Congratulations to our two amazing DECRA 2021 winners!

In the latest round of the Australian Research Council’s DECRA grants, the federal government awarded $84 million to 200 projects around the country that support Australia’s next generation of researchers working in key priority areas to grow our research and innovation capacity.

UNSW secured more than $9 million for 22 projects, (including 11 for UNSW Engineering) the highest number of grants awarded to UNSW in the DECRA scheme since 2015. 

CIES Director Professor Chongmin Song congratulated Mehri and Souradeep for their outstanding achievement in gaining a highly competitive ARC DECRA. 

Mehri’s project aims to develop a low-cost and robust bridge monitoring framework by advanced data analytics,  while Souradeep’s research project is to develop durable biochar-foam concrete technology that enhances uptake of carbon dioxide and sulfur oxide.

UNSW Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, Professor Ana Deletic, also congratulated all the successful UNSW applicants on securing grants in this round.

“This success underscores the University’s commitment to delivering future-thinking research to help produce positive outcomes for all Australians,” she said.


Details of CIES DECRA Projects: 

Dr Mehri Makki Alamdari 

Project Summary: 72% of bridges in Australia were constructed before 1976. Currently bridges are inspected by biennial visual inspection which is expensive, time consuming and subjective. Considering the large number of defective bridges in Australia and around the world and the limited budget of road authorities, this project aims to develop a low-cost and robust bridge monitoring framework by advanced data analytics, solely based on the response of a moving vehicle passing over the bridge, with no equipment to be installed on the bridge. The project is significant because it opens a new direction for sustainable monitoring of such ageing infrastructure, consequently resulting in the lower costs of maintenance, enhanced safety and extended asset life.


About Mehri:

Dr. Makki Alamdari is a Lecturer in the UNSW, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is an expert in structural health monitoring, vibration analysis and testing, inverse dynamic problems and signal processing.  She is the winner of the prestigious JSPS Award (Japan Society for Promotion of Science). An award-winning scholar, Mehri is on the Executive of the Australian Network of Structural Health Monitoring (ANSHM), and a member of The International Society for Structural Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure (ISHMII).  Prior to joining UNSW, she was a research fellow in Data61|CSIRO working on structural health monitoring of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. 



Dr Souradeep Gupta

Project Summary: This project aims to address the pressing need to curb carbon dioxide and sulfur oxide level in the air through direct air capture technology using foamed concrete with engineered biochar, prepared by pyrolysis of food waste. The expected outcome of the project would be a durable biochar-foam concrete technology that enhances uptake of the mentioned pollutants, thus reducing their concentration in the ambient environment. It links to Australian Government’s Science and Research priority areas of Resources and Environmental Change through utilization of waste-stream and offering an adaptive measure to impacts of climate change. Deploying this technology would offer durable lightweight construction and healthy environment for urban residents.



About Souradeep:

Dr Souradeep Gupta is a post-doctoral fellow at Centre for Infrastructure, Safety & Engineering at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UNSW, Sydney. He was previously appointed as Research Fellow at Centre for Integrated Building Energy and Sustainability in the Tropics at National University of Singapore (NUS).  Dr Gupta holds a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) with Honours in Civil Engineering from National Institute of Technology, India, and Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from NUS. In 2019, he earned his doctorate degree from NUS for his research on biochar enhanced high performance concrete and self-healing materials. 

Dr Gupta has extensive experience in bio-based materials, lightweight concrete and self-healing cementitious composites. He was awarded the prestigious Ssangyong Cement Gold medal for being the best graduate in concrete technology among the graduating cohort of Master’s program at NUS. Dr. Gupta is also the co-founder of a technology company Biochar Innovations Pte. Ltd based in Singapore. His venture has successfully raised grants from NUS research and innovation program and government agencies. 


For more information on ARC DECRA 2021 outcomes

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