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Australian Research Council funds clean tech

Telecoms, networking, microelectronics, astronomy also winners

Technology research projects have won a decent slice of the latest round of Australian Research Council industry-linked funding – around AU$15.5 million of the $86 million total, by The Register's reckoning*.

The total $86.9 million of government funding announced by education minister Chris Pyne will be overmatched by nearly $160 million from industry partners.

And perhaps surprisingly (given the government's set against renewable energy and its willingness to intervene in independent processes), “clean tech” seems to be the largest single segment of tech development funding, cornering nearly $4 million.

The clean tech projects funded for three to five years include battery storage technology, photovoltaics (with a University of New South Wales / China / Germany project among them), wave, and wind energy projects.

Ford might not have tipped its hand in the 'leccy vehicle market yet, but it's taking more than a passing interest. The US motor giant will be working with Deakin University on fuel cell technologies.

Sydney University will be spending more than half a million on cloud data centre efficiency, while Swinburne Institute of Technology will research a “consumer-centric” cloud service brokerage system for $230,000.

Cray is working with the University of Queensland on managing energy use in high-performance computing, with the aim of creating “parallel programming environments that support energy analysis and tuning” ($430,000).

Among funded projects at the Australian National University there's a futuristic project to use ion implantation to create “next-generation” memory devices to replace Flash memory.

The three networking projects the ARC has funded include a UNSW/Cisco effort to improve video streaming; a University of Newcastle/Ericsson 5G project; while Huawei and the University of Sydney will cooperate on M2M wireless access networks.

Alcatel-Lucent's work with the University of Melbourne on telecommunications energy efficiency continues with $240,000 towards real-time energy management in telco networks.

Over in the medical sector, the projects that most caught Vulture South's eye are “smart glasses” to help stroke and dementia patients; and a half-million-dollar University of Melbourne project to “enable direct wireless transmission of brain signals” to computers – for “computers, wheelchairs, exoskeletons, and vehicles”.

Robotics and even agricultural tech (systems that can recognise ripe strawberries for automatic harvesting) are also among the tech projects that got funding.

Vulture South is also pleased to see that the proposed Stawell dark matter detector is supported with more than $1 million, and the ANU has funds for part of its contribution to the Giant Magellan Telescope: a cryogenic camera system.

The full list of more than 200 funded projects is here. ®

*Bootnote: Quite a few projects cross different boundaries, so in assessing what the tech sector received, we may have unfairly left some projects out of the list. ®

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