Pioneering research and development in smart materials has earned the University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ) a reputation in cutting-edge composite innovation and technology.
The University’s involvement in a major new Australian Research Council (ARC) hub that focuses on protecting Australia’s critical infrastructure and assets against major fires will further cement that reputation on the global materials stage.
University of Southern Queensland researchers Professors Hao Wang and Pingan Song, and Dr Venkata Chevali are part of the UNSW Sydney-led project that was awarded close to $5 million in ARC funding under the latest Industrial Transformation Research Program.
The Research Hub for Fire Resilience Infrastructure, Assets and Safety Advancements in Urban, Resources, Energy and Renewables Sectors will develop, manufacture, and deploy next generation technologies and solutions to tackle fire protection and resilience issues.
“We still remember London’s Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, which caused the death of 72 people. Our situation in Australia isn’t any better, especially with our current materials for construction and substantial fire risk,” Professor Wang said.
“It is vital we find solutions to protect our existing buildings and assets, and to make sure any of our new buildings have the appropriate resistance to threats posed by fires.”
The University of Southern Queensland team will use their expertise to develop fire resilience materials, innovative fire suppression systems and fire detection technologies.
It is expected that the project will lead to advanced manufacturing capacity for fire resilience, and strategic partnerships and commercialisation pathways to translate research and development into economic benefits, such as through new export markets and jobs.
The new research hub will position Australia as a powerhouse of fire resistance – and Professor Wang said it was a wonderful opportunity to help grow the nation’s fire resistance capabilities.
“Our University has a research strength in flame retardants and fire protection materials,” he said.
“This ARC Hub is another demonstration that our research and expertise are well recognised.”
University of Southern Queensland Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor John Bell congratulated the academics on their success in the Industrial Transformation Research Program scheme.
“We are proud that University of Southern Queensland researchers are helping Australia find a solution to fire damage and build up a safer and more resilient society,” Professor Bell said.