School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

August 2017

Dean - Professor Bogdan Dlugogorski

It has already been a very exciting and busy start to Semester 2! A notable highlight in this month’s Newsletter is Open Day, held on Sunday, 30 July. What an amazing day it turned out to be, with approximately 21,000

people visiting the University and enjoying the hundreds of activities on offer. The day provided a wonderful opportunity for prospective students and their families to find out about the many courses on offer and tour the campus grounds and facilities and to speak with student volunteers and staff first-hand about what it means to study at Murdoch University.

Open Day

The School also had a wide variety of informative, entertaining and interactive displays, as well as staff and students at every display station to answer any questions visitors had. Wherever I went during the day, I saw enthusiasm and smiling faces, with staff and volunteers surrounded by eager and interested participants, many of whom were young primary and high school students. Thank you to all of the staff and students that volunteered on the day and made it such a great success. We will do it again next year!

I hope you enjoy more on this story and other information in this month’s Newsletter.

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

If you are a student or staff reading this Newsletter, please let your friends and family know about Scholarships for Honours, postgraduate degrees, details are included a the end of the Newsletter.

Best wishes,

Bodzio Dlugogorski




Stewart Kelly and Graeme Thompson packed their bags for ‘The Great Trip to the SW’ on Monday 24th July to present the Science and Technology Engineering and Maths Outreach Program. Students and teachers from various schools were provided with great activities and displays in mineral and metal processing, as well as details about courses at Murdoch University, School of Engineering and Information Technology.

During the program, students got the opportunity to extract copper from a ‘copper ore’ by leaching it with vinegar and decanting the resulting solution. They extracted the copper from the solution by cementation, (metal displacement) and electrowinning. The students were then able to compare their results to that produced using more refined processing methods and discovered that quick is not always best!

Staff and students appreciated the sessions as it demonstrated the application of some of the theory that they learn at school, as well as the importance of STEM subjects in their future studies and career aspirations.

Over the five day trip, the team visited Georgian Molloy Anglican School; Manjimup Senior High School; Mary McKillop College; Busselton Senior High School; Newton Moore Senior High School; Bunbury Senior High School and Australind Senior High School. In all, approximately 350 students were involved in the program.

Students and teachers received goodies and information packs that provided details on Rio Tinto and Murdoch University, School of Engineering and Information Technology courses and other programs available at the University.

Photos and story content provided by Mr Graeme Thompson and Mr Stewart Kelly

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Graeme Thompson explaining the extraction process to students
Students beginning the ‘leach’ process
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Students cementing Cu (front beaker) and beginning to electrowin Cu
STEM get’s the thumbs up!

For more stories from the South-West trip, see the following links:
The West Australian - South Western Times
Busselton Dunsborough Times


The ‘Get Into Resources’ programme was underway 21st June to 22nd June, when Ken Seymour, Stewart Kelly and Graeme Thompson took their boxes of tricks and ventured forth to the North Metropolitan TAFE to enthral students with the extraction of copper from an ‘ore’. The programme is aimed at Year 9 and 10 students interested in VET Stream or Academic courses as part of their higher education future, and are looking to participate in relevant activities.

Over the two-day programme, there were 15 groups ranging in sizes from 6 to 10 students, from year’s 9 and 10 and when asked, most were interested in taking up Chemistry in Year 11. Each session runs for around 30 minutes, which prevents a detailed explanation of the extraction process, but students were still able to appreciate what is involved and get to see that there is a lot of science, particularly in this case Chemistry, involved in the copper extraction process. Students participated in the leaching of the ore followed by the cementation and the electrowinning of copper from the leach solution and were shown good samples of electrowon copper.

The students were very enthusiastic during the programme and surprised that they could accomplish the task relatively quickly. Staff from the participating schools were given brochures about the Undergraduate Program in the School of Engineering and Information Technology, along with other information regarding Unit Guides and On-Track information available at Murdoch.

In all, around 400 high school students attended over three days and of these about 130 were VET students and the remaining academic. Some of the students expressed a great interest in pursuing a career in the Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering field.

The School is very supportive of the programme and would like to see these types of activities continue to be run into the future, hopefully reaching a wider student and teacher audience to further promote the courses available at the School and Murdoch University.

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Graeme Thompson far right, overseeing students electrowin their solutions
Students electrowinning their solution
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Graeme centre, answers questions during the presentation
Students, and Ken Seymour, listen whilst Graeme explains what is happening with their experiment
Photos and story content provided by Mr Graeme Thompson


Despite the cold and threat of rain, nearly 21,000 people visited the Murdoch campus on Sunday 30th July. The School of Engineering and Information and Technology embraced the Think Murdoch campaign, with colourful displays and backdrops. There was much to do and see for prospective students and their families.

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Ante Corich left, Soloman Cook middle and Massimo Corich right, ‘Think Murdoch’

Every part of the School was represented, from Engineering and Science and IT. It was wonderful to see all the stands manned and all staff working together, this is the strength of our School.

Highlights from the day include activities in Bayliss Court, such as Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk’s display of stunning butterflies, and how by spraying alcohol on their wings reveals their mysterious mechanism for producing colour.

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Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk left, speaks with visitors on matters of nano-science

Professor Bruce Gardiner provided an amazing activity, Funky Fluids, which gave very eager young visitors the opportunity to work on water, as well as the creator himself.

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Enthusiastic volunteers try the Funky Fluid, while interested young onlookers wait hopefully for their turn

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Professor Bruce Gardiner, tries out the Funky Fluid

The Chemistry Extravaganza Show was also a huge success with audiences, as Andrew Foreman and his team wowed the crowd with demonstration of explosions with cryogens and other gases, explaining the realm of solution chemistry and entertaining with illuminating science demonstrations.

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One of the many ‘explosions’ during the Chemistry Extravaganza
Liquid Nitrogen bubble bath
Time to get out the mop and bucket - a messy, but successful end to the Chemistry Extravaganza

Other fiery demonstrations on the day included, the Thermite reaction display run by Graeme Thompson and Ken Seymour and team, which drew an impressive crowd.

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Ken Seymour demonstrates a Thermite Reaction

It was no less interesting at the other end of campus with Information and Technology interactive virtual reality visualisation and gaming displays, which proved extremely popular, with queues of eager participants waiting to try out the activities.

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Getting into the virtual drivers seat
A participant experiences interactive virtual reality first hand

Thank you once again, one and all for of your hard work, please accept my heartfelt thanks and congratulations for making our Open Day so successful!



Cracking the Hidden Health Benefits of Macadamia Nuts

Everyday in Australia and New Zealand, approximately 20 patients, including children, are admitted to hospital for drug overdose from a most common over the counter analgesic paracetamol. While generally safe, analgesic paracetamol at high doses can lead to liver and kidney damage and in severe cases, lead to intentional or accidental deaths.

Mrs Rattan works with the Murdoch Applied Innovation Nanotechnology Research Group, at the School of Engineering and Information Technology and has been working towards engineering a super absorbent activated charcoal, derived from Macadamia shells, to produce a novel colloidal graphitic formulation to absorb toxic components.

Currently, clinical doctors use a treatment prepared from coconut husks, however, Mrs Rattan said crushed macadamia nut shells were proving more effective at absorbing toxins in the body after an overdose.

‘At the Nanotechnology Research Labs, we’ve been working to engineer a super absorbent solution together with the unique inner matrix of the macadamia shells to mop up molecules of paracetamol at remarkable rates’.

The nano/micron pores created in activated charcoal helps in trapping specific drug molecules, which usually have almost the same size. The macadamia shells are ground into micro particles to create a new form of activated charcoal solution that helps trap the drug molecules that are poisoning the body. Furthermore, this material could also be used to treat other drug overdose cases.

Mrs Rattan added, ‘Macadamias are the hardest nut to crack so finding a use for the shells is a constant problem for industry. The developments of Mac Charcoal for use in pharmaceutical/medical settings offer a welcome by-product from the 50,000 metric ton annual output (as in 2016).’

Mrs Rattan recently won a “Start Something Innovation Prize” to help realise the commercial value of the discovery. The Start Something from Research program was set-up by Murdoch University to mentor and equip young scientists with the skills to transform ideas into commercial reality.

Congratulations to Supriya Rattan on being recognised for her research and innovation.

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Supriya Rattan winner of the Start Something Innovation Prize making her successful presentation

Photo by Linkedin, story content provided by Dr Gerrard Poinern and Office of Marketing and Communication, Murdoch


Congratulations to Information Technology student, Moamer Shakroum for completing the two-day CERI (Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Innovation) Entrepreneurial Mindset Bootcamp and for being selected for the iPREP WA program.

The Industry and PhD Research Engagement Program WA, (iPREP WA) is a new collaboration between the five Western Australian universities, aimed at providing doctoral candidates with enhanced career opportunities. The successful candidates will utilise the thesis examination period to complete a project as part of an interdisciplinary team with an industry partner. Their skill set will be matched with the requirements of an authentic workplace problem presented by the industry partner. Potential industry partners could include private companies, local councils and government agencies.

Participants will complete a two-day training program to prepare for the 6-week fulltime project. At the conclusion of the project, the project team will be required to pitch their solution to the industry partner through an oral presentation and written report.

iPREP WA aims to support diverse career pathways through developing skills in the following areas:

  • Business acumen - including experience in identifying business needs and participating in business processes.
  • Emotional and social intelligence - including self-awareness, self-management and relationship management.
  • Strategic problem solving in the workplace.
  • Project management within tight time-frames.
  • Effective communication and role negotiation within an interdisciplinary team.
  • Leadership approaches relevant to working in teams, such as collaborative and distributed leadership models.

CERI’s Entrepreneurial Mindset Module is based on the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program (IHEP) which is a learning program designed to inspire and engage participants in the fundamental aspects of an entrepreneurial mindset and the unlimited opportunities it can provide. The overall objective is to empower participants through entrepreneurial thinking and immerse them in entrepreneurial experiences that will enable them to develop entrepreneurial skills.

Article provided by Associate Professor Kevin Wong


PhD candidate Mr Saeed Shariati, along with co-authors and supervisors, Dr Jocelyn Armarego and Associate Professor Emerita Fay Sudweeks, received the ‘Best Paper Award’ at the recent Informing Science and IT in Education (InSITE) 2017 Conference. The paper is entitled The Impact of e-Skills on the Settlement of Iranian Refugees in Australia.

Saeed Shariati presented the work at the conference organised by the Informing Science Institute and hosted at RMIT University in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. The paper looked at the issues of settlement, such as language, cultural and social differences, using a qualitative methodology of multi-sited ethnography, drawing on a series of semi-structured interviews. The findings showed the vital role ICT plays in the ongoing day to day life of refugees dealing with re-settlement and may in the future enable the creation of a model for use by the Australian Government with Iranian refugees.

The paper was fast tracked for publication in the Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Life Long Learning (IJELL) (see

Congratulations to all of the authors on their success and recognition.

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Associate Professor Emerita Fay Sudweeks left and fellow award recipient Mr Saeed Shariati

Photo and Article provided by Emeritus Associate Professor Fay Sudweeks


Associate Professor Emerita Fay Sudweeks was appointed to the position of Governor of the Informing Science Institute (ISI) at the recent Informing Science and IT Education (InSITE), held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

ISI is progressing quickly in its quest to improve as an association of university professors, with the mission to advance the transdisciplinary study of informing science, set knowledge free, and help all of its members improve as teachers and researchers. The position typically requires a 5-year commitment to the board and includes weekly Skype meetings, Governors’ meetings at InSITE conferences and developing training material for authors, reviewers, editors, and editors-in-chiefs.

For more information, see

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Associate Professor Emerita Fay Sudweeks, centre, receives her award

Photo and Article provided by Emeritus Associate Professor Fay Sudweeks



In July, Emeritus Professor Lance Fung was invited to deliver a keynote on “Emerging Technologies and Applications of Human-Machine-Interface (HMI) and Brian Computer Interface (BCI)” at the 14th Joint conference in Computer Science and Software Engineering (JCSSE 2017) held at Nahkon Si Thammarat, Thailand.

Professor Fung shared the stage with other keynote speakers including Dr Lee Hing Yan, Director of Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), Singapore; Professor Tokuro Matsuo, Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology, Japan; and Dr Clovis Chapman, Senior Manager at Groupon, USA. In addition, Professor Fung also delivered a seminar on “Trends and Issues in Information Technology Education 4.0” at the King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB), and a workshop on “Publishing in International Journals” at Rangsit University (RSU).

Professor Fung also visited Walailak University, Mahidol University, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), and Dhurakij Pundit University (DPU), promoting teaching and research programs at the School and the new Murdoch University Scholarship schemes for interested staff and students.

The School of Engineering and Information Technology has strong ties with Thailand through professional contacts and many postgraduate graduates working at various universities and government organisations. It is hopeful that the recent visit will result in future student enrolments and strengthening of research collaboration with these universities. Lance is available to discuss with any staff who are interested in collaboration opportunities in Thailand.

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Emeritus Professor (third from left) and other delegates at the 14th JCSSE, 2017 Conference

Photo and Article provided by Emeritus Professor, Lance Fung



As a result of the Schools research collaboration partnership with BPPT Indonesia, (Agency for The Assessment and Application of Technology, Badan Pengkajian dan Penerapan Teknologi), I was invited to be keynote speaker at the 13th National Seminar on Chemical Engineering (Topic: Natural Resource Management Based on Energy Efficiency), organised by Soebardjo Brothohardjono XIII, Faculty of Engineering, National Development University (UPN) "Veteran" Surabaya, East Java.

My presentation was entitled “Environmental Technology for Resource Recovery from Liquid & Solid Wastes” and was well received by the audience of approximately 100 industry representatives and their chemical engineering students. My presentation was followed with a series of presentations by their staff, students and industry partners with many focussed on bioprocessing of agricultural residues, particularly by anaerobic digestion, fermentation and production of biofuels. It is expected that a delegation of UPN staff will visit Murdoch University in February or March 2018 and their students will consider taking Masters programs at Murdoch University. They invited me to be a keynote speaker at their 2nd International Joint Conference on Science and Technology (IJCST) in Bali 27th to 28th September 2017,


The Taman Petanu Eco Neighbourhood not far from Denpasar Bali is a residential demonstration and training centre in sustainable technology development. Institute of Ecotechnics collaborator Mark Nelson had provided technical support to the centre for installation of constructed wetlands to treat the dwellings wastewater and accommodation and teaching spaces are available to host seminars and workshops.

The Green School, also between Denpasar and Ubud, established by John Hardy from Canada, is an international school offering scholarships to local children of lower socio-economic standing upon successful application for education in sustainability and business development. The Green School runs a range of programs in the region with a particular focus on pollution control, environmental rehabilitation and job creation for local villagers. This venue also has accommodation and teaching spaces that are available to host seminars and workshops.


Veronica Mitchell from our Murdoch Singapore office and I met with staff at Nanyang Polytechnic, from their Chemical and Green Technology diploma program with which we have an articulation agreement. We had recently hosted three of their students on internship at Murdoch University.

Veronica explained the new offering available from Murdoch University, being 70 free return flight tickets to Perth for students who enrol by February. Nanyang staff will commence promotions to their alumni students to encourage enrolment at Murdoch University by February.

From Nanyang we went directly to Temasek Polytechnic where I delivered a presentation to approximately 100 of their Year 1 Diploma in Green Buildings and Sustainability students. The presentation was well received and there was great interest from the students in the Murdoch programs.

I also met with manager of the Singapore Murdoch University office Chris Vas. He explained that he is starting a new Environmental Management teaching program and is keen to use some of our units from Environmental Engineering to be delivered into this program. Initially he wants to look at using unit ENG300 as a base for teaching content in sustainable cities.

The next phase of our BPPT research collaboration will be a Murdoch student placement at Yogyakarta, commencing 1st August. The student will collect data and monitor performance of the solar powered seawater desalination plant at the BPPT Baron Technopark.

There is also plans to set-up with BPPT an algal biofuel project in Bali running off wastewater funded by Japanese industry Euglena Co, Ltd.

Overall the trip was extremely successful, fulfilling current collaboration projects and forging new ones for the future.

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Dr Martin Anda presents to Temasek Poly students in Singapore

Story and photo provided by Dr Martin Anda


On 25th July, Dr. Tania Urmee, Senior Lecturer at the School of Engineering and Information Technology, with PhD student, Mr Taskin Jamal, visited the Udayana University in Bali, Indonesia.

An MOU has been signed between Murdoch and Udayana University’s providing the opportunity to conduct collaborative research. During the visit, Dr Tania Urmee, discussed the potential research collaboration in the field of Renewable Energy. Representatives joined in a round table meeting with the senior faculty members of Udayana University to discuss and share the current renewable energy research activities conducted at both universities. Later on, Dr Urmee presented and introduced Murdoch University and its research facilities to all the faculty members and the postgraduate students in a seminar, showcasing her areas of expertise and explaining the potential for collaborative research. Mr Taskin presented his doctoral research studies and findings to the same audience and presented some scopes on which future research collaboration can be conducted. There were several questions from the audience regarding the admission and scholarship opportunities at Murdoch and the PhD enrolment to completion procedure, which Dr Tania and Mr Taskin explained in greater detail.

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Round table meeting at the International Office, Udayana University, Bali, Indonesia

On 26th July, Dr Tania and Mr Taskin also visited a hybrid microgrid facility at Nusa Penida Island, near Bali, arranged by Dr Martin Anda. The hybrid power plant is operated by PLN, a state-owned corporation responsible for generation, distribution and sales of electricity. The plant has 9MW of installed diesel generation capacity along with 720kW wind and 32kWp solar PV power generation capacity. Engineers from BPPT and PLN travelled with the visitors to the island to demonstrate the operation and management of the microgrid and meet with the engineers working in the power station to exchange shared knowledge regarding the microgrid setup and operational activities.

Mr Taskin is currently conducting his doctoral research on microgrid setup and operational activities in different countries and the visit to both Udayana University and the Nusa Penida microgrid facility proved a valuable experience for both researchers and provide a strong basis for future research collaboration opportunities.

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Post seminar photo session with the faculty members and post-graduate engineering students at Udayana University, Bali, Indonesia

Photos and story content provided by Dr Tania Urmee


Due to reduced funding, the School undertook fitting out 340.1.006 as a computer lab and project room for Metallurgical Engineering, required to support the teaching activities in ENG457, Engineering Design Project, Unit Coordinators Dr Drew Parsons and Dr Aleks Nikoloski.

This was a great effort from all involved under difficult circumstances, involving the general power shut down and associated lack of power in the lab for a further two weeks. The installation of the SysCad software had its own special challenges, with an almost Herculean effort on the part of IT Services to get it up and running on time. Special thanks to the School Technical staff involved, Kris Parker, Will Stirling and Ken Seymour along with student Lia Cherico, who contributed to achieving an operational computer lab for Metallurgical Engineering just in time for start of semester two teaching.

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From left Ken Seymour, Lia Cherico, Kris Parker and Will Stirling glad to have the computer lab up and running on time.

The project is part of a collaborative partnership with students from the University of Queensland and Curtin University (WASM), as part of the Metallurgical Education Partnership (MEP), sponsored by the Minerals Tertiary Education Council and the Minerals Council of Australia.

The Client Brief given to the students this year is:

“Your group (the ‘Study Team’ within a ‘Consulting Firm’) will design a metallurgical extraction process and plant, essentially at the concept level of accuracy for a specified copper resource.”

The room, which has previously housed no more than six students for similar design projects, had to be upgraded so that sixteen students (the largest number to date), could have a computer with access to SysCad software. This software is a vital component of the design process.

The Design Project was preceded by intense workshop sessions held on Murdoch Campus for students from all three universities, with presentations from Metallurgical Engineering professionals within the mining industry.

Photo and story provided by Mr Ken Seymour and Mr Andrew Foreman



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Despite the shocking weather on the day, the rain and wind abated to allow the MentorMe Launch for Semester Two to go ahead successfully. The Launch, held on 26th July on Bush Court, was a very casual meet and greet. Its purpose was to bring added awareness to the MentorMe programme and to provide opportunities for newly commencing students to meet and interact with the mentors in an informal, fun atmosphere. It also acted as a second opportunity for students to sign up for Mentoring if they did not do so in their School Course Advice Session.

The theme of the Launch centred around the concept of ‘growing community’ symbolically represented by a tree. Long term plans involve the planting of the tree on campus in honour of our new students. This will happen at the end of the semester at the MentorMe Thank You event.

Students who signed up to be mentored were given the opportunity to personalise a cardboard hand and to write or draw something that represents a hope or aspiration for their time at university. Polaroid photos were taken of each student and attached to the opposite side of the hand and finally, students attached the hand to the tree.

The hands of aspirations will be “buried”, (symbolically) with the tree and we hope that both the tree and the student’s aspirations will grow and flourish during their education journey with Murdoch and beyond.

Students who placed their hands on the tree, went into the draw to win various prizes from STA Travel, the bookshop, The Guild Coffee Shops, and JB HiFi.

Students who have not signed up for the MentorMe program, but would like to do so, should contact their Student Advisor.

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There is more to doing well at university then just being a dedicated student; there are hidden intricacies to academic culture which new pupils must learn and successfully navigate in order to perform well. During my first year at Murdoch my performance was inhibited by a lack of experience with the university environment. While I did alright in the end, I ended up wasting a lot of time clarifying what teachers actually wanted, identifying which assignments I should prioritise, and over preparing for classes.

For this reason, I think the MentorMe program is an excellent opportunity. It allows more experienced students to provide guidance on how first years should approach their studies, minimising the learning curve required to do well at university. If I had been able to participate in the program as a mentee, I am sure it would have greatly alleviated my anxieties about course requirements and helped raise my overall academic performance.

Article provided by Morgan Smolder – Computer Science/Games Technology

Photo provided by Dianne Noonan – SEIT Student Advisor


Dean's Scholarships for Scientific Excellence


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


To find out more go to:


To find out more go to:


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To find out more go to Career Connect August Newsletter and register your details at CareerConnect.



New Staff and Student Training

The Safety in Research and Teaching Induction and Lab Safety Workshop was held on Friday, 28th July 2017, with a number of attendees from the school. It is ESSENTIAL for all new staff, new post-doctoral personnel and new honours and post graduate students involved in research and/or teaching to attend the SRT Induction part 1, if you missed the session you can complete the training online just follow the link:

Chemistry Inventory Lists

This is a reminder that the unresolved chemical inventory lists were due 31/7/17 and we are currently awaiting a final gap analysis from the safety team.

Gas Cylinder Training

Recently SEIT commissioned BOC to train some staff and students on the proper use of gas cylinders and cryogenics. The comprehensive training involved both theory and hands on practical sessions that covered such things as:

1) Gas cylinders – design, gas types, identification
2) Gas properties and hazards
3) Safety with inert, oxidizers, flammables and toxic gases
4) Storage and handling of cylinders
5) Gas equipment
6) cryogenics
7) Safety with liquid nitrogen

This session served as good grounding for safe use of gas cylinders and cryogens for HDR student and staff who may have had no formal training.

Remember always restrain Gas Cylinders.

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Incident Reporting

Currently the school has one incident requiring attention, please remember if you identify a hazard, or an incident occurs in your area please report it via the online system:

Portable Gas Monitor

As a result of a previous incident in the School, there is now a portable gas monitor for use, which can determine oxygen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulphide levels along with lower explosive limits of flammables. This will be located in 340.3.003 and if you need to borrow it, please contact Marc Hampton ( and he will train you in its operation.

Stay Safe from Andrew Foreman, Technical Resource Manager