School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

December 2016


As the end of 2016 comes upon us, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your hard-work and dedication throughout the year. We have remained engaged and busy all the way to the end, as you will see by the articles featured below.

Please join with me in congratulating staff and students on their achievements this month as well as once again acknowledging the commitment by staff to engage our current and future students and promote our School to the wider community at every opportunity.

Finally, I wish you all a restful and well deserved break and a joyful and safe festive season with loved ones. I hope you have the opportunity to recharge and I look forward to seeing you all return with the same energy, dedication and enthusiasm for what will surely be another exciting year of teaching and research in 2017.

But before then, take the time to read and enjoy our last edition of the 2016 Newsletter.

Remember, whether you are a student, an academic, administrative or technical staff member, if you have a story to share please send it to the SEIT email - Please mention the article title in the Subject line of the email.

If you are a student or staff reading this Newsletter, please let your friends and family know about Scholarships for Honours, postgraduate degrees and the Dean's Scholarships for Scientific Excellence.  They are all included in the last three pages of the Newsletter.

Best wishes,





Comcast Corporation Grant – Dr Sebastian Zander

Dr Sebastian Zander has been awarded a USD $50,000 (~AUD $65,000) grant, under the Comcast Tech Fund scheme, for a research project titled, "Adding Covert Channel Detection to an Open Source Intrusion Detection System (IDS)". Covert channels are hidden communication channels that are utilised more and more by malware, such as botnets, to communicate undetected. The project will develop practical mechanisms for the detection of covert channels, integrate the mechanisms into an open source IDS tool and evaluate the efficiency of the implemented solution. The grant will be used to hire a Research and Development software developer, who will carry out a large part of the research, design and implementation work. The project will start in early 2017 and will finish at the end of 2017.

For further information on Comcast Corporation and the Tech Fund Scheme see the following links:

Success in Securing Computational Time Grants

Congratulations to Dr Mohammednoor Altarawneh for securing 3 million Service Units, (SU) of computational time grants on Pawsey and the NCI supercomputing facilities. This is from a total of 3.8 million SU given to Murdoch University for 2017. The computing time is to be used to carry out molecular modelling against experimental results in various topics spanning formation of pollutants, catalysis and combustion.

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‘Magnus’ is a Cray XC40 supercomputer at the PAWSEY Supercomputing Centre


Murdoch Live and Explosive

Hands on experiments for students at the ‘Live and Explosive’ event

On Friday, 2nd of December, more than 600 primary school students from Perth’s metropolitan area were entertained and thrilled with illuminating science demonstrations at the science extravaganza Murdoch Live and Explosive. The program was run by Andrew Foreman, Resources Manager and his team of Laboratory Technicians from the School of Engineering and Information Technology.

Andrew and his team delivered two live and explosive chemistry explosion demonstrations with cryogens and other gases and also explained the realm of solution chemistry.

This engaging community event was organised by Murdoch’s Outreach team and proved a huge success. See the Murdoch website for the full feature article:


Other notable mentions were also featured on the Melville Times and National Science Week websites:

Andrew Foreman and his team can and should be very proud of this thoroughly enjoyable, exciting and educational event and we look forward to similar science spectaculars’ in 2017.

Site Tour to BHP Billiton’s Nickel West Kwinana Refinery

Third year students studying Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, and postgraduate students in Extractive Metallurgy, were guests of BHP Billiton Nickel West Kwinana (NWK) refinery on the 9th of November, 2016.

BHP Billiton Nickel West, located in Western Australia, is one of the world's leading producers of nickel and cobalt, operating mines, a smelter and a refinery across all of the operations.

The field trip was organised as part of the course units, ENG326 Hydrometallurgy and ENG528 Extractive Metallurgy II, which cover metal reduction technology and are run by, Dr Aleks Nikoloski. Primary objectives of the visit were to view the processing plant and hear first-hand, from the practising process engineers, about the technology that students had learnt about in class first-hand. Transport to the refinery was organised by the Murdoch Mets student club, with funding provided by The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM). Dr Fang Xia, who teaches Mineral Processing I and Pyrometallurgy in the Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering program, also attended the visit.

The Kwinana refinery is located 30 km south of the Perth CBD. It began operations in 1970 under the ownership of WMC Resources and came under the control of BHP Billiton in 2005. The feed for this continuously upgraded processing plant comes from the BHP Billiton’s Nickel West Kalgoorlie Smelter. It is refined using an advanced version of the Sherritt Gordon ammonia-leach process and has a capacity to produce approximately 100,000 tonnes of nickel metal a year.

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The touring group lead by Principal Process Engineer Mr Michael Lee (left) and Dr Nikoloski (right) in front of the high pressure autoclaves.

The walking tour finished with a group photo in front of the autoclave reactors (pressure vessels), which are an important tool for chemical and metallurgical engineers and a common sight at this plant. The refinery uses such reactors, both to extract and to reduce metal by maintaining a desired environment of high pressure and temperature (on the inside), which is required for the chemical processes to take place effectively and efficiently. These reactor vessels are analogous to the conventional submarine vessels, such as the ones currently being commissioned by the Federal Government and built in South Australia. They are designed to maintain the ambient conditions on the inside for the naval personnel and keep the high hydrostatic pressure of the sea on the outside.

After the tour of the process areas, the group returned to the technical services building for a final question and answer session. The discussions centred around aspects of the flow sheet observed during the tour and raised some interesting ideas for further process development and potential opportunities to which Murdoch University students could contribute as part of their final year research thesis projects.

Article and photos provided by Aleks Nikoloski


Students from Singapore School of Engineering and Information Technology Students’ Graduate in 2016


Congratulations to all of the Information Technology students at the Singapore campus on their graduation success.

The School Dean, Professor Bogdan Dlugogorski, attended the graduation ceremony and together with Dr Florence Mwagwabi, Lecturer in Information Technology, enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the students after the formalities and to further celebrate and share in their achievements and talk first-hand about what the future may hold for them as graduates.

Featured below are some of the successful graduates in Singapore:

Si Ying Ong - Cyber Forensics, Information Security and Management; and Computer Science.  Si Ying was also the lead programmer in ICT333 IT Project and completed her two degrees with High Distinctions and Distinctions, respectively.
Alistair Tan – Business Information Systems; and Cyber Forensics, Information Security and ManagementPhoto 7 Singapore Alistar2.jpg
Bryan Seah (Wai Kiat) - Business Information Systems and Cyber Forensics, Information Security and ManagementPhoto 8 Singapore Wai Kiat.JPG
SayDevendra - Business Information Systems; and Cyber Forensics, Information Security and Management Say also completed his degree with High Distinctions and Distinctions.Photo 9 Singapore Say Devendra.jpg
Article content and photos provided by Florence Mwagwabi


New Sample Holders and Software for Powder Diffraction

To enhance the School's X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) capability, new sample holders and data analysis software have recently been purchased from a School equipment grant.

The new sample holders are equipped with a zero background substrate, which allows a very small amount of sample to be measured by our powder diffractometer. XRD sample size is normally gram scale, which significantly restricts the application of this technique, because in many cases, only small sample quantity is available for analysis. For example, materials synthesis yield may be low, chemicals for producing large quantity of materials can be very expensive, or only minute sized mineral specimen is available, or minerals are rare, or too precious (e.g., gold ore), to allow large sample size. These new sample holders solve this problem and enable XRD analysis on small sample size, down to tens of micrograms.

The new phase identification and quantification software offers fast multiple phase identification from powder diffraction data, and performs Rietveld refinement calculations for quantitative analysis.

The sample holders and the software are located in school’s XRD lab and have already been used for teaching and research in the school, particularly for some Honours and PhD projects. Please contact Ken Seymour if you need to use them.

Article provided by Fang Xia

WREC17 Conference – Dr Kuruvilla Mathew and Dr David Goodfield

Dr Mathew and Dr Goodfield attended the WREC17 Conference in Manama, Bahrain on 4th December.

Approximately 250 people from 41 countries participated with oral and poster presentations, many of which were featured from the University of Bahrain. There were also several exhibition stands, including a fuel cell powered carbon fibre enclosed vehicle, constructed by students.

The conference was also an opportunity to network with fellow researchers from around the world and several delegates expressed their intention to come to Perth in February.

Dr Kuruvilla Mathew was given a certificate of appreciation for the active cooperation he has initiated between WREN and Murdoch University over the past 20 years. Dr Mathew has organised three WREC conferences and is currently organising WRECXVI 2017 at Murdoch University with Dr Goodfield.

Other highlights from the conference include, Dr Mathew was nominated as an Advisor to the WREN Council and Dr Goodfield chaired a plenary session at the conference and was admitted to the WREN Council, representing Australia.

The visit to Bahrain by Dr Mathew and Dr David Goodfield proved very successful and opens up possibilities of future collaborations between Bahrain and Murdoch Universities.

Article content provided by Kuruvilla Mathew and David Goodfield


A timely reminder as we move into 2017 of the Schools strategic direction for the next 3 years:

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Research Integrity Advisor

A reminder to all HDR students, supervisors and technical staff, that the School of Engineering and Information Technology has available a Research Integrity Advisor. Each School in the University has such a position; in SEIT, this post is currently held by Dr Erich Koenigsberger.

Research Integrity Advisers (RIA’s) are experienced Murdoch University staff appointed to provide confidential and independent advice to staff and students on research best practice, or any research matter that may be of concern.

For further information on the RIA’s role, please visit

For relevant policies, please see

Useful resource material on research integrity is also found at

Staff and students interested in the “Researching with Integrity” workshop, please check the 2017 dates at The workshop addresses key policies and research integrity issues. It is open to final year undergraduate students intending to pursue a postgraduate research degree, also graduate research degree students and staff.

If you feel that you can make use of the RIA please contact Dr Koenigsberger directly on

Apply for Honours and Post Graduate courses

If you or someone you know is interested in continuing post graduate study see the opportunities available below:


To find out more go to:


To find out more go to:


Do you know someone that might be eligible for the Dean’s Scholarship?  If you do, let them know about it!

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