Finalists’ countdown: Eureka Prizes shortlist announced
Robots to maintain infrastructure. Data science for debt recovery. Producing energy from poo. Using light to thwart currency fraudsters.
The UTS finalists
The UTS finalists’ line-up is a record number for the university in what are the nation’s premier science awards. The four UTS finalists for the 2019 Eureka Prizes represent an eclectic mix of expertise and application. They include a team and two individual entries from the Faculty of Engineering and IT, and an individual entry from the Faculty of Science.
Innovative use of technology: The Infrastructure Robotics Research Team
Maintaining critical civil infrastructure has traditionally been labour intensive, hazardous and difficult. Working alongside industry partners, the Infrastructure Robotics Research Team has created and applied world-first robotics solutions that have transformed how the Sydney Harbour Bridge, underground water and sewer pipes and other critical pieces of infrastructure are maintained.
The Infrastructure Robotics Research Team is a finalist for the 2019 ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology.
For over fourteen years, our team have been developing advanced robotics technologies to address the dangerous and labour intensive task of maintaining civil infrastructure. Through close collaboration with industry partners, we have developed a range of autonomous robots that have improved the way the Sydney Harbour Bridge, water mains and other infrastructure are maintained. These robots will significantly improve workers’ OH&S.
Excellence in Data Science: Professor Longbing Cao
Professor Longbing Cao is a global leader in data science research, education and innovation. He has developed cutting-edge theories and systems to analyse real-life complex data for smarter business transformation and enabled more efficient, active and tailored debt recovery and payment collection practices, which produced significant socio-economic benefits to Australia.
Professor Longbing Cao is a finalist for the 2019 University of Technology Sydney Eureka Prize for Excellence in Data Science.
So my data science research focuses on developing cutting-edge theories to analyse various complexities and discover diversified intelligences. My unique approach is bridging the gap between theoretical breakthroughs and impactful business transformation. So the research has been applied to debt collection, prevention, prediction and intervention that has produced significant socio-economic benefit to Australia.
Outstanding Early Career Researcher: Dr Qilin Wang
Dr Qilin Wang has invented an environmentally friendly, “closed-loop”, technology to transform costly, energy-consuming sewage treatment plants into energy producers. This sustainable technology, which is undergoing commercialisation globally, could provide significant energy, economic, environmental and social benefits in Australia and around the world.
Dr Qilin Wang is a finalist for the 2019 Macquarie University Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher.
Sewage treatment plants are large energy consumers. At the same time, sewage is also an untapped source of chemical energy.
I have developed a closed-loop technology, using a by-product of sewage treatment, to increase energy recovery from sewage by > 5 times compared to what is currently achievable. This technology would transform the costly, energy-consuming sewage treatment plants into energy producers, and bring significant energy, economic and environmental benefits for both Australian and international communities.
Outstanding Early Career Researcher: Dr Jiajia Zhou
Disease diagnosis, manufacturing, solar energy harvesting and fraud prevention could all benefit from the discoveries made by Dr Jiajia Zhou’s research. Her work has resulted in the solution of a significant physics problem by using the typically inactive surface of a nanomaterial to convert infrared light into bright visible light.
Dr Jiajia Zhou is a finalist for the 2019 Macquarie University Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher.
Light exists in both the visible and invisible spectrum. The multiple invisible photons can be combined and give rise to a visible one, the process is known as upconversion in physics. I was the first to observe that the thermal field can to turn this unusual process from the dark state into a highly emissive state. This discovery opens the door to high-efficiency optoelectronics devices, biomolecular probes, high-security level anti-counterfeiting inks and ultrasensitive nano thermometers to detect the tiny temperature change within the live cell for precision medicine.
The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes
The Eureka Prizes, presented by the Australian Museum, honour excellence in research and innovation, leadership, science engagement and school science.
See the full list of shortlisted entries for the 2019 Australian Museum Eureka Prize finalists.
Past UTS Eureka Prize recipients
Recent UTS winners of the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes include:
- Professor Patricia Davidson for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers (2016)
- Professor Dayong Jin for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research (2015), and
- Professor Dacheng Tao for Excellence in International Scientific Collaboration (2015).
The 2019 winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 28 August.