School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

November 2016

Bodzio

 

Welcome to the November Newsletter. 

Firstly to all of our students, well done on your achievements in 2016, it was an intense year of study and I wish you a pleasant and productive summer break with family and friends.

Even though the year is drawing to an end, there is still a great deal of activity happening within the School. All academics and sessional staff have been busy marking student scripts’, to meet the deadlines for submission of marks. Some of our colleagues have already started catching up with their research and scholarship, in preparation for intense summer research, after a period of time when education of our students had to take priority. The strength of our School lies in its excellence in research and education, but depending on the time of year, one takes priority over the other.

Our technical staff are preparing the laboratories for Semester 1, 2017, restocking the consumables, servicing the equipment and trialling new experiments. Over summer, they will also spend more time assisting researchers with their projects. After a period of intense processing of PhD applications and helping academics and students with Honours thesis, among many other activities, our office staff are now focussing on recruitment activities for Semester 1, 2017. I am happy to report that both our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees have been in high demand, especially in IT (computer science, games software and internetworking) and exact sciences (chemistry and mathematics).

This month, our Newsletter features both staff and students’ success stories, highlighting their achievements in education and research and the recognition from colleagues in industry, their peers and the University. All of these stories are a testament to the individual and collective commitment and hard work that our staff and students do. Last week, together with Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, I participated in the presentation of units being digitised and converted to blended learning. I was inspired and impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of our colleagues, and the amount of work that has gone into this activity, and would like to express my sincere words of appreciation to them.

Our Newsletter also highlights the outreach activities that have taken place this month, and how staff and students have represented the School and the University nationally and overseas. Service to community and our profession allows the results of our dedication to excellence in research and education be accessible to others, outside the academia.

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 - SEIT@murdoch.edu.au. 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,

Bodzio

 

 

RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS

Materials Today Cover Competition - 2017

Students and staff, from Physics, Energy Studies and Nanotechnology, Applied Nanotechnology Research Group, have been announced as one of ten winners in the Materials Today cover competition, 2016. The winners will have their images featured on a cover of an issue of the Materials Today journal in 2017 and the article will appear as part of the journals ‘Uncovered’ feature section. For more details on the competition and Materials Today, see the following link and cover photo and article below.

http://www.materialstoday.com/materials-today-cover-competition-2016/

Flower-like Brushite structures formed on magnesium bio-implants to create smart coatings for controlled degradation rates

Sridevi Brundavanam, Ravi Krishna Brundavanam, Gérrard Eddy Jai Poinern*, Derek Fawcett

Murdoch Applied Nanotechnology Research Group. Department of Physics, Energy Studies and Nanotechnology, School of Engineering, Information and Technology, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia 6150, Australia.

* Corresponding author: Poinern, G.E.J. (G.Poinern@murdoch.edu.au)

Globally, each year millions of patients undergo clinical transplant procedures to replace damaged or diseased bone tissues. The use of the patients own bone (autograft) is well established delivers positive clinical outcomes and is considered the gold standard. The positive result arises from ideal biocompatibility and osteogenic properties that deliver bone-forming cells to the implant site. Unfortunately, autograft procedures also suffer from two serious side effects. Firstly, the number of potential donor sites available to the surgical team is limited and secondly donor site morbidity at the harvested site is a major concern. Because of these two side effects medical researchers have looked for alternative sources of suitable bone tissue [1]. Bone tissues can be sourced from other donors (allogenic bone grafts), but obtaining a supply of high quality medical grade bone tissue is difficult due to medical, ethical and legal concerns. The medical concerns centre on the unfavourable inflammatory response from the body’s immune system and the risk of disease transmission [2]. Because of these concerns, medical research has focused on searching for innovative materials that can be formed into implants and successfully used as alternatives to natural bone grafts. Currently, the majority of implants used for load bearing orthopaedic applications are manufactured from metal alloys like cobalt-chromium, stainless steels and titanium. In spite of their attractive mechanical properties like favourable ductility, high strength and excellent fracture toughness there are several detrimental side effects resulting from the use of theses metal alloys [3, 4]. These side effects include the release of toxic chromium, cobalt and nickel ions during mechanical wear, inflammatory responses to the ions, and stress shielding resulting from the significant differences between elastic moduli of implant and surrounding bone. The stress shielding phenomena initiates bone resorption in the vicinity of the implant and weakens the surrounding bone structure. The situation is further exacerbated by poor interfacial bonding and osteointegration taking place due to the inert nature of the metal implant [5]. Ultimately, these side effects lead to implant failure and results in costly secondary revision surgeries, increased risk of infection and produces further patient scarring.

However, biodegradable implant materials are designed to undergo complete dissolution by the end of tissue regeneration and the healing period [6]. For example, biodegradable polymers are successfully used in a variety of clinical applications that require sutures, grafting materials and fixation devices [7]. Unfortunately, polymers also have low mechanical strength and so are predominantly used in soft tissue repair and low-load bearing applications. However, recent studies have shown that magnesium has the capability to overcome many of the limitations associated with both conventional metallic implants and biodegradable polymers. The close similarity of magnesium’s mechanical properties to those of bone, and its favourable biocompatibility profile make magnesium a very promising candidate for biodegradable orthopaedic implants [8]. In spite of these advantages, pure magnesium has poor corrosion resistance in chloride rich body fluids and its rapid degradation poses two fundamental problems. The first problem is the formation of subcutaneous hydrogen gas bubbles that appear soon after surgery. While the second problem results from the loss in mechanical integrity of the magnesium implant caused by the rapid corrosion process. However, magnesium’s vulnerability to degradation within the body environment can also be considered an advantage if a corrosion regulating mechanism is incorporated into the design of the bio-implant. Thus, matching the degradation rate with the formation rate of new bone tissues that ultimately replaces the degrading implant is the ultimate goal of this clinical procedure [9]. One method of regulating the corrosion rate is by using an appropriate biocompatible coating. Calcium phosphate coatings are currently used on a variety of metal implants because they offer good biocompatibility and good osteoinductivity capabilities [10, 11].

Photo 1 Materials Today.jpg

This issue’s cover of Materials Today, presents a scanning electron microscopy image of flower-like Brushite [Di-calcium phosphate di-hydrate (DCPD)] crystal structures formed on the surface of a magnesium substrate by chemical immersion. The substrate was mounted on the sample holder using carbon adhesive tape. The substrate was then sputter coated with a 2 nm layer of gold to prevent charge build up using a Cressington 208HR High Resolution Sputter coater. The image was taken using a JCM-6000, NeoScope TM fitted with an energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy function. The image was colour enhanced to highlight the ornate and beautiful flower-like crystal structures formed during 60 minutes of immersion. Degradation studies carried out on uncoated magnesium substrates in Ringer’s solution at 37 ºC were found to have a mean corrosion rate of 3.828 mm/year. While substrates coated with Brushite were found to have much lower corrosion rates that were typically around 0.100 mm/year. Thus, demonstrating that varying the coating thickness produced during chemical immersion can control the magnesium’s corrosion rate [12]. Research is ongoing, designed to optimise the chemical immersion process and fine-tuning of degradation profiles for various coating types.

Further reading

[1] S. Kao, et al. Oral. Maxillofac. Surg. Clin. North Am., 19 (2007) 513–521.
[2] V. Ng. Orthopaedics, 35 (2012) 679–681.
[3] M. Geetha, et al. Prog. Mat. Sci., 54 (2009) 397-425.
[4] C. Lhotka, et al. J. Orthopaedic Res., 21 (2003) 189-195.
[5] D.F. Williams, J. Mater. Sci., 22 (1987) 3421-3445.
[6] P. Habibovic, et al. J. Tissue Eng. and Regen. Med., 1 (2007) 25-32.
[7] M. Todo, et al. Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 74 (2007) 1872–1883.
[8] G.E.J. Poinern, et al. Am. J. Biomedical Eng., 2 (2012) 218-240.
[9] F. Witte, et al. Biomaterials, 26 (2005) 3557-3563.
[10] S. Shadanbaz, et al. Acta Biomaterialia, 8 (2012) 20-30.
[11] G.E.J. Poinern, et al. Scientific Reports, 4 (2014) 1-9.
[12] S. Brundavanam, et al. Am. J. Biomedical Eng., 4 (2014) 79-87. 

Article supplied by Eddy Poinern

GRANTS AND AWARDS

ARC Discovery Grant Successful

Congratulations to Dr Fang Xia and external collaborators (Monash, Flinders, and CSIRO), who have been awarded a $450,500 ARC Discovery Project grant for 3 years (2017-2019). The grant is to study “Nature's mechanisms for leaching and remobilizing metals”.

Much of Australia's mineral wealth is the result of the interaction of warm fluids with rocks, deep within the Earth’s crust over geological timescales. At a fundamental level, the formation of an ore deposit is governed by the physical chemistry of mineral dissolution and crystallization and by fluid flow through porous rocks and fractures. The same principles can be applied for innovative recovery of the metals via in-situ mining or hydrometallurgy. The primary aims of this multidisciplinary project are to understand the roles of grain boundaries, mass transfer and non-hydrostatic stress in hydrothermal mineral reactions and in the formation of ore bodies. The project will explore how such knowledge can be applied to improve mineral exploration and to develop novel processing approaches.

Article provided by Fang Xia

ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITIES

Divide and Analyse in CMECPhoto 4 Divide and Analyse.jpg

On the 21st of September, 39 students and their teachers from Nagle Catholic School and Living Waters Lutheran College, attended a student development chemistry workshop. This workshop has been specifically designed and run by the CMEC academics, (Dr Kate Rowen, Dr Leonie Hughes and Dr Damian Laird) to accommodate the changes to incorporate analytical in instrumentation, in Year 11 and Year 12 Chemistry school curriculum.

1The students received hands on experience with chemical analytical instruments, which they studied the theory of in class. This was a great opportunity for the students to be exposed to instrumentation that they would not otherwise have access to. The activities involved analysing the caffeine content on the High Performance Liquid Chromatography, separating chlorinated hydrocarbons on the Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometer and testing the copper content of tap water, using the Atomic Absorption Spectrometer.Photo 3 Divide and Analyse.jpg

It was another great engagement activity driven by Chemistry academic staff and supported by SEIT technical staff and the Science Outreach Team (in this case Michelle Austin and Anna Pryor).

Thanks to all of those that contributed.

Photos and article content provided by Saijel Jani and Caitlin Sweeney

8th Global Week 2016, Chitkara University, India – article from Dr Martin Anda

I participated in the amazing 8th Global Week-2016 at Chitkara University and Chandigarh, Punjab Province, India which was held from the 17th to 21st October. It was a great privilege for me to be able to teach in the Faculty of Planning and Architecture amongst their staff and students, where I enjoyed and learnt so much from them and their experience.

Attending this 8th Global Week 2016, were 35 professors representing 24 Universities from 15 countries across six continents. I was very excited to meet them all and join stimulating activities with them over superb dinners, lunches and breakfasts of wonderful Indian food and go on visits with them to the most extraordinary places, such as the Golden Temple and Sikh Museum. I believe all of us were able to exchange knowledge and expertise with the local faculty and students of Chitkara University.

Photo 5 Global Week India.JPG

Dr Martin Anda with delegates from 8th Global Week, Chitkara University, India

The disciplines offered at the University for Global Week 2016, were Business, Engineering, Architecture, Health Sciences, Mass Communication and Journalism, Pharmacy, Hospitality and Tourism. The establishment of Chitkara University run by Mr and Mrs Chitkara and is itself a remarkable story of dedication, personal sacrifice and achievement. I myself come from the field of Environmental Engineering at Murdoch University and teaching into the architecture program at Chitkara University was not unusual for me, as I do this in Australia into other architecture programs at The University of Western Australia and Curtin University. My 'buddy' teacher during the Global Week was the wonderful Ms Preeti Pahwa, herself a very accomplished architect involved in both the academy and professional practice. She had completed her Masters of Architecture at Sheffield University in the UK. It was great to work alongside her as well as teach her students. The technical and IT support offered by her good colleague Lohit Jain in the teaching week, also made the activities run very smoothly.

The focus of my week at Chitkara University, with their 25 final-year architecture students, was the design of an ecologically-sustainable tourist centre. This was the focus of a teaching module already underway by Preeti and Lohit. I set the task for the students to work in small groups of 4 to 6 and undertake the conceptual design of the energy generation, water supply, waste recycling and food production systems. This new task was integrated within their current teaching module that already required a re-used shipping container to become the main building for the tourist centre. The students were able to choose from 3 sites in Chandigarh to locate the tourist centre, the Capital Complex, Sukhna Lake, or Sector 17 Piazza.

This gave me the opportunity to visit these places in Chandigarh and learn more about this amazing city. Chandigarh, a Union State and the capital city for Punjab and Haryana provinces, had been designed by the world-famous architect from France, Le Corbusier in the 1950s, as a post-independence project of national significance. I had always wanted to come and visit this fascinating place. Le Corbusier and his colleagues actually lived in India for 7 years to design the city with their local partners and commence the construction of all the major city parts, including the Capital Complex (with its beautiful Assembly building, administration buildings, amphitheatres and other amazing civic structures and sculptures) and a number of the city sectors.

The students worked diligently and enthusiastically during the week showing great interest during my lectures and being very active participants in discussions. They demonstrated great insight and knowledge from their studies already completed to date with Chitkara University. By the end of the week they had compiled new learnings and these were displayed quite prominently and authoritatively when they delivered their final oral and graphical presentations to us all. Each group presented remarkably different creative responses to the design task and it was a great privilege to see the wonderful work developed by the students. Their teachers can be proud of their achievements.

Photo 6 Global Week India.JPG

Lectures presented to students at Chitkara University

The way I had designed the teaching module was via an online unit, using the software tool Moodle as we do at Murdoch University to which all the materials were uploaded for the students. I had been assisted in this task at Murdoch by the wonderfully talented CUTL staff member Ms Silvia Dewiyanti. Within the online module were set a number of activities for the students and the assessment tasks being an online quiz and the design project, where the students were required to upload their slide packs. This module for the Global Week at Chitkara University had been based on a unit I taught at Murdoch University, called ENG300 Environmental Technology for Sustainability.

In the future, it would be wonderful to come back for another Global Week at Chitkara University to strengthen the relationship and create new initiatives. Chitkara University has already offered two of our Environmental Engineering students to come there to undertake their internship program during their final year and cover all their local tuition and accommodation costs. In a similar spirit of collaboration I am now searching for internship placements requested by the architecture students, with local architecture firms here in Western Australia. It may also be possible to set up a 2+2 articulation arrangement for Chitkara students to come to Murdoch. Chitkara students may also like to consider travelling to Murdoch to undertake a Masters course. Chitkara University has an excellent research program, commercialisation support and start-up centre with strong links to industry. Murdoch University could potentially partner with these activities and benefit this platform for entry into the India business, tertiary education and research markets.

There are also excellent opportunities for Chitkara staff and students to come on study tour visits to Western Australia, to see advanced research facilities at Murdoch University and state-of-the-art major infrastructure sites such as green buildings, water treatment plants, waste reprocessing facilities and renewable energy power stations. I would be most happy to make arrangements for any of these initiatives.

Global Week at Chitkara University was a phenomenally powerful, innovative and intellectually stimulating experience and I look forward to supporting this initiative again in the future. Thank you.

Photos and article provided by Martin Anda

Information Technology Industry Panel Event

In an effort to motivate the Information Technology students as they move forward with their own journeys in study and as they move into in the IT field, all IT students and staff were invited to an IT Industry Panel event on Tuesday 8th of November.

Several Information Technology students availed themselves of this valuable opportunity, to escalate their own potential and learning about working in the IT industry. The event provided students with the opportunity to listen to and ask questions from a panel of highly regarded IT industry experts. The panel consisted of Professor Jim Ellis (Chair of the Industry Advisory Panel at Murdoch University, Founding Chair of the WA Chapter of the ACS Foundation, a Fellow and Honorary Life Member of the Australian Computer Society, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an OAM recipient for his services to ICT), Allan Backhouse (Murdoch alumni, Manager of Immersive Technologies responsible for software and hardware engineering) and Matthew Schneider (overall winner of the 2016 iAward, a talented Murdoch IT graduate and Managing Director of Optika Solutions).

Each panellist shared their own individual IT experiences and the lessons learned from these experiences. Professor Jim Ellis provided an interesting and formative overview on his own extensive experience in the ICT industry, working with multinational companies, local organisations, and in his many capacities on advisory boards. Mr Allan Backhouse gave a detailed description of the various IT capabilities within his company and discussed the range of skills and knowledge required for jobs in industry, and Matthew Schneider humorously described his journey to winning the 2016 iAward. After sharing their experience and expertise in short presentations the floor was opened up to questions. This part of the evening proved to be very interactive and interesting from students and panellists alike. Students readily engaged with the panel, who in return offered advice and knowledge about careers, applying for positions, and seeking answers about the skills, knowledge and competencies that prospective employers are looking for.

Worthwhile connections and contacts were made when students had the opportunity to openly engage with both the panel members and the IT academics over light refreshments in Robertson Courtyard.

A big thank you is extended to all the panellists, students and academic staff who supported the evening.

Article provided by Dianne Noonan 

CONGRATULATIONS

Dr Martin Anda, WA Water Professional of the Year

1

Martin was announced as WA Water Professional of the Year, at the Australian Water Association Water Awards on 21st October 2016. The award recognises Martin’s contribution over more than two decades in advancing the theory and practice of sustainable water technologies and management. As an academic, Martin has developed teaching units in Environmental Engineering in Environmental Technologies for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Water Management. His research has ranged from water and wastewater technologies for indigenous communities, small scale and decentralised water technologies for urban developments, to identifying linkages in the water-energy-food nexus. He has been a great promoter for closer links between the academy and industry, with many final year environmental engineering students obtaining internships and work experience and ultimately employment in the industry. Martin will go to Sydney in May to compete for the Australian Water Professional of the Year.

Dr Martin Anda awarded WA Water Professional of the Year

Ashwin Nayak awarded AWA Undergraduate Water Prize

3

Final year Environmental Engineering student, Ashwin Nayak, was awarded Undergraduate Water Prize by the Australian Water Association at the Australian Water Association award night on 21st October 2016. His entry for the Water Prize was based on his final year thesis project, which he carried out with industry partner JBA (Josh Byrne & Associates). The project aims to provide urban land developers and residents in urban areas with a simple web based tool to determine whether plants receive adequate water in the face of irrigation water restrictions. Ashwin’s success follows the success of Luke Murphy last year. Luke was also a final year Environmental Engineering student at the time.

Our School’s awarded students demonstrate that, we produce outstanding graduates relative to other universities in Perth. Ashwin will go to Sydney in May to compete for the national undergraduate water prize.

Ashwin Nayak awarded Undergraduate Water Prize for 2016

Congratulations to both Martin and Ashwin on their wonderful achievements. The awards represent fantastic acknowledgement of the quality of students and staff in Environmental Engineering and the impact of the expertise in the field.

For more detail on the awards, you can read Western Australian Minister for Water, Mia Davis’ statement:

https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/Barnett/2016/10/WA-water-innovators-honoured-at-awards.aspx

You can also see the feature article for Dr Anda and Ashwin Nayak on the University website:

http://media.murdoch.edu.au/murdoch-success-at-water-awards

Photos and article content provided by Ashwin Nayak

Associate Professor Emerita, Fay Sudweeks - Editor-in Chief

3

Congratulations to Associate Professor, Fay Sudweeks who has recently been appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning: (IJELL).

The IJELL is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes scholarly articles on the development of electronic skills. It is also a scholarly forum that provides access to those wanting to advance their e-skills and lifelong learning.

The journal publishes conceptual, theoretical and empirical papers and welcomes articles supporting pedagogical principles and design science. All manuscripts are submitted and reviewed electronically and because all articles are published online within a few weeks of acceptance, this ensures that published works are read and cited by the widest possible audience.

For more information visit the IJELL website: http://www.informingscience.org/Journals/IJELL/Overview

 
3

Murdoch University 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award winner – Dr Kuruvilla Mathew

Congratulations to Dr Kuruvilla Mathew, for winning a Murdoch University Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr Mathew, who completed his PhD in 1982, was recognised for his outstanding contribution in environmentally-sound technologies and in particular his expertise in water supply, waste management systems and renewable energy technologies, of which have been deployed in developing countries and in Australian indigenous communities.

   

Fundamentals of Chemistry - Top 10 OUA Unit 2015-2016

The following staff members have been formally recognised by PVC Learning and Teaching, Professor Sara de Freitas, for their work on OUA unit, Fundamentals of Chemistry.

Ten units were selected by evaluating survey results provided by OUA after each teaching period over 2015 and 2016. Of the 10 unit offerings selected, SCI18 Fundamentals of Chemistry offered in SP4 2015 was included as one of the highest performing units.

Congratulations to all the staff involved.

Teaching staff

Dr Lan-Chi Koenigsberger (Unit coordinator and Tutor)
Dr Erich Koenigsberger (Unit coordinator and Tutor)
A/Prof Lubomir Hnedkovsky (Tutor) 

Unit website creation and preparation of teaching materials

Dr Kate Rowen; and
Dr Leonie Hughes

MSEL Graduates from School of Engineering and Information Technology

Congratulations to the following SEIT students, for successfully completing the Murdoch Student Emerging Leaders (MSEL) program for 2016.

Dale Hobbs - Electrical Engineering. Electrical Power + Industrial Computer Systems

Harrison Hazael - Electrical Power Engineering

Danielle Collette - Renewable Energy Engineering

Shams Latif - Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering

Gloria Cheruiyot - Masters in Information Technology-Internetworking and Security

As participants in the MSEL program, they took on a significant project for not for profit community organisations alongside other students from different disciplines. They completed their project over two semesters and supported organisations such as The Smith Family, The Spiers Centre and Baptistcare. While completing their project, each student underwent a series of developmental workshops and mentoring to support their long-term career development.

Photo 11 MSEL.jpg

SEIT Graduate students complete MSEL program for 2016

Article content and photos provided by Mandy Middle

FOR EVERYONE

AMSI Intern

Murdoch University recently became a member of AMSI Intern. AMSI Intern is a not-for-profit organisation funded by Australian universities, government agencies and mathematical societies. The program provides post graduate students opportunities to be placed in intern positions in industry, across all disciplines. The internships are short-term focused research projects, which will allow students to increase their skills and recruitment potential. The industry also gains access to some of the brightest and best students in Australia.

The School will broadcast future intern opportunities, but for now check out the AMSI Intern website

www.amsiintern.org.au

ACSME 2016

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The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME) 2016 was held at the University of Queensland, Brisbane 28th to 30th September. Kate Rowen (Chemistry), Chris Creagh (Physics) and Helen Middleton (Mathematics) represented the School of Engineering and Information Technology at this important educational conference. The conference packed two days of intense keynote and delegate oral and poster presentations. The final ‘Discipline Day’ consisted of interactive workshops themed in the different disciplines. There was a valuable workshop facilitated by the chemistry discipline network on Threshold Learning Outcomes (TLOs). TLOs are the learning standards for our graduates and we must be able to demonstrate meeting these standards to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). The workshop provided a great insight into how to demonstrate the attainment of TLOs, and that we have much work to do in this area.

Kate gave a talk on research carried out in conjunction with a professional development pilot, for high school chemistry teachers. This work was co-authored by Amanda Woods McConney, from School of Education and our academic staff, Leonie Hughes and Damian Laird, both from Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering and Chemistry. The talk generated significant interest, with delegates approaching Kate to discuss the initiative afterwards. Kate also presented a poster entitled ‘Content delivery alternatives for lectures that students don’t attend’. The purpose of this contribution was to showcase teaching innovations in chemistry and engage with conference delegates about the issues related to traditional lecture delivery of content and poor attendance.

Chris has been going to ACSME for many years and always finds it inspiring and invigorating, reflecting that ‘it is a true pleasure to talk with people who hold the scholarship of teaching in high regard and are working on innovative ways to engage and educate students’. Amongst the many ideas Chris gleaned from the conference, one involving the use of touch-tablets as electronic lab books, was of particular interest. Not many students write everything down in a lab anymore. Mostly they pull out their phone and take a picture or type the data straight into an excel spread sheet, so why not embrace technology and innovate?

Photo and article provided by Kate Rowen

The meeting was organised by Women in Technology WA (WiTWA, a Perth-based not-for-profit organisation) and was attended by representatives from Women in Astronomy, Women in Engineering (including Oil & Gas and Mining & Resources), Women in Mathematics, Women in Technology WA, Department of Education, Department of Local Government and Communities, Fogarty Foundation, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, National Women in Construction, PRISM Alliance, Robogals, Scitech, and TradeUp Australia.

The group exchanged information and discussed their future shared aspirations and ideas for making positive change and progress when it comes to attracting and supporting girls and women in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In particular,

there was wide-ranging discussion on key issues in attracting girls and young women to careers in STEM and strategies for addressing these issues.  Participants also shared examples of initiatives that are currently in place to encourage (and support) greater representation of women in STEM.

It was a most valuable experience to engage with others who are working to make a difference for women in STEM across academia, education, community, government, and industry sectors.  There are plans for the group to meet again in the New Year to continue the conversation and to set some achievable goals for the near future.

https://twitter.com/LynBeazley/status/785728257588998144

Photo: Women in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics - participants at the STEM Roundtable meeting

Article and photo submitted by Amy Glen

Award Winning IMNIS Mentoring Program - Perspective of a Murdoch PhD Student

“IMNIS, the Academy’s PhD student mentoring scheme, has taken out the award for the Best Higher Education and Training Collaboration 2016 at the Business/Higher Education Round Table national awards. Murdoch University is one of the key partners in this scheme, which aims to develop a new generation of industry-aware PhD graduates” - News@Murdoch Thursday 17 November.

During a visit to the Perth Branch Committee of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Dr Peter Lilly from Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) said Australia is ranked nearly last among OECD nations in collaboration between Industry and Public Researchers, according to a recent survey. Only 30% of PhD students in Australia go into Industry or Government compared to over 70% in most industrialised countries. Dr Lilly also outlined the mentoring program designed to raise the level of Industry-University collaboration in Australia. It is coordinated via various professional bodies such as the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the Australian Institute of Geoscientists, Engineers Australia and the Society for Petroleum Engineers, as well as other interested groups. He added that:

  • IMNIS is supported by the relevant Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Deans and Heads of School;
  • It is focused on STEM PhD students in their 2nd year and above, and requires active participation by them to enter and remain in the program; and
  • Over time, this could become a standard part of PhD programs for STEM students.

Subsequently, Dr Peter Lilly briefed the School Dean Professor Bogdan Dlugogorski and invited the PhD students from the School of Engineering and Information Technology to participate as mentees in the pilot program in WA focussed on mineral and energy resources. Associate Professor Gamini Senanayake, contacted the students, explained the benefits of the mentoring program and provided a list of potential mentees to IMNIS. After matching with the mentors from industry was complete, the program was launched.

Parisa Esmaeili Moakher, a Murdoch PhD student conducting her research on “Energy Optimization in Residential Buildings” participated in the program. She said, “I think the pilot mentoring program that I took part early this year was an expedient program. I recommend it to future researchers to take part and benefit from the knowledge and experience of the experts in their fields. I had a chance to work with a highly knowledgeable and experienced mentor. Although the pilot program is officially completed, I still meet my mentor (not frequently though). His valuable advice always helped me with my research and gave me valuable insights into the industry I might get into in future. Almost at the end of the program, I read a book: ‘Lean in’ by Sheryl Sandberg. Although the book mainly examines women’s progress in achieving leadership roles, it also provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship and building a satisfying career. I highly recommend this inspiring book to all my peers: http://leanin.org/book/”.

Professor Dlugogorski said that “Our school has a strong interdisciplinary science and engineering research focus on minerals, energy, water, environment, combustion as well as process control, chemistry, physics, mathematics and statistics and information technology. We anticipate that the mentoring program will benefit the industry and PhD students and improve our current industry-university collaborations to new heights”. He thanked all the mentees from the School that volunteered and contributed to the success of the pilot program, which is now nationally recognised by this award. Please visit the IMNIS, ATSE and School websites for more information:

https://www.atse.org.au/content/publications/media-releases/2016/imnis-wins-collaboration-award.aspx  

http://www.atse.org.au/content/industry-mentoring-network-in-stem-imnis.aspx

https://www.atse.org.au/  

http://www.murdoch.edu.au/School-of-Engineering-and-Information-Technology/Research/Strategic-Research-Areas/

Article submitted by Associate Professor Gamini Senanayake

2016 Western Australian Junior Mathematics Olympiad 

The 2016 West Australian Junior Mathematics Olympiad (WAJO) is organised every year, by the Western Australian Mathematics Olympiad Committee. The goal of the Olympiad is to challenge the best young mathematicians and to select those of them who want to extend their knowledge in mathematics.

For many years, the Mathematics and Statistics group at Murdoch University have sponsored a prize in the Olympiad and this year the sponsorship went towards the Murdoch University Mathematics and Statistics Prize for Excellence for outstanding team performance.

The following is an extract from the letter of thanks sent to Professor Graeme Hocking, who also presented at the prize ceremony.

Dear Graeme

The Western Australian Junior Mathematics Olympiad (WAJO) 2016 was an outstanding success and I want to thank you for your sponsorship of this event and thereby your support for our young Western Australians. At WAJO this year, we had 371 students participating in Perth, as well as our satellite venues in Bunbury and Karratha. They comprised 97 teams from more than 23 schools. The Prize Ceremony was an enjoyable experience for the participants, their parents and teachers.

Thank you for your support before and on the day, in particular for sponsoring the ‘Murdoch University Award of Excellence’ team prize and attending the prize ceremony.

For your records, the Award went to a Year 9 team from Christ Church Grammar School (Team 1).

Once again thank you for your support of the WAJO. I hope that we may again call on your support for WAJO 2017.

With best wishes
Associate Professor Michael Giudici
Chair, Organising Committee
WA Junior Mathematics Olympiad

A list of all prize winners is now available on the WAJO website at:

http://enrichedmaths.maths.uwa.edu.au/wajo/stats.html 

For more details see the WAJO webpage: http://www.maths.uwa.edu.au/community/Olympiad

Software Engineering Jobs

Immersive Technologies are currently recruiting Software Engineers at graduate level and those with more experience and Murdoch students have been successful in obtaining these jobs in the past. If you or anyone you know that may be interested, refer to the links below for further detail. Applications close 7 December.

Job advertisement for Graduate Software Engineer position:

https://www.seek.com.au/job/32116195?pos=13&type=standard&engineConfig=&userqueryid=36133360105577994&tier=no_tier&whereid=1009

Job advertisement for more experienced candidates:

https://www.seek.com.au/job/32116248?pos=7&type=standard&engineConfig=&userqueryid=137817090005548360&tier=no_tier&whereid=1009

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:

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To find out more go to: http://Murdoch.edu.au/Honours-courses

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To find out more go to: http://postgraduate.murdoch.edu.au/

DEAN'S SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE

Do you know someone that might be eligible for the Dean’s Scholarship?

If you do, let them know about it!

http://our.murdoch.edu.au/Student-life/Finances/Browse-scholarships/UG_Scientific-Excellence/

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