded projects reflect this direction,” said Professor Spongberg.
“The new Faculty of Science and Engineering is committed to the circular economy whereby what was once considered waste is recycled and re-used, ensuring maximum benefit from our region’s valuable resources and providing long-term economic, social and environmental benefit.
“Congratulations to these researchers. It is great to see their work with local industry being recognised and will help us build the new direction of the Faculty.”
Professor Nick Ashbolt, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, welcomed the successful outcomes for his colleagues.
“The Linkage Projects scheme aims to promote national and international research partnerships to find real-world solutions to a wide array of issues. Our Faculty’s focus, away from thinking of wastes for disposal to one of wastes as resources to be recovered, is doing just that,” Professor Ashbolt said.
“Dirk’s project is developing resource recovery for a major agricultural sector in the Northern Rivers region and for Australia. Brad’s work identifies the magnitude of natural processes for ammonium/nitrate-nitrogen removal to harmless nitrogen gas rather than the greenhouse gas N2O and will also provide insights to how we can aid in the restoration of impacted wetland ecosystems.”
The ARC’s Linkage Projects scheme supports academics to work with industry, government and community organisation partners to tackle complex problems and fast-track solutions.
ARC Chief Executive Officer, Professor Sue Thomas said Linkage funded projects: “initiate or develop long term research alliances that will apply advanced knowledge to problems as a basis for securing commercial or other benefits of research.”