School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

January 2014

Professor Graeme Hocking has been awarded a prestigious ARC Discovery Project on gaining insights into outflows, with his collaborator Professor Forbes at the University of Tasmania.

Dr Aleksandar Nikoloski and Associate Professor Gamini Senanayake were part of a successful LIEF application for materials characterisation facility at Curtin University.

Dr Mohammednoor Altarawneh, who joins the School in January 2014, has been also awarded an ARC Discovery Project, on mechanisms of self-ignition. Dr Altarawneh will bring this project with him when he relocates to Murdoch.

Welcome to Chemical and Analytical Sciences Staff

As announced to staff in mid-December, welcome to the staff from Chemistry & Analytical Science who officially joined our School on January 1. The relocation of Chemistry has created the opportunity to re-arrange the existing Disciplines of Engineering, and Physics & Energy in the School, into two new Disciplines:

  • Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering and Chemistry (CMC)
  • Electrical Engineering, Energy and Physics (EEP)

These two newly defined disciplines will join Mathematics and Statistics, and Information Technology, to make up the School. In 2014 the Discipline Heads will be: 

  • CMC: Professor Parisa Bahri, assisted by Dr David Ralph in matters concerning Chemistry. In addition to leading CMC, Professor Bahri will represent the two Engineering Disciplines outside the University and will carry the title of Head of Engineering.
  • EEP: Associate Professor Graeme Cole, assisted by Dr Trevor Pryor
  • Mathematics & Statistics: Associate Professor Graeme Hocking will continue in his current role as Discipline Head
  • Information Technology: Associate Professor Tanya McGill will also continue as Head of the Information Technology discipline.

Our thanks go to the Discipline heads for their willingness to take on these important and onerous leadership roles.

Water Sanitation Research in Mozambique

Work is continuing on a project focused on ongoing water, sanitation and hygiene interventions in small towns in Nampula Province, Mozambique. This project is underpinned by one of four awards won by Murdoch in the 2012 round of the AusAID Development Research Awards Scheme (ADRAS).

This project, with funding of $538,642 over two years, is led by Dr Ryan Admiraal, and includes Emeritus Professor Goen Ho, and David Doepel (Chair, Africa Research Group), Dr Mark McHenry and Judy Walls (Project Coordinator). The collaborative project also involves UNICEF, the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) and Universidade Eduardo Mondlane.

The aim of the project is to assess not just the direct impacts of water, sanitation and hygiene interventions in Nampula Province but also the wider impact of interventions on the welfare of the target population, and to build the business case for long-term investment of mineral resource revenues into the water and sanitation sector.

Members of the research group visited Mozambique to undertake workshops in mid-November, and were joined by collaborators Professor Kevin Urama of ATPS, and Dr Fraydson Sebastio of Universidade Eduardo Mondlane.

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OLT Success – Learning Analytics: Assisting Universities with Student Retention

Danny Toohey, from the Information Technology Discipline, is part of a nationwide group of researchers who have secured a major Office of Learning and Teaching project grant. The project will address university retention and involves researchers from Charles Darwin University, The University of Newcastle, Griffith University and the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education.

Mathematics and Statistics Graduate wins 2014 Banksia Scholarship

Jeanette Koh, a 2013 Bachelor of Science graduate in Mathematics and Statistics and Biomedical Science, has been awarded the Banksia Association Honours Scholarship for 2014. She came to Murdoch in mid-2009, after relocating from Singapore to Perth ten years ago. Jeanette has been involved in mathematics and biology teaching at Murdoch, and is also a weekend volunteer tutor at a community service centre.

For her Honours project, Jeanette will investigate the risks of patient misclassification and endpoint uncertainty in disease progression, and their impact on biomedical research analyses. She and her supervisors, Murdoch statisticians Dr Ryan Admiraal and Professor Ian James, aim to adjust current statistical methods to incorporate this uncertainty, producing more accurate results and enabling clinicians to respond to disease progression in a timelier manner.

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Dr Tania Urmee awarded Fellowship in Germany

Dr Tania Urmee has been awarded a prestigious four month research fellowship at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Institute for Advanced Study in Germany, starting in May 2015. As an independent Institute for Advanced Study, the HWK promotes the disciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration of internationally renowned scientists by offering guest scholars (Fellows) the opportunity to concentrate on research projects for a certain space of time without the distractions of their regular academic responsibilities. The Fellows collaborate with colleagues all over the world as well as with the local universities and research institutes.

Tania will be a research fellow in Energy Research and one of her responsibilities will be collaboration with the University of Oldenburg in writing a book about the use of Renewable Energy in Developing Countries.

Visit from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Delegation

In November, staff in the Information Technology discipline hosted a group of 15 delegates from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), led by Associate Professor Dr Intan Zaurah Darus.

Associate Dean Research, Professor Lance Fung hosted the group along with Dr Graham Mann, Dr Shri Rai and Dr Fairuz Shiratuddin. Associate Professor Graeme Cole has also gave the group a tour of our pilot plant facility.

The UTM group are interested in further collaboration with Murdoch, and the establishment of an MOU was discussed, along with potential collaborations such as joint research projects and student & staff visits.

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Australian Technical Guidelines for Monitoring and Analysing Photovoltaic Systems

Collaborative research on climate based Photovoltaic (PV) system performance and reliability, a project coordinated by the Australian PV Institute, lead to the recent development of the Australian Technical Guidelines for Monitoring and Analysing Photovoltaic Systems (http://apvi.org.au/australian-technical-guidelines-for-monitoring-and-analysing-photovoltaic-systems/). The guideline was prepared by Jessie Copper, Anna Bruce & Ted Spooner from UNSW, and Dr Martina Calais & Dr Trevor Pryor from Murdoch University. Its purpose is to provide guidance on parameters to be measured, how they should be measured and the frequency of measurement in view of different uses of flat plate grid connected PV system performance data. The guideline went through a peer review process and plans are underway to use this document as a basis for a practical handbook for PV system monitoring, work performed by the International Energy Agency, Photovoltaic Power System Program (Task 13 - PV Systems Performance).

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PV System

Tyree Energy Technologies Building at UNSW

Staff Achievements at a Glance

  • Emeritus Professor Goen Ho has been appointed as a member of the International Programme Committee of the International Conference on Solid Waste to be held in Hong Kong in 2015 (ICSWHK2015). This conference has gained a status as the premier conference in this field in the Asia Pacific Region.
  • Dr Zhong-Tao Jiang has been awarded beamtime at the Australian Synchrotron, relating to his project “Effects of AI, Si and Ni doping on the crystal structure of superhard metal nitride (TiN and CrN) coatings at high temperatures (~1200 C)”. Dr Jiang and two of his HDR students will conduct their experiment in early March 2014.
  • Associate Professor Tanya McGill, along with Madeleine Roberts (Wollongong University), has been awarded the The Leoni Warne Prize for Outstanding Publication in the Area of Women and IT. The prize was for their paper Enabling and encouraging greater diversity in ICT , published in Proceedings of the 24th Australasian Conference in Information Systems (ACIS 2013).