Monash tackles global energy challenges with new ARC Centre of Excellence

Professor Michael Fuhrer
Professor Michael Fuhrer

Monash University has been awarded $33.4 million by the Australian Research Council (ARC) for the establishment of The ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies.

In total, nine ARC Centres of Excellence were approved for funding, with Monash leading or involved in five of them.

Monash University Vice-Provost (Research) Professor Pauline Nestor said the ARC funding reflects the University’s world-class research and its successful collaboration with external partners across the globe.

“For Monash to lead or play a significant role in five of the nine ARC funded Centres acknowledges our exceptional research capabilities and strength in collaborating with external partners,” Professor Nestor said.

“Pioneering Monash research is helping tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, including developing alternative energy solutions using new technologies. The new ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies will act as an international hub, combining exceptional, high  impact Monash  research  with expertise from across the globe.

“We are grateful to The Australian Research Council for their funding of this Centre that will help place Australia at the forefront of new materials research and technology. I congratulate all of the researchers involved in winning this highly competitive funding, as well as the twelve Monash  researchers  involved  in  the  four other successful ARC Centres of Excellence,” Professor Nestor said.

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies will use the new science of atomically thin materials such as graphene to enable revolutionary new computing devices with ultra-low power consumption.

Bringing together a unique and diverse team of international researchers and organisations, the Centre will help put Australia at the forefront of new materials technology and research.

Led by ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Michael Fuhrer as Director, the Centre involves participation from key Victorian research institutions, including RMIT University and Swinburne University, as well as nodes at the Australian National University, the University of New South Wales, the University of  Wollongong,  and  the  University  of Queensland. Sixteen prestigious overseas research institutes and universities in the US, Europe and Asia are also partnering the Centre.

“I’m delighted that this important global research Centre has received crucial ARC funding,” Professor Fuhrer said.

“The new Centre addresses the challenge of reducing the energy used in information and communications technology, up to 10% of electrical energy use in industrialised countries, and growing rapidly. The Centre will place Australia at the forefront of the next electronics industry through development of  new  low-energy  computing  technologies. It will also generate opportunities for the Victorian economy through knowledge transfer and industry relevant training for the future electronics sector.”

The Centre was awarded $33.4 million from the ARC over seven years with an additional $9.3 million from Monash and other participating Australian and international universities.

Professor Nestor said the ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies would have a lasting impact on future generations of researchers and on society as a whole.

“This Centre of Excellence will create an enduring legacy through a commitment to mentoring and inspiring the next generation of scientists.  A comprehensive communication and outreach strategy underpins the Centre, dedicated to disseminating research findings to wider society, and informing  industry  and  government  agencies,”  Professor Nestor said.

Community engagement will be aimed specifically at working with teachers to improve Australia’s performance in the education of primary and secondary school students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

Monash researchers were also involved in four other successful ARC Centres of Excellence, including:

  • ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (Led by the University of New South Wales, involving three Monash researchers)
  • ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science (Led by the University of Melbourne, involving four Monash researchers)
  • ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (Led by Swinburne University of Technology, involving three Monash researchers, and Alliance partner the University of Warwick)
  • ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (Led by the University of Wollongong, involving two Monash researchers).

In total, 18 Monash researchers are named as Chief Investigators on these funded flagship research centres contributing crucial expertise in areas as diverse as chemistry, mathematics, materials science, chemical engineering, computer science, physics, astronomy, Indigenous archaeology and Indigenous  history.  In  doing  so,  they help ensure an enduring legacy for Australian research.