It’s no small matter – nanotechnology has real-world applications and international collaborations are building Flinders Nano’s profile.
A four-year alliance with Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), for example, has seen four more Flinders postgraduate students compete in a prestigious annual summer workshop at the renowned Japanese institute.
Among them is PhD candidate Simon Bou who became part of a combined team of postgraduates from six other participating universities in China, Europe and North America.
“In teams of three or four we had to tackle a real world problem using science but we had do it in a way that had not yet been thought of,” he says.
“It turns out that when you look at a lot of the hot topics in research, it’s very difficult to be novel, and so much has been done by so many creative people that being novel is really quite hard.”
His ‘Biomaterials Engineering Advanced Detection System’ project finished first, with Flinders nanotechnology researchers Renzo Fenati (third place), Ruby Sims and Oskar Majewski also enjoying the experience.
Simon’s work in Japan hasn’t finished.
As part of his six-month International Graduate School Fellowship internship at NIMS, he is working on developing antigens which act as biomarkers for diseases such as HIV, cancer or Ebola.
His supervisor is Dr Mitsuhiro Ebara at NIMS – in collaboration with Dr John Hoffmann from Seattle, US and Flinders supervisor Professor Amanda Ellis.
Professor David Lewis, the director of the Flinders Nano Centre, says Flinders was the only Australian university invited to take part in the summer workshop.
“It is significant that we participated in this workshop with such a select group of universities, and the recent Australian Nano Network workshop on the Gold Coast,” Professor Lewis says.
“In just five years, the Flinders Nano Centre has quickly built a national and international profile, particularly for teaching students and early career researchers about innovation and real-world applications for nanotechnology, and working with companies to apply this science.”
NIMS director Dr Kohei Uosaki is a Flinders graduate and current member of Flinders Nano advisory board.
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