School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

October 2016



Welcome to the October edition of the School Newsletter.  It has been another great month of research and teaching achievements and although the weather has not quite met expectations, it certainly has not dampened any of the outreach activities as you will see in our featured articles. 

Once again the School Newsletter is an opportunity for all of us to celebrate individual and collective achievements and showcase our staff and students who are winning research, teaching and industry awards.  In this edition, we look at staff that are being recognised in their research fields and invited to participate in research committees and present at national and international meetings and conferences.  We also present more examples of the wonderful student engagement that the School consistently participates in, raising awareness and promoting our School and University at every opportunity.

I hope you enjoy this edition of the Newsletter and I look forward to sharing with you our continued success next month.

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.

Best wishes,





‘HOT’ article - Dalton Transactions

A recent research paper by Dr Lan-Chi Königsberger, Dr Erich Königsberger, Professor Glenn Hefter and Professor Peter May, has been selected as a HOT article by the editors of the prestigious inorganic chemistry publication Dalton Transactions (ERA A* journal, impact factor 4.177).

The article outlines the complex formation constants between copper(I) and the naturally occurring thioamino acids cysteine and glutathione, and the drug penicillamine, which were measured using a special apparatus, developed at Murdoch University, for the generation and potentiometric study of the normally unstable Cu+(aq).  The Joint Expert Speciation System (JESS) was applied to evaluate the chemical speciation and the redox properties of Cu ions in various body fluids. This enabled for the first time, a detailed speciation model to be constructed of the aqueous humour of the human eye under normal and pathological conditions.  This model was able to explain the clinical observation that Wilson’s disease, which leads to copper overload in body fluids and serious liver damage if not treated by chelating agents like penicillamine, causes deposition of metallic Cu in the human lens and cornea, known as Kayser-Fleischer rings. (Dalton Trans. 2015, 44, 20413-20425, DOI: 10.1039/C5DT02129D)

See the following link for all of the HOT articles and the full publication:

Article content provided by Lan-Chi Koenigsberger


Grant Award – Touch Cyber Wellness

New Colombo Plan 2017

Congratulations to Dr Florence Mwagwabi from the School of Engineering and IT at our Singapore Campus and Dr Jiow Hee Jhee of the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) on receiving a $100,000 grant with TOUCH Cyber Wellness. TOUCH is a Ministry of Education (MOE), Singapore, selected agency for full-time School Counsellors’ training on cyber security related issues.

The project undertaken by Dr Mwagabi and and Dr Hee Jhee, seeks to develop cutting-edge digital media security programs for children aged 13 to 16.  The project will adopt current research outcomes to create draft digital cyber-security training programs, focusing on digital media security and may be used for future training purposes by TOUCH. 

Outreach Grants 2016

Associate Dean, Dr Douglas Fletcher, announced the successful grant applications for the School Outreach Grants 2016. Thank you to all of the applicants and congratulations to the successful recipients.

Of the six applications, the following four grants were successful.


This was the first round of Outreach Grants in the School and we are keen to learn from the experience so that Outreach Grants can become more accessible and more effective in future.  Watch for further information about these projects in future School Newsletters.

WREN Pioneer Award – Dr Martin Anda

The World Renewable Energy Network has awarded Dr Martin Anda, the title of WREN Pioneer at the World Renewable Energy Congress, 19th to 23rd September 2016, in Jakarta.  Dr Martin attended the Congress meeting to present two papers and also participated in a workshop the national science organisation BPPT. 

Last year the recipient of the WREN award was also from the School, Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Dr Kuruvilla Mathew, who received the award in recognition of his services globally to the renewable energy industry. 

The next conference in February 2017 will be hosted at Murdoch University.

2016 WA Water Awards – Finalist Announced

Two of our Environmental Engineering students Melissa Gray and Ashwin Nayak are finalists for the 2016 Australian Water Association’s WA Water Awards.  The award aims to encourage and reward students for excellence in the field of water studies and research, and provides a forum for students to display their academic excellence and research findings to future employees, clients and the water industry.  Last year all three finalists were Environmental Engineering students and the winner was Luke Murphy.

Other finalists from the school, PhD student Josh Byrne for WA Innovating for Sustainability (Small Business) Award and Dr Martin Anda for Water Professional of the Year. Click below for finalist details.


Physics Fun Day at Adventure World (P2DAW): Wet, but by no means a wash-out

Adventure World, in conjunction with the Science Teachers Association of WA (STAWA), has a long history, over 20 years, of opening the park to physics students on the last Thursday of term 3.  It is a good day in several ways; Physics students get a day away from school and get to see that there are many more similarly minded students than they thought and school staff and students get to chat to the teachers at the “coal face”.  The SEIT students also got to enthuse the high school students about physics at university level and everyone found out that you can do Physics and Engineering at Murdoch.

This year the weather was good while setting up, but at 10 am it started to rain and continued to do so the whole time the physics’ students were there, until around 2pm.  That did not stop them from swimming, testing out the thong-a-phone, firing water balloons with the trebuchet and shooting the Pikachu with the ‘Pokémon bazooka’.  The 3D printer attracted a few on-lookers and students still find the heavy spinning wheel interesting.

Even though we all got very wet it was a good day. STAWA reported prior to the event:

“Tomorrow is STAWA's Physics Day at Adventure World; we have broken the attendees’ record with over 1500 attendees which includes +150 science teachers.” (STAWA 21/9/2016)

No wonder the park was full of teenagers and the 100 teacher “show-bags” we had packed went so fast!  The show-bags for the teachers contained all of the course flyers for the school, undergraduate and postgraduate, as well as information about scholarships.  “Oh are they the bags with the flyers?  Good, my year 10’s have just started asking about what they can do at university”, said one of the teachers as they were handed a bag.

The photos below give you an idea of the excellent position the school had – it was the first tent you see from the entrance with plenty of space for projectiles! The day would not have worked out so well if it had not been for the help of Murdoch students Shyam Patel and Joel Booth, tutor Nik Radevski and academic staff Dr Almantas Pivrikas.  Thank you to Andrew Foreman and his excellent technical team for letting us use the ‘Pokémon bazooka’ that they developed; it was a great “hit”! Appreciation also to Outreach Officer Julia Lees, for helping organise details with STAWA and Academic Support Officer Leandra Corich, for finding all of the cool things that we could give away and for doing last minute bag preparations and receiving all the flags and banners back soaking wet.  Thank you also to Dr Chris Creagh, who initiated the attendance at Adventure World this year and has always, had a soft spot for P2DAW.


  Prime position and early morning fine weather at Physics Day @ Adventure World 22/09/2016

Photo and article content provided by Chris Creagh

Environmental Engineering - New Campaign Video

The office of Marketing, Communications and Advancement, are rolling out a new campaign video. The upcoming social media post will feature one of our Environmental Engineering students, Rhys Gustaffson.

Take a look at the preview, prior to the campaign going live and save and share the content on your social media accounts.

See the video here:

Field Trip to Boddington Gold Mine

The third year students studying Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering were guests of Newmont’s Boddington Gold Mine, which is located 130 km south-east of Perth. Boddington Gold Mine was commission in 2009 and it is the largest and most modern copper-gold mine in Australia, processing 35 million tonnes of ore per annum using state of the art equipment and technology.  The field trip was organised as part of the unit ENG329 Mineral Processing II that covers Flotation technology by the unit coordinator Dr Aleks Nikoloski.  Primary objective of the visit was to tour the processing plant and hear from the practicing experts.

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Senior Metallurgist Mr Paul Petrucci delivering an introductory presentation on the process flow sheet used at Newmont’s Boddington Gold Mine to the students, ahead of a walking tour through the process areas

The hosts provided a warm welcome.  The visit started with an opening presentation in the technical services building, followed by a walking tour of the processing plant and laboratories guided by Acting Plant Manager (Plant Metallurgist) Mr Chris Williams, Senior Metallurgist Mr Paul Petrucci and two process engineers, and finished with a group lunch and concluding discussions, before boarding the bus back to Murdoch.

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Plant Metallurgist Mr Matthew Jerković describing some of the engineering features of the process to a sub-group of the visiting students

Two other Murdoch staff members, Dr Hans Oskierski teaching process mineralogy in the same major and Dr Almantas Pivrikas from the Energy Science and Physics group joined the visit as guests. At the end of the tour, the hosts’ were presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by the President of the Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering students club, MurdochMets, Ms Lia Cherico.

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After the walking tour through the process areas, everyone enjoyed a nice lunch and engaged in informal discussions.  Acting Plant Manager (Plant Metallurgist) Mr Chris Williams and Senior Metallurgist Mr Paul Petrucci were presented with a Certificate of Appreciation.

Article and photos submitted by Aleks Nikoloski


Australian Synchrotron – Dr Fang Xia

Dr Fang Xia has been invited to serve on the Program Advisory Committee (PAC) of the Australian Synchrotron Powder Diffraction beamline.  This reflects the national recognition of Dr Xia’s expertise in powder X-ray diffraction.  The role of PAC is to monitor the experimental program and utilisation of the facility, to review proposals for use of the facility, make recommendations for the allocation of resources and beam time, and to make recommendations to the User Office and Director on issues relating to the beamline where necessary.

ICCCTES Invitation - Dr Mohammednoor Altarawneh

Dr Altarawneh has been invited to serve on the Organising Committee of the International Conference on Computational Chemistry and Toxicology in Environmental Science, to be held in Taichung, Taiwan in November 2017.  The conference will focus on theoretical aspects of geochemistry and environmental physical chemistry, and the computational modelling in toxicology for green ecosystem and human health research and represents the direct area of Dr Altarawneh’s research expertise, in which he has made a number of important contributions to date.  More information on this conference is available at:

2016 Dennis Moore 1962 Prize Winner and Finalist

Congratulations to our Information Technology graduates, Dalibor Borkovic for winning the 2016 edition of the Dennis Moore 1962 prize and Cameron Russel for being a finalist.


The Dennis Moore 1962 Prize is the highest and most prestigious prize awarded annually by the Australian Computer Society (ACS) for the best graduating student in ICT from a Western Australian University. The prize is awarded based on academic performance.  The candidates are also interviewed by a panel of ICT professionals for their ability to promote their ideas in computing.  Among the four finalists, two are from Murdoch University:

Mr Dalibor Borkovic - the prize winner and who is currently an IT Support Technician at JLL Australia, graduated in 2016 with a double major in Cyber Forensics and Information Security, and Internetworking and Network Security.  Dalibor obtained his degrees with High Distinction and a GPA of 4.0/4.0.

Mr Cameron Russel - the second finalist, graduated in 2015 with a double major in Cyber Forensics and Information Security and Business Information Systems.

 Photo:  Dennis Moore 1962 finalist Cameron Russel (left) and prize winner Dalibor Borkovic (right)

Article and photo submitted by Hamid Laga


Academic Council Approval for new Graduate Diploma in Safety Science

At its meeting of 14 September 2016, Academic Council approved the new 24 credit point, AQF Level 8, Graduate Diploma in Safety Science.  The new Graduate Diploma will be implemented from 1 January 2017.

Below is the brochure outlining the Graduate Diploma in Safety Scienc.  Up to date details are available on the University Handbook:

Graduate Diploma in Safety Science

IWA Conference, Athens – Dr Kuruvilla Mathew


Dr Kuruvilla Mathew visited Athens to participate at the 13th IWA conference on small water and waste water systems and 5th IWA specialist conference on resources-oriented sanitation in September.

Represented at the conference were the government of Greece, University of Athens, local industry bodies and the International Water Association addressed the opening session.  Dr Mathew addressed the participants as chair of the IWA specialist group on small water and waste water systems.  He spoke on the challenges and opportunities for the specialist group on facing the problem of providing clean drinking water and safe sanitation for all the people all over the world.

There were four parallel sessions at the conference.  There were about 350 people participating at the conference, with approximately 200 oral presentations, 50 poster presentations and 10 exhibitions at the conference and field visits were organised to the main water treatment and waste water treatment sites of Athens.  Dr Mathew also presented a proposal for the next conference to be held at Murdoch University.  The general meeting approved Dr Mathews proposal to hold the conference at Murdoch University and a formal proposal by Dr Mathew will be presented to IWA headquarters to host the conference in 2019.

Photo:  Dr Kuruvilla Mathew presenting at the 13th IWA Conference Athens 

Photo and article content provided by Kuruvilla Mathew


Open Problems Garden: Combinatorics on Words/String Algorithms

In late 2014, Dr Amy Glen, together with visiting Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Collaborator Professor Bill Smyth (McMaster University, Canada) and Associate Professor Jamie Simpson (Curtin/Murdoch University), established the Centre for Combinatorics on Words & Applications (CCWA) at Murdoch.

The CCWA has an international membership of about 40 outstanding researchers in combinatorics on words and string algorithms.  Today, as a result of the many applications in bioinformatics and other areas, there are thousands of researchers in these fields around the world.

In October 2016, the CCWA established an Open Problems Garden: a website of open problems contributed by researchers to two Moderators, who will post them, perhaps in edited form, on the website, where they will be permanently available to all.  It is hoped that eventually hundreds of problems will be described, and kept up to date, so that researchers and their students can access them, learn about them, work on them, and submit partial or complete solutions.

The two Moderators are Jamie Simpson for combinatorics on words, and Gabriele Fici (University of Palermo, Italy) for string algorithms.  To stroll through the Garden, go to:  []

Women in STEM Roundtable Meeting and Morning Tea at Government House

On Tuesday 11 October, Dr Amy Glen (Maths & Stats) attended a Women in STEM Roundtable Meeting and Morning Tea at Government House in Perth, hosted by Her Excellency the Hon Kerry Sanderson AO (Governor of Western Australia) upon the invitation of Professor Lyn Beazley (Science Ambassador and WA Australian of the Year 2015).

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.

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

Article and photo submitted by Amy Glen


Dr Manickam Minakshi Sundaram, is a recipient of the Endeavour Executive Fellowship and is working with the Energy Storage Research group at Angstrom Laboratory, Uppsala University, Sweden. As part of his fellowship, Dr Sundaram also serves on the University thesis committee and explains below the process of ‘Nailing the PhD Thesis’.

The picture below show’s how the thesis has been nailed before its’ deliberation at the Angstrom Laboratory, Uppsala University.  Nailing (making it public) and distribution of a thesis before graduation is quite uncommon in Australian Universities, but it is a common practise in Swedish institutions.

The Thesis is nailed (literally using a hammer and nail) three weeks before the public defence.  This gives an opportunity for the public, to read the thesis in advance and pose relevant questions during the defence.  This appears to be a requirement to get a degree.  After nailing, the department serves drinks and canapés.  A PhD candidate in one instance distributed a hard copy of her thesis to all of us, with a signed version, for someone who requested it.  Amazingly, she came with 70 printed versions.

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Nailing the PhD Thesis

Photo and article content provided by Manickam Minakshi Sundaram


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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