Congratulations to our CVEN ARC Grant winners

Congratulations to our CVEN ARC Grant winnersUNSW Civil & Environmental Engineering (CVEN) researchers have won over $2 million in highly competitive Australian Research Council grants announced in November – excellent news at the end of a most challenging year. 

Researchers from all three of our major research centres – the Centre for Infrastructure, Engineering and Safety (CIES),Research Centre for Integrated Transport innovation ( rCITI) and the Water Research Centre (WRC) are involved.  Congratulations to Professor Mark Bradford, Dr Richard Collins, Professor Ana Deletic, Professor Stephen Foster; Professor Wei Gao, Dr Ailar Hajimohammadi, Dr Behzad Jamali, Dr Divya Jayakumar Nair; Dr Sisi Jian, Associate Professor Taha Hossein Rashidi; Dr David Rey, Dr Meead Saberi; Professor David Waite, and HoS Professor Steven Travis Waller.

The ARC’s Discovery scheme aims to expand the knowledge base and research capacity in Australia and support research that will provide economic, commercial, environmental, social and/or cultural benefits for the nation.

The School’s highly relevant projects include

  • developing a new generation of urban fast flood models and the-first-of-its-kind WSUD planning tool for such events,
  • improving our understanding and remediation practises of toxic contaminants in subsurface waste sites,
  • supporting the emergence of ethical transport network systems,
  • leading a paradigm shift in concrete mix design methodology, and
  • researching the fragility and resilience of steel lattice towers - such as electricity transmission towers- to fire.

Professor Nasser Khalili, Deputy Head of School - Research, was delighted to announce the news. “With the recently announced  three new DECRAs, six new DPs and another Linkage grant just announced, 2020 is turning out to be a magnificent year in securing competitive grants and I hope it signals better times ahead.”

“Writing these grants takes a great deal of time and energy and I sincerely thank all staff for the effort that they put into preparing them, and congratulate them on their successes.”

In total, 66 UNSW projects received more than $32 million, with UNSW Science and Engineering being awarded the lion’s share. Science secured 28 DP grants, with total funds of more than $13 million, while Engineering has 21 projects totalling more than $9 million.

Professor Nicholas Fisk, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, congratulated the University’s researchers on their exemplary grant success – fuelling them up to address some of society’s most pressing challenges and improve outcomes for all Australians.

“DPs – this is the highly competitive Commonwealth funding instrument that drives much of Australia’s world-leading university research. Year-on-year UNSW is again in the top three in the nation, a tribute to its long-run strength in discovery,” he said.

Details of CVEN researchers ARC DP& LP grants as follows:

Professor Mark Bradford    DP210102833 - Vulnerability of Steel Lattice Towers to Fire.

Project Summary: Steel lattice towers find widespread use as structural components in electricity transmission systems and as base towers in UHF and microwave communications networks. They tend be protected from bushfire damage by active backburning or clearing through their easement or right of way, because the response of towers to bushfires is surprisingly unknown, and it is not known if they can provide passive protection without clearing/backburning. A world first, this Project aims to use advanced numerical techniques to assess the fragility and resilience of lattice towers in fire using a systems approach based on fire load data available with a further goal to explore potential pragmatic strengthening strategies if necessary and feasible.    Award: $324,603

Professor Ana Deletic; Associate Professor Aleksandar Ignjatovic; Dr Behzad Jamali; Dr Maziar Raissi; Dr Ehsan Haghighat; Dr Peter Bach; Dr João P. Leitão - DP210103704 Urban flood modelling at speed and scale.

Project Summary:  Frequent floods in urban areas cause damages comparable to extreme floods. This is likely to intensify with future urbanisation and climate change. Although Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) offers sustainable urban drainage solutions, there are no models that can select an optimal WSUD system to deliver on a set urban flood mitigation target. The project aims to develop a new generation of fast urban flood models and the-first-of-its-kind WSUD planning tool to support industry and governments to effectively reduce the urban flooding damages. The project outcomes are also applicable for advancing early warning systems and real-time control of floods. Award:$390,000

Professor David Waite; Dr Richard Collins; Dr Timothy Payne   DP210103727 - Mineral transformation and oxidant production in subsurface environments

Project Summary: Sporadic influx of oxygen-rich rainwater / groundwater into subsurface waste sites induces dramatic biogeochemical changes which greatly influence the transport of contaminants present. In this project, fundamental knowledge gaps regarding the impacts of redox oscillations upon contaminant behaviour in these sediments will be addressed through a comprehensive program of field studies at a purpose-constructed experimental facility in an existing waste site, and complementary laboratory investigations. The intended outcomes are to improve understanding of contaminant mobility at the field-scale in these pervasive sites spread across the globe, and provide critical insight into their remediation using cost-effective techniques. Award: $400,000

Professor Steven Travis Waller; Associate Professor Taha Hossein Rashidi; Dr David Rey; Dr Divya Jayakumar Nair; Dr Sisi Jian  
DP210103138 - Quantifying Ethics-related Metrics for Transport Network Systems

Project Summary This project aims to identify ethics-related metrics for improving the design of transport network services, and augment the social benefits of transport systems to relevant user groups. This project is anticipated to conceive, implement and validate new methodologies to solve challenging optimisation problems aiming at promoting ethics in transport systems via the provision of incentives to transport services providers. The outcomes of this project are expected to support the emergence of ethical transport systems and to address fundamental societal and economical challenges induced by utility-driven transport services. This project will help in positioning Australia as a global leader in the field of ethical transport network systems. Award: $516,500

Linkage Grant

Professor Stephen Foster; Dr Ali Nezhad; Dr David Rey; Mr David Hocking; Dr Ailar Hajimohammadi; Dr Farzad Moghaddam
 LP200100531 Concrete Mixes for Durability: A Hybrid Mathematical Optimisation Approach.  Industry Partner: Boral

Project Summary:  This project will lead a paradigm shift in concrete mix design methodology, which is currently focused on meeting the mechanical performance objectives of concrete, to a holistic approach that maximises durability of concrete alongside its mechanical performance. The approach is based on a hybrid methodology involving mathematical optimisation of concrete mix based on empirically formulated objective functions for durability properties and mechanical properties. The multi-objective nature of proposed optimisation model will allow simultaneous consideration of several design objectives including: minimising the overall risk of cracking, minimising the permeability; and maximising the rate of strength development.  Award $384,117 + $150,000 Industry

Two CVEN researchers are also involved in ARC winning projects administered by other universities.

Professor Wei Gao is the second Chief Investigator (CI) in  DP210101353  Topological Design of Mechanical Meta-Structures, led by UTS.

Associate Professor Zhen Luo; Professor Wei Gao; Dr Paul Walker; Professor Michael Wang

Project Summary:

This project aims to establish a new computational design methodology to address current challenges facing creation of ultralight structures with ultra-high-performance characteristics. The latest technologies in structural topology optimization and its correlated numerical simulation and structural analysis methods will be unified towards an integrated design framework. Expected outcomes include an advanced generative design platform for discovering novel geometries to underpin new meta-structure architectures, validated by appropriate fabrication techniques considering their geometric complexity. Such capabilities will benefit defence, civil, aerospace, energy and transport industries that pursue competitive advantage through innovation. Award $394,287.

Dr Meead Saberi is the third CI in

DP210102089 Sustainable mobility: city-wide exposure modelling to advance bicycling, led by Monash University.

Dr Ben Beck; Professor Christopher Pettit; Dr Meead Saberi; Dr Simone Zarpelon Leao; Dr Kerry Nice; Professor Tarek Sayed; Professor Trisalyn Nelson; Associate Professor Meghan Winters
Project Summary: This project aims to develop a world-leading platform for city-wide modelling of cycling exposure. This project will provide unparalleled insights into cycling exposure by combining multiple cycling data sources through the use of advanced spatial statistical and machine learning techniques. The expected outcomes of this project are a novel inventory of cycling infrastructure, a cycling route choice modelling system and robust predictions of cycling volumes on individual streets. This project will deliver a step change in cycling that will lead to increased cycling participation, enhanced safety, and improved infrastructure planning, thereby resulting in substantial gains in population and environmental health. Award: $422,000.

Congratulations to all!

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