2023 Seed Funding Recipients Announced

We’re delighted to announce the recipients for the UNSW Digital Grid Futures Institute’s 2023 Seed Funding Program.

| 14 Jun 2023

We’re delighted to announce the recipients for the UNSW Digital Grid Futures Institute’s 2023 Seed Funding Program.

We had many great submissions from across a range of UNSW Schools and Faculties this year, including lead investigators from all career stages. From these submissions, we have awarded funding to twelve applicants with projects that fit a range of our impact themes and feature new interdisciplinary research collaborations and projects with translational outcomes.

From short courses to open-source tools to media pilots, this year’s seed funding presents a diverse group of deliverables that will help further DGFI’s mission of enabling the electrification of society for a smart, sustainable future through research, innovation, and education.

Congratulations to all this year’s recipients!


Digital Grid Futures Institute Seed Funding Recipients - Q3 Additions

Adam Fish (School of the Arts and Media): How First Nations in Australia Can Get Involved in Renewable Energy: Lessons from the United States and Canada

This project aims to discover how First Nations in the United States, Canada, and Australia can capitalise on government transition policies. Adam Fish's project will explore what Aboriginal and Torres Strait energy entrepreneurs and their allies can learn from how Indigenous people in the United States and Canada are benefitting from energy transition.

The project is designed to produce policy changes that improve the benefits to Aboriginal and Torres Strait of ownership of renewable energy.


Elizabeth Thurbon (School of Social Sciences): Australia's Green Energy Statecraft: Drivers, Enablers, Obstacles 

Elizabeth Thurbon's project addresses the urgent need for a more long-term strategic approach to the green energy shift on the part of Australian governments, Commonwealth and State bodies - an essential consideration in accelerating the development and roll out of smart grids in Australia.

This project will benefit policymakers and business by helping to create a shared language around, and understanding of, the strategic challenges inherent in a rapid green energy shift. 


Patrick Burr (School of Mechanical Engineering): Develop assets and engagement for Fusion VIP project

Patrick's project aims to develop the world's first fusion reactor entirely designed, built, and operated by students. This project will develop assets to promote the project to encourage interest from industry and students to participate in a Vertically Integrated Project called AtomCraft - more information can be found here.


Digital Grid Futures Institute Seed Funding Recipients 2023

Guoyu ‘Clay’ Chu (School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications): Comparative Investigation of e-Bike Hub Motor Products: Performance, Material Cost, and Unique Value Proposition

With a focus on improving e-mobility – a sector pivotal to the energy transition and decarbonisation – Guoyu Chu’s project seeks to validate and promote UNSW’s patented motor technology over motors currently used in the e-bike market.

The seed funding from UNSW Digital Grid Futures Institute will enable Chu to transition his product from research project to a viable product on the market.


Georgios Konstantinou (School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications): Mastering Battery Energy Storage Systems in the NEM: From Fundamentals to Grid Connection

Large-scale Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESSs) are increasingly being used around Australia as an effective solution for dynamically balancing the electricity grid. However, there exists a knowledge gap in this area as no courses are widely available covering the connection and use of BESSs in the National Energy Market (NEM).

Konstantinou aims to address this knowledge gap with a hands-on short course with real-world examples, using the experience he and his colleagues have in delivering batteries in the network.


Fiacre Rougieux (School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering): Short Course Program - The Future Grid 101

With all the elements of a renewable microgrid, this short course will present a hands-on way to learn about the digital grid. With much of the current workforce needing to upskill or reskill to keep up with the energy transition, The Future Grid 101 will enable industry professionals to understand the shift and provide technical skills needed to transition their roles as needed.


Abhijith Prakash (School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications): Open-Source Package to Access Australian Energy Market Operator Forecast Data

This project has produced an open-source tool that allows academics and smaller players in the Energy industry to access and handle forecast data produced by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). Not only that, but it could allow everyday users to understand their energy use and how they could more efficiently use solar power or other renewable power sources.


Arya Laxmikant Shinde (School of Population Health): Driving Change: A Scoping Study Investigating Perspectives and Behaviours of Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Etiquette

Bringing together behavioural science and the digital grid, this project aims to understand and help inform effective implementation strategies to support the uptake and usage of electric vehicles (EVs) in Australia.


Carly Vickers (ADA Innovation Hub): Making Good Media

How can we change the media narrative around climate and the energy transition to be optimistic and educational? This is the question Carly Vickers and the ADA Innovation Hub are hoping to supply a framework for in their project this year.

Their proposed media pilot will help bring the energy transition to the forefront of popular media and help explain how the transition can impact community members positively.


Zahra Rahimpour (School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering), Beena Ahmed & Vidhya Sethu (School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications): Open-source Code for Disaggregating Customer-level Behind-the-meter Photovoltaic (PV) Generation Using Machine Learning Techniques

Currently in Australia, a typical smart meter only supplies data on the ‘net load’ of a household – that is, solar energy generated minus the energy used by the household. This presents challenges to demand forecasting, planning and operation of distribution networks and demand response programs.

This project aims to implement, test, and improve load disaggregation methods using Australian household energy datasets. As these methods are refined, they will help develop the next phase of SunSPOT, a tool that can help inform community members about potential savings from switching to solar energy.


Christian Criado-Perez (Business Insights Institute, UNSW Business School): Digital Sustainability Maturity Model

This project aims to build a web-based tool to help managers in a variety of sectors to assess their organisation’s digital sustainability against a maturity model and provide suggestions on improving this.

Criado-Perez’s project will help some of the most polluting sectors to advance their decarbonisation efforts, with a particular focus on the built environment to begin with. This sector is currently responsible for approximately 50% of global emissions.


Simon Heslop (School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering): Thermal Efficiency Assessment Tool Using Smart Meter Data

With the data smart meters provide on consumer’s energy usage comes a great opportunity of informing and educating households on potential ways to manage their energy load, reducing electricity bills, and helping networks operate more reliably.

Simon Heslop aims to deliver an open-source tool to enable to quick assessment of a residential home’s thermal efficiency, while also allowing government, research, industry, and consumer advocacy professionals to analyse datasets relating to energy usage.


Min Wang (UNSW Canberra, School of Engineering and Information Technology): Smart Grid Vulnerability and Defence Under Cascading Failure Attacks

Min Wang is an expert in deep learning and computer science seeking to apply her expertise to identifying and defending against cyberattacks in the digital grid. As the digital grid is more vulnerable to these attacks than traditional energy sources, the implications of this project are extremely relevant to industry professionals and distribution networks such as Ausgrid, Transgrid, and beyond.


Tong Xie (School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering): AI-Powered Datasets Collection and Analysis Platform in Smart Cities and Smart Grids

Tong Xie’s project aims to address the current gap in collecting and analysing datasets for smart cities and grids. Creating an open-source tool that compiles data on electricity consumption, PV generation, EVs, and carbon emission-related prices will lead to improved energy management and the promotion of renewable energy integration.


Support beyond funding

As well as providing seed funds, UNSW Digital Grid Futures Institute’s team helps connect the recipients to our network of industry and government contacts, signposts potential internal and external collaborations where relevant, and guides researchers and academics looking to translate these projects into real world applications.

The diversity of support we offer helps drive change in the real world and create impact with these projects. Get in touch to learn more!


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