Recycling for green economy

Flinders University is in contention for several 2021 South Australian Science Excellence and Innovation awards – led by two finalists for the ‘Innovator of the Year’ award to be announced in December.

Professor David Lewis and Associate Professor Jonathan Campbell from Flinders University’s Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, for their long-running collaboration with 3RT (Recycle, Reduce and Reuse Timber) Holdings, and Associate Professor Justin Chalker, for a range of polymers made from waste materials and commercialised with industry partner Clean Earth Technologies are finalists for Innovator of the Year.

“This project has led to internationally patented technology that can turn low value plantation timber into sustainable, high quality and affordable hardwood, with the first products made at 3RT’s new Adelaide manufacturing plant now on sale at Bunnings,” says Associate Professor Campbell.

The new 3RT Innovation Centre in Adelaide.

The Chalker Lab innovations are the basis for several products and services rolling out globally, including novel materials that capture toxic mercury pollution, clean methods for gold extraction from ore and e-waste, and precisions fertilisers for agriculture.

Flinders University also has two finalists in the award for ‘Excellence in Science and Industry Collaboration‘ – with the Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development which recently has led the establishment of a $270 million Marine Bioproducts CRC – and Flinders-Micro-X STEM Fast Track collaboration between students and the adjoining X-ray technology company at Tonsley Innovation District leading the way.

Also building on the future of STEM careers in South Australia are the two Flinders University finalists for ‘STEM Educator of the Year‘ (University or Registered Training Organisation).

Associate Professor Kirstin Ross, right, and colleague Dr Harriet Whiley in the Environmental Health laboratory at Flinders University.

Professor Giselle Rampersad, who leads the award-winning Diploma of Digital Technologies program at Tonsley, and influential Environmental Health educator, researcher and advocate Associate Professor Kirstin Ross are both well recognised for their contribution to STEM education.

She believes that students – both science and non-science students – should understand and appreciate science, scientific principles, and scientific methods. Anything less means graduates cannot contribute completely to the big problems and debates within today’s society.

​Associate Professor Ross’s outreach includes an online ‘Environmental Health Breakfast Club’ which includes teaching academics from around the world.

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