Second grants awarded under Rio Tinto Australia-Japan Collaboration

03 April 2019

The Foundation for Australia-Japan Studies (FAJS) has announced the second series of grants awarded under the Rio Tinto Australia-Japan Collaborative Program, to four different research projects spanning medical, agricultural and safety applications. The Program grants are funded by Rio Tinto for the purpose of contributing to the Australia-Japan bilateral relationship through education and research collaboration between academia, industry and government, particularly in the areas of science, technology and innovation.

Successful projects are evaluated as being of a quality likely to attract interest and expanded financial support from the public and private sectors in Australia and Japan.

The projects awarded funding in this round are:

  1. Professor Wendy Erber and Associate Professor Kathy Fuller, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Western Australia with Sysmex Corporation (Japan). Their project, Australia-Japan Collaboration to Improve the Identification of Blood Cancers with Immuno-flowFISH will conduct pre-clinical evaluation of a new diagnostic tool developed by Erber and Fuller for more precise targeting of blood and bone marrow cancers. With immuno-flowFISH they can analyse the leukaemia cells based on their surface protein structure, and then assess whether there are abnormal chromosomes inside the cell with fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH). They will collaborate with Sysmex Corporation who are developing software to more accurately enumerate small FISH signals. The total FAJS funds awarded for this project are: AUD 140,000.
  2. Dr Robert Wilson and Dr Shirley Shen (CSIRO, Australia) and collaborators and Dr Ritsugun Gen, former Professor, Kumamoto University and collaborators. Their project 3D Printing of Novel High Vapour Pressure Metals and Metal Matrix Composites as Bio-absorbable Implant Components aims to develop and fabricate new types of metal alloys and composites for use as bio-degradable implants in clinical procedures. The total FAJS funds awarded for this project are: AUD 150,000.
  3. Associate Professor Dzung Dao, Mechanical Engineering, Griffith University, Prof Toshihiro Itoh, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences (GSFS) University of Tokyo, Professor Takahiro Namazu, Mechanical Engineering, Aichi Institute of Technology, Dr Toan Dinh, Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre (QMNC), Griffith University, and collaborators. Their project, Superior Sensor Network (SSN) for Harsh Environments, aims to develop a low-cost, low power consumption, high-performance sensor network technology for a wide range of applications including preventing accidents and catastrophic failures in, for example, the energy, extractive, chemical and aeronautical industries.The total FAJS funds awarded for this project are: AUD 144,573.
  4. Dr Roberto Busi, Faculty of Science, University of Western Australia and Dr Satoshi Iwakami, Graduate School of Agriculture, University of Kyoto and collaborators for their project, Understanding the role of glutathione S-transferase: an important enzyme to protect crops and fight weeds. They aim to identify the role(s) for the enzyme glutathione S-transferase in crop protection by looking at the behaviour of crop and weed plants exposed to various stresses and protectants as a basis for new strategies to ameliorate damage from cold in wheat and mitigate herbicide resistance in ryegrass, ultimately leading to better crop yields. The total FAJS funds awarded for this project are: AUD 93,196.

This second round of grants follows on the initial grant awarded in January 2019, in the amount of AUD 150,000, to Associate Professor Toru Wakihara, Department of Chemical Systems Engineering,University of Tokyo and Professor Yusuke Yamauchi, School of Chemical Engineering and Senior Group Leader, Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, University of Queensland. Their collaborative project, Nanoarchitectured Functional Porous Materials as Adsorbents of Greenhouse Gases and Catalysts: Converting Them into Valuable Chemicals aims to address global warming through the reduction of greenhouse gases [see full release].

The Rio Tinto Australia-Japan Collaborative Program, the first program established under the FAJS and funded by Rio Tinto, aims to support activities to raise the mutual profile and understanding between Australia and Japan by promoting bilateral research and other collaborative programs involving academic institutions and industry in the areas of science, technology and innovation.