Four ARC Early Career Industry Fellowships

10 May 2023
Funding rewards research and industry connections
Dr Nicky Wright and Dr Jianping Zhang, from the Faculty of Science, and Dr Eason (Yi-Sheng) Chen and Dr Rui Tang, from the Faculty of Engineering, have been successful in receiving ARC Early Career Industry Fellowships.

The ARC Early Career Industry Fellowships fund new researchers to work with more senior academics and Australian industry to help solve industry challenges. The Fellowships aim to build innovation in the research and industry sectors and facilitate the adoption, translation and commercialisation of Australian research.

The four University of Sydney fellowships will receive $1.83 million in ARC funding in total.

“Congratulations to Dr Nicky Wright, Dr Jianping Zhang, Dr Eason (Yi-Sheng) Chen and Dr Rui Tang on being awarded these fellowships,” said Professor Emma Johnston, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

“It’s excellent to see our early career researchers collaborating with academic and industry colleagues to work on industry challenges that will have a big impact on Australian businesses and whole industries.”

Our four new fellows are:

Dr Eason Chen

Dr Eason (Yi-Sheng) Chen  

Dr Eason (Yi-Sheng) Chen, from the Faculty of Engineering, will use his fellowship and the advanced research tools housed in the University to characterise high-performance, green steels for the hydrogen economy. He will be working with Giflo Steels Australia as his key industry partner, and CITIC Metal as another industry partner.

“Our project aims to develop knowledge around microstructures and hydrogen interactions of a range of advanced steels that can be produced with low carbon emissions by our industry partners. These steels can lead to solutions for the hydrogen pipes and vessels without concern of hydrogen embrittlement, which plays a crucial role in enabling a safe hydrogen economy in Australia,” explained Dr Chen.

“Our partnership will allow our industry partners to access high-end characterisation tools, which are rarely affordable in industry, and will also give me the opportunity to engage in the development and manufacturing of new steels in industry. This will also de-risk the industry partner’s investment in Australia for a new steel mill dedicated to new green steels for supporting Australia’s hydrogen infrastructure, leading to thousands of new job opportunities.”

Dr Rui Tang

Dr Rui (Greg) Tang

Dr Rui (Greg) Tang, from the Faculty of Engineering, will use his fellowship to work on his project on 'solar-driven catalytic production of high-value product from waste glycerol'. He will be working with Sun Biotechnology as his key industry partner.

“Sustainable bio-refining requires an efficient and economical way of utilising the surplus amount of glycerol generated as a by-product in biodiesel industries. My project aims to construct an industry-scale solar-driven catalytic system to generate high-value-added chemicals and green hydrogen fuel from biomass wastes simultaneously,” said Dr Tang.  

“The structure-reactivity relationship of working catalysts will be established to fit the up-scale applications. The cutting-edge knowledge and technology that we will gain in the project will significantly contribute to biomass waste utilisation and sustainable fabrication, further bringing significant economic and social benefits by creating a new competitive business for Australian chemical and fuel areas.”

Dr Nicky Wright

Dr Nicky Wright

Dr Nicky Wright, from the Faculty of Science, will use her fellowship to work on her project on 'hunting high and low: mapping ancient topography to find copper'. She will be working with BHP Group as her key industry partner.

“Transitioning to a decarbonised society requires significant amounts of copper, but we’ve been prevented from a systems based exploration approach for copper due to the lack of a first-order dataset of the Earth’s surface evolution, known as palaeogeography. Our project aims to unearth potential areas of porphyry copper through deep time by developing innovative global palaeogeography reconstructions,” said Dr Wright.  

“Expected outcomes of our project include new quantitative palaeogeography reconstructions, as well as the first well-constrained reconstructions of copper preservation potential. This should provide benefits such as an improved understanding of the porphyry copper lifecycle, with significant impacts for resource exploration and decarbonisation efforts.”

Dr Jianping Zhang

Dr Jianping Zhang

Dr Jianping Zhang, from the Faculty of Science, will use her fellowship to work on her project on 'delivering breeding-oriented genetic tools for cereal disease resistance'. She will be working with Australian Grain Technologies as her key industry partner.

“Our project will focus specifically on delivering genetic tools to our industry partner to assist its wheat and barley breeders to increase the accuracy and efficiency of incorporating the durable wheat stripe rust disease and barley leaf rust disease resistance into their core germplasm collections,” said Dr Zhang.  

“The expected outcomes will also contribute to filling our knowledge gap in understanding the cereal rust innate immune system and benefit other cereal fungal pathosystems. The wide application of our project’s results will reduce the utilisation of fungicides and will subsequently contribute to the resilience of cereal crops and sustainable global food security.”

Katynna Parry

Marketing Communications Senior Specialist (Science)
  • Level 2 Carslaw F07

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