The UNSW-Jiangsu Industrial Technology Research Institute Collaboration Fund is an $8 million investment to be used to support 10 major projects in technological innovation undertaken by UNSW researchers and Chinese institutes.
The agreement is part of the Torch Innovation Precinct, a $100 million partnership launched in 2016 that will deliver funding for Australian research through the first Torch science and technology park outside China.
The precinct, based at UNSW, will see collaboration between Australian research teams and major Chinese companies with the capacity, capital and access needed to translate research breakthroughs into new products, technology and services.
UNSW says two of the first 10 projects funded will be with JITRI’s Institute of Water Environmental Engineering and Technology (Yixing) and JITRI's Institute of Membrane Science and Technology.
The first project marked for development is "The development of advanced treatment and toxicity reduction technology and equipment for wastewater effluent". The second is "The development and use of conducting ceramic membranes for fouling prevention, contaminant degradation and ion removal by electrosorption."
Both projects will be led by Scientia Professor David Waite, who is also the executive director of the UNSW Centre for Transformational Environmental Technologies, UNSW's first research centre outside Australia.
Professor Ian Jacobs, president and vice-chancellor of UNSW Sydney, said the $8 million investment would provide a further boost to collaboration between UNSW and China that will drive innovation in advanced materials, biotechnology, energy, and environmental engineering.
“The announcement highlights the importance of Australian-Chinese collaborations, national innovation planning and Australia’s bilateral relationship with China, our largest trading partner,” he said.
“One of the major projects under the new collaboration will offer new opportunities to scale up UNSW’s new Centre for Transformational Environmental Technology, the University’s first research base outside Australia that will translate environmental research into industrial application in China.”
Since 1988, the China Torch Program has created more than 160 high tech zones across China and become a catalyst for innovation, urbanisation and economic growth – and is associated with some of the biggest names in Chinese innovation, entrepreneurship and quality such as Lenovo, Huawei, Hisense and Haier.
A delegation of Chinese industry research partners, led by Professor Qing Liu, president of JITRI, was welcomed last week to UNSW by Professor Jacobs and Professor Brian Boyle, deputy vice-chancellor (Enterprise), Professor Mark Hoffman, dean of UNSW Engineering, and Warwick Dawson, director, Knowledge Exchange, Laurie Pearcey, PVC-International and Dr Yuan Wang, director, UNSW Torch Program.
Professor Hoffman said that many of the links between JITRI and UNSW were connected by the Faculty of Engineering.
“One of the strengths of UNSW Engineering is in research, global partnerships in industry, community and understanding that real impact is realised by commercialisation.”
Professor Hoffman recognised that part of the strength of the JITRI-UNSW collaboration was the opportunity for international and local engineering graduates to go on and work within Australia and around the world.
“We don’t sit in two countries; large parts of our population sit in both countries. Employers of engineering graduates are very diverse and at UNSW we are driven to have social and economic impact. This translation of research into the development of technology — whether in renewables, water or biomedical devices — connects closely with JITRI’s aims.”