Graduate Collaborative Research Awards - funded projects

See the types of projects previously funded under the U21 Graduate Collaborative Research Awards which aim to give doctoral candidates a global view of problem-solving and group work, and facilitate cross-cultural working practices.


High performance electrodes for wearable energy storage devices

Wearable devices are becoming popular with the growth of technology. One of the major challenges is to ensure an undisrupted power through safe operation so that they can be safely applicable to various smart electronics. The current source of power are the micro-batteries; however, they have a very short life cycle of the batteries (only up to 1000 cycles) apart from the electrolyte leakage problem. Also, the current wearable electronics are expensive because of costly electrode materials and complicated electrode processing, which hinders the widespread usage in various applications.

U21 Members involved:

The University of Auckland | The University of Melbourne | Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Making sense of work-life-care balance and well-being among dementia caregivers during the period of pandemic: an application of ecological momentary assessment using digital device

Dementia being one of the most prevalent mental diseases during the aging era among the older population (National Alliance for Caregiving, 2020; World Health Organization, 2019)causes deteriorating symptoms such as cognitive decline, communication issues and behavioral problems (Prince, 2015).Due to the caregiving burden and stress, their caregivers have been suffering from physical problems as well as mental well-being issues such as, depressive symptoms (Cheng, 2017; World Health Organization, 2019), depression, hypertension, diabetes, Ischemic heart disease and stroke (Prince, 2015).Dementia caregiving during the period of pandemic, such as COVID-19, can be more challenging due to limited community services as well as disorganized and inconvenient living pattern for the dyads of demented older people and their caregivers.

U21 Members involved:

Fudan University | National University of Singapore | University of Hong Kong | University of Maryland | University of Queensland

Let’s Work Together: Modeling the emergence of social cooperation and complexity formation.

Humans cooperate for a myriad of reasons - to share resources, trade goods, protect against enemies, mitigate environmental challenges, divide labour, transmit knowledge and information, or just to interact with each other. These processes have played a major role in human (social) evolution (Nowak and Highfield, 2011) and are crucial for the emergence of collective cooperation and the development of social complexity. Despite scholarly interest in the topic going back to the 18th century, it remains hard to distinguish the effects of individual processes or understand the synergy between multiple drivers. In line with the general development of science in the 21st century, social cooperation has increasingly been the topic of interdisciplinary research (Bowles and Gintis, 2011; Li et al., 2020; West et al., 2011). On the same note, our proposed research combines approaches from archaeology, anthropology, environmental studies, and network science. In our team, Dries Daems is an archaeologist with great experience in field research and agent based modeling of social complexity, socio-ecological resilience, and rural to urban transitions. Keith Smith is a mathematician by training and focuses on understanding complex systems using network science techniques. Bill Fagan is a theoretical biologist with long experience in transdisciplinary collaborations spanning many biological sub-fields and usage of cutting edge methods from network science, spatial analysis, machine learning and other mathematical tools. Danai Kafetzaki is a statistician by training and uses machine learning and visual analytics methods for topological analysis, feature extraction and clustering, to tackle fundamental archaeological problems. Hon Wah is a data scientist by training and uses neural network frameworks to look at biological systems. Anshuman is a physicist and ecologist by training, and uses a complex systems approach to answer problems of emergence of biological patterns in systems spanning different scales. With this team, we plan on bringing a holistic view of societal processes and institution building leading to cooperation. We will build simulations of network-based processes and validate these with empirical data from archaeology and anthropology

U21 Members involved:

University of Maryland | KU Leuven | University of Edinburgh

Government messaging on Social Media: Public Trust in Government and Public Compliance with Public Policy - Evidence from Text Analysis of Government Responses to COVID-19

While it is intuitive that denying, diminishing, and scapegoating during a crisis may damage public trust and lead to less public compliance with emergency policies, such as stay at home orders, evaluating and quantifying the extent of the damage remains a challenge. The inability to quantify the costs of unclear public communication makes it tempting for many politicians to employ these strategies to deliver short-term political gains despite the long-term costs. Moreover, the nascent literature on government messaging shows that findings from messaging studies in other settings may not apply to the interaction between citizens and government. Furthermore, despite the demonstrated importance of culture in moderating citizens’ response to government messaging, few studies have examined the possibility that the variation in national culture and political system moderates the relationship.

This project aims to address these gaps and quantify the impact of government messaging on citizens’ trust in government and their compliance with the shelter-in-place policies in diverse political and cultural settings ranging from the United States (U.S) with federal state and decentralized government responses to COVID-19 to Japan, and Singapore with unitary state and centralized government responses. Compared with Japan, the central government in the city state of Singapore plays a more prominent role in response to COVID-19. The project will not only help to probe the impacts of various government communication strategies in the social media age but also inform the government’s choice of effective messaging in different cultural and political contexts. Understanding the interaction between government and the public on social media is important not least because a large number of the World Population (approximately 3.8 billion) uses some type of social media and the majority of social media users utilize social media on a daily basis.

U21 Members involved:

University of Maryland | National University of Singapore | Waseda University


Electricity Networks that Accommodate more Renewable Energy

Fossil fuels have been the main source of electricity generation worldwide, still these resources are finite and release greenhouse gas emissions–as  a  result  of  the  combustion  process–increasing  the  threat  of  climate  change.  As  an alternative, new technologies based  on  renewable  sources,  such  as  solar  and  wind, provide  a  lower-carbon generation  pool. Several  countries have agreed to  increase  renewable  generation  investments  as  part  of  their policies to combat climate change and decarbonise their electricity grids. Australia, China and New Zealand are not exempt of this process and have pledged to reduce their emissions by 26-28%, 60-65% and 30% below 2005 level in 2030, respectively.

The steady increase of renewable generation is one of the main trends transforming the energy sector. This process is shifting power systems towards a low-fossil-fuel and environmentally friendly generation. This is also imposing new  challenges in  the  operation and  security  of electricity  networks. The  inherent variability and uncertainty  of renewable resources, such as solar and wind, and the decrease in “system strength”are some of the issues faced by grid operators.

U21 Members involved:

University of New South Wales, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of Auckland

Feeling Good, Doing Good: How Positive Emotions shape Prosocial and
Pro-Environmental Behaviours

The intrinsic benefits of positive emotions have been well-documented in psychological science: happiness facilitates mental health (Fredrickson, 2003), well-being (Tugade, Fredrickson & Barrett, 2004), life satisfaction (Kuppens, Realo & Diener, 2008), resilience (Cohn et al., 2009) and even physical health (Seligman, 2008). The experience of joy hence allows for people to lead more fulfilling lives, across a variety of domains –whether personal,or professional (Youssef & Luthans, 2007). Most recently, happiness was demonstrated to shape more than just internal benefits for an individual –joyful people were also more likely to support external causes, that would benefit society (Kushlev et al., 2019). As such, an emerging line of work has hence begun to evaluate the social consequences of positive emotions. Specifically, researchers have examined how distinct positive emotions –such as pride (Schneider et al., 2017), awe (Piff et al., 2015), and feeling moved (Schnall & Roper, 2012) –could shape thoughts and behaviours that are beneficial for mankind. This includes concern for other peoples’ welfare (Kuehnast et al., 2014)and advocating for environmental conservation (Harth et al., 2013).

While such work holds immense value, three main considerations have yet to be addressed. First, much of this research focuses on peoples’ thoughts and intentions, rather than measuring actual behaviours. Given the intention-behaviour gap (Sheeran, 2002), it remains to be seen if distinct positive emotions could lead to concrete behaviours that are indeed socially beneficial. Second, most of the present work focuses on the experience of such positive emotions; namely, whether feeling pleasant could shape social outcomes. However, emotions are multi-componential (Sauter, 2017), with facets ranging from communicative signals (i.e. emotion displays: Campos et al., 2013), to how one thinks about a given emotion .

U21 Members involved:

University of Amsterdam, University of Queensland, University of Melbourne

LDL-cholesterol reduction in patients initiated on statins for primary prevention and the future risk of cardiovascular disease: a population-based, international cohort study

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death globally.1 Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular disease, as evidenced by epidemiological studies.2 The clinical benefit of lowering LDL-C with statins remains widely accepted, as does the concept demonstrated by the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration that the magnitude of clinical benefit observed with statins is proportional to the absolute reduction in LDL-C.2 However, there is limited evidence on variations in LDL-C response/reduction and future risk of cardiovascular events in the general population (real-world evidence) for patients initiated on statins for primary prevention of CVD. The purpose of this large prospective population-based cohort study is to evaluate the association between variations in LDL-C reduction in patients initiated on statins for primary prevention and major adverse cardiovascular risks, across three geographically distinct cohorts.

U21 Members involved:

University of Nottingham, University of Hong Kong, University of Auckland

The Role of Parental Attitudes on Young Children’s Dependency Behaviours and Psychosocial Adjustment: A Cross-cultural Study

Whether a certain behaviour has positive or negative adaptive meanings is often determined by the cultural context where the individuals live in. This proposed project focused on children’s dependency behaviour, a type of behaviour that is under-researched but may have different adaptive meanings across cultures. The research aims to examine whether the relation between dependency behaviours and psychosocial adjustment differs between Chinese and Western European young children and, if so, how parental attitudes toward dependency behaviours contribute to such a cross-cultural difference. We hypothesize that young Chinese children would show higher levels of dependency behaviours than their Western European peers. We also expect a positive relation between dependency behaviours and psychosocial adjustment in Chinese children and a negative relation in Western European children. Also, we anticipate that Chinese parents would have more positive attitudes toward their children’s dependency behaviours than their Western European counterparts. Finally, we expect that such a cross-cultural difference in parental attitudes would mediate the cross-cultural difference in children’s frequencies of dependency behaviours and moderate the relation between dependency behaviours and psychosocial adjustment within each culture. Findings of the proposed research will contribute to our understandings of children’s dependency behaviours and the developmental consequences of such behaviours from a cross-cultural perspective. They will also highlight the importance of parenting in shaping children’s dependency behaviours and help to better understand the adaptive meanings of such behaviours.

U21 Members involved:

University of Hong Kong, University of Edinburgh, Fudan University

Weaving Structures: Exploring Extended Phenotypes and Digital Craft to Inform Material Computation

Weaving Structures is a transdisciplinary residency dedicated to exploring relational knowledge beyond the human, via an investigation of extended phenotypes (insect gall morphology)and digital craft (Japanese bamboo weaving, material computation). All of the activities in the programme will be focused on delivering and enhancing modelling skills. This collaborative project will involve four PhD candidates: Jo McCallum, School of Architecture, The University of Queensland (triaxial weaving,bamboo weaving, biomorphology in architecture), Kasey Markel, Plant Biology, The University of California, UC Davis (gall morphology, structural modelling), Abhishek Mallela, Graduate Group in Applied Mathematics, The University of California, UC Davis (applied geometry, ecological theory, structural modelling),and Benek Çinçik, Edinburgh College of Art, The University of Edinburgh (biomorphologyin architecture, craft modelling, human-nature relationships in the Anthropocene). The overarching aim of this work is to adopt hybrid modes of enquiry, and to dissolve accepted dualisms, like art/science,human/nature,plant/animal, digital/craft, and micro/macro, in order to reveal the interplay between thinking and making.

U21 Members involved:

University of Queensland, University California, Davis, University of Edinburgh

How can interactions with digital media foster refugee families' transitions to a new culture: A case study of refugee families in Auckland, NZ

Many families who migrate go through various adaptation processes related to new languages, places and cultures,  and face uncomfortable  situations  and  stress (Tyrer & Fazel  2014).  In  relation  to  language acquisition in a new country, families use professional services to receive information and resources about language learning and cultural adaptation (Perry, 2009). However, children can make a huge contribution to their families' transitions in the host country (Orellana, Reynolds, Dorner & Meza 2003) as they are the ones spending most of their time outside in the culture, learning the language, and adapting to new cultural norms naturally and more quickly.  The aim of this study is to explore the role of technologies in the transitions of refugee families in New Zealand and to determine whether children’s interactions with technologies at home have any impact on families’ transitions into a new culture. Given the proposed project is small scale, this project will only look at children’s interactions in up to three refugee community centres in Auckland, New Zealand.

U21 Members involved:

University of Edinburgh, University of Maryland, University of Auckland


Is Happiness from Beer Consumption Related to Alcohol or Specific Beer Compounds? 

Beer is one of the oldest and most consumed alcoholic beverages worldwide and, currently, it accounts for 77.7% of total volume sales. Therefore, it is important to understand the physiological and emotional effects of beer on consumers from different cultural background to assess the causes of its popularity. This project aims to assess whether the physiological and emotional responses to beer are due to the alcohol content or other beer components, and its effects on consumers from different cultural backgrounds. This will be assessed using non-invasive biometric techniques, machine learning and a novel Bio-sensory tablet computer application.

U21 Members involved:

University of Melbourne, Tecnologico de Monterrey, University of British Columbia

Teacher Perceptions of Indigenous Learners in Taiwan

This project examines mainstream teachers' perceptions of indigenous learners in Taiwan's secondary schools. In 1987 Taiwan's governance structure moved from authoritarian rule to democratization. Since then, 16 indigenous groups have been recognized nationally, and significant gains have been made in promoting their rights. In 2016 the Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Commission (HJTJC) was established to seek reconciliation between settler and indigenous populations, and promote a more just society. Despite this progress, Taiwan's indigenous peoples continue to be over-represented in low socioeconomic statistics, with employment opportunities primarily as manual labor or farmers in impoverished rural areas. Importantly, indigenous peoples are significantly over-represented in under-achievement statistics and drop-out rates within state schools. In spite of this, Taiwan's HJTJC does not have a current education strategy. The outcomes of this project has implications for current Initial Teacher Education and in-service professional development programs, and aims to understand mainstream teachers' perceptions of their indigenous learners. Such an understanding is an important first step in identifying appropriate interventions targeting the improvement of indigenous learners' school achievement, and is hoped to lead in to future studies of a larger scale. 

U21 Members involved:

The University of Hong Kong, The University of Melbourne, The University of Auckland

Oyster as a Model for Studying Bio-Mineralization in the Acidifying Future Oceans

Shell fishes, such as oysters, make use of calcium carbonate in the sea water to make their shells. The process of shell formation is controlled biologically by organic components such as protein and polysaccharides. This biologically controlled shell formation process is called as biomineralization. Ocean acidification (OA) poses a threat for the survival of shell fishes in the future, mainly by negatively impacting biomineralization. This project studies the effect of OA on the biomineralization of Hong Kong oysters (Species: Crassostrea hongkongensis) to understand the ability of these animals to survive in the future ocean acidification scenarios. The project also aims to understand the mechanism of response of the Hong Kong oysters to OA.

U21 Members involved:

The University of Hong Kong, University of British Columbia, University of Auckland

Building Bridges, Minding the Gaps: an Interdisciplinary Approach to Engaging Children and Elderly People in Creating Resilient Healthcare Infrastructure to Disasters

Natural disasters have become an increasing threat to the wellbeing of populations worldwide. In this context, children and elderly people (aged 65 and more) are two of the most vulnerable groups to the disruption of healthcare systems facing natural disasters. Children, are more vulnerable to health problems triggered by inadequate food and water supply that usually follows a natural disaster. On the other hand, elderly people's health is also highly vulnerable to disasters, as usually they must deal with chronic conditions that require ongoing support from healthcare infrastructure. Currently, there is scarce knowledge on how to integrate the perspectives of priority groups in the analysis of healthcare infrastructure resilience. Therefore, the main objective of this project is to formulate a methodological framework to incorporate the social dimension in the analysis of functionality of healthcare systems, based on the exploration of the children's and elderly people's perspectives. 

U21 Members involved:

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, University of Melbourne, University of Edinburgh

Multi-user voice-driven BIM-based navigation system for fire emergency response

Fire emergencies are one of the most frequently occurring incidents in residential buildings causing serious casualties. Navigational support is of high importance for fire emergency responders. Currently, two-dimensional route maps used for route planning in a fire emergency is  insufficient, especially when occupants are trapped and unable to articulate their location. This project aims to develop a multi-user voice-driven building information-based modelling (BIM) navigation system for these instances, concentrating on data collection from sensing technologies (e.g. radio frequency identification etc.) combined with voice-driven navigational query and command, making navigation more intuitive.

U21 Members involved:

University of Hong Kong, University of Auckland, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Structural Design and Fabrication of Folded Sandwich Cylinder Structures

Heavy structures consume a large amount of energy and generate massive CO2 emissions during manufacture and daily use. As a result, there is now a growing demand for more efficient and sustainable lightweight structures, across the building, automotive and aircraft industries. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is to use origami-like techniques to create folded structures that require relatively little machinery or equipment to manufacture. New research into using constructional materials for folded structures will expand the applications of origami and origami-inspired designs.

U21 Members involved:

University of Queensland, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, National University of Singapore


Image-based as-is building energy model (BEM) construction to support building energy retrofits

The project aims to develop an image-based approach to automatically, rapidly and economically construct complete as-is BEM geometry models for existing buildings. The focus of geometry model creation is because it is the base step and consumes the largest efforts in as-is BEM preparation. This project will extend existing research by automatically creating complete as-is geometry models that include not only building facades but also interior spaces. Moreover, the proposed approach will be cost-effective as it takes as input the digital images of existing buildings, which can be captured by common digital cameras or even smartphones.


U21 Members involved:

University of Hong Kong, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University New South Wales, University of  Birmingham, University College Dublin

Changing Patterns for International Student Mobility: An Economic Analysis of Emerging University Networks in Asia

This interdisciplinary project investigates the impact of the regional integration trends in Asia on students’ mobility in the context of the global international higher education industry. According to ICEF Monitor, more than 50% of all globally mobile international students are recruited in Asia; with China, India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) being the major source markets, due primarily to the lack of capacity in their home countries. However, over the last few decades Asian universities have improved their international rankings, resulting in universities from China, Singapore, and South Korea, being recognised as world-class higher education providers. These institutions are attracting an increasing number of Asian students who choose to study abroad closer to home rather than going to the major English-speaking countries.

U21 Members involved:

University of Auckland, University College Dublin, University of Edinburgh

A two-stage comparative study of doctoral researchers’ motivation for, engagement with and perceptions of international networking for personal and professional development   

In the current internationalised and interconnected context of higher education, it is reasonable to expect doctoral researchers to develop connections beyond their institution in order to develop a global academic profile. At the same time, there is an increasing level of support from associations, such as Universitas 21 (U21), to facilitate mentoring and networking opportunities for graduate students in member organisations across the globe. Little is known, however, of the extent to which and how postgraduate students draw on networking opportunities both within and outside their immediate academic community. To provide improved mentoring and networking services to these cohorts of postgraduates, there is a need to understand the degree of participation in international academic networks and the perceptions of the benefits of such alliances for their professional development. The proposed project aims to contribute to the under-studied exploration of the doctoral researcher experience in a global environment. It will be undertaken by four doctoral candidates in U21 universities (Edinburgh, Nottingham, Melbourne, and Connecticut) who are currently researching related themes in the internationalisation of higher education, graduate employability and doctoral education outcomes. Doctoral candidates are members of the U21 Forum for International Networking in Education (FINE). Founded in 2007, FINE is an international group of graduate and early career researchers from Universitas 21 Schools of Education. In the past decade, FINE has successfully created a platform to advance international collaboration of graduate and early career researchers in education. The pilot project will be situated in the doctoral candidates’ home institutions, although it could potentially be expanded to include more U21 institutions. The research will have two distinct though complementary phases.  

U21 Members involved:

University of Edinburgh, University of Melbourne, University of Connecticut, University of Nottingham, University of Auckland

Conservation, Material Culture & Art Attribution: Establishing a U21 International Graduate Student Network

The project will establish an international network of doctoral candidates who are researching topics in conservation, material culture and art attribution. Currently, there are no networks for doctoral candidates that address these research topics on an international level, from Europe to the Asia Pacific. The existing research networks in these fields are based predominantly in Europe (e.g. New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art [NACCA]) or are specific to conservation, without drawing together material culture studies and art attribution (e.g. IIC Student & Emerging Conservator Conference). As new conservation research emerges from Australia at the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Material Conservation, in the UK at the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham, and across Europe with the NACCA institutions, this project will build on transnational U21 networks to develop connections specifically between doctoral candidates in Europe and the Asia Pacific.

U21 Members involved:

University of Melbourne, University of Glasgow, University of Amsterdam, University of Birmingham

Art and Conflict: Investigating Cross-Disciplinary Methodologies

Art works speak truths about society in a way that cannot be easily articulated by disciplines such as law or political science. Aware of this phenomenon, scholars in these disciplines are increasingly paying attention to art works in various mediums, including visual and public art, film and photography (Sherwin & Wagner, 2014; Sylvester, 2011; Der Derian, 2009; Shapiro, 1999; Weber, 2006; Slaughter, 2O0T; Gibney, 2O13). Yet, the current scholarship lacks a methodological framework and does not often integrate the expertise of humanities researchers, with scholars in law or political science often using art works as simple 'representations' of political or legal themes (see e.g. Lippens, 2014). There is comparatively little scholarly work to date that has thoroughly examined the extent to which methodologies and disciplinary practices from the arts and humanities can inform legal and political scholarship about art. This is especially problematic when examining art works made within or after a time of conflict. The current approach by legal and political scholars marginalises the active role that art plays in contributing to post conflict societies, largely ignoring the way artistic practice itself can be a mode of politics or justice.

U21 Members involved:

University of Amsterdam, University of Connecticut, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland

Searching for physics beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics with jet

In 2012 the Higgs particle was discovered at the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. This was the last missing piece in the so-called Standard Model of Particle Physics. However, the search for new particles has continued, since several measurements in cosmology and astrophysics indicate that the Standard Model is not a complete theory to describe our Universe. The goal of the project is to search for physics beyond the Standard Model. This is done by looking at events of high energetic protons colliding in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and being detected by the ATLAS experiment. Specific events including dijets are a good probe for detecting a deviation from the Standard Model. Dijets consist of two jets, which are narrow cones of particles produced when two constituents from the protons have a hard collision.

U21 Members involved:

Lund University, University of Melbourne, University of British Columbia

The Spatial Typology of Industrial Clusters: A Comparative Study of USA, Australia and China

This project takes on three tasks: It 1) visualizes business establishments in three key metropolitan areas (MSA) in USA, Australia and China, respectively, 2) identifies the spatial scales of industrial clusters, and 3) analyses how spatial scales are affected by local economic, political and social factors. Following Porter (2000), industrial clusters are defined as geographical concentrations of related industries.  This project fills both academic and practical gaps. Academically, while industrial clusters have been intensively studied in terms of their positive impacts on innovation, employment and income (Feldman & Audretsch, 1999; Glaeser & Kerr, 2009), their spatial dimension has not been well understood. Business data are often aggregated at certain minimum administrative scales (e.g., neighborhood); prior research thus imprecisely measures the spatial scales of clusters and their impacts on urban development. This limits our understanding of the true scope at which cluster benefits spill. A few recent studies use establishment data to analyze the spatiality of clusters (De Silva & McComb, 2012; Kerr & Komiers, 2015), but such practices are not well examined across countries. The lack of cross-country comparison limits the generalizability of the results and forgoes the chance of comparative analysis, which may uncover facts masked in a single country study, e.g., different institutions may cultivate clusters of different sizes.  

U21 Members involved:

University of Maryland, University of Melbourne, Shanghai Jiao Tong University



Representation of Tone and Rhythm in Asian and African Languages

The project will investigate tone in Asian and African languages with a focus on answering two questions: 1 – Music has rhythm; stress languages have rhythm; simple tone languages have rhythm, how can rhythm be diagnosed and represented in languages having a more complex tone system? 2 - Given that Asian and African languages have different tonal representation traditions, is it possible to characterize the behaviour/patterns of both types of tonal systems using a single kind of formal representation?

U21 Members involved: 

University of Hong Kong , University of British Columbia , Ohio State University .

Proposed Outputs: 

Open seminars at collaborating laboratories, presentations at conferences such as: Laboratory Phonology, Annual Conference on African Linguistics, Generative Linguistics in the Old World or International Conference on Bantu Languages, plus publications in journals such as: Phonology, Journal of East Asian Linguistics.

Solution-processed organic solar cells with novel interfacial and donor materials

The project will look at ways to enhance the performance of Organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices, regarded by many as the future of solar energy, with a view to bringing these devices closer to the market. This collaboration, between synthetic chemists and physicists, will look at transferring materials and processing techniques used in other electrochemical applications to the development and analysis of enhanced OPV devices.

U21 Members involved: 

University of Auckland, University of Melbourne, University of Birmingham.

Proposed Outputs: 

Development of new techniques and mechanisms for the fabrication of organic solar devices and peer-review publications covering novel materials and chemical characterization.

Mobility, Migration and the Family: Establishing the U21 Asia Pacific Graduate Student Network on Family Migration

The project will establish a network of doctoral students who are researching issues related to family-based migration in the Asia Pacific region. It aims to provide a platform for the sharing of knowledge between U21 students opening up possibilities for ongoing academic collaboration and skills development, along with the organisation of an international symposium, where doctoral students in the field of family migration can meet to share their research approaches and findings.

U21 Members involved: 

University of Hong Kong, University of Queensland, National University of Singapore, University of Auckland (1 doctoral candidate).

Proposed Outputs: 

A new U21 Asia Pacific Graduate Network on family-based migration with associated website and newsletter.

A study of the microbiome on smartphone touchscreens in the households of psoriasis subjects

The project will leverage a large-scale household-based cohort in Hong Kong to conduct a study that will examine the microbiome exchange of psoriasis subjects in a family-based setting via smartphone touchscreens.  Results of the project will be used in the development of an innovative non-invasive tracking strategy to monitor personal microbiome and lead to improved disease prevention and management.

U21 Members involved: 

Ohio State University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of Hong Kong, University of Glasgow.

Proposed Outputs: 

Better understanding of transmission and interaction of microbiome among psoriasis patients and their family, leading to improved disease prevention and management. Findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals.

Asia-Pacific Collaboration in Flow-Induced Noise and Vibration

The project aims to develop a long-standing collaboration in flow-induced noise and vibration. This collaboration will share research ideas to develop new understanding and control of fan and rotor noise. By bringing together students investigating rotating, aerodynamic noise sources with those developing novel noise control techniques, the collaboration aims to produce exciting new quiet technology.

U21 Members involved: 

University of New South Wales, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of Auckland 

Proposed Outputs: 

Co-authored research publications and a database of results (experimental and computational data).

A comparative study of teacher’s works in the privatized educational contexts of England, Sweden and Chile.

This project will bring together a group of doctoral candidates whose current research relates to teacher’s works in privatised contexts to explore the extent of commonality, difference and tension between the various research designs and processes, culminating in a student-led Symposium at an international educational research conference. The doctoral researchers will use social media as a means of communication, both to other interested academic researchers and also to the public and non-academic stakeholders.

U21 Members involved: 

University of Nottingham, Lund University, University of Connecticut

Proposed Outputs: 

Project website/blog, doctoral symposium and co-authored peer-reviewed publication.

Does facial emotional communication between different cultures rely on conscious evaluation?

This project will study the cultural differences in perception of rapidly presented facial expressions. It is thought that basic facial emotional expressions, such as anger, fear, happiness and sadness, are universally recognised across different cultures – this project will use modern research methods in psychophysiology to test this theory.

U21 Members involved: 

Nottingham (1 doctoral candidate), Edinburgh (1 doctoral candidate), UC (2 doctoral candidates), Auckland (1 doctoral candidate), NUS (1 doctoral candidate).

Proposed Outputs: 

Jointly authored peer-reviewed publications on cross-cultural face perception in a social research or social neuroscience journal.