Macquarie has an excellent track-record for turning innovative research into tangible solutions that can benefit the community and have a real impact on people’s lives.
Gene to improve heat tolerance in rice – Bayer
Providing tolerance to heat in rice of temperatures up to 45 degrees will reduce the effect of heat stress on rice growth, catalysing photosynthesis and maintaining a healthy group during a heat wave. With conservative estimates predicting an average increase in the earth’s temperature of 0.9 degrees over the next century, this innovation will assist in ensuring current agricultural land can still produce crops in the future.
Development of a heat tolerant rice crop, reducing the impact of climate change of global rice crops, improving productivity of rice crops in warmer regions and potential to transfer research to other crops are some of the impacts this research will have in the field of crop science.
Professor Brian Atwell was rewarded the Macquarie 2015 Award for Excellence in research. This research has the potential for enormous international application, with the need for heat tolerant crops ever increasing. Rice is arguably the most important crop globally, so ensuring its survival into the future is vital.
Translating laser research to commercial applications – M Squared Lasers
Owing to diamond’s high Raman gain, outstanding thermal conductivity and very broad optical transmission, diamond is very promising for realising miniature devices of high average output power and very wide wavelength range from the so-called terahertz region to the deep ultraviolet.
Macquarie academics have collaborated on distinct research projects and three separate linkage projects have been funded.
M Squared supplies advanced photonics platforms to researchers around the world and collaborates with Macquarie in order to explore new light-based applications. Their high performance systems are critical enablers of fundamental physics research and have supported a number of world firsts, including the first demonstration of ‘teleportation’ and the first stable ultra-cold molecules. Macquarie’s collaboration with M Squared has the potential to impact on problems in the fields of quantum technology, biophotonics and chemical sensing.
Macquarie’s Raman laser group has been very involved in the relationship with M Squared. The group is a world-leader in solid-state Raman laser technology, including continuous wave and pulsed laser sources for the ultraviolet, blue, green, yellow, orange, red and infra-red spectral regions. M squared has been involved with four Macquarie patents and Macquarie is very excited to continue to create impact with the company.
Macquarie’s Raman laser group has received significant funding from M Squared since the beginning of the collaboration and it is envisaged that this investment will only increase. This research work is hoped to have impacts in dermatology treatment, ophthalmic surgery, remote sensing, astronomical guide stars, atom cooling, neurosurgery and photodynamic cancer therapy.
Big Fast Data – CSIRO
Modular Photonics, passive fibre-optic technology that significantly increases data transmission capacity. The idea was born at Macquarie University and recently went through the CSIRO AcceleratiON 2 program, the first ON Accelerate program open to Universities.
Modular Photonics uses a novel integrated photonic chip to enhance the data rate across existing multimode fibre links by over ten times the current rate. The technology enables multiple data channels to operate in parallel without the length restrictions imposed by conventional multimode fibre links.
The CSIRO ON Accelerator is an intensive three month program open for teams of CSIRO staff and external collaborators to develop and validate high potential commercial opportunities. It concentrates on commercialisation in a highly structured process of market validation.
“I have been in senior positions for many years and it has been my job to motivate and energise other people,” said Professor Mick Withford, “this is the first time in two decades someone has energised me.”
Macquarie has gone on to enter more teams in CSIRO’s Accelerate programs with applications being successful in the last 3 rounds.
Sydney’s clean drinking water – Sydney Water
Macquarie has been collaborating with Sydney Water for more than two decades on ensuring Sydney’s clean drinking water. This collaboration originated as a result of the detection of waterborne parasites Giardia and Cryptosporidium in water supplies. Detecting parasites in large volumes of water is particularly challenging and this required a suite of novel techniques that combined the then cutting-edge innovations of microbiology and optoelectronics.
The team developed antibodies and nucleic acid probes that targeted the parasites and were then labelled with fluorescent markers. When this was combined with an adapted flow cytometer a novel detection mechanism was created.
20 years later and Macquarie is still collaborating with Sydney Water and this technology continues to be used throughout the world.
Professor Duncan Veal, who led the project said, “the university was very supportive in terms of grants and particularly support collaboration with industry; it supported our role in working for the community good. It was a university that broke down the barriers to create the collaborative and collegiate environment that is key to innovation.”
Dr Peter Langford grew Voice Project out of Macquarie University over the course of eight years. Without his passion for organisational psychology and an initial $50,000 internal grant from the University, Voice Project might not be where it is today.
“At one point there were four of us working out of my academic office,” said Peter.
Between 2002 and 2010 Voice Project worked from the Macquarie Campus. When the company grew too large for Peter’s office they moved into an incubator that used to be run by Access Macquarie. Recently they moved off campus but are still based in Macquarie Park.
“We’ve averaged more than 10% growth year-on-year since we began,” said Peter.
Voice Project specialises in workplace surveys including employee engagement, customer service and 360 leadership surveys. It has worked across all industries and is a market leader in non-government organisations and universities. The company has delivered projects for 37 of Australia’s 39 universities and continues ongoing work with 34 of them. Over time these relationships have matured a highly valuable suite of longitudinal data on the sector.
Peter made the choice to start Voice Project at the conclusion of an internal grant, the non-government organisations he was working with wanted the relationship to continue. What was originally a 50:50 grant co-funded by industry became 100 per cent funded by industry and Voice Project was born. Now the company has delivered more than 1,500 survey projects to over 500 clients including Macquarie. As an example, Macquarie’s most recent staff survey was delivered through Voice Project.
Peter had a young family throughout the time Voice Project was gaining momentum and he says Macquarie played a huge part in enabling the company to grow. Although the normal risks relating to start-ups may not have been removed they were greatly minimised. Having the opportunity to build a business while employed was important. At the time, the Faculty of Business and Economics permitted one day a week to be spent on industry engagement which went to Voice Project. There was a Faculty acceptance that industry engagement could contribute to teaching quality and research opportunities.
“There was no alleviation of my normal academic duties,” said Peter, “but I was never discouraged either.”
Voice Project still recruits staff from Macquarie, often graduates out of the Master of Organisational Psychology program, and Peter continues to deliver the occasional guest lecture or workshop at Macquarie. He enjoys the ongoing relationship Voice Project has with Macquarie. What sets the company apart from its competitors is the focus on research that Voice Project maintains.
Peter sees Voice Project continuing to grow in the future. The loyal client base and word-of-mouth marketing has developed the long-term relationships that underpin the company’s growth.