The Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship has named Professor Mike Xie of RMIT University as the recipient of a multi-million dollar grant to further expand his research into sustainable, freeform architecture.

The Fellowship recognises Xie as a leading mind in architectural engineering, whose work is helping Australian designers and manufacturers compete globally. Xie, who is director of RMIT University’s Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials, will use the grant to significantly develop the centre’s research program.

Observing that the prestigious grant will allow their research program to attract top talents around the world and achieve even greater impact through their work, Xie says, “A large emphasis of the Laureate Fellowship is on creating long-term benefit for Australia, even after the five-year funding ends. I’m committed to doing exactly that over the coming years here at RMIT, where I have been and will continue to be so well supported.”

Xie specialises in creating innovative software tools to optimise the design of efficient and elegant structures, including iconic freeform buildings and bridges. The grant will help fine-tune these tools further with focus on diversity in design outcomes and room for creative input into the process.

According to Xie, the research team is proficient in using computer algorithms to design efficient and elegant structures while architects know how to imagine and draw them. They will now focus on bringing these two approaches together so that architects and designers can manipulate the designs to meet both structural and creative goals of the project.

Xie’s research will also include the development of the next generation of advanced manufacturing technologies to produce such freeform structures with minimum waste in the process. These research projects are expected to transform the architecture, engineering and construction sector and make the Australian manufacturing industry more competitive globally.

Earlier this year, Xie received an Order of Australia for his significant service to civil engineering and higher education.