AIIM celebrates 10 years of innovation and research success
Facility bridges the gap between breakthroughs, prototyping and commercialisation
The Australian Institute for Innovative Materials (AIIM) has celebrated its 10th anniversary at a ceremony at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus.
Researchers began working in the new purpose-built facility towards the end of 2008 before it was officially opened by the then Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Senator Kim Carr in March 2009.
AIIM was conceived as a place to research, develop and commercialise new materials, bringing together UOW’s two flagship materials groups – the Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials (ISEM) and the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI) – in the one, state-of-the-art facility.
The consolidation of the University’s electron microscopy into a purpose-built Electron Microscopy Centre (EMC) gave additional vital capabilities to the understanding of material structure and function.
It was one of the first research facilities in Australia equipped both to undertake ground-breaking research and to develop the production processes, devices and prototypes that enable those research breakthroughs to be scaled-up for commercial application.
AIIM was also designed to take a multi-disciplinary approach to research, bringing together biologists, clinicians, chemists, physicists, engineers and materials scientists to develop and explore new materials, their application, production and commercialisation.
AIIM Executive Director Professor Will Price said that over the past decade the Institute had made a significant contribution to UOW’s standing as a world leader in multi-functional materials research.
“Over its 10 years AIIM has grown tremendously, and had great success in the volume, quality and impact of its research, thereby making a major contribution to UOW’s international reputation and ranking,” Professor Price said.
“ISEM and IPRI have strong national and international networks and collaborations, strong partnerships with industry and community groups as well as attracting a large number of leading researchers and students from around the globe.
“This success is due to the dedication, hard work and efforts and qualities of all the academic and professional staff and students, who can be very proud as to what has been achieved.”
UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings CBE congratulated AIIM’s researchers for the contribution they had made to the University, to the Illawarra, to the nation, and to the global community.
“For the past decade, AIIM has brought together chemists, biologists, engineers, physicists and materials scientists to shape the next generation of smart materials,” Professor Wellings said.
“These teams are carrying out work in energy generation, transmission and storage, including battery technology for electric vehicles and ways to increase the uptake of renewable energy. They are also working on health and medical bionics that include bio-printing and soft robotics.
“Put simply, these researchers are creating new knowledge to deal with some of the great challenges of the 21st century. They are searching for materials breakthroughs that will not only improve the productivity of existing industries and help create new ones, but will also provide energy solutions and improve our health and lifestyle.”