ARC Discovery Grants 2018

2018 CVEN ARC Discovery Project WinnersThe Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grants for 2018 were announced in November by Education Minister Simon Birmingham. For the second year running, UNSW received more Discovery Project grants than any other institution in the country, receiving 64 grants worth $24.1 million. Head of School Professor Stephen Foster congratulated successful School of Civil & Environmental Engineering applicants Professor Ashish Sharma, Professor Chongmin Song and Emeritus Professor Francis Tin-Loi – details of their projects below.

Professor Foster also thanked all those staff that submitted but were unsuccessful on this occasion, many of whom, however, received UNSW Goldstar and Silverstar awards.

ARC Discovery Grant winners for 2018

Professor Ashish Sharma ($327k): “A Fourier approach to address low-frequency variability bias in hydrology”.

This project aims to develop a mathematical framework to better simulate the occurrence of sustained anomalies, such as droughts and long periods of flooding, into the future. These events increase water insecurity and result in loss of revenue, livelihoods and lives. Hydrological planning requires knowledge of how such sustained extremes will change in the future. Current alternatives for simulating such changes for future climates are inadequate for catchment-scale planning to proceed. The project proposes a strategy for post-processing hydrological simulations of the future using an elegant frequency-domain approach. It expects to provide the tools needed to develop hydrologic infrastructure, such as water supply reservoirs, that secure our water resources for the generations to come.

Professor Chongmin Song and Emeritus Professor Francis Tin-Loi ($406k): “Three-dimensional contact and fracture analysis for safety assessment of structures”.

This project aims to address the safety assessment of engineering structures considering interfaces and cracks, which are nearly always the weakest parts of a structure system. Novel numerical approaches to model the contact of interfaces and crack faces and to simulate crack propagation under variable loads will be established based on the scaled boundary polytope elements and mathematical programming. It is anticipated that the developed numerical simulation tool will be robust and fully automatic. The intended outcome of this project is an innovative technology for numerical simulation and a rational predictive tool useful for cost-effective and timely planning, design and management of engineering structures.

Six further CVEN research projects were awarded UNSW Goldstar and Silverstar awards.

Goldstar Awards:

  • Emeritus Professor Ian Gilbert and Dr Ali Amin, “Time-dependent behaviour of fibre reinforced concrete structures”.
  • Professor Nasser Khalili and Dr Arman Khoshghalb, “Non-isothermal dynamic strain localisation in unsaturated porous media”.
  • Professor Ashish Sharma, “A novel remodelling technique for reliable design flood estimation”.
  • Associate Professor Thomas Wiedmann, “Modelling food system resilience and sustainability”.

Faculty Silverstar Awards:

  • Associate Professor Adrian Russell and Professor Nasser Khalili, “Impact of changing salt and water content on mechanical behaviour of soils”.
  • Professor Travis Waller and Dr David Rey, “Incentivised Strategic Traffic Assignment: Bi-level Transport Optimization”.

UNSW Goldstar research grants are awarded by the Vice Chancellor annually in recognition of UNSW researchers who achieve near misses in the ARC funding rounds. The Goldstar funds of $30K allow some initial research on the proposed research program to proceed, and to allow the investigators to further refine and improve their application for ARC re-submission.

UNSW Engineering Silverstar research grants are awarded by the Dean annually in recognition of Faculty researchers who achieve near misses in the ARC funding rounds.


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