School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

December 2017

Dean - Professor Bogdan Dlugogorski

Welcome to the December edition of the School Newsletter.

Please join me in congratulating the physical scientists in the School and at the University, for making the 500 list in physical sciences in the Times Higher Education ranking, this is a very important milestone for all of us and an outstanding result. Check the results at Times Higher Education Ranking.

I am pleased to announce that one of our students, Mr Daniel Hay-Hendry, has been awarded one of 120 Australia-wide prestigious New Colombo Plan Scholarships. Daniel will be studying in Japan for one semester in 2018 and will also do an internship in his host location. Congratulations Daniel and we hope to hear more about your experience next year.

Also, please join me in congratulating Drs GM Shafiullah from Electrical Engineering and Xiangpeng Gao from Energy Studies for completing their probationary period at a high level and for being awarded tenure.

School staff recently took part in the Wise Women symposium held here at Murdoch campus, the first of a series of events that will take place over the next 12 months. WISE Women showcases the pathways for girls interested in STEM related career opportunities. For more details on the event go to, Women in STEM inspire next generation.

As 2017 draws to a close, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all staff for their hard-work, dedication and commitment throughout the year and thank you also to those staff that will be busy working during the summer teaching period.

I hope you all have the opportunity to have a restful and well deserved break and a joyful and safe festive season with loved ones. I look forward to seeing you all in 2018 re-energised and enthused for what will undoubtedly be another very exciting year of teaching and research.

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


Are Your Eligible for a 'Murdoch Frist Scholarship'?
Start Your Journey to Scientific Excellence
Help Lead the Way to Clean Energy Storage
Apply for Honours and Post Graduate Courses
Australian Institute of Physics AGM - WA Sector
Student Surveys
WA Universities Electric Energy Poster Competition
NEG, WA Electricity Market and Guest Lecturer, Professor Ross Garnaut
Research Begins to Solve Kidney Anatomy Enigma
Dean's Scholarship for Scientific Excellence
From the Technical Resources Manager
Murdoch University Dubai @ Expo Live Competition



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Dean's Scholarships for Scientific Excellence


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


To find out more go to


To find out more go to



On 16th of November 2017, the Western Australian branch of the AIP held its annual AGM and dinner. Murdoch University featured prominently at this event.

Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk and Dr Elaine Walker were returned as Chair and Treasurer respectively. Murdoch University students Kathryn Wilson, Kirsten Emory, Tristan Ward, Justin Freeman, Loughlan Weatherly and Philipp Schönhöfer became Committee Members.

It was noted on the night, by members from other universities, just how many undergraduate and postgraduate students from Murdoch attended.

Congratulations to the School’s Justin Freeman and Ian Wilkins for being awarded the De Laeter medal for the Top 3rd Year and Honours student in 2016 from Murdoch, respectively.

To top off the night, we were treated to an excellent talk by Associate Professor Jacob Kirkensgaard on “Soft matter as a playground for the exploration of space partitioning”. Associate Professor Kirkensgaard is visiting Murdoch for 3 months from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

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Associate Professor Kirkensgaard presented at the AGM


On the same day of the AGM meeting the annual AIP WA Postgraduate Student Conference took place as well. Murdoch University was very well represented at this event by a good number of PhD and Honours students, who gave high quality talks about their projects. They also generated a lot of interest among both students and academics attending from UWA, Curtin and ECU about the research done at Murdoch. This year the event was successfully co-organised by a Murdoch PhD student, Philipp Schönhöfer.

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Professor Ian McArthur Head of School of Physics and Astrophysics, presenting at the AIP Postgraduate Student Conference Philipp Schönhöfer presenting at the AIP Postgraduate Student Conference

Article provided by Professor Bruce Gardiner


Colleagues often say to me that student surveys of teaching and of units are not worthy of attention because the response rates are poor, students are hardly experts in tertiary teaching, and anyway, they just reflect the popularity of the teachers. Whatever truth there may be in these assertions, they do not justify completely ignoring student surveys. Rather, the point is that student surveys should be used wisely, and with due awareness of their strengths and weaknesses.

Clearly, we should not treat student evaluations as definitive information about the quality of teaching or the quality of a unit, but they do tell us about students’ experience of learning from a teacher or in a unit, and that is important. However good a teacher or a unit may appear to be, if students do not enjoy their learning, of if they feel that their learning is not worthwhile, then there are problems that need to be addressed.

Regarding poor response rates, my main response is that I never treat a single set of numbers from a unit or a teacher as giving me much information. However, if student evaluations are collected consistently over time, one can observe trends (general improvement or decline) and see which elements of the learning experience may be lagging, or doing especially well (a common laggard is quality of feedback – Q3 on the Unit Surveys).

As to surveys providing nothing more than popularity scores, I dispute this on the basis of reading the comments that students contribute to my own unit surveys. Very few comments are simply “Doug is nice” or “I like Doug” (or even “I hate Doug”). Rather, the great majority of comments show that students who contribute go to some trouble to say what they think and why. Even if there is personal opinion, they say why they liked something or someone. Thus, my experience of student comments is that those who contribute do in fact take it seriously, and of course who do not take it seriously are those who did not contribute at all. I should also point out that it is very important to let students know that you value their evaluation of the unit, or of you as teacher, and tell them about things that you have done in the past in response to student feedback. It is all part of an ongoing conversation around learning – their learning of unit content, and your learning of how to teach that content.

On a (slightly) lighter note, unit and teaching surveys for 2017 semester 2 are freshly available. Here is a graph of how average SEIT Unit Survey results compare with those for the university over the last few years.

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Has SEIT suddenly jumped above the university average? I would certainly like to think so! I look forward to seeing what results emerge in 2018.

Doug Fletcher (ADLT)

Article supplied by Dr Doug Fletcher


The Western Australia Chapter of the Electric Energy Society of Australia (EESA) and Engineers Australia (EA), has been launching a poster presentation prize competition for Power/Energy Engineering students enrolled in a Western Australian University, offering a degree program at any level that enables student to meet the stage 1 competency of Engineers Australia.

The EESA poster prize competition is aimed at bringing graduating students and potential colleagues and employers from industry together in experiencing first hand some of the excellent work carried out by the student engineers. Students will have the opportunity to show-case and demonstrate their work and the industry attendees will have the chance to experience the quality of the student’s work and engage in conversation with them in an informal way, to eventually lead to mutually beneficial enterprises including possible employment, further research to potential patents, and at the very least, a wonderful networking opportunity.

This year, the competition was held on 10th November 2017, at University of Western Australia, with participation of industry partners such as Horizon Power, Jacobs, Woodside and 15 posters from four universities in WA including Murdoch University, University of Western Australia, Curtin University, and Edith Cowan University. Dr Ali Arefi and Dr Gareth Lee are the representative and coordinator respectively of this program for Murdoch University, which is the sponsor of this event as well. Entries on the day were judged by industry representatives, in Alignment, Contents, Presentation, Delivery, and Engagements and the first four top winners received their cash prizes on the day.

Murdoch University had great presentation in terms of the number of quality of posters in this round. Three undergraduate students presented, out of which two received 2nd and 4th prize.

Mr Mondli Moyo (2nd prize), Title: Cost-effective solution for a hybrid solar-wind-diesel microgrid in Rottnest Island, Supervisor: Dr Ali Arefi

Mrs Yiqing Wang (4th prize), Title: Investigation into voltage control approaches on the example feeder to increase rooftop PV penetration, Supervisors: Dr Martina Calais, Adjunct Professor Craig Carter

Mr Zhuo Li (Entry), Title: Transactive Energy System, Supervisor: Dr Ali Aref

The competition provides significant opportunity for Murdoch University participants to meet with the electric energy industry professionals, consultants, government, academia and other University students, especially in Western Australia, whilst raising the profile and capacity of Murdoch University with interested parties.

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Article content provided by Dr Ali Arefi and photo provided by Martina Calais



The Federal Government has repeatedly talked about the energy trilemma, which comprises the three classic energy objectives of reliability, affordability and responsibility, but without referencing the important cost of emissions on our world. The recent announcement from the Prime Minister on the National Energy Guarantee policy is designed to operate through the National Energy Market. Although Western Australia is not a part of this market, the lack of a renewable energy target will impact the Western Australian energy industry.

On 3rd November, 2017, Professor Garnaut AC visited Murdoch University and gave a lecture on, ‘Australia as a Superpower of the Low Carbon World Economy: a Western Australian Perspective after Finkel and Frydenberg’. In the emerging low carbon world economy and with abundant renewable energy resources in Western Australia, this talk was very timely for us to learn from Professor Garnaut how the state can tackle future energy challenges. The presentation by Professor Garnuat was arranged by members of the Energy Studies team involved in the $20 million Energy Transition Hub projects.

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Professor Garnaut presenting to staff, students, industry representatives and the public, at Murdoch University

A total of 315 people attended the lecture with a breakdown into participant’s category shown below.

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In his lecture, Professor Garnaut outlined his vision for Australia as a Superpower of low carbon economies. This was the first time Professor Garnaut talked about the implication of the new national energy policy and National Energy Guarantee (NEG) proposed recently by the Federal Government.

Professor Garnaut explained the Energy Transition Hub and its institutional organisation, which was supported by the Turnbull and Merkel Governments and announced at the Hamburg G20 Summit. It is the cooperation between leading Universities and Energy and Climate Research Institutes. Murdoch University is the Western Australian node of this hub. The hub shares ideas and research on the transition to zero carbon economy over a long horizon. He mentioned that the hub has the capacity to find the best from the first principles.

He questioned how the reliability of electricity under NEG works and whether the overlay of energy only market with multiple reliability requirements would destroy liquidity in forward contract markets. In the absence of a competitive transparent market for reliability services and emissions, the less liquid and transparent forward market would strengthen large retailer oligopoly, especially if large coal generation owned by large retailers is redefined as flexible and dispatchable.

Professor Garnaut mentioned that Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), suggests that multiple stability grid services, together with Paris COP21 targets, are likely to produce energy security with lower wholesale prices and less price-increasing monopolies. He proposed that for Australia to become an energy superpower of a low carbon world economy, it needs competitive retail and generation markets and cost-reducing network management to minimise costs.

Professor Garnaut highlighted, if the rest of Australia falters due to the NEG, Western Australia can still be an energy productivity island since the state is not directly affected by the NEG implementation. He concluded, “This is an opportunity for WA to build on established capacity markets and provide a model for later NEM reform”.

Article provided by Dr Tania Urmee


A new project led by Murdoch University will shed new light on kidney physiology. Professor Bruce Gardiner and Dr Gerd Schröder-Turk from Murdoch University’s School of Engineering and IT, will lead an Australian Research Council funded project worth nearly $393k over the next three years, with a multidisciplinary team of anatomists, physiologists, physicists and mathematicians.

“Despite nearly 150 years of scientific investigation, the story of oxygen in the mammalian kidney remains a mystery,” Professor Gardiner said. “We know that around 25 per cent of oxygenated blood from the heart is sent straight to the kidneys and yet kidneys are prone to injury stemming from a lack of oxygen.”

The team have begun the process of looking for a bottleneck in oxygen supply to the kidney, examining blood flow and oxygen transport through computational modelling, physiological studies and anatomical imaging.

The team will develop a 3D computer model of the kidney, right down to the densely woven tiny peri-tubular capillaries.

“We believe the lack of blood flow is a trade-off in the evolution of the kidney,” Professor Gardiner explained. “We are interested in gaining more of an understanding how evolution of the kidney allows it to perform its multiple functions, while still allowing oxygen delivery to be reconciled with oxygen demand. This is a very delicate balance that can be affected by environmental stressors with major health consequences…this investigation could potentially rewrite the story of how oxygen moves around the kidney, which is an issue also of critical importance to kidney health.”

Researchers from Monash University and The University of Western Australia are also involved in the project.

Professor Gardiner was also successful in a second Australian Research Council Discovery Project this year on cartilage wear and lubrication. This second grant is administered by Melbourne University.

Article provided by Pepita Smyth, Office of Marketing and Communications


Dr Martina Calais, recently had the honour of presenting the Dean’s Scholarship for Scientific Excellence to an outstanding student from John Curtin College of the Arts. The Scholarship valued at $20,000 over 4 years, was conditionally awarded to Douglas Lowrie and is subject to him achieving an ATAR of 92 or above. Douglas was Dux of his school and selected to study Engineering at Murdoch as his first preference next year. Congratulations to Douglas, we look forward to welcoming you to the School in 2018.


The Network and Gaming Labs and student space have been signed off by the Vice Chancellor and the final plans should go out to tender in the 2nd week of December; the project will still be subject to tender assessment and final approvals. I would like to thank the many people in the Discipline of Information Technology and the School that have contributed to this project, particularly Louis Grynfeltt, our recently appointed IT technician for his enthusiasm in making a real contribution to the project. Below are a couple of excerpts from the design package.

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Some minor works have almost been completed in 340.2.005 to make this lab operational for water research, specifically Professor Wendell Ela’s research group and I hope to have relocated the research activities from B198 to 2.005 by end of January 2018 thus vacating our footprint from B198.

There will be ongoing works in B340 to refit electrical sub distribution boards over the next 2 months, please be patient, I am assured that where power will be effected, temporary power will be put in place.


I will take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. During the limited service period, staff and students should not attend the workplace. If during the limited service period, there is a hazardous activity that is critical to operations of the School, a minimum of two persons must be present at the workplace. The second person must be competent to obtain any assistance required and to make the area safe. Please refer to the SEIT Guidelines for Working in Isolation or Alone. (PDF Attached ‘2018 SEIT Guidelines for Working in Isolation’ and ‘Job Safety Analysis Form 2017’)

A reminder that RAMP forms need to be completed as there have been a couple of instances in the last month of projects (including honours projects) not having RAMPS completed, submitted and approved.

Other safety points of note:

  • MUIRS system has been updated
  • The University safety team will be delivering some “Risk Workshops” over the next 6 months to look at how to apply common methodology for identifying hazards and analysing OSHW risks across each School.
  • Any contractor arranged by the school to perform work will need to sign on at PDCSO and sign off and the contractor will need to undertake the online safety induction.
  • SRT induction will be held on the Friday of Orientation Week, Semester One. Any new staff or students will need to attend modules that are relevant to their work.

Professional Staff

Congratulation to Caitlin Sweeney (Laboratory Technician) who was successful in applying for a secondment to backfill the Science Outreach Officer position for 6 months commencing on 12th December 2017. I wish Caitlin every success in her temporary role and I am in the process of backfilling Caitlin’s position.

Andrew Foreman

Technical Resources Manager


Conducted by Organisers of Expo2020 Dubai

In the lead up to the World Expo2020, which will be held in Dubai, two groups of students from the Murdoch University International Study Centre in Dubai, including a number studying IT courses, were recently involved in “The Expo Live University Innovation Programme.” The organisers of EXPO2020 conceived the programme to engage university students in devising innovative solutions that are relevant to the themes of Expo2020 (Opportunity, Mobility, Sustainability).
The Murdoch student groups were competing against 280 groups from other universities for grants of AED 25,000 (USD 6,812). There were three rounds involved:

  1. Screening round: A total of 280 proposals were received. 2 Murdoch teams were shortlisted along with 30 other teams.
  2. Second round: There was a pitch and Q&A round in which both Murdoch teams found a place in the 21 teams shortlisted.
  3. Third round: Final pitch and 17 teams were chosen, with both Murdoch teams included.

The two Murdoch groups were successful and were both awarded grants. The students involved and their projects are listed below.

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The Big Foot group which consisted of IT students and who were mentored by the IT Course Coordinator in Dubai, Wayne Muller, far left.

Article provided by Mr Danny Toohey