School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

July 2014

Dr Martina Calais' Fellowship in Germany

Dr Martina Calais has been awarded a prestigious five month research fellowship at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (HWK) Institute for Advanced Study in Germany, starting in September 2014. 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 in Bremen and Lower Saxony in the North of Germany.

Martina will be a research fellow in the Energy Research Area of the Institute. During the fellowship she will collaborate with Dr Thilo Kilper, R&D manager for PV systems at NEXT Energy, a research centre at the University of Oldenburg, and Craig Carter, Adjunct Professor at Murdoch University. The collaborative research project aims to identify and analyse suitable approaches (using power system simulation tools) to increase PV generation (with or without batteries) in networks with diesel generation. She will also have the opportunity to strengthen Murdoch University’s links to Oldenburg University in the areas of renewable energy and PV systems technology education and student exchange.

Walter Murdoch Adjunct Professorial & Distinguished Collaborator Schemes

Dr D Kirk Nordstrom (U.S. Geological Survey, Boulder, CO) was appointed Sir Walter Murdoch Adjunct Professor from 1 July 2014. Dr Nordstrom is an eminent geochemist who is renowned world-wide for his research in areas including acid mine drainage, arsenic geochemistry and the evaluation of thermodynamically-consistent datasets for water-mineral reactions. He will be working with Dr Erich Koenigsberger on the measurement and evaluation of thermodynamic properties of mineral phases that are also of hydrometallurgical interest.

Professor Joachim Peinke, recently invited to be a Murdoch University Distinguished Collaborator, is a Professor of Wind Energy in the Department of Physics at the University of Oldenburg, Germany. He also holds the distinction of being the head of the Fraunhofer Institute of Wind Energy’s Department of Fluid and System Dynamics, a member of the board of directors of ForWind, one of the most prestigious wind energy research centres in Europe, and is the immediate past President of the European Academy of Wind Energy. Murdoch’s Distinguished Collaborator Scheme will, over the next 3 years support the collaboration between Professor Peinke and Murdoch researchers Dr Jonathan Whale, Professor Tom Lyons and Dr Tania Urmee in the area of design of distributed wind systems in highly turbulent sites.

Professor Bill Smyth (McMaster University, Canada) was appointed as a Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Collaborator within the School for a three-year period, commencing on July 1st this year. Bill is a leading international researcher in combinatorics and algorithms on strings. He is currently a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Computing and Software at McMaster University and also holds Visiting Professorships at King’s College London and The University of Western Australia. He will be working with Dr Amy Glen (Murdoch) and Associate Professor Jamie Simpson (Curtin/Murdoch) on combinatorial regularities in strings and their applications.

2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards

06 july newsletter julie shuttleworth.jpgWinner - Science
Julie Shuttleworth
BSc (1995)

Julie has 20 years’ experience in the mining industry in Australia, China and Tanzania. She graduated from Murdoch University with a double major in Extractive Metallurgy and Chemistry in 1995. Julie’s career has progressed from Plant Metallurgist, Senior Metallurgist, Process Superintendent, Process Manager to General Manager positions. Julie is currently General Manager at Fortescue’s Cloudbreak Mine in Western Australia.

Julie’s achievements include being awarded 2013 CME Women in Resource Champion, 2012 Telstra WA Business Woman of the Year, and the 2011 Australian Mining Mine Manager of the Year.

Julie is a Chartered Professional of the AusIMM, sits on the AusIMM Professional Development Committee, and on the International Committee of the Society of Mining Metallurgy & Exploration (SME). She also sponsors the Julie Shuttleworth Prize in Mineral Processing at Murdoch University and regularly volunteers her time to speak to and with current and prospective students on career development and employment pathways in the resource sector.

Adjunct Professor Craig Carter presents at the West Coast Community Centre

Craig Carter, an Adjunct Professor, delivered a one hour presentation on the "Development of Coastal Wind Farms and Roof Top Solar in WA" at the West Coast Community Centre on 17 June 2014.

Whilst this presentation drew on Craig’s experiences and work at Western Power and Verve Energy, supplemented with more recent material, the audience were made aware of his current role at Murdoch University. Craig concluded his presentation on WA wind farms with photos taken of Murdoch University 3rd year engineering students visiting the 55 MW Mumbida Wind Farm (south-east of Geraldton) on its official opening day last year.

This presentation represented an outstanding opportunity for engagement with the wider community and exposure of the School’s research into renewable energy. The West Coast Community Centre attracts a diverse range of very good speakers for its well attended Tuesday morning presentations.

World Student Environmental Network Conference

Early in July two Environmental Engineering students (Rhys Gustafsson and Bohdan Davies) attended the World Student Environment Network (WSEN) conference held in Stellenbosch, South Africa. WSEN is a student initiated and run NGO, that focuses on connecting and empowering students from around the world who are involved in initiatives regarding action for sustainability and the environment.

Each year there is a theme for the conference, this year’s theme was “Coming Back to Life”, based on the ideas put forward in Joanna Macey’s book – Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World. Activities at the conference included presentations from a number of keynote speakers including Gunter Pauli (author of The Blue Economy), specialised workshops, tours of parts of South Africa showcasing issues and the approach taken to solve them, concluding with a running dinner with South African academics and people from industry and of interest.

Highlights from the conference for the Murdoch delegates included:

  • Learning how other universities are incorporating sustainability into curriculum
  • Meeting students from around the world with diverse backgrounds who are also motivated in this area, bouncing ideas off each other and encouraging the work we are all doing
  • Learning of the types and scale of challenges to sustainability in different countries
  • Listening to keynote speakers – learning of their ideas and the way they engage with the audience during presentations

07 july newsletter WSEN.jpgMany great ideas and inspiration were brought back to Australia. Moving forward from the conference we hope to see some of these ideas come to fruition here at Murdoch. Murdoch was also successful in our application to host next years WSEN summit, this will provide the opportunity to share ideas on sustainability with international student and support some of the growing sustainable initiatives currently occurring on campus such as 350murdoch and the Community Garden.

7th International Symposium in Hydrometallurgy - 2014

The International Hydrometallurgy Symposia have been the flagship hydrometallurgical conference for over 50 years, bringing together researchers and practitioners from industry and academia from all over the world. The 5th International Symposium in 2003 was held in honour of Professor Ian Ritchie who was the first CEO of the A J Parker Cooperative Research Centre for Hydrometallurgy funded by the Commonwealth Government of Australia for 21 years (1992-2013).

Altogether 24 countries were represented in the 7th International Symposium in 2014 held in Victoria, BC, Canada (June 23-25). The papers presented fall into categories relevant to every aspect of hydrometallurgy. The contribution of papers from different countries was: Australia 19, Austria 2, Belgium 3, Brazil 9, Canada 32, Chile 3, China 9, Columbia 1, Finland 5, France 4, Germany 1, India 3, Israel 2, Japan 5, Korea 5, Mexico 11, Norway 1, Poland 2, Russia 2, South Africa 11, Spain 2, Sweden 1, United Kingdom 2, and the United States 19.

Editors of the 2014 Proceedings note that “the field of hydrometallurgy is alive and well, and generating more interest than ever and hydrometallurgical community is meeting the challenges of decreasing ore grades, increasing complexity, rising costs, and stricter environmental regulations, with creativity and innovation". Professor Mike Nicol, Associate Professor Gamini Senanayake and Dr Justin McGinnity represented Murdoch University at the conference. Researchers from Murdoch University contributed by presenting 10 papers including the first plenary paper by Professor Mike Nicol titled “Kinetics in Hydrometallurgy – Models, Mechanisms and Mystery”. For more details please visit the website http://web.cim.org/hydro2014/.

Mars Robots Rough It in Desert Trials

01 july newsletter Mars article.JPG

Ground-breaking engineers from Murdoch University, the University of New South Wales and Institutes of Technology, India wound up two weeks of tough field tests of their prototype Mars robots today. The Arkaroola Robot Challenge forced the robots out of their laboratory comfort zones to bump and bang over rocks and gravel, plough through choking sand, peer through dust at eye charts and fetch hard-to-get mineral samples. Also participating were researchers from ADFA and Armidale School. 

03 July newsletter Mars article SledDragging.jpgThe results could help create a new generation of super-capable machines for exploring and assisting human explorers in a future mission to the red planet, test program leader Dr Graham Mann from the discipline of Information Technology explained. “The desert terrain in this part of Australia is very much like the surface of Mars, so it’s a real workout for these robots.” As well as other worldly applications, rugged off-road robots are becoming ever more valuable in mining, agriculture and industrial safety. “We’re learning how hard it is to make complex electronic and mechanical systems behave properly in the wild”.

Murdoch University researcher Nicolas Small took the opportunity to test his new design. “These tests were quite hard on our little robot, but I was surprised how capable it was. Still I have learned a lot about what needs improving on it.”

04 July newsletter Mars article 04 LittleBlueOnRamps.JPGUp to now, it has been almost impossible get usable performance metrics on field robots, because there is so much diversity in designs, tasks and working environments. But thanks to recent work from the US National Institutes of Standards and Technology, the researchers have for the first time been able to control those variables so that they can directly compare different designs to see how they shape up.

“These engineers will be the ones building the Curiosity rovers of the future”, Dr Mann commented “and it’s not too soon to get them thinking about rigorous testing that any future Mars robots will need to go through".

3rd Western Australia Synchrotron Symposium 2014

The 3rd Western Australian Synchrotron Symposium 2014 will be held at Murdoch University on the 27th of August 2014. Four Australian synchrotron beamline scientists will be invited to introduce Soft X-Ray Spectroscopy, Imaging and Medical beamline, Powder Diffraction and SAXS/WAXS beamline.05 july newsletter synchrotron.png

Active researchers from Murdoch, UWA, Curtin, ECU and CSIRO will present their cutting edge projects using the synchrotron facilities. A new user workshop is scheduled during the symposium which will introduce the capability and potential applications of the synchrotron beamlines and the process of gaining synchrotron beamtime.

Where: Kim E Beazley Lecture Theatre
When: 8:50 am – 5 pm, 27 August, 2014
Program: The symposium program will be available on the day.
Contact for free registration: Dr Zhong-Tao Jiang
Email: Z.Jiang@murdoch.edu.au
Mobile:  0428 462 063

Farewell to Dr Samuel Gyamfi

After three years at Murdoch, researching and teaching in Energy Studies, Dr Samuel Gyamfi will be leaving for Ghana to continue with his academic career in the Department of Energy and Environment Engineering at the University of Energy and Natural Resources. The University is a publically funded national institution, which was open in 2011 to train students in energy related engineering and natural resources management. Samuel leaves many friends behind at Murdoch. He will continue collaborating with us. The School will apply to appoint Samuel as as Adjunct Senior Lecturer. We wish him many research grants, good PhD students, new ideas, and many papers in top rank journals. Samuel - don’t forget about us!

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Staff from left to right: Dr Sinsa Djordjvic, Professor Bogdan Dlugorski, Dr Craig Carter, Dr Trevor Pryor, Dr Sam Gyamfi, Dr Tania Urmee, Associate Professor Graeme Cole, June Burnett, Dr Justin Wood, Diana Hudson, John Bolton, Rebecca Treloar-Cook, Emma Tristham, Miriam Everall, Dr Sujeewa Hettiwatte, Dr Greg Crebbin

Academic Appointments in Electrical Engineeing, Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics

We are seeking high performing academics who wish to make a difference by delivering leading edge, blue sky and translational research. The successful candidates should also be capable of creating a high quality learning and teaching environment and be involved in diverse outreach engagement.

School of Engineering and Information Technology Murdoch University – Perth Western Australia

Electrical Engineering

  • Associate Professor
  • Two Lecturers/Senior Lecturers

These positions close on 4 August, 2014

Mathematics and Statistics

  • Three Lecturers/Senior Lecturers

These positions close on 11 August, 2014

Physics

  • Professor/Associate Professor

This position closes on 18 August, 2014

  • Two Lecturers/Senior Lecturers

These positions close on 29 July, 2014

For more information on these opportunities, and to apply please visit the Murdoch Careers website.