By 2014, the nano and bionano-technology research revolution had produced exciting research outcomes. But, in many cases, they had not translated to practical outcomes for society. The Materials Hallmark Research Initiative was created to support interdisciplinary research and development in scalable nano to meso-materials.


The Materials Hallmark Research Initiative offered support for researchers to pursue large-scale funding opportunities. In order to fuel these collaborations, the initiative offered:

  • Industry seed funding for projects where a company partner was required in the project (designed as ARC Linkage grants). These were awarded to the following partnerships/projects:
    • Prof George Franks and Morgan Technical Ceramics: Evaluating alternative manufacture techniques for ceramics
    • Prof Kenong Xia and Coogee Chemicals: Characterisation of meltless titanium power for additive manufacturing
    • Prof Dalton Harvie and CSL: Blood coagulation rate constants in flow – a CFD optimisation study.
  • Collaborative Early Career Researcher Seed Funding
  • Support for visiting academics – in areas relevant to the initiative’s research themes
  • Support for workshops and seminars, including:
    • ‘When Industry met Academics’, Materials Workshop – including speakers from Anatomics, Dulux, Rio Tinto, 2015
    • ‘Advanced Materials: Scientific & Engineering Challenges Conference’ 2016 – a University of Melbourne conference celebrating the award of the 2015 Kyoto Prize to Professor Toyoki Kunitake
    • a workshop in 2018 for PhD and masters students on how to communicate across disciplines and beyond – this was presented along with the Therapeutic Technologies Hallmark Research Initiative and the Computational Biology Hallmark Research Initiative
    • a mentoring workshop in 2017 for early-mid career researchers, identifying available resources and local mentoring needs
    • ‘Materials in Medicine’ seminar series.


By 2014, the nano and bionano-technology research revolution had produced exciting research outcomes. But in many cases, these findings have not translated to practical outcomes for society. This is largely due to the challenges involved in moving engineered particles, including nano-scale materials and devices, into production.

To address this, there has been a shift globally, where governments have supported materials research at the nano-scale (producing micro-grams of materials) there is now a focus on engineering materials that can be produced at a larger scale. This shift from the nano-scale to the meso-scale allows for viable links to process engineering. Meanwhile, it focuses on creating materials that possess novel properties that differ from traditional macroscopic materials.


The Materials Hallmark Research Initiative was announced in 2014, with funding from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research for three years. Although this initiative no longer receives DVCR funding, Professor Ray Dagastine and Dr Rackel San Nicolas continue as key contacts for the active community of materials researchers at the University.

Our approach

The overarching vision of the Materials Hallmark Research Initiative was to support and develop interdisciplinary research in scalable nano to meso-materials across three research themes:

  • Materials into medicine
  • Materials for energy
  • Controlled assembly of materials.

Image: Shutterstock

First published on 27 April 2022.

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