Cultivating a collaborative research ecosystem that fosters innovative solutions

Congratulations to CIES Dr Ali Kashani, who is one of the Chief Investigators and founding member of the University of Melbourne-led Researcher Network for Decarbonising the Building Industry (RNDBI), which has received federal government funding of $2 million, with an International Clean Innovation Researcher Networks grant announced in July 2023.

“Decarbonisation in construction is not just a necessity; it is a moral imperative for our future. The building industry's significant carbon emissions underscore the urgency to transform the way we design, construct, and operate structures. Through robust networking of researchers, we cultivate a collaborative ecosystem that fosters innovative solutions, shared knowledge, and exponential progress.”, Dr Kashani said.

The government’s International Clean Innovation Researcher Networks grants will support research networks focussed on renewable energy and clean technologies such as solar, wind, storage, green metals, and their supply chains. Projects will develop networks of clean energy experts, allowing Australian researchers to connect with international research and companies and work with them on clean energy innovation.

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said: “We are acting on climate change at home and will continue to be part of the solution globally.

RNDBI is a multidisciplinary collaboration established to strengthen Australia’s research capacity on clean innovation in the building sector.

According to research from the International Energy Agency, the building industry is responsible for one-third of all carbon emissions worldwide. Predominantly, energy consumed in building operations is a major contributor, alongside construction materials like cement, concrete, steel and aluminium and construction methodologies that also have a high carbon footprint.

Working with Australian and international partners, RNDBI will spearhead initiatives in renewable energy assimilation, pioneering low-carbon materials, and optimising operational energy, energy efficiency, and building services for a sustainable future.

The RNDBI will facilitate a knowledge-sharing network for research organisations, the government and the private sector to develop research tools and methods to enable the Net Zero transition. The outcomes will enhance collaboration, accelerate research progress, and establish lasting RD&D networks, positioning Australia as a leader in clean innovation for the building industry.

RNDBI is led by University of Melbourne Professor Tuan Ngo,  who leads the Advanced Protective Technologies of Engineering Structures (APTES) Research Group at UoM. He is also the Research Program Leader (Building Transformation) of the Building 4.0 CRC, a $130m initiative to transform the building industry in Australia.

“We are excited to be able to develop this network, which we hope will involve a large consortium of universities, industry and government agencies, with whom we can share knowledge, facilitate research collaborations and create new understandings to tackle the challenges of decarbonising the building industry towards Net Zero by 2050”, Professor Ngo said.

Dr Kashani congratulated Professor Tuan Ngo and his team on winning the Grant and said he is looking forward to establishing collaboration with all existing and future partners of this network.

In 2021 Dr Kashani established the Innovative Decarbonised Infrastructure Initiative, (IDI) bringing together research experts in sustainability, decarbonisation, circular economy, and climate-resilient infrastructure. With its vision aligned with the NSW Government’s Net Zero by 2050, IDI’s aim is to help our infrastructure and primary industries reduce their emissions by utilising a wide variety of innovative measures. Dr Kashani is also co-chair of the cement and concrete working group at the Materials and Embodied Carbon Leaders’ Alliance (MECLA) which is a consortium of industry leaders, researchers, and experts focused on addressing the challenges associated with embodied carbon in construction materials and processes.


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