Funding paves way for tree-friendly research

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Funding paves way for tree-friendly research


4 July 2012

Exciting new research at the University of the Sunshine Coast into a pavement structure that promotes water harvesting to aid urban tree growth has won a $150,000 Federal Government grant.

USC Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering Dr Terry Lucke will receive the competitive Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project grant for his work in designing a permeable paving bed with an underlying reservoir.

“We are trying to develop pavers that are basically self-sufficient tree pods that can store water in times of drought — sort of like an underwater tank system under the pavement,” he explained.

“The added bonus of this design is that pavement damage will be reduced because the trees roots won’t go up to the top of the pavement seeking water.”

The Government’s ARC Linkage Project scheme supports collaborative research projects between higher education researchers and partner organisations. The partner organisation for Dr Lucke’s research is the Sunshine Coast Council.

“This type of investigation can be of benefit to councils who are often reluctant to plant street trees because there are maintenance issues and they have to water them,” Dr Lucke said.

“If we can come up with a good pavement design that minimises street damage and is basically self-sufficient, resulting in less maintenance in terms of trees, then everybody wins.”

The ARC Linkage Project grants were announced on Saturday 30 June by Federal Minister for Science and Research Senator Chris Evans.

USC’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Roland De Marco said the research grant was a fantastic outcome and testimony of the excellence of Dr Lucke’s research.

“This will give Dr Lucke enhanced credibility, and the funding and associated activity will give him tremendous research momentum,” he said.

— Michelle Widdicombe

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