Researchers at The University of Western Australia have been awarded more than $3 million in federal funding for four research facilities that will support research in areas ranging from environmental science through to astronomy.
The funding is part of the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme.
The Australian Critical Zone Observatory Network, which received $1,205,137 in funding, will help fill essential gaps in our knowledge of environmental processes. It will include five foundational sites with integrated monitoring equipment to observe the vertical span from plant canopies to fresh bedrock. These observations will help researchers to improve sustainability of food, clean water, mineral resources and ecosystems.
Associate Professor Sally Thompson is the lead researcher on the project. Other UWA researchers taking part are Professor Jason Beringer, Dr Andrew Marshall and Dr Matthias Leopold.
A second grant, valued at $474,000, will establish new high resolution mass spectrometry facilities for Western Australia to support chemical, materials and environmental science. The facilities will support work in plant growth regulation, molecular electronics and environmental contaminants.
The project’s lead researcher is Dr Gavin Flematti. Other UWA researchers taking part are Professor Paul Low, Professor George Koutsantonis, Associate Professor Keith Stubbs and Dr Yit-Heng Chooi.
A third grant of $837,000 will establish a national facility for infrared (IR) technologies. The state-of-the-art capabilities will have benefits for astronomy and quantum information, as well as the defence, aerospace, communications and security industries.
The project is led by Professor Lorenzo Faraone. UWA researchers Associate Professor Sean O'Byrne and Associate Professor Gilberto Umana-Membreno are also working on the project.
A fourth grant of $527,638 will establish new advanced maskless photolithography infrastructure to close an existing gap in micro- and nano-fabrication in Western Australia. The infrastructure will be available to all researchers via the WA Node of Australian National Fabrication Facility.
Associate Professor Mariusz Martyniuk is leading the project. Other UWA researchers taking part are Professor Michael Tobar, Professor Rob Atkin, Professor Li Ju and Associate Professor Gilberto Umana-Membreno.
The full list of ARC grants is available on the ARC website. The projects are supported with funding from collaborators and partner organisations.