School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

January 2016

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As this is our first Newsletter of 2016, l would like to welcome you all back from what I hope has been a relaxing and enjoyable break, where you were able to enjoy time with family and friends and recharge your batteries in readiness for Semester 1, 2016.

To start the New Year off, please join me in congratulating some of our colleagues.

Firstly, our congratulations go to Professor Bruce Gardiner, who has been appointed Deputy Dean, also Professor Wendell Ela who has been appointed Associate Dean International. 

Also congratulations to Associate Professor Lubomir Hnedkovsky in CMC, Dr Lanchi Koenigsberger in CMC and Mrs Ha Nguyen in MAS.  All three have recently satisfied the probation requirements and have secured continuing appointments.

Finally, our congratulations go out to Associate Professor Tanya McGill in recognition of being in the top 10% of teaching staff in the Student Surveys of Teaching 2015.  Well done Tanya, a fantastic achievement.

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

Best wishes,




 Australo-German collaboration on fluid adsorption attracts travel funding

Adsorption and diffusion of fluids or gases through nanostructured materials are processes with both technological applications, such as fuel cells, and with biological relevance. 

Piotr Kowalczyk and Gerd Schröder-Turk have received $23,000 in travel funding for collaborative visits to the German group of Klaus Mecke, with an equivalent amount provided to Klaus Mecke's group for visits to Murdoch. 

The funding for the project "Confinement and adsorption of complex fluids in biology and materials" is provided jointly by Universities Australia and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).  A particular purpose of this scheme is to enable mobility of early career researchers and postgraduate students.

Article submitted by Gerd Schroeder-Turk



Animal_Vegetal_Mineral.jpgAnimal, Vegetal, Mineral?
Boden Research Conference 2016 in WA

The Australian Academy of Sciences has selected the Murdoch-organised conference 'Animal, Vegetal, Mineral? Emergence and function of complex nanostructures in biological tissue and synthetic self-assembly' as the 2016 Boden Research Conference - apparently for the first time held in Western Australia. 

The conference is intended to be a discourse on the formation of complex structure or function in biological material and synthetic self-assembly - across the conventional discipline boundaries, from biology to materials science, and physical chemistry to mathematics.

If you would like to get involved, contact Gerd Schröder-Turk and check out

Article submitted by Gerd Schroeder-Turk



Bangladesh Visit

Dr GM Shafiullah and Dr Tania Urmee recently visited Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) and gave a talk on “Energy Studies and Renewable Energy Research at Murdoch University”. Both of them also presented their research on “Renewable Energy Adaptation in Developing Countries”. Dr GM Shafiullah has given a similar talk at East West University, Bangladesh. In addition to research activities they have also discussed about the teaching at Murdoch University and explore possible future collaborations. Both of the Universities have shown immense interest to establish collaboration with Murdoch University in both teaching and research.

GM_Shafiullah_and_Dr_Tania_Urmee.jpgIUB Crest Presentation (from left to right): Prof. Shahriar Khan, Dean of SECS, A/Prof. Abdur Razzak, Head of EEE, IUB, Dr GM Shafiullah and Dr Tania Urmee, Murdoch University

Dr GM Shafiullah also attended in the 4th International Conference on the Developments in Renewable Energy Technology (ICDRET 2016) and presented his paper “Impacts of Renewable Energy Integration into the High Voltage (HV) Networks” which had been awarded as the 2nd Best Paper in the Conference. A total of 66 papers were presented at ICDRET 2016, participants originated from Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, India, Malaysia, Nepal, United Kingdom and United States of America. 

The paper developed a simulation model to investigate the potential adverse impact of large-scale renewable energy (RE) penetration into the Rockhampton power networks, Queensland, Australia, in particular in the high voltage (HV) networks. From the model analyses, it has been clearly evident that large-scale RE integration not only influence in the low voltage distribution network but it also influence in the transmission, subtransmission and HV distribution network in terms of power quality issues such as voltage fluctuations, overloading of tranformers and injection of harmonics.

Dr_Tania_Urmee.jpgThe paper, “Incorporating the Institutions’ Perspective into a Proposed Model for Assessing Success of Solar Home System Implementation” presented by Hans-Gerhard Holtorf has been awarded as the 3rd best paper in the ICDRET’16. Co-authors of the paper are Dr Tania Urmee, Dr Martina Calais and Dr Trevor Pryor.
An improved model of success is developed in this paper which is capable of providing a quantitative measure of success for Solar Home System (SHS) implementations. Five groups of key stakeholders have been determined. The most important self-set goals for the institutional stakeholders are profit, quality and social benefit. Measuring the level of achievement of the defined self-set goals is the largest challenge in this process. The refined model of success demonstrates the complexity of measuring the success of SHS implementations.

Best Paper Award Presentation by Vice-Chancellor, UIU, Bangladesh (from left to right): Prof. Lutful Kabir, Dr GM Shafiullah, A/Prof. M Shahriar A Chowdhury and Prof. M  Rezwan Khan

Article submitted by GM Shafiullah



Manuscript Publication in Environmental Science and Technology

Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCCD/F) constitute a group of the most toxic pollutants known to humankind.  PCDD/F are often denoted as dioxins for short.  These pollutants form predominantly on particles of fly ash in poorly controlled combustion systems, such as waste incineration or backyard burning.  For a long time, it was believed that, transition metals present on surfaces of particles of fly ash act as catalysts in the synthesis of dioxins.  In a recent collaboration between our research group at Murdoch and researchers from the Louisiana State University in the USA and the University of Newcastle in Australia, we have demonstrated that, even the neat silica surfaces can catalyse the formation of dioxins [Mosallanejad et al., Oxidation of 2-Chlorophenol on Neat Silica Surface”, Environmental Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b04287].  By combining experiments and quantum chemical computations, we have shown that, silica functions as a mildly active condensation catalyst for the synthesis of dioxins from their precursors.  Silica also facilitates chlorination and dechlorination of PCDD/Fs precursors and possibly chlorination and dechlorination of PCDD/Fs themselves, but it appears to be unable to dehydroxylate phenols to form benzenes.  These findings carry significant practical importance, as they demonstrate the ability of silica surfaces themselves to synthesise PCDD/Fs.


Energy profile for formation of pre-PCDD (a) and pre-PCDF (b) intermediates

A copy of the the paper is available at

Article submitted by Bodzio Dlugogorski



Virtual Work Integrated Learning for Engineering Students

There is a vast gap between engineering education and practice. Recognising the transformative value of workplace learning, Engineers Australia requires that students of accredited engineering programmes are exposed to engineering practice.  Traditionally, students have undertaken placements in industry.  However, because these are difficult to secure, students are forced to delay graduation, and some universities now allow accumulated alternative exposure to practice such as attending industry seminars and interviewing engineering professionals.  This project will complement the shrinking opportunities for exposure to practice.  Using existing and new immersive simulated sites, the project will develop and test virtual work integrated learning experiences for students. Students will complete authentic engineering work by visiting an immersive learning environment that simulates an engineering site, working remotely with students from other universities, receiving feedback from industry-based engineers, and reflecting individually and with others.

Dr Ferdous Sohel is a chief investigator and will lead Murdoch University’s participation in this Office of Learning and Teaching project under the Innovation & Development Grant scheme.

The lead institution is The University of Western Australia and the partner institutions are Curtin University, Murdoch University, The University of Queensland, Australian Council of Engineering Deans, Engineers Australia and CingleVue International Pty Ltd.

The funding will be $270,000 over three years.

Details of grants awarded in the round have been posted at

Article submitted by Dr Ferdous Sohel


Update as Justin Freeman heads off to South Korea to Study Physics

As mentioned in the December issue of our Newsletter, Justin Freeman has been awarded a New Colombo Plan 2016 Scholarship. 

Justin is super-excited as gets ready for his six months of Physics study in South Korea, commencing in February 2016!  

Chris_Creagh.jpgHe has not only won a New Colombo Plan Scholarship, but has also been made the South Korean Fellow for the year, which means he was the highest ranked candidate of the 12 applicants who won scholarships to study there.

Picture right: Eddy Poinern, Bruce Gardiner, Chris Creagh and Andrew Taggart congratulating Justin Freeman on his scholarship to study physics in South Korea and his Fellowship which acknowledges the high quality of his application.

“The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region... intended to be transformational, deepening Australia's relationships in the region, both at the individual level and through expanding university, business and other stakeholder links… The Australian Government has committed $100 million over five years to the New Colombo Plan.”

For more information about the New Colombo Plan

Article submitted by Chris Creagh