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Premier funds visionary research

Ian Wark Research InstituteSelf-dimming architectural glass, which can substantially reduce summer cooling costs, is just one of the potential applications of a UniSA-led research project that has received more than $375,000 from the Premier’s Science Research Fund (PSRF).

The project is part of a unique $1.7 million facility to develop conducting polymers – plastics with high electrical conductivities which have a myriad of uses in the automotive, aerospace, defence, biomedical and sustainable energy sectors.

The Materials Research and Engineering Facility for Conducting Polymers is a multidisciplinary partnership between UniSA’s Ian Wark Research Institute (The Wark™) and the Mawson Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (MIAM), the State Government, Schefenacker Vision Systems and Carl Zeiss Vision.

Project leader and The Wark™ Senior Research Fellow, Dr Peter Murphy, says the equipment bought through the PSRF funding will have wide-scale benefit for manufacturing in the state.

"The equipment is a vital part of this new facility, which will take the laboratory R&D of conducting polymers to the commercial stage," Dr Murphy says.

The Wark™ Director, Laureate Professor John Ralston, says the conducting polymers research facility spearheads The Wark™ and MIAM’s plan to create a world-class facility for materials surface engineering and evaluation.

"It will be a unique, specialised facility for research and development on the materials science and engineering applications of new classes of materials with great promise,"
Prof Ralston says.

Director of the Mawson Institute, Professor Rob Short applauded the venture.

"This is exactly the type of facility and partnership that we are seeking to establish at the Mawson and The Wark™, whereby UniSA working with the South Australian manufacturers will develop cutting edge technologies that underpin existing jobs in South Australia, as well as provide the opportunity to diversify manufacturing and create new jobs and exports."

The Wark™ has an annual budget of $20 million and employs 150 staff.