Dr Tim Sercombe Tips to establishing a track record Problem: once you have an ARC grant, your track record is “proven”. Hence subsequent ones are (probably) easier to get. For ECRs and who have never had an ARC, there is an uphill battle. It can be won!
How to boost your track record Team up with a ‘superstar’ (eg as PI) and piggy back on their record Need to make sure there is a viable link and that you can show that they will make a meaningful contribution. Target Linkage grants Higher success rate, but needs more work to find industry support. Track Record 25% not 40% as in DPs
How to boost your track record Publications Publish in higher quality journals Is quantity better than quality? “… my publication philosophy has lead to fewer, but high quality publications”.
How to boost your track record Emphasis track record everywhere – especially in the introduction Outline why you are the best person to do this work “ CI Sercombe is uniquely positioned to fulfil these objectives. He is an internationally recognised leader in the field of freeform fabrication and has a publication in Science , three US patents, one patent application and 15 publications in leading international journals in the last 5 years. In addition, he is the lead CI on an ARC Discovery project on the direct laser sintering of titanium.”
Aims and Background Not given a score, but use it to reinforce track record. Use dot points eg: “Specific Aims In order to successfully fulfill the objective to develop an aluminium alloy specifically for direct laser sintering, we aim to: 1. Understand the role of Mg on the break up of the oxide layer omnipresent on the surface of the aluminium particles. 2. Increase the processing window by utilising low melting point, prealloyed powder which contains elements that readily absorb the incident laser energy. 3. Determine the role of liquid fraction on both the break up of the molten track in balls and the sintering kinetics and mechanisms. 4. Optimise mechanical properties through appropriate heat treatments and benchmark the alloy’s performance against other commercially available materials.”
Significance Can you put a dollar figure on your project? eg size of potential market. “The potential market for such customised implants is immense. For example, in the 2004-05 financial year there were over 30,000 hip replacement surgeries in Australia (AOA 2006). Of these, 12.6% are revision operations, with nearly 30% (or ~700 people) for conditions that could have benefited from customised devices. For primary total hip replacements in 2004/5, almost 1300 people (~4.3%) could have benefited from a custom device due to tumour removal, dysplastic hips or rheumatoid arthritis (AOA 2006). Hence, the domestic market for such customised devices could be up to 2000 per year. Given the average current cost of hip components is ~$5000 (Department_of_Ageing_and_Health 2006) the likely market for such devices could be up to $10M p.a.”
Innovation What is so good about your approach? “There are three innovative aspects to this project: (i) the interdisciplinary approach; (ii) the use of topology optimization techniques to produce complex scaffold designs; (iii) fabrication of scaffolds using selective laser melting from judiciously designed and heat treated low-modulus titanium alloys.”
National Benefit Does it meet one of the National Research Goals? What will be the outcome of the research and why is that important to Australia? “The outcome of this project will be a one or more unique, patentable, aluminium alloys that will have been specifically designed for direct laser sintering. This will allow the fabrication of complex, light weight components with without the need for any tooling or machining operations. This will have significant potential for the automotive and other transport industries. The project has both national and international significance and addresses the National Research Priority: Frontier Technologies - Advanced Materials (light alloys). Rapid manufacturing is particularly important in the Australian context where small production runs means that tooling and inventory costs are a much larger proportion of the total cost than in North American, European or Asian countries. However, the direct production of aluminium components cannot currently be realised. This project will provide a platform from which such an alloy can be developed. It will place Australia as the leader in the field and provide Australian companies that utilise the developed technology with a distinct competitive advantage and place them in an ideal position to capitalise on the emerging rapid manufacturing paradigm.”