New ARC funding for The Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science

The University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Science was a big winner in the latest round of Australian Research Council funding.

A new international research hub, dedicated to making Australia more economically competitive through better energy use, will be established.

The Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science will develop next-generation energy and security technologies through manipulating light.

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Professor Paul Mulvaney, director of the Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science, said the research’s focus will be on manipulating the way light energy is absorbed, transported and transformed in advanced molecular materials.

“By creating new ways to harness and manipulate light, we will change the ways Australians think about energy,” he said.

“Improving energy efficiency will have a positive impact on the sustainability of the Australian environment, generate unique materials processing techniques, as well as new opportunities for industry and related employment opportunities.”

The centre will comprise of experts from mathematicians, chemical and physical scientists and engineers, as well as leading education experts, environmentalists, architects and business consultants.

Professor Kenneth Ghiggino, Associate Professor Trevor Smith, Professor John Sader and Dr Wallace Wong, from the University of Melbourne, will be part of the new ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science.

Professor Jim McCluskey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), credited much of the successful ARC funding to Professor Mulvaney and his fellow chief investigators.

“Our research strategy identified the support of sustainability and resilience as one of the three grand challenges our researchers would seek to address, and this centre will be at the heart of our work on issues of sustainable energy supply, energy efficiency and resilient architecture,” Prof McCluskey said.

Research programs will span high-throughput computational screening, single molecule photochemistry and ultrafast spectroscopy and embrace innovative outreach and commercial translation activities.

Professor Karen Day, Dean of the Faculty of Science said: “The centre will ensure that Australia is well positioned to contribute to one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century – the development of renewable energy sources and more efficient energy use across society”.

The $35 million centre is a collaborative project with RMIT University, Monash University, The University of Sydney, The University of New South Wales, CSIRO, Defence Science Technology Group, Reserve Bank of Australia, Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology - Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Ulm, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, University of California, Berkeley, University of Bayreuth and Shandong University, China.

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Clockwise from top left - Professor Paul Mulvaney, Professor Kenneth Ghiggino, Dr Wallace Wong and Associate Professor Trevor Smith.