School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

February 2016

pic7 Jan News.jpg

February, once again saw the campus start to spring back into life with the sound and energetic buzz of students as they attend Orientation Week.  For us too, it has been a busy and sometimes stressful time as we endeavour to put everything in place for the start of Semester 1. 

So perhaps this is a good time to take a few minutes out from our preparations to find out what our colleagues have been up to and to acknowledge and congratulate them on their efforts and achievements.

Firstly, please join me in welcoming Dr Polychronis Koutsakis and Associate Professor Hamid Laga to our School.  Dr Koutsakis takes up a Senior Lecturer role within the IT Team.  Hamid has just arrived to take up the position vacated by a recent retirement of Emeritus Professor Lance Fung.

The School Research Committee recently announced their awards for outstanding research performance.  Our congratulations go to Emeritus Professor Philip Jennings who received the Professor Ian Mackay Ritchie Prize for Life-Long Contribution to Engineering and Science at Murdoch University.  The Early Career Research Award went to Dr Mohammednoor Altarawneh, with Dr Zhong-Tao Jiang receiving the Intra-School Collaborative Research Award.  Finally, Dr Nicola Armstrong won the External Collaborative Research Award.

Well done to you all on your achievements.

Also, our congratulations go to Dr Chris Creagh and all those involved in the Physics Teacher PD Day, recently held at Murdoch University.  The day was rated a resounding success by all those who attended from right across Western Australia.  More details below.

Furthermore, I am pleased to announce that the Academic Courses and Admissions Committee has recently approved the business case for the Master of Engineering Water Treatment and Desalination clearing the final hurdle to offer the course in Semester 2 this year.  Many honest thanks must go to Professor Wendell Ela for driving the case to its successful completion.  ACAC has also approved an increase of the ATAR score of all Engineering majors from 75 to 80 commencing 2017 and two articulation programs to be submitted to the Chinese Ministry of Education, one in Information Technology with the South China Business College and the other in Electrical Engineering with the Shenyang Institute of Engineering.  We thank Ms Vicky Dunford from the Partnership Manager for making this possible and for her successful presentation to ACAC.

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to all academics who attended the graduation and to all support staff, including the University Alumni Office, who organised the function with graduating students.  It has been pleasure to meet many staff and students at both functions, and learn how to pronounce many foreign names!  Congratulations must go to our students for their life-long achievement.

Now let’s pull our socks up and focus on teaching in Semester 1, keeping in mind new financial margins set for us by the Senate that require sharp increase in our load and in student retention.  Good luck to those who are just about to submit your ARC and NHMRC applications.  Only through your commitment and hard work, the School can maintain and enhance its reputation in teaching and research.

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

Best wishes,



Dr Polychronis Koutsakis Dr Polychronis Koutsakis is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Engineering & Information Technology at Murdoch.  Previously an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) at McMaster University, Canada and an Associate Professor (tenured) at the Technical University of Crete, in Greece, his research interests focus on the design, modelling and performance evaluation of computer networks, as well as on machine-learning techniques for big data analysis and their implementation on computational linguistics.  Dr Koutsakis has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers in the above mentioned research areas and is the co-inventor of 1 US patent, owned by the Blackberry Ltd.

Polychronis, a Senior Member of the IEEE has been honoured for two consecutive years (2012, 2013) as Exemplary Editor of the IEEE Communications Society, for his work as an Editor of the IEEE Communication Surveys and Tutorials journal.  He has served as Primary Investigator, Deputy Coordinator and a member of research consortia for a number of Canadian, European and Greek research projects.


Electrochemistry and hydrometallurgical processes of EMD, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics

Electrolytic manganese dioxide (EMD) is the critical component of the cathode material in modern alkaline, lithium, and sodium batteries including electrochemical capacitors and hydrogen production.  In terms of environmental and cost considerations, EMD is likely to remain the preferred energy material for the future generation, as it has been in recent decades.  EMD is generally produced from high-grade (50% Mn) manganese ore.  Medium or low grade ore can also be used depending on the impurities present in it.  Due to constant decay of primary Mn sources, continual efforts are underway in search of secondary Mn sources to produce pure EMD and to improve its suitability for energy storage applications. In collaboration with the Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (IMMT) in India, we have identified a different approach to electro-synthesize EMD from purified manganese sulfate solution obtained from low-grade manganese ore.  An innovative aspect of this work (published in PCCP) is that we have elucidated the fundamental redox chemistry involved in hydrometallurgical and supercapacitor applications.  


X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) spectra of Mn 2p3/2 fitting, for EMD derived from low-grade residue.

A copy of the paper is available at

Article submitted by Dr Manickam Minakshi

Top Research Papers in Combinatorics

Two of Dr Amy Glen’s journal papers have recently featured in lists of top 25 hottest articles on ScienceDirect for the Journal of Combinatorial Theory, Series A (an A* journal) and the European Journal of Combinatorics (an A/A* journal). 

Specifically, Amy’s paper “Generalized trapezoidal words” (with F. Levé) was ranked 16th in the list of the top 25 hottest articles in the Journal of Combinatorial Theory, Series A during the period July to September 2015 — see  While her paper “Palindromic Richness” (with J. Justin, S. Widmer, and L.Q. Zamboni) was ranked 19th in the list of the top 25 hottest articles in the European Journal of Combinatorics during the period October  to December 2015 — see

Article submitted by Dr Amy Glen

Biopolymer modified EMD nanoflakes for energy storage, Dalton Transactions

Renewable sources (solar and wind) of energy are the best alternative to overcome the use of fossil fuels. To make it practical, storage of energy is important due to the intermittent nature of the renewable sources.  Manganese dioxide which is the key component of alkaline batteries is a well-known cathode material due to its eco-friendly and cost effective nature.  However, longevity of this battery is always a concern due to the dissolution of the active material during the charge-discharge cycling.  Hence, we have made a novel biopolymer approach for synthesis of electrolytic manganese dioxide (EMD) through hydrometallurgical route assisted with chitosan and glutaraldehyde as a cross-linking agent.  Cross-linked biopolymer played a significant role in overcoming the structural instability of EMD while delaying the dissolution reaction that generally occurs in long term cycling.  A polymer modified rechargeable cell has been reported in the accepted article (Dalton Trans.) using the cross-linked EMD which showed excellent stability and enhanced storage capability of 260 mA h g-1 in alkaline KOH electrolyte.

Schematic view of (a) biopolymer chitosan, (b) cross-linked chitosan in the presence of glutaraldehyde as a cross linker, and (c) grafted EMD - chitosan hybrid structure.
A copy of the paper will be available at RSC shortly.

Article submitted by Dr Avijit Biswal, post-doctoral fellow under the supervision of Dr Manickam Minakshi


AINSE Research Award

The Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) has awarded $10,290 AUD for the project titled “Optimisation of heat activation strategies for the extraction of lithium from spodumene and petalite”.  Dr Hans Oskierski and PhD candidate Arif Abdullah will perform in-situ X-ray diffraction experiments at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).  The Murdoch research team consisting of Arif Abdullah, Dr Mohammednoor Altarawneh, Prof Bogdan Dlugogorski, Dr Hans Oskierski and Associate Prof Gamini Senanayake will collaborate with Greg Lumpkin, Research Programme Leader Nuclear Materials and Modelling at ANSTO’s Institute for Materials Engineering.

Article submitted by Dr Hans Oskierski


Physics Teacher PD Day at Murdoch University - Success

Physics Teacher PD Day at Murdoch University - SuccessOn the 27th of January 2016 twenty nine people, mostly physics teachers, from all over the south-west of WA converged on Murdoch University with professional development in Physics in mind.  They came from as far away as Kalgoorlie, Busselton, Pinjarra, Merredin and Australind.  Those from the metropolitan area arrived from Butler, Morley, Willetton, Como, Lesmurdie, Churchlands, North Lake, Yangebup, Mosman Park and South Perth.  There were also teachers from the School of Isolated and Distance Education, and representatives from Galactic Scientific and the School Curriculum and Standards Authority.

The main driver for the day was to workshop the materials housed on the new www.PhysCom.Net  website.  Work It Out Learning & Teaching resources on PhysCom.Net are the product of an OLT National Teaching Fellowship recently completed Dr Christine Creagh.  The videos and associated activities are intended to help Physics educators ensure their students have the discipline specific threshold-skills they need to succeed in their studies.  Everyone got completely involved in the Textbook Quiz Night activity and the Free-body Force Diagram –Picture matching activity, which are some of the resources for teaching these threshold-skills in the context of mechanics.  The full day workshop was not only about the Fellowship resources, but also included presentations from other academics.

Physics_teacher_PD_Day.jpgA pedagogy section focused of several aspects of learning and teaching in physics, teaching strategy, resources and threshold learning skills.  Associate Professor Rob Phillips discussed the LEPO Framework (Learning Environment, Process, Outcomes) as well as the concept of Guided Discovery Learning.  He touched on Merrill’s Learning Levels and Laurillard’s Ideal Teaching and Learning Process, Threshold Concepts and Threshold Skills and much more.  Each could have been an in depth presentation in its own right, but they were brought together to provide an overview for teachers to investigate further in their own time.  His PowerPoint presentation can be found on www.PhysCom.Net.

After a plentiful lunch, Dr Warren Stannard from the Einstein First Project ( presented a new and much simpler way of teaching general relativity which depends on a diagrammatical representation of time dilation and will soon be found on the www.PhysCom.Net website.

It was then time for coffee and some focused group discussions about the difficulties classroom teachers face and how they can overcome them.

To finish off the day Dr Christine Creagh gave a 10 min talk on E=hf, Blackbody Radiation and Climate Change as a teaser for a session which could be expanded upon in the next PD Day if people were interested.

Feedback sheets filled in at the end of the day gave us much to think about for where we can go next and indicated a very high approval rate of 90% on all questions (agreed or strongly agreed, where agreeing meant we had done a good job).

The main focus areas that people were interested in for more professional development were:

  • Administrative (WA School Curriculum & Standards Authority material)
  • Specific types of content and how to teach it e.g electromagnetism
  • Resources that are available and how to use them
  • Hands-on student activities
  • Teacher demonstrations
  • Metacognitive concepts and pedagogy e.g. physics vocabulary, student centred teaching, understanding text

One of the pleasing outcomes of the day was that within the next 24 hours www.PhysCom.Net had seven new members.  Could this be the start of a new physics education community?

Article submitted by Dr Chris Creagh

40th Condensed Matter and Materials Conference

Shaymaa_Albohani.jpgIn the middle of a blazing Perth summer, a contingent of Murdoch researchers headed off to the potentially even hotter venue of the 40th Condensed Matter and Materials Conference in Wagga Wagga.

PhD student Shaymaa Albohani (right), Dr Damian Laird, and postdoctoral fellows Dr Avijit Biswal (bottom right) and Dr Maryam Barmi presented their work in poster format, while Dr Manickam Minakshi delivered an oral presentation.  Shaymaa and Maryam are working on synthesising novel materials for use in new generation supercapacitors, while Avijit showcased his recent findings on developing a new, efficient method for recycling electrolytic MnO2 from secondary sources.  Manickam outlined his work looking at the potential of using sodium ion technologies for safe, efficient, and cheap electrochemical devices as a way of securing future renewable energy supply.

Avijit_Biswal.jpgThe Wagga conference, as it is affectionately referred to by long term participants, showcased a particularly diverse array of science in the condensed matter and material field.  Topics included novel ways to print graphene onto semiconductors, engineering diamond surfaces for use in quantum technologies, controlling the internal structures of gel like materials, atomic scale understanding of gas adsorption in MOFs, novel approaches to using X-radiation in health and disease and an array of talks and posters on the current capabilities of the Australian Synchrotron and ANSTO.  We were even regaled with up to date data and images of Pluto from NASA’s New Horizon probe.

There was a large contingent of researchers from ANSTO and the Australian Synchrotron and the contacts made promise greater collaboration between Murdoch researchers and those institutions and the truly amazing instruments and expertise that they house.  This should be particularly useful for those with projects in Materials Science/Materials Chemistry and will help us maintain, or even improve upon, the ERA 4 ranking achieved in the Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry category.

With excellent science, fabulous people, and a great, although admittedly quite long, trivia night the Wagga conference was a brilliant opportunity for Murdoch researchers to present their work and network with colleagues.  The conference is held at the beginning of February every year and it would be great if Murdoch was represented again in 2017.

Article submitted by Dr Damian Laird

StringMasters@Murdoch 2015

Dr Amy Glen, together with visiting Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Collaborator, Prof Bill Smyth (McMaster University, Canada) and Associate Professor Jamie Simpson (Curtin/Murdoch) hosted a StringMasters workshop at Murdoch University in late October.

The StringMasters series of workshops was established by Professor Bill Smyth in 2007 with the aim of bringing together researchers in string algorithms at all levels to study current problems of particular theoretical and practical interest.  It is informal, with only a few scheduled presentations, entirely devoted to new research resulting from the interactions among the participants.

For those who might not be aware of this field, Combinatorics on Words and its sister area, String Algorithms, are central to the work of Bioinformatics.

Topics covered during the Murdoch StringMasters meeting included:

  • Multiple order preserving matching by Kunsoo Park (Seoul National University)
  • Bit-parallel sequence alignment algorithms by Gary Benson (Boston University)
  • Genome sequencing and superbubbles by Ljiljana Brankovic (The University of Newcastle)
  • Circular sequence comparison with q-grams by Fatima Vayani (PhD candidate, King’s College London)
  • Runs, Lyndon words, and Lyndon trees by Hideo Bannai (Kyushu University)
  • An elementary O(n log n) algorithm for computing runs by Bill Smyth (McMaster University/King’s College London)

For more details about the workshop, see the StringMasters webpage at

We are grateful for the School’s support, and in particular, we would like to thank Professor Glenn Hefter for giving an opening address at the start of the workshop.

Outcomes from the workshop will appear in a special issue of the Journal of Discrete Algorithms.

Article submitted by Dr Amy Glen


Murdoch Researchers visit Greenbushes Lithium Operations

Lithium.jpgSEIT researchers Arif Abdullah, Dr Mohammednoor Altarawneh, Prof Bogdan Dlugogorski, Dr Hans Oskierski and Associate Prof Gamini Senanayake visited the Greenbushes Lithium Operation in early December 2015.  At Greenbushes Talison Lithium produces spodumene (LiAlSi2O5) concentrates from a zoned rare-metal pegmatite.  The concentrates are used to supply the glass and ceramics industries and lithium chemical converters. 

The visit included the mine site, along with the chemical and technical grade processing plants, as well as the on-site laboratories. 

Many insights into the geology, extraction, processing and analysis of spodumene ore were gained from fruitful discussions between senior Talison staff and Murdoch researchers, paving the way for future collaboration.

Left to right - Dr Mohammednoor Altarawneh, Arif Abdullah, Professor Bogdan Dlugogorski, Daryl Baker, Dr Hans Oskierski and Associate Professor Gamini Senanayake

Article submitted by Dr Hans Oskierski


NewColombo.jpgNew Colombo Plant SEIT students return from India

The first batch of Murdoch students to make it to KIIT (Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology University, India) under the New Colombo Plan have just returned from India.  The Physics and Nanotechnology students from the Engineering School were selected to take part in a bionanotechnology course at this Indian private University that has a cohort of about 22,000 students. 

KIIT University is 5th ranked in the top A 3+ Private Universities in the sub-continent.  The interim, V/C Andrew Taggart signed an MOU between KIIT and Murdoch University in August of 2015.

Left to right - Dean of SEIT- Professor Bogdan Dlugogorski, Dr Gerrard Poinern, Mr Jack Schubert, Mr Justin Freeman, Mr Basil Hanratty, Dr Ravi Brundavanam and Mr Gordon Mac Cartney

This collaborative exchange of students from the School of Engineering is part of a consolidation effort to reinforce the recently signed MOU, and promote further exchanges of undergraduate/postgraduate students between these dynamic institutions.

The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Commonwealth to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific and Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.  This program promotes a two-way flow of students between Australia and the rest of our Indo-Pacific region.

The plan will transform Australia's relationships in the region, both at the individual level and through expanding university, business and other links.  His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) is the official Patron of the New Colombo Plan.

Article submitted by Dr Gerrard Poinern


Air Liquide Essential Molecules Challenge

Air Liquide is considered a world leader in gases and in particular, production of small molecules oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen.  They have recently announced the first Air Liquide Essential Molecules Challenges requesting academia, research companies and research institutes to submit proposals on three topics.

Up to three cash prizes of 50,000 euros are available and the winners will have the chance to access up to a total 1.5M euros funding for joint collaboration projects.  The objective of this industry collaboration project is to mature the scientific proposal and to transform the scientific results into a prototype process & equipment.  The company is seeking proposals on

  • Efficient way of producing H2 from water by using sun energy
  • Sponge materials for the high density storage and safe supply of O2, N2, H2, C2H2 and/or Noble gases.
  • Producing O2 or CO from CO2 in a sustainable way

Information can be found at

Applications are completed online but must have University and School approval before submission.  Please provide the Grants Office with your draft proposal by the 14th April 2016.

Article submitted by Jane Crier

CRC and CRC-P Funding Round Now Open

The 18th Funding Round for CRCs is now open.  The Closing Date is 31st March and successful CRCs can start from 1st January 2017.  Their new application process means that a Stage One proposal only is required by 31st March.

The 1st Funding Round for CRC-Projects (CRC-Ps) is also open with the Closing Date being 17th March and commencement of successful CRC-Ps 1st July 2016.  CRC-Ps are expected to be called three times a year.

Most of the Industry Growth Centres, as well as the CRC Programme staff, will be available for meetings at The Business of Innovation on the 7th – 9th March, in Brisbane.

Member universities that would like support from the CRC Association, such as staff workshops, can make arrangements with the Cooperative Research Centres Association office.  The CRC Association will publish in their Newsletter, details of bids, or proposed bids, if requested. 

They are also keen to assist with facilitating collaboration outside of Australia and have particularly good contacts to do so in Germany, France, Japan and the United States. 

For more information please contact Dr Tony Peacock, Chief Executive, Cooperative Research Centres Association,  @crcassoc 02 6273 0624.

ACCAN Grants Scheme Research Funding Applications

ACCAN – the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network – is Australia’s peak body for communications consumers.

Their Grants Scheme is now accepting funding applications for research, educational or representational projects which address consumer issues in the telecommunications space.  In the past, researchers from a wide range of disciplines, such as communications, social sciences, health, engineering, the humanities and IT, have won ACCAN grants.

If you are interested in applying, funding is available for projects of up to $60,000.  More information is available online:

Applications close Tuesday 15th March 2016.


IT at Murdoch Mandurah Campus

Starting in Semester 1, 2016, ICT171 - Introduction to Server Environments and Architectures will run for the first time at the Mandurah campus.  The unit is designed to give students a taster of what it is like to study IT at Murdoch, while earning credit towards a full degree at the Murdoch Campus.

Many of the IT majors are available externally, so successful students would have the ability to continue and complete the remainder of their degree online.  Acting Vice Chancellor Andrew Taggart has been very supportive of the offering, with the first 10 places being eligible for $250 scholarships. 

Article submitted by David Murray

The Australian Concept Centre (ACC) – Rockingham Campus

The Australian Concept Centre (ACC) is a new Innovation and Entrepreneurship precinct located in the Rockingham Campus of Murdoch University.  Spearheaded by Dave Simmons from Simmons Global an Australian-owned-and-operated engineering firm headquartered in Perth and our School of Engineering and IT the Centre will create pathways for industry and the community to engage with the university and for our researchers to have new opportunities for incubating ideas, prototyping and commercialization.

Launched in December and co-located in the same building as the Desalination Centre it will focus on integrating the elements of education, practical concept development and prototyping as well as entrepreneurial venture establishment and execution into the fabric of its business make- up, the Australian Concept Centre carries with it 3 main themes:

  • Entrepreneurship: Learning to think without boundaries and the understanding that failing doesn't mean 'failure'. It is intended that this will culminate in the participants attaining a nationally accredited qualification.
  • Innovation: The use of research and development labs and the execution of rapid prototyping.  The inaugural partner for this is Murdoch University focusing on the School of Engineering and IT.  A formal MOU has been executed between the University and the ACC, in addition to research collaboration the MOU also outlines pathways for entrance to university via the ACC program of study.
  • Commercialisation: An explicit aim of the centre is to have innovation lead to product or company development.  These initially will be “incubated” at the ACC and where possible either licensed, on-sold or spun-out.

The Australian Concept Centre intends to be integrated with a growing global team of partners both academic, pure research institutes and industry.  This global innovation network will ensure that all necessary resources and industry experts are available to help push an idea or suite of ideas through to their natural and hopefully positive completion.

We are planning on a “meet and greet” with Dave Simmons and his team to formally introduce him to the school and vice versa and to develop a process whereby we can create the connections so we can maximize the opportunities with this new, first of its kind partnership, so standby for date and time.

Games, NUIs & Virtual Reality Brings Hope to Stroke Survivors

Neuromender is a low-cost, home computer-based rehabilitation system to assist stroke survivors with their cognitive and motor-control rehabilitation.  Neuromender has been designed and developed by our Computer Science, Games Technology, and Games Software Design and Production students in collaboration with lecturers in the SEIT, neuro-psychologists, exercise scientists, neuroscientists and stroke survivors.

Neuromender utilises the latest in computer games, Virtual Reality (VR), Natural User Interfaces (NUIs), machine learning with dynamic customised adaptation and data analytics technologies.  The system is envisioned to be a one-stop solution home rehabilitation system for stroke survivors.  It has been designed as a powerful tool that Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists could use when treating their stroke survivor patients.

The Neuromender system has two main sub-systems; the end-user rehabilitation software which consists of a few rehabilitation modules and is installed on the stroke survivor's home computer, and the online web-based administration, progress reporting and monitoring, and data analytics back-end.  The two sub-systems work hand-in-hand in real-time.

The intention is to employ big data algorithms on the collected performance data to create prediction models that would enable the system to automatically customise treatment for stroke survivors.  According to the National Stroke Foundation, in 2015, almost 440,000 people are living with the effects of stroke.  Due to this fact, the unique features of the Neuromender system can be leveraged by therapists to effectively treat more survivors, including those survivors in remote and regional locations.

The Neuromender project has been under development for almost 1½ years.  It has been led by Dr Mohd Fairuz Shiratuddin (IT-SEIT), and Mr Shri Rai (IT-SEIT), with Dr Michelle Byrnes (Western Australian Neuroscience Research Institute - WANRI), Dr Mike Newton (Exercise Science) and a number of stroke survivors acting as project advisers.
Neuromender recent few media coverage includes:

  1. Murdoch University Media & Communication department (22/12/2015).  Dr Shiratuddin, Mr Rai, Dr Byrnes, three Games Technology students and two stroke survivors were involved.  The video is available at
  2. Radio 6PR (22/12/2015).  Dr Shiratuddin did a radio interview.
  3. Channel 9 News (aired on TV on 04/01/2016). Dr Shiratuddin, Mr Rai, Dr Byrnes, three of Games Tech students and one stroke survivors were involved. The video is available at
  4. All News of Virtual Reality (ANOVR) mentioned Neuromender on their website (05/01/2016).  Link is available at
  5. Enableme which is run by the National Stroke Foundation (06/01/2016).  Dr Byrnes posted links about Neuromender on Enableme forum at
  6. Radio Melayu Perth radio talk show (09/01/2016).  Dr Shiratuddin was on air from 9:00 pm-10:30 pm talking about Neuromender and the benefits of home-based stroke rehabilitation.
  7. Western Australia Neuroscience Research Institute news (14/01/2016).  Work on Neuromender was posted on their website.  Link is available at
  8. DPS News (25/01/2016).  Work on Neuromender was posted on their website.  Link is available at
  9. Melville Times (02/02/2016). Neuromender was featured on page 2 of the newspaper.

Neuromender will soon commence its first pilot trial with an expected 20 stroke survivors participating in it.

The Neuromender project team would like to express their gratitude to the Dean of SEIT Professor Bodgan Dlugogorski, Mr Peter Cole, Associate Professor Kevin Wong, Mr Kevin Ong, Ms Samantha Bay, Clinical Professor David Blacker, Professor Frank Mastaglia, Dr Hong Xie, Ms Pauline Charman, Dr Lay Kun Kho, Dr Ferdous Sohel, Dr Alex Wang, SEIT staff and all of the students involved in this project.

Article submitted by Fairuz Shiratuddin

From Snot to Tissue 

Snot_to_Tissue.jpgA new informal seminar series and research discussion forum has started in the School.

‘From snot to tissue’ focuses on structure, function, development of biological tissue and soft matter (e.g. foams, gels, granular matter).  We are interested in questions of growth or optimal shape, including in nanomaterials, porous materials, and the like, and applications from tissue engineering to butterfly wings.

The seminar is convened by Bruce Gardiner and Gerd Schroeder-Turk.  The aim is to meet once a month, or more, usually on the first Thursday of the month, with exciting seminar speakers and ample time for informal discussions, across all relevant disciplines.

Students are particularly welcome, both undergraduate and postgraduate.

The seminar kicked off with a presentation by Jacob Kirkensgaard from the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen on Thursday 18 February.  See for the seminar calendar and an email list signup.

Article submitted by Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk

The Rock

The_Rock.jpgFor those that work in, or indeed walk through the Engineering and Energy building, you might have noticed that something is missing from the foyer.  "The Rock" (as many referred to it as) has now found a new home in Bayliss Courtyard where it is nestled amongst the greenery looking perfectly at home outdoors.  Under the expert guidance of the University Art Curator, Mark Stewart, the rock was moved on Thursday to its new location where it will weather nicely into its new environment.  An appropriate plaque will be installed in the near future.  The foyer of the Engineering and Energy building can now be used to showcase engineering student projects, entertain visitors to the School and indeed extend the use of the power plant as a showcase laboratory.

Article submitted by Rebecca Treloar-Cook


Introduction to Defence Trade Controls

The export, supply, publication or broker of defence and strategic goods or technologies from Australia is strictly controlled.  Australia’s legislation currently encompasses the export of controlled defence and strategic goods (tangible items).  From 2 April 2016, individuals exporting controlled defence and strategic technologies (intangible items) will be required to comply with Australia’s defence trade controls.

Who will be affected? - All Murdoch University staff and students engaged in research and/or teaching activities need to be aware of Australia’s defence trade control legislation.

Projects or activities involving controlled goods or technology, which are exported outside of Australia (physically, through publication or brokering, electronically or verbally), will require a licence to export from the Department of Defence. All licensee applications must be processed through the Safety in Research and Teaching Committee (SRTC) under Murdoch’s overarching license.

The following Scenarios will assist in understanding University projects and activities that may be affected by the legislation

In addition, the Defence Export Control Office (DECO) Online Questionnaire is a tool to assess whether a project or activity requires a licence.  Please refer to the following link

The RAMP process will help to identify if research or teaching activities of concern.

Australia’s Defence Trade Legislation

The legislation manages the export of controlled goods and technology.

  • The Customs Act 1901 –controls the export of tangible defence and strategic dual-use goods and technologies.
  • The Defence Trade Control Act 2012 – strengthens export controls to include the transfer of defence and strategic technologies including:
    • Intangible supply of technology relating to defence and strategic goods;
    • Brokering the supply of defence and strategic goods and technology.
  • The Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995 – controls any goods, technologies and services that could be used in a WMD program.

Controlled goods and technology (tangible and intangible) are specified in the Defence and Strategic Goods List (DGSL) which comprises Military items and Dual-use items (those used commercially but also for military/WMD purposes).  Refer to the DGSL reference guide

Interpreting the legislation
Exporting goods and technology listed in the DSGL, from Australia to any other country, is controlled and requires a license granted by the Minister of Defence.  There are some legislative exceptions to this requirement.  Controlled goods and technology may include:

  • Tangible goods: physical hardware and equipment, hard copy files, electronic files e.g. CD, USB drives and laptops.  Whether in your physical possession while travelling across Australia’s borders, sent by mail or sent electronically.
  • Intangible technology: email, fax, telephone, video conferencing, providing access to electronic files, or providing passwords and access to systems which contain controlled technology.

For further information, visit the Defence Export Control Office site at or contact the SRT Office at