UWA's infrastructure is available to research institutions and industry
Tap into our facilities and world class expertise for your projects and cutting-edge research. Our infrastructure portfolio is continually developing, some of which is unique in the southern hemisphere.Discover
UWA partners across the nation, across the state, and across the university to deliver research infrastructure that is accessible, cutting edge, and drives research outcomes.
NCRIS and UWA
NCRIS is a national network of world-class research infrastructure projects that support high-quality research that will drive greater innovation in the Australian research sector and the economy more broadly. NCRIS projects support strategically important infrastructure for national research priorities by providing facilities and support to enable Australian researchers to address key national and global challenges.
UWA is a partner in twelve of these national infrastructure projects, and leading one:
Astronomy Australia Ltd
Astronomy Australia Ltd (AAL) supports a range of projects to ensure that Australian astronomers stay internationally competitive and have access to the best astronomical research infrastructure.
AAL is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. AAL supports Australian astronomers by:
- providing Australia's astronomers with access to major international optical/infrared observatories to remain at the forefront of the discipline;
- supporting the development and operations of new advanced instruments for current and next-generation optical and infrared telescopes, and powerful new radio survey telescopes that will facilitate Australia's key role in the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project;
- developing new High Performance Computing facilities and managing the allocation of time on national supercomputing resources for theoretical astrophysics applications and large-volume data processing; and
- advancing a long term vision to create a Federation of National Astronomy Datasets that will give astronomers widespread access to radio, optical and theoretical data, to facilitate data-intensive research in astronomy and astrophysics.
AAL also engages with the Australian astronomy community to advance the national research infrastructure priorities of the Australian Astronomy Decadal Plan and advises the Government on future investments in national astronomical research infrastructure.
AAL is providing key elements of national radio and optical astronomy infrastructure and developing eResearch infrastructure to manage astronomical and astrophysical data.
AAL's members include all Australian universities and research organisations with a significant astronomical research capability:
- Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO)
- Australian National University (ANU)
- Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
- Curtin University
- Macquarie University
- Monash University
- Swinburne University of Technology
- University of Adelaide
- University of Melbourne
- University of New South Wales (UNSW)
- University of Queensland
- University of Sydney
- University of Tasmania
- University of Western Australia
Microscopy Australia (formerly AMMRF)
Microscopy Australia is a joint venture between Australian university-based microscopy and microanalysis centres. It was established in July 2007 under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).
Microscopy Australia provides researchers with a national grid of equipment, instrumentation and expertise in microscopy and microanalysis that offers nanostructural characterisation capability and services, including widely used optical, electron, X-ray and ion-beam techniques and world-leading flagship platforms.
Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF)
The ANFF enables users to process or manipulate hard materials (such as metal, semiconductors and ceramics) and soft materials (such as polymers) and transform these into structures that have application in sensors, pharmaceutical and medical devices and nano-electronics.
The technologies available at the ANFF lies in between conventional ‘millimetre’ scale processing technologies that use standard tooling methods, and atomic or molecular scale technologies.
The ANFF is made up of eight specialised nodes (or facilities), with direct involvement of more than 19 research institutions, including CSIRO, and supported by the Commonwealth and four state governments (NSW, QLD, VIC and SA).
The facility provides users with access to state-of-the-art fabrication facilities, including tools for:
- rapid prototyping of bio-nano devices
- deposition of metals
- testing of devices
- the generation of a variety of materials at atomic scale in presence of reactive.
Each node offers the capabilities of a complete stream from initial design to materials synthesis or preparing, patterning, manipulation or lithography steps, through to complete device fabrication, testing, proof of concept and prototyping.
The eight nodes specialise in different aspects of fabrication ranging from microfluidics, semiconductor optoelectronics and laser machining.
NFF nodes across Australia are accessible to all researchers at a low cost and on the basis of merit.
ANFF is comprised of 8 nodes across 21 institutions throughout Australia. These include:
- The University of Adelaide
- The Australian National University
- Bandwidth Foundry
- Deakin University
- Flinders University
- Griffith University
- Macquarie University
- The University of Melbourne
- Monash University
- The University of Newcastle
- The University of New South Wales
- The University of Queensland
- RMIT University
- Swinburne University
- The University of Sydney
- University of Technology Sydney
- LA Trobe University
- The University of Western Australia
- University of Wollongong
The ANFF-WA Node, at the University of Western Australia, supports research in the area of advanced microelectronic, optoelectronic, and photonic materials, devices and systems. ANFF-WA attracts significant usage by industry and international users.
The two flagship capabilities within the WA node of ANFF national infrastructure include:
- infrared (IR) materials and detector technologies, and
- microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) based sensors.
These strengths are unique in Australia and of international excellence. In particular, the synergy between the two flagships providing optical MEMS-based infrared sensing technologies for spectroscopy and/or imaging is at the forefront of international research, leading not only renowned university labs, but also research labs of major aerospace & defence industry players, including military/government contractors. As such, the node attracts significant attention from Australian-based and global industry. This is directly driving the node’s relevance and alignment with the new capability in the ANFF’s response to the NCRIS Roadmap Issues paper, referred to as “Translational Science and Engineering” and aimed at taking science out of the lab and generating commercial impact. The node’s research thrust is directed at novel IR detector concepts with new enabling capabilities, aimed at solving the main hurdles currently facing the present “state-of-the-art” IR technologies. Significantly, the node’s research strategy includes alignment with industry relevant scalability and integration, extending the on-chip MEMS research from the micro-nano scale into the milli-and centi- metre scales, and towards integration and connectivity with real-world sensors, device modules, and systems for everyday real world applications.
The research strategy of the WA node for the next 5 years aims at achieving the realisation of room temperature operation combined with low-cost solutions for IR sensing at ultimate performance levels. The associated technological and economic impact will allow IR sensors that are currently only within the reach of players that have the capability to pay for bulky and prohibitively expensive airborne hyperspectral imaging systems, to be miniaturised and sufficiently low-cost to be deployed on field-portable platforms as widespread as a common smartphone or in the burgeoning UAV industry. Of utmost importance will be novel solutions for addressing issues of high sensor cost and low yield, requiring material defect reduction and scale-up to large substrates, raising the need for investment in a dual-chamber Molecular Beam Epitaxy capability for growth of novel device architectures incorporating both II-VI and III-V semiconductor materials, superlattices, and novel device concepts. This opens new avenues for investigation of unexplored physics of superlattices and interfaces in IR material systems, where the research at the WA node is of acclaimed international excellence and leading the international thrust in this area.
A significant strength of the WA node is engagement with industry, in particular facility access by multiple large ARC Linkage Projects with Australian and international partners is a major factor in facility access hours and infrastructure utilisation. Increasingly, our industry partners are requesting access to modern packaging and integration capabilities, however, the node is struggling to meet this demand. Investment is needed to close this shortfall in research translation in alignment with the Translational Science and Engineering capability proposed in the ANFF’s response to the recent NCRIS Issues paper. Capital investment in wire bonding, flip chip bonding, wafer bonding, packaging, and testing equipment is essential along with funding dedicated to supporting staff. Closing this gap at the WA node, simultaneously addresses the identified weakness of the node, in terms of limited utilisation of the facility by non-UWA external Australian university users. Recently the node has experienced increased requests from this group for access to packaging and characterisation, and user growth would be expected following any capital upgrade.
The table below provides a most succinct summary on the current capabilities and the outlook for the near future.
Low-cost, room operating temperature IR sensing technologies with ultimate performance levels
On-chip & real-time reconfigurable multi-function sensing – many sensor modalities combined into one adaptive day/night electro-optic sensor
Contact: Assoc/Prof Mariusz Martyniuk ([email protected])
Acknowledgement of support for this NCRIS capability in WA:
The WA Node facility, hosted at the Western Australian Centre for Semiconductor Opto-electronics and Microsystems (WACSOM), is a fully equipped semiconductor fabrication facility that is internationally recognised for supporting both state-of-the-art research and proof of concept development for industry. The WA Node provides expertise in, and access to, state-of-the-art fabrication of optical micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and infrared sensor technology.
This capability includes II-VI semiconductor growth by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and clean room micro/nano fabrication facilities (ICP/RIE, thin film deposition, etching, optical lithography, wire bonding and packaging) for the fabrication of nano/micro electro-mechanical systems. Fabrication of MEMS brings together modified semiconductor fabrication techniques, such as MBE, combined with micro-machining to produce these devices.
Applications of the technology include the automotive industry, defence, and communications.
Areas of expertise
- Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT) technology for infrared detectors
- Novel, ultra low temperature MEMS technologies
- Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology for high performance electronics and ultraviolet detectors
- Atmospheric propagation of IR and UV for image correction and atmospheric studies
Electro-optic systems design including thermal and optical design
ANSTO houses a number of instruments/facilities, including the Australian Synchrotron. The Australian Synchrotron is an facility situated in Melbourne and used for physical analysis of materials and biological samples. Bright light generated by the synchrotron is filtered into hard or soft X-rays, infrared or terahertz light, and provided to beamlines where specific spectroscopy, diffraction and imaging methods are applied.
Access to the Australian Synchrotron is by peer-reviewed application three times per year, and the shipping, travel and accommodation costs for successful UWA applicants are reimbursed by the Synchrotron. Details of user access can be found at
https://www.ansto.gov.au/user-access, or feel free to contact Charlie Bond (general queries) or any of the people listed below for technique-specific questions.
Key UWA Synchrotron contacts:
- Charlie Bond
- Member, Australian Synchrotron BRiGHT Scientific Advisory Committee; Chair, MX3 Beamline Advisory Panel.
- User of Macromolecular Crystallography (MX) and Small-angle X-ray Scattering (SAXSWAXS) beamlines.
- Structural Biology of Gene Regulation. e.g. https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkaa262
- Alice Vrielink
- Member, Australian Synchrotron Stakeholder Committee; Co-Chair, Crystallography Program Advisory Committee.
- User of MX and SAXSWAXS beamlines.
- Structural Biology of Membrane Proteins involved in Bacterial Virulence and Pathogenesis. e.g. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1612927114
- Talitha Santini
- Member, User Advisory Committee; Chair, Powder Diffraction (PD) Program Advisory Committee.
- User of PD beamline.
- Environmental and Industrial Mineralogy: Soil Science, Environmental Science, Mineral Processing, and Geomicrobiology. E.g. https://doi.org/10.3390/met5031241
- Ingrid Ward
- User of Imaging and Medical Beamline (IMBL) and Infra-red Microscopy (IRM) beamline.
- Archaeology. e.g. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.05.005
- Gia Parish
- User of Soft-Xray (SXR) beamline.
- Chemical sensors. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apsusc.2014.07.002
- Jeremy Shaw
- User of X-ray Fluorescence Microscopy (XFM) beamline.
- Biological elemental analysis, 3D X-ray Computed Tomography structural characterisation in biological, geological and material samples e.g. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.11.032
AINSE provides pathways and networks for collaboration within nuclear science, engineering and related research fields both nationally and internationally. UWA students and researchers have access to a suite of AINSE undergraduate education schools and scholarships for honours students, postgraduate students, and early career researchers. These programs facilitate effective collaboration between AINSE members, including UWA, and ANSTO.
Rob Atkin is the UWA ANSIE councillor. Rob has used scattering techniques for more than 15 years to study soft materials and liquid structures. He has published papers based on data from small angle neutron and x-ray scattering (SANS and SAXS), neutron and x-ray reflectivity, and neutron diffraction. UWA staff interested in using radiation scattering methods can contact Rob for advice on experiment design and beam time applications.
AuScope aims to build world class infrastructure to assist Australian researchers in monitoring and understanding the structure and evolution of the Australian Continent with greater accuracy and the ability to access data in a seamless, cost effective manner. The program creates a unique integrated approach to earth science and geospatial research through investments in technology, data and knowledge infrastructure; and by bringing together government, academia and industry in collaborative partnerships.
The major data acquisition infrastructure includes six components that interrelate with the aim of creating the AuScope Earth Model:
- AuScope Grid
- Geospatial Framework and Earth Dynamics
- National Virtual Core Library (NVCL)
- Earth Imaging and Structure
- Simulation Analysis and Modelling (SAM)
- Earth Composition and Evolution
The Cameca IMS 1280 Secondary Ion Microprobe is a $7 million microanalytical research facility, which was fully commissioned in 2010 at the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation & Analysis (CMCA) at the University of Western Australia and is unique in its ability to measure in situ stable isotopes at the microscale.
Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC)
The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) is a transformational initiative that enables the Australian research community and industry access to nationally significant, leading edge data intensive eInfrastructure, platforms, skills and collections of high-quality data.
ARDC has five strategic themes that support the development of a nationally coordinated resource for Australian researchers:
- Coordination and coherence: Facilitating an Australian research data commons;
- People and policy: Transforming culture and community;
- Data and services: Maximising the value of Australia’s data assets;
- Software and platforms: Enabling research insights and supporting collaboration; and
- Storage and compute: Providing foundation infrastructure.
BPA provides services and scientific infrastructure in the specialist fields of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics.
It supports Australian life science research with crucial investments in state-of-the-art technologies and cutting edge expertise.
The BPA network includes four platforms that offer state-of-the-art facilities and deliver world class expertise:
- Genomics Australia – high throughput gene sequencing, transcript analysis, epigenetics, bioinformatics
- Proteomics Australia – protein separation, mass spectrometry, monoclonal antibody development, protein chemistry
- Metabolomics Australia – small molecule analysis, sample preparation, metabolite profiling, mass spectrometry, lipodomics
- Australian Bioinformatics Facility – cutting edge computational tools, bioinformatics strategies, data acquisition, data analysis, data reporting
Additionally, BPA has undertaken a number of special initiatives, leveraging the skills and expertise of BPA’s network to generate datasets of national interest in the areas of agriculture, biomedical science and the environment.
All researchers can access the BPA nodes across Australia at a low cost and on the basis of merit. Reasonable commercial rates are charged to industry users.
- Bioplatforms Australia Ltd (lead institute)
- Macquarie University (specifically, the Australian Proteome Analysis Facility)
- TGR Biosciences Pty Ltd
- Queensland Institute of Medical Research
- Monash University
- Australian Genome Research Facility
- The University of Queensland
- Southern Cross University
- The University of NSW (specifically, the Ramaciotti Centre for Gene Function & Analysis)
- The Australian National University
- La Trobe University – Victorian AgriBiosciences Centre
- Murdoch University
- The University of Melbourne
- The Australian Wine Research Institute
- The University of Western Australia
- Western Australian Institute for Medical Research
- The University of Adelaide
- EMBL Australia (Australian Bioinformatics Network)
- CSIRO (Australian Bioinformatics Network)
Metabolomics Australia (UWA Bioplatforms)
Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS)
IMOS is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional capability to undertake systematic and sustained observing of the marine environment, from the open ocean onto the continental shelf and into the coast, and across physical, chemical and biological variables. All observations undertaken by IMOS produce data streams in near real time and/or delayed mode (quality controlled), that are discoverable, accessible, usable and reusable via the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN).
Increasingly, even more data is being made available via AODN from a wide range of partner organisations – research institutions, Federal and State Government departments, and private industry. As the national scale marine observing system, IMOS supports a high level of international collaboration. This benefits Australia through coinvestment in our region, and helps position Australian scientists as global leaders in Southern Hemisphere marine and climate science. IMOS has also established partnerships with coastal and ocean modellers in the areas of model validation and development, data assimilation, and observing system design.
IMOS is operated by a consortium of institutions as an unincorporated joint venture, with the University of Tasmania as the Lead Agent. IMOS facilities, funded to deploy equipment and deliver data streams are operated by eight different institutions within the National Innovation System. There is a strong presence in Western Australia with CSIRO, AIMS, UWA and Curtin hosting facilities in WA for the deployment of infrastructure in Western Australia. UWA is the host for two coastal observing facilities: ocean gliders and ocean radar.
IMOS observations are guided by science planning undertaken collaboratively across the Nodes of the Australian marine and climate science community with input from government, industry and other stakeholders. There are five major research themes that unify IMOS science plans and related observations: long-term ocean change; climate variability and weather extremes; boundary currents; continental shelf and coastal processes; and, the ecosystem response.
In Western Australia the IMOS data have contributed significantly to the understanding of the marine environment. This includes: recognition, definition and ecological response to marine heat waves; discovery and importance of dense shelf water cascades along Two Rocks, Pilbara and Kimberley transects; definition and variability of the Holloway Current; interaction between Leeuwin and Capes Currents and the formation of eddies; Whale ‘songs’ in the Perth canyon; and documenting the impacts of tropical cyclones on shelf region using ocean gliders. The IMOS funding has also attracted additional co-investment to WA through Industry (Woodside, Chevron, Origin Energy), Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), National Environmental Science Program (NESP) and the Australian Research Council.
National Imaging Facility (NIF)
As part of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), the NIF has established a national network that provides state of the art imaging of animals, plants and materials for the Australian research community.
It provides access to molecular imaging instrumentation, including:
- a range of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanners
- live animal imaging equipment including bioluminescence, microCT, ultrasound and intravital microscopy.
Population Health Research Network (PHRN) (UWA LEAD NODE)
The PHRN project is creating and developing research infrastructure in the population health space, including information and communication technology, research equipment, data management and custodianship, analytical capacity and project management.
It provides researchers in Australia with the capability to link de-identified data from a diverse and rich range of health data sets, across sectors and jurisdictions.
This allows them to carry out nationally and internationally significant population-level research, to improve health and wellbeing and to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of health services.
Supports linkage of health and other human services data in privacy-preserving ways and makes the linked data available for approved research. It supports facilities in every Australian state including WA.
WA-based infrastructure supported by PHRN includes an Online Application System that enables researchers to apply for cross-jurisdiction linked data from across Australia and a secure file transfer system. As a result of PHRN activities, WA now has internationally recognised skills in management of personal health information, as well as systems and processes for data linkage and management of linked data. These are vital to a range of health and other human services research in the state.
The PHRN has funded a number of proof of concept studies to demonstrate how the PHRN infrastructure can enable researcher access to cross-jurisdictional linked data. Two of these involved WA researchers and addressed the important research topics:
3 peer reviewed publications to date
In-hospital and post-discharge mortality: Learning about quality of care using data linkages from Australian States
Linkage of the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) and state-based registers to evaluate and inform Australia's immunisation program2 peer reviewed publications to date
The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre is encouraging and energising research using supercomputing, large scale data storage and visualisation in Western Australia. They provide facilities and expertise to the research, education and industrial communities. Application areas include nanotechnology, radio astronomy, high energy physics, medical research, mining and petroleum, architecture and construction, multimedia, and urban planning, amongst others.
The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre is an unincorporated joint venture between CSIRO, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and The University of Western Australia and is supported by the Western Australian and Federal Governments.
Pawsey’s HPC system is an internationally significant resource which supports Australian computational research. It provides prioritised support for research in geosciences and radio astronomy, including the processing of the data generated by the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope.
TERN is Australia’s land ecosystem observatory. It measures key terrestrial ecosystem attributes over time from continental scale to field sites at hundreds of representative locations and openly provide model-ready data that enable researchers to detect and interpret changes in land ecosystems. TERN provides open data, research and management tools, data infrastructure and site-based research equipment.
The state of WA has chosen to collaborate across all universities and with the government partner of CSIRO in delivering top research infrastructure platforms to researchers.
A Management Committee oversees the coordinated use of research infrastructure in Western Australia through access and acquisition of microscopy, characterisation, analysis and imaging equipment and facilities.
Digital Humanities, Digital Data and eResearch
Digital Humanities is a new and dynamic discipline that supports students and researchers working with digital technology in a range of disciplines across the humanities and social sciences. Using research infrastructure, researchers apply digital methods to cultural objects and analyses, while also allowing students to turn a critical eye upon the rapidly changing digital world in which we live.
All areas of research are increasingly dependent on data and eResearch infrastructure. Through national, state and institutional investments over the past decade, Australia has built an internationally competitive eResearch system. Consolidating the gains of the past decade through the creation of an Australian Research Data Cloud will deliver a more integrated, coherent and reliable system to meet the needs of data-intensive, cross-disciplinary and global collaborative research. UWA supports these goals, and the needs of our researchers, with digital data and eResearch platforms.
Microscopy and Characterisation
Technologies in advanced microscopy and microanalysis underpin modern science, medicine, engineering and industrial innovation.
Our electron, ion, light imaging and microanalysis facilities are world-class and feature a unique ion probe facility and MRI facility.
Internationally renowned academic and expert general staff provide support ranging from initial project discussion and planning through to application of cutting-edge techniques and assistance with data interpretation.
Engineering and Advanced Fabrication and Manufacturing
Australia’s world-leading research in nano-electronics, advanced materials and photonics relies on access to cutting-edge fabrication infrastructure with diverse applications including advanced sensing, communications, quantum computing, energy capture and storage, new medical treatments, diagnostics and disease prevention.
UWA Engineering infrastructure provides an integrated approach and solutions to the challenges of mining development and production, offshore engineering, agriculture, health, transport, energy, water supply and community development.
Advanced Physics and Astronomy
Australia’s advanced physics capability will underpin the development of next generation instrumentation, critical to maintaining our edge in areas such as quantum computing, non-invasive scanning and additive manufacturing.
New quantum technologies will provide observational techniques that will lead to the development of technologies such as quantum optics used for gravity wave detection. Discoveries and application in advanced physics will provide novel approaches to geophysics research problems, enabling new mineral discoveries.
Marine, Earth and Environmental Systems
Enhancing and integrating observational research infrastructure with predictive modelling to strengthen environmental management, risk assessments, primary production, and resource development whilst sustaining biodiversity.
Predicting impacts on environmental systems is the necessary first step in the management of our continent, atmosphere, and surrounding oceans, in order to adapt to climate change to ensure domestic and global sustainable growth.
Global advances in medical, agricultural and environmental research are increasingly enabled by biomolecular research capabilities. UWA is developing robust scientific infrastructure across the four technology platforms – genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics – with the help of the NCRIS network and our State partners.
The efficiencies of scale and increased opportunities for interdisciplinary research by grouping or networking existing life sciences facilities will ensure WA continues as a leader in human, agricultural and environmental genetics.
Health Sciences and Therapeutic Development
Breakthroughs in life-changing medicine including medical devices, vaccines and cell therapies will accelerate with infrastructure that combines technology, research and medical science.
Bioresources and Agriculture
UWA is committed to the highest standards in laboratory animal care and welfare. UWA aims to provide a service to enable university researchers to achieve at the highest level whilst remaining fully compliant with regulatory obligations and conforming to best practice in animal care and welfare.
UWA hosts substantial bioresources for plant and environmental-based research including extensive on-campus glass housing, broad-acre and natural bushland reserves, farmland, and vineyards as well as innovative research infrastructure projects such as the Future Farm 2050.
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