Bees, oysters and Meals on Wheels: the Grand Challenge projects awarded NSW Smart Sensing Network grants

NSW Smart Sensing Network

Innovative smart sensing projects which promote sustainable beekeeping practices, empower oyster farmers to navigate floods and heatwaves, and help identify hearing issues in homebound older people have secured funding in this year’s NSSN Grand Challenge Fund. 

Collaborative teams across NSSN’s member universities will share a record $446,426 of NSSN funding, matched by a further $450,000 in industry partner funding, to develop impactful solutions to NSSN Grand Challenges. 

Seven research and development projects have secured funding this year, including: 

  • Meaningful Measures in the Home is being led by Professor Paul Egglestone from the University of Newcastle. Prof. Egglestone will partner with UTS to identify a set of meaningful measurements that provide a comprehensive understanding of older people’s wellbeing at home. These insights will inform personalised care models, enabling proactive interventions preventing significant events and subsequent hospital admission. The team’s industry partners include Hospital In Your Home, My Medic Watch, Intelicare Holdings Ltd, Vlepis, Hills and United for Care.

    SOUND-BITES Program: Integrating Hearing Checks and Education on Hearing Loss and Hearing Sensing Technologies within Meals on Wheels (MoW) Services is led by Professor Bamini Gopinath at Macquarie University. This project will improve the management of hearing health across the NSW Meals on Wheels network by providing volunteers with user-friendly hearing screening tools to identify hearing issues in homebound older people as part of a routine wellbeing check. Prof. Gopinath will partner with the University of Newcastle and industry partners Sound Scouts, Cochlear and Meals on Wheels.

    A New Sensor-based Monitoring System for the Early Detection and Improved Management of Heart Failure is being led by Professor Gaetano Gargiulo from Western Sydney University. Prof. Gaetano will partner with the University of Sydney and industry partner Medical Monitoring Solutions. This project will advance a non-invasive sensor system designed for the early detection and improved management of heart failure patients in non-hospital settings from prototype to product design and complete a clinical evaluation. The goal of the sensor system is to reduce hospital admissions and readmission.

    Biosensing Technologies for Hive Health Monitoring is led by Associate Professor Noushin Nasiri from Macquarie University. A/Prof Nasiri will partner with researchers from ANU and the University of Sydney and industry partners LB Agtech Holdings Pty Ltd. Their project aims to promote sustainable beekeeping practices and foster cleaner agricultural ecosystems through the implementation of remote beehive monitoring systems.

    Revolutionizing Indoor Sensor Power: Rapid Microwave Annealing for Ultra-low-cost Perovskite Solar Cells is being led by Dr Binesh Veettil from Macquarie University in partnership with UNSW and industry partner Halocell Energy Ltd. This project will demonstrate the feasibility of using microwave annealing to speed up the production of cost-effective perovskite photovoltaic cells while enhancing their quality in roll-to-roll manufacturing. The innovation eliminates reliance of sensors on batteries that generate toxic waste on disposal.

    Real Time Fuel Moisture Monitoring Using Low-cost Internet of Things Devices is being led by Dr Nicholas Wilson from ANU. Dr Wilson will partner with Western Sydney University, industry partner Indicium Dynamics, and government partners Forestry Corporation of NSW and ACT Parks & Conservation Service. The project will empower bushfire managers to efficiently monitor the moisture content of bushfire fuel using cost-effective Internet of Things sensors originally designed for smoke detection.

    OysterGuard: Precision Water Quality Monitoring System to Safeguard Against Oyster Mortality is led by Dr Hugh Forehead from University of Wollongong in partnership with Macquarie University and industry partner Oceanfarmr Pty Ltd. This project will create a connected water quality monitor that will empower oyster farmers to navigate climate change challenges such as heatwaves, floods and droughts. The monitor will detect hazardous water conditions and deliver real-time alerts and comprehensive reports to farmers via an app.

The NSSN Grand Challenge Fund is now in its fourth year and allows nine member universities from across New South Wales and the ACT to compete for funding that fosters innovative research in collaboration with industry, government and other universities.

The Fund promotes the development of innovative, collaborative research projects that advance smart sensing solutions to the five NSSN Grand Challenges in ageing, natural hazards, clean tech, water and smart places and buildings.

As part of the Fund, co-funded grants of up to $100,000 per project support the development of R&D projects that link industry or government partners with NSSN member universities to translate world-class research into impactful smart sensing solutions, either through commercialisation or operationalisation.

The next round of the NSSN Grand Challenges Fund will be offered in November 2024.

/Public Release.