Awarded Projects DTF 2.0

The Discovery Translation Fund 2.0 was launched in March 2015 with the funding support of The Australian National University (ANU) and University of Canberra (UC) , with Charles Sturt University (CSU)  joining the Fund in May 2017. Project proposals are currently accepted through ANU, UC and CSU.

Projects Awarded during 2015

DTF202 ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Research School of Physics and Engineering, Professor Barry Luther-Davies
Mid-infrared Optical Parametric Amplifier (MIROPA)
Project Summary The Project will advance a novel device that generates mid infrared “laser” light called MIROPA (A femtosecond optical parametric amplifier). The immediate market for MIROPA is a research market however the technology is also applicable to a range of commercial markets. Funds will be sued to (a) expand the capacity of MIROPA; (b) obtain certification for MIROPA sales in USA; and (c) support marketing activities
DTF204 UC Faculty of Education, Science, Technology and Maths, Professor Roland Goecke
BehavioMatrix
Project Summary Based on 15 years research in close collaboration with psychologists from the Black Dog Institute and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, in a first to market, this project provides a solution based on objective, quantifiable metrics that assist clinicians in the initial diagnosis of depression and ongoing monitoring of treatment progress. The team has developed technology for an objective diagnostic aid based on automatically analysing audio-video recordings of patients in terms of their facial expressions, head movements, voice characteristics, and body gestures. The project will fund the development of the technology into a commercially ready prototype.
DTF205 UC Faculty of Arts & Design, A/Professor Carlos Montana-Hoyos
IV Fluid Telemetry: A novel system for remote monitoring of cumulative Intravenous (IV) fluids administration in medical institutions
Project Summary “IV Fluid Telemetry” is a novel system comprising mechanical & electronic components, a wireless transmitting device, specialized analytical methodology and computer software to accurately measure and record cumulative intravenous (IV) fluid intake in hospitalized patients. This system minimizes human error in data input and is much more effective than what is currently being used (which relies almost entirely on manual human input and is error prone). The system is compatible with existing IV fluid administration systems (infusion systems), so as to minimise cost to the hospitals and allow for easy and fast tracked implementation.
DTF207 UC Faculty of Health, A/Professor Jackson Thomas
An innovative solution (UC-IN scalp gel) to pediculosis (head lice infestation)
Project Summary Head Lice infestation (caused by blood-sucking parasite Pediculus humanus capitis) is a chronic public health problem affecting at least 6–12 million people worldwide each year. Our project will evaluate the safety of a low- cost, environmentally friendly treatment for head lice, using an innovative, novel scalp gel (UC-Inone Nanogel [UC-IN], containing Manuka oil as one of the active ingredients). Should the results be positive, this will provide evidence for an affordable and effective treatment option for head lice in school children (the most affected group), as well as body lice infestations in people from resource-poor and underprivileged communities.
DTF208 ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Research School of Chemistry, Professor Michelle Coote
pH Switchable Control Agents for Free-Radical polymerization
Project Summary Free radical polymerisation has many applications in manufacturing, including synthesis of coatings, adhesives, toys, footwear, and materials incorporated into medical devices. Michelle Coote has made a discovery that could increase the scope, reduce costs, and improve control of free radical polymerisation without the need for metal catalysts or volatile compounds. Funding from DTF will be used to demonstrate that these novel reagents can be made and applied in industrially relevant polymerisation processes, which is required for industry interest and engagement.
DTF209 ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Research School of Physics and Engineering, A/Professor Shannon Notley
Enhancing Thermal Properties Using Graphene
Project Summary This project will form an important phase of validation for the use of graphene in thermal management applications. Adding graphene to materials that are inherently thermally insulating, such as fluids and polymers (or plastics), will potentially enable new high value and high volume markets for materials produced at the ANU. DTF funding will be used to purchase equipment for the measurement of thermal conductivity of solids and liquids. In addition to progressing the technology, direct market validation will be undertaken through targeted visits to leading companies within the coolants, phase change materials and nanocomposite industries.
DTF212 ANU College of Medicine, Biology and the Environment, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Professor Carola Vinuesa
Novel therapeutic for autoimmune disease
Project Summary Prof Vinuesa’s lab has discovered a novel biologic therapeutic candidate for the treatment of antibody‐mediated autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and potentially for treatment of allergies.
DTF214 ANU College of Medicine, Biology and the Environment, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Ms Kylie Bennett
Preparing moodgym for market
Project Summary Professor Kathy Griffiths, Kylie Bennett and team have developed a number of evidence based online e-mental health programs called moodgym and moodgym +.  Future grant funding for continued maintenance and development of the programs is under threat which has led to the development of a commercial model for sustainable delivery.  DTF Funding is needed to prepare moodgym for market by implementing updated commercial versions of the moodgym and moodgym + modules, and to create a consumer-facing portal.
DTF215 ANU College of Medicine, Biology and the Environment, John Curtin School of Medical Research, A/Professor Charmaine Simeonovic
Biomarker for beta cell destruction in Type 1 diabetes
Project Summary Patients with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) are unable to regulate their blood sugar levels because they cannot produce insulin.  The immune system in these patients is faulty, resulting in a misdirected immune response against the body’s insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The disease develops slowly over years, progressively destroying the insulin-producing cells. Currently, T1D is diagnosed after most of the beta cells are destroyed and insufficient insulin is produced- it is difficult to detect destructive disease before T1D onset.  A/Prof Charmaine Simeonovic has developed a non-invasive test that can monitor beta cell destruction before it’s too late.  This test has been developed in NOD mice, a model for human T1D immunology.  Funding from DTF is required for proof of concept of this test in human samples.
DTF216 UC Faculty of Education, Science, Technology and Maths, Dr Regan Ashby
Repurposing of a pharmacological compound for the treatment of myopia
Project Summary Myopia (short-sightedness) is an ocular disorder caused by excessive elongation of the eye during development and is the leading cause of low vision world-wide. Research has shown that light induced increases in dopamine release, associated with time spent outside during childhood, is a potent protective factor against the development of myopia. However, in many parts of the world, local climate restrictions prevent light levels from being strong enough to protect against myopia. Therefore, this project aims to re-purpose a drug used for the treatment of neurological disorders associated with reduced dopamine levels, to mimic the protective effects of time outdoors and thus control myopia.
DTF217 UC Research Institute for Sport and Exercise, Professor Gordon Waddington
AMEDA Dynamic Movement Sense Measure Project
Project Summary This project will create a “commercialisation ready” version of the AMEDA Dynamic Movement Sense Measure system by taking it from its current validated research tool version to a fully operating commercial prototype.
DTF220 ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, Research School of Engineering, Dr David Nisbet
One-step synthesis of ultra-porous coatings for titanium implants: encouraging superior integration with bone cells
Project Summary We have developed a novel one-step manufacturing process to produce ultra-porous biocompatible, biostimulatory coatings on titanium prosthetic implants. The mechanical strength and stability of the new coating will be optimised and compared to current coatings. The ability of bone cells to attach and grow will then be assessed and compared to current coatings.  This project will provide robust experimental results and a solid benchmark for this novel coating technology enabling a more advanced engineering of three-dimensional biomaterials for improved long-term integration of bone implants.

Projects Awarded during 2016

DTF222 ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Dr Ron Jackson
Development of an Antibacterial Adjuvant for Human and Veterinary Vaccines
Project Summary A number of important human diseases have eluded standard vaccine approaches, including Tuberculosis (TB) and certain other bacterial infections. Recently, we have developed a novel adjuvant (vaccine ‘additive’) which strongly promotes ‘anti-bacterial’ type immunity. This technology has potential to improve vaccines against Mycobacterial infections such as TB. In this proof-of-concept study we intend to: i) test the efficacy of our novel ‘anti-bacterial’ vaccine adjuvant in an attenuated viral-vectored vaccine system, by co-delivering adjuvant together with the TB antigens and ii) evaluate whether this vaccine strategy has the potential to promote enhanced high quality mucosal/systemic killer T cell and robust antibody immunity against TB, which induce better protective efficacy.
DTF224 UC Faculty of Education, Science, Technology & Mathematics, Dr Dennis McNevin
Genetic Ancestry Laboratory
Project Summary The forensic genetics team at the University of Canberra has developed proprietary algorithms, software and know-how which form the basis of investigative DNA analysis.  Funds are sought to take this IP and develop processes and products to establish markets into key areas, including genetics ancestry and forensic DNA analysis.  A stepped commercialisation strategy has been proposed to establish a service to be delivered out of the University in the first instance and then through the formation of a separate company to target these two markets.
DTF225 ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Research School of Chemistry, Professor Martin Banwell
The Discoipyrrole Path to New Therapeutic Agents
Project Summary Prof. Martin Banwell’s group has developed a novel, modular total synthesis of members of the discoipyrrole family of alkaloids.  It is proposed that by creating a collection of novel analogues with strong patent protection, and following this work with screening for activity to identify relevant candidates, that a drug development program can be initiated that has potential to identify high-specificity small molecule inhibitors of DDR2.  Such compounds would be clearly differentiated from the small molecules currently under commercial development, all of which have low specificity and side effect profiles that are problematic for some indications. To progress this technology support is required for patent exemplification of a range of novel compounds and, thence, the initiation of a drug discovery program.
DTF226 UC Faculty of Education Science Technology and Maths, Dr Kumudu Munasinghe
Heterogeneous Wireless Mesh Networking Platform for Realtime Sensory Data Acquisition
Project Summary There has been a significant growth in information collection through sensory data acquisition systems. However, there exists a void in robust, reliable, power efficient and cost effective communications platforms for collecting these sensory data. This proposal will be developing a fully automated, heterogeneous, lightweight, energy efficient, low cost, self-configuring/healing Wireless Mesh Network (WMN) platform for sensory data acquition. The proposed WMN will be capable of interworking with heterogeneous wireless technologies (e.g., Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Bluetooth) with custom designed routing protocols and transmission mechanisms highly robust networking solution for confined spaces and hostile environments will be achieved.
DTF228 ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment, Research School of Population Health, Professor Kaarin Anstey
Development of tools to assess and reduce risks of Alzheimer’s disease for wide use online by health care providers
Project Summary Professor Kaarin Anstey and her team at ANU have developed two online tools: the ANU Alzheimer’s Disease Risk Index (ANU-ADRI), a self-report tool to assess an individual’s risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease; and Body Brain Life (BBL), a dementia and Alzheimer’s risk reduction program. This DTF application is for funding to further develop the ANU-ADRI online tool for commercial use, and to obtain market feedback on ANU-ADRI and the BBL program.  Modifications to ANU-ADRI will deliver a more user friendly interface and output, and enable the creation of user accounts allowing individual tracking over time.
DTF229 ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment, Research School of Biology, Dr Kai Chan and Professor Barry Pogson
Development of novel “Yield Rescue Herbicides” for drought proofing crops
Project Summary The researchers have developed a novel method to regulate key plant stress responses, including response to drought, using an agrochemical strategy via the application of “yield rescue herbicides”. Two strategies to enhance drought tolerance are possible and both involve inhibition of the SAL1 enzyme leading to accumulation of its substrate, PAP, a stress signal in plants. The first is a chemical approach using existing agrochemicals or new chemistries and the second is the application of PAP analogues.  This provides a potentially superior approach in the development of stress-tolerant crops.
DTF230 ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment, John Curtin School of Medical Research, A/Professor Charani Ranasinghe
Novel HIV vaccine late pre-clinical evaluation
Project Summary We have developed two novel vaccine adjuvants (additives) that promote protective immunity against chronic mucosal infections such as HIV for which vaccines are currently not available. When these adjuvants are co-administered with a vaccine to a mucosal surface (i.e. to the nose) they induce immune responses consistent with those of “HIV elite controllers”– rare individuals who naturally control infection and do not progress to disease. The adjuvants are undergoing second-species efficacy trials, and we aim to use DTF funds to prepare vaccines for the final phase of our NHP trials, to evaluate triple action immunity prior to Phase I clinical trials.
DTF231 ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment, Research School of Biology, Professor Peter Solomon
Novel bio- herbicides: Induction of plant defence responses via application of CAPE1 peptides
Project Summary Herbicide resistant weeds represent the single largest threat to Australian and global food security and cost the Australian grains industry more than $200 million each year. The Solomon lab has recently discovered a small peptide called CAPE1 that can enhance the ability of a class of plant pathogen to cause disease in various plants.  Together with Biotelliga, the researchers have discovered a way to increase the susceptibility of a plant to pathogens as a novel means of controlling weeds.  Improved bioherbicidal formulations through the inclusion of these peptides as adjuvants is expected to provide improved efficacy and specificity for the control of weeds in important crops.
DTF232 ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment, Research School of Chemistry, Professor Ron Pace
Bio-mimetic catalyst for electrolytic hydrogen production
Project Summary The development of cheaper and more efficient catalysts is necessary to make electrolysis cost competitive with the polluting fossil fuel based methods currently used for hydrogen production. The aim of this project is to develop an electrocatalyst that is able to achieve hydrogen generation efficiencies near the limits of chemical possibility, without the need for fossil fuels or precious metals. Our design is based on the water splitting complex of photosynthetic organisms and our first generation catalyst has already shown efficiencies greater than 3 times the chemical standard catalyst Platinum. The DTF funding will be used for prototype production and development of a second generation catalyst with increased efficiency.
DTF233 ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, Research School of Engineering, Dr Matt Doolan
Advanced quality monitoring system for spot welding
Project Summary We have developed a novel system for assessing the quality of resistance spot welds. Our system provides a step change in the ability to detect sub-standard welds, and provides more detailed diagnostic information than existing weld monitoring systems. This system can reduce the costs faced by manufacturers associated with quality control of welding by reducing the need for off-line inspection and reducing the time to detect and diagnose faults within the process.  To continue towards commercialisation a thorough understanding of the relative performance and economic benefits of our system is needed. This project will support a comparative study between our system and the industry standard Bosch welding controller, to evaluate the performance gains and possible economic benefits.
DTF234 ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, Research School of Music, Mr John Mackey; ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Research School of Physics and Engineering, Mr Stephen Holgate
Commercial Development of ErgoCrane
Project Summary Musculoskeletal and overuse injury is a significant problem for professional and recreational musicians. The ErgoCrane has been developed as a first in a series of products to significantly reduce the weight of the instrument from the musician during practice and performance. The current project is focused on: 1) obtaining commercial build specifications for the current product; 2) design and prototyping on a 3-in-1 product; and 3) market engagement.
DTF235 ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Research School of Physics and Engineering, Dr Roland Fleddermann
Multi0modal ophthalmological instruments using ultrafast domain OCT
Project Summary Optical Coherence tomography has become the gold standard in ophthalmology for structural assessment of eye disease however, leading (FD) OCT systems are complex and expensive. The holy grail is to integrate structural and functional assessment modalities into a single unit to reduce testing time and equipment footprint for an ophthalmology practice.  The ANU has developed an OCT technique that is as fast as leading (FD) OCT systems at much lower complexity and anticipated cost. DTF funding will be used to integrate ANU developed OCT technology with nuCoria’s advanced functional testing, leading to the development of the first combined functional and imaging device. Such a device will provide an improved user experience, decreasing diagnostic time and improving patient outcomes.

Projects Awarded during 2017

DTF236 ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Research School of Chemistry, Professor Yun Liu
A novel highly efficient visible-light photocatalyst
Project Summary A visible-light photocatalyst has recently been developed at the ANU that is 15x more efficient than the industry product currently predominated in the market. While photocatalytic performance is the key characteristic of any photocatalyst, successful commercialisation relies on a number of other properties such as stability and durability. This project aims to characterise our photocatalyst and produce a technical summary of key properties that are of interest to industry. In addition, we will scale up the reaction to ensure the synthetic method is robust and we have the ability to provide samples of our photocatalyst to interested parties.
DTF238 ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, Research School of Engineering, A/Prof Antonio Tricoli
Market Evaluation of the Sprayable Superhydrophobic Coating
Project Summary A recent ANU media release has generated considerable industrial and commercial interest around a sprayable, robust superhydrophic coating developed in the Nanotechnology Research Laboratory (NRL), Research School of Engineering. Funding is requested for development of a “pilot-scale” facility to enable the NRL to fulfil the numerous testing requests received from interested parties. Insights gained during the optimisation and scale-up process will be used to further strengthen the IP position while feedback from the testing should allow us to identify an initial entry point to the market and identify licencing targets.
DTF239 UC Faculty of Health, Professor Rob Davidson
Scatter radiation reduction: A novel hardware and software solution
Project Summary The project will finalise the design and build a prototype of a novel anti-scatter devise for use in medical imaging. This solution to the scatter radiation problem in medical imaging will use a combination of software and hardware to reduce the degradation to image quality caused by scatter radiation. The hardware design is currently being optimised using Monte Carlo simulation. Models of scatter radiation from anatomical regions will be incorporated into the simulation. A prototype of the hardware and software will be evaluated using simulation models in clinical x-ray situations. Image and dose comparisons will be made for marketing purposes.
DTF240 UC Students and Partnerships Portfolio – Planning & Market Research Office, Mr Allen Hepner
My PlanScan – a unique Web tool that enables users to diagnose and improve the effectiveness of strategy, organisation or business plans, so they spur more positive results
Project Summary The purpose of this project is to develop and commercialise a novel software tool from an existing University of Canberra (UC) prototype used to diagnose UC strategic and operational plans and drive improvements in planning efforts. The next generation tool, tentatively entitled MyPlanScan, will scrutinise the efficiency and effectiveness of an organisation’s strategic, business and/or operational plan and display results using innovative and attractive graphics.
DTF241 ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Research School of Culture, History and Language, A/Prof Inger Mewburn
Jobs Explorer
Project Summary Jobs Explorer is an online tool that addresses the pressing need to better match PhD graduates with potential non-academic employers. Most employers who are seeking PhD level research skills do not necessarily mention the need for a PhD degree in their online job advertisements, which means these ads are effectively hidden from PhD graduates who might be looking to enter industry instead of academia. To help address this problem, Jobs Explorer uses machine learning processing to ‘read’ large datasets (of job advertisement texts) to sort them by the level of required research skills. By making this ‘hidden job market’ for PhD graduates more visible, the tool can help graduates, employers, universities and governments to make more effective use of Australia’s annual, multi-million dollar investment into research training. DTF funding is being sought to enhance the existing prototype and turn it into an ongoing subscription service for government, universities and individuals.
DTF242 ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, Research School of Engineering Professor Andres Cuevas
New method to fabricate advanced solar cells based on deposited silicon layers
Project Summary The best silicon solar cells today (efficiency >25%) are made with what are generically called “passivated contacts”. The most attractive methods are based on depositing a thin layer of polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) onto the silicon wafer, since they are compatible with high temperature manufacturing steps used by the industry. This project will demonstrate an innovative technology for making high performance poly-Si contact solar cells that is safer, simpler, and more easily scalable to industrial production than the existing methods. The project aims to produce a proof of concept device, thus establishing a solid basis for further collaboration with an already identified industry partner, and to progress a provisional patent to the PCT level.
DTF243 ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, Research School of Engineering A/Prof Yuerui (Larry) Lu
Ultra-thin, Focus-tunable and High Speed Micro-lenses for Miniaturized Optical Systems
Project Summary The best silicon solar cells today (efficiency >25%) are made with what are generically called “passivated contacts”. The most attractive methods are based on depositing a thin layer of polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) onto the silicon wafer, since they are compatible with high temperature manufacturing steps used by the industry. This project will demonstrate an innovative technology for making high performance poly-Si contact solar cells that is safer, simpler, and more easily scalable to industrial production than the existing methods. The project aims to produce a proof of concept device, thus establishing a solid basis for further collaboration with an already identified industry partner, and to progress a provisional patent to the PCT level.

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