School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

July 2017

Dean - Professor Bogdan Dlugogorski

Semester break provided for a slightly quieter campus this month, but activity in the School certainly did not slow down, with staff and students busily preparing for the second half of the academic year.

In this edition of the School Newsletter, we feature highlights from the recent 2017 Staff Awards. It was a wonderful evening celebrating the many achievements from the Schools’ teaching and research and professional staff, with family and friends also joining in on the event.

Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk

I would also like to recognise other accomplishments within the School. Please join me in congratulating Dr Nicola Armstrong on her continuing appointment as Senior Lecturer. Nicola provides a fantastic service and contribution to research and teaching in the School.

Congratulations also to PhD student, Mrs Sana Zahid, who was recently awarded a Post Graduate Research Award from AINSE, the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering. As part of the award funding agreement, Sana will, in conjunction with her supervisor Dr Hans Oskierski, secure beam-time at the Australian Synchrotron. We wish Sana the best of luck with her project.

Please read on for more on these stories and other information in this month’s Newsletter.

Roland (left) and Liselotta (front) celebrate with their Dad, Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk, at the 2017 Staff Awards

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 and the Dean's Scholarships for Scientific Excellence.  They are all included in the last three pages of the Newsletter.

Best wishes,





Congratulations to Ms Veena Nagaraj on the recent publication of her paper in the Nature Research journal, npj Biofilms and Microbiomes. The paper is based on her recently completed PhD thesis, studying biofouling in seawater reverse osmosis desalination, caused by bacterial build up on filtration membranes. Biofouling is a multi-billion dollar problem affecting the desalination plant industry worldwide each year. See the full paper here:

Ms Veena NagarajVeena has also published as first author, two papers in Q1 journals and one short paper in a Q2 journal based on her thesis and two further papers have been submitted and are under review. She is also a co-author in another Q1 journal paper.

Veenas’ PhD is supervised by Dr Lucy Skillman, Dr Linda Li and Emeritus Professor Goen Ho. Collaborators include Professor Sunny Jiang (University of California, Irvine), Mr Alexander Gofton and Dr Zhang Wang Xie.

Following are links to other online sites featuring Ms Nagaraj’s publications.

Ms Veena Nagaraj



A group of Pinjarra Year 12 ATAR students recently got a taste of what they can expect from University level mathematics, when Dr Doug Fletcher, Murdoch University, Associate Dean of Leaning and Teaching, visited the high school. The select students were shown how important mathematics and statistics can be in areas of research and science and applied across different disciplines, such as engineering and IT. Students participating in the workshop, are part of the Pathway to STEM program, which targets select students wanting to do study in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths, and provides guidance for students through their ATAR year and therefore better prepare them for specialised courses at University.

Dr Fletcher’s work at Pinjarra High School was recently also featured in the Mandurah Mail:

Minds for Maths - Mandurah Mail

Dr Doug Fletcher

Dr Fletcher explains to Year 12 Pinjarra High School students, how data analysis can be used in different areas of science
Photo provided by Cam Findlay, Mandurah Mail



The Australian Institute for Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) offers postgraduate awards to suitably qualified students who require access to the facilities at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), at Lucas Heights, or to the Australian Synchrotron in Clayton, for their PhD project. This prestigious award consists of a top-up stipend of $7,500 per year, along with a generous travel and accommodation allowance to access the ANSTO facilities.

Sana Zahid, a PhD student in Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering since June 2016, has been selected as one of the recipients of this competitive scholarship. Sana’s PhD project is supervised by Dr Hans Oskierski, Dr Mohammednoor Altarawneh, Professor Bogdan Dlugorgorski and Associate Professor Gamini Senanayake at Murdoch University, and Dr Helen Brand at the Australian Synchrotron will be Sana’s ANSTO co-supervisor. Sana’s project focuses on the thermal dehydroxylation of serpentine minerals for CO2 storage. The economic and energy efficient dehydroxylation of these Mg-silicates is necessary for large scale implementation of mineral carbonation, which offers a safe and permanent disposal of CO2 in the form of Mg-carbonate minerals.

While dehydroxylation of serpentine minerals greatly enhances their reactivity, it also imposes a significant energy penalty. Sana’s research aims to determine the optimal conditions for thermal amorphisation of the Mg-silicate structure and to identify the influence of the amorphous phase on reactivity during subsequent carbonation. Sana plans to use a range of in-situ and ex-situ techniques to observe the mechanisms and kinetics of serpentine dehydroxylation and carbonation reactions. This includes in-situ X-ray diffraction experiments carried out at the Powder Diffraction Beamline at the Australian Synchrotron, which enable acquisition of high quality diffraction patterns within tens of seconds, not achievable on conventional laboratory XRD instruments. In tandem with infrared spectroscopy and cutting-edge micro-characterisation, Sana’s research will advance the understanding of serpentine dehydroxylation and carbonation for the development of energy and cost efficient CO2 storage by mineral carbonation.

Sana Zahid

Sana Zahid working on her PhD project


Associate Professor, Hamid Laga, this month received some great news from colleague Dr Hedi Tabia, from ENSEA France.

Associate Professor Laga and co-author Dr Tabia won first prize, for the Best Paper Award at the Symposium on Geometry Processing 2017 in London, for their paper titled, Modeling and Exploring Co-variations in Geometry and Configuration of Man-made 3D Shape Families.

Dr Tabia, from ENSEA, a leading French Graduate School, in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Telecommunications, visited the School for three months in 2016, working closely with Associate Professor Laga during that time and presented the paper at the recent symposium. Congratulations to Associate Professor and co-author Dr Tabia on their success.

For more information about the event, go to: Symposium on Geometry Processing 2017.

Dr Tabia

Dr Tabia (right), receiving the Best Paper Award at the Symposium in London


Congratulations to the School of Engineering and Information Technology' Adjunct Professor Raj Kurup for being selected by Engineers Australia, as 2017 Innovative Consulting Engineer.

Dr Raj Kurup has spent two years developing and implementing an innovative and energy efficient nitrogen removal process for wastewater. The process is named the EEI anammox process and can save up 55 per cent in power costs and avoids the need to use chemicals to remove nitrogen.

For further details on the award and Dr Kurup’s EEI anammox process, see below:

Dr Raj Kurup

Article extract provided by Engineers Australia



It is always wonderful to hear and catch up with our Alumni and see how their experience at Murdoch has shaped their future learning, their career opportunities and perspective on life.

Vidhu Bhardwaj, graduated in a Master of Information Technology at Murdoch University in December 2015 and here is how she looks back on her time with the University.

Vidhu Bhardway"I graduated from Murdoch in December 2015 with a Master of Information Technology (Management Specialisation). At Murdoch, I received not only IT Management knowledge, but also current industry awareness. Murdoch regularly conducts seminars by industry professionals. I still remember one very interesting seminar on Big Data, presented by a senior Data Scientist from Woodside.

I will forever be grateful to the amazing faculty members of the IT department, who have enriched my thinking, research and writing skills. As a result of which, I sometimes write articles on LinkedIn and finding a solution to any problem is not a daunting task for me anymore.

Murdoch’s Career Connect department also played a vital role in motivating me to continue my professional development. It assisted me in boosting my confidence by arranging mock interviews and other workshops like ‘LinkedIn’.

Alumni Vidhu Bhardway says the skill and knowledge gained at Murdoch University help her in her current role.

After graduating from Murdoch, I wanted to be a Data Analyst, but while writing articles for students, I realised that I love helping students and feel contented by sharing my experience with them. Also I have developed strong analytical skills, which I can use in any kind of task. Currently, I am employed as an IT Trainer and Assessor at the National Institute of Technology (NIT Australia). I teach students of Diploma in IT and also coordinate internships for them. The excellent learning experience at Murdoch assists me in better teaching as well as better managing."



Teaching, research and professional staff from the School and from around the University were recognised for their achievements and service at the recent Staff Awards, held on 15th June in the Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre.

The evening commenced with a welcome from Master of Ceremonies, Professor Lyn Karstadt, Deputy Vice Chancellor International, who invited Dr Richard Walley, OAM, custodian of Whadjuk country, to welcome guests to country.

Dr Richard WalleyVice Chancellor, Professor Eeva Leinonen, then addressed staff and was full of praise for the award recipients, stating they were an inspiration to their co-workers, students and stakeholders across government and industry and expressed her pride in leading a workforce that was committed to achieving outstanding results in teaching, learning, research and engagement. The VC went on to say all staff contribute to the success of the University and help grow what is a unique University community.

The School was extremely well represented on the night, with a number of awards going to teaching, research and professional staff.

Dr Richard Walley, OAM welcomes guests to country

Long Serving Staff Members

The following School staff were recognised for their years of service and career commitment to the University.

long serving staff.JPG

Dr David RalfMr Peter ColeDr Duncan Farrow

Dr David Ralph left, celebrated his 30 year service, with VC Professor Leinonen, Mr Peter Cole (middle) and Dr Duncan Farrow (right) are recognised for 20 years of service, by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Eeva Leinonen.

2017 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research

Dr Aleks Nikoloski was successful in the outstanding research development category for advancing chemical processes for the hydrometallurgical treatment of minerals and metals.

Dr Aleks Nikoloski

Dr Aleks Nikoloski (right) accepting his award from the VC, Professor Leinonen for excellence in research

School of Engineering and Information Technology Awards

Professor Bruce Gardiner, Acting Dean, represented the School when the following School staff were awarded for their achievements.

staff awards.JPG

Dr Ali ArefiProfessor Graeme Hocking

Dr Ali Arefi left and Professor Graeme Hocking right, receive the Deans Award for Excellence in Teaching – Unit Excellence Semester 1 2016, from VC Professor Leinonen. Dr Arefi also received the award for Dean’s Excellence in Teaching, Semester 1, 2016.

Dr Kate Rowen

Dr Kate Rowen right, accepts the Deans Award for Excellence in Teaching – Unit Excellence, Semester 2, 2016 from VC Professor Leinonen

Associate Professor Tany McGill

Associate Professor, Tanya McGill right, receives the Deans Award for Excellence in Teaching, Semester 2, 2016 from VC Professor Leinonen

Emeritus Professor Ian James

Emeritus Professor, Ian James right, accepts the Ian M Ritchie Award for Life Long Research Achievement from VC Professor Leinonen

Dr Sebastian Zander

Dr Sebastian Zander right, accepts the 2016 AJ Parker Award for Outstanding Early Career Researcher from VC Professor Leinonen

Professor Parisa Arabxadeh Bahri

Professor Parisa Arabzadeh Bahri left, is awarded the Lance CC Fung Award for Intra-School Research Collaboration by Emeritus Professor Lance Fung

Dr David Henry

Dr David Henry left, receives the IR James Award for External Research Collaboration from Emeritus Professor Ian James

Dr Gerd Schroeder-TurkMr Marc Hampton

Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk left and Mr Marc Hampton right, accepted the Dean’s Award for Service to School, from VC Professor Leinonen

Dr Fairuz Shiratuddin and Mr Shri Rai

Dr Fairuz Shiratuddin left and Mr Shri Rai right, received the Dean’s Award for Service to School, from VC Professor Leinonen

The award evening as a whole had a wonderful atmosphere full of positivity and collegiality, with further celebrations continuing after the reception, in the Geoffrey Boulton Library Foyer, where staff, colleagues, family and friends mingled and enjoyed the service and food by Club Murdoch, which even included a doughnut bar to cater for those with a very sweet tooth.

Congratulations to all of the recipients. The School and Murdoch community are very fortunate to have such dedicated and committed staff that provide a positive impact to the School, students, fellow colleagues and the broader Murdoch community and beyond.

For further details and all of the photos from the event, go to - 2017 Staff Awards


On Wednesday 21st June 2017, the Murdoch Learning Excellence Academy, (LEAD), was launched in the Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre, where foundation Fellows and Senior Fellows were presented with their certificate of membership.

Murdoch LEAD was formed to promote and celebrate excellence and leadership in learning and teaching at Murdoch. Murdoch LEAD Fellowships recognise staff who demonstrate excellence, leadership, creativity and innovation in their learning and teaching practice. The aim of the Academy is to build a community of practitioners who will model, promote, mentor and lead best practice in learning and teaching for both the university and the sector.

We would like to congratulate the following foundation Fellows of the Murdoch Learning Excellence Academy

LEAD Fellows

Dr Doug Fletcher VCs Citation / VCs L&T Awards Selection Committee
Dr Jonathan Whale VCs Citation
Mr Danny Toohey OLT Citation
Dr Jocelyn Armarego OLT Grant (Team member)

LEAD Senior Fellow

Dr Chris Creagh OLT National Teaching Fellow / ALTC Citation / VCs Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching
Associate Professor Tanya McGill OLT Citation / VCs Awards for Excellence in Learning and Teaching / OLT Grant (Team member)
Dr Amy Glen VCs Awards for Excellence in Learning and Teaching


LEAD Fellows contribute to learning and teaching at Murdoch, which may include:

  • Sharing of good learning and teaching practice
  • Engaging with a community of scholars at Murdoch and at other institutions
  • Striving for excellence in their own learning and teaching practice
  • Undertaking scholarship into learning and teaching practice
  • Mentoring staff and contributing to their development
  • Peer review of teaching

Membership levels

LEAD Senior Fellows will meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • National Australian Senior Teaching Fellow
  • National Australian Teaching Fellow
  • Office for Learning and Teaching Secondee or equivalent
  • Higher Education Academy (HEA) Senior Fellow or Principal Fellow
  • Australian Awards University Teaching (AAUT) or equivalent, Teaching Award Recipient
  • External Category 1 Grant Chief Investigator where the grant has a significant focus on learning and teaching and in Higher Education
  • Murdoch University Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

LEAD Fellows will normally meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australia (HERDSA) Fellow
  • HEA Fellow
  • Australian Awards University Teaching (AAUT) or equivalent, Program Award or Citation Recipient
  • Murdoch University Vice Chancellor’s Award for Programs that Enhance Learning
  • Staff with extensive publishing on learning and teaching in one’s field or interdisciplinary fields (at least four peer reviewed and published papers in recognised journals)
  • Murdoch University Vice Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence in Enhancing Learning
  • A team member of a VC’s Teaching or Program award or an AAUT award
  • External Category 1 Team member where the grant has a significant focus on learning and teaching and in Higher Education

LEAD Associate Fellow:

An Associate Fellowship is available to staff who are actively developing their skills, practice and career in learning and teaching excellence.

If you would like to be considered for membership to the Murdoch Learning Excellence Academy, please direct your queries to Nic Rahilly Executive Assistant, Education

Associate Professor Tanya McGill, Mr Danny Toohey and Dr Jocelyn Armarego

From left LEAD Senior Fellow, Associate Professor Tanya McGill, LEAD Fellows (middle) Mr Danny Toohey and far right, Dr Jocelyn Armarego


It may have been a strange sight to some, but Technical staff in the School were hard at work during the recent programmed power outage, which took place as part of the low voltage distribution board upgrade in Physical Science Building 340. Technical staff were on hand and on and under desks, to make sure staff work stations were connected to the temporary power supply. It’s all in a Tech day’s work!


Andrew Foreman on top and Marc Hampton below, keep staff connected during the recent power shutdown


The People & Culture Office has recently completed a highly anticipated update to the University’s Human Resources Information System (HRIS). The system is what powers all P&C services and as such will provide a new and more user-friendly experience on platforms such as MyHR and the P&C Support Portal.

Please note the system update has also come with some browser compatibility teething issues. Should staff have any difficulty accessing MyHR, or other P&C support platforms, please try accessing information utilising Mozilla Firefox, identified as the current preferred browser.



We recently had the pleasure of receiving an email from one of our Master’s student, providing wonderful feedback about two of our ICT units. Here is what the student had to say.

Hi Professor Dlugogorski

I have recently completed my Master's degree in IT, and I could not provide formal unit feedback for two of my final units due to their small class sizes. I would like to provide this feedback to you now, because I believe that the teaching staff for these units deserve recognition for the hard work and effort they have put in.

For ICT517, I would like to thank Associate Professor Tanya McGill (my supervisor) and Associate Professor Kevin Wong (unit co-ordinator) for their effective feedback, allowing me to produce work to the best of my ability. Both members of staff were always able to provide help for difficult situations and problems and offer sound advice.

For ICT613 I would like to thank Dr Mike Dixon for his immense effort, hard work and dedication to his students. The amount of time, advice and help he offers for students of both ICT613 and ICT611 is something that I have not seen before, and doubt that I will see again anytime soon. Whilst his units are considered to be difficult throughout the student body, the amount of work he puts into teaching provides almost countless opportunities for students to further develop their knowledge in his units subject areas.

Thank you for your time


Aidan Orr


Six Environmental Engineering students travelled to Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University (ZAFU) in China, on the 29th of June 2017, as part of the New Colombo Plan program.

The group arrived in Shanghai on the 30th of June and met with Western Australian Government representative Mrs Ngor Tan who explained to the students commerce and trade dealings between Western Australia and China and sister state arrangements with the Zhejiang province Government.

On the 1st of July, we travelled to ZAFU in the small city of Linan near Hangzhou, where the students’ program commenced the following day. The program was organised by Academic Chair, Dr Martin Anda, with his colleague at ZAFU, Professor Shengchun Wu, from the School of Environmental and Resource Sciences, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, ZAFU.

The focus of the students’ studies in this program is remediation of contaminated soils and waters. The Murdoch students worked alongside twelve students from ZAFU enrolled in the undergraduate Environmental Engineering program.

The visit included a series of lectures by Martin and the ZAFU staff, fieldwork activity to collect samples from the contaminated agricultural lands and lakes, and then conducting laboratory analysis. Other activities during the stay involved, investigating floating raft technology and then building prototypes during the hands-on practical sessions. Funded by the Australian Government, the NCP program, requires exchange activities be included in the program, which meant students got to visit the spectacular Yellow Mountain, West Lake, Wuzhen water city, Huangshan old city and Shanghai.

China Visit Group

Dr Martin Anda (red cap rear) and Murdoch Environmental Engineering students (rear) seen here starting their walk up to the top of Yellow Mountain with the ZAFU environmental engineering students (front).

On the 10th of July, the Zhejiang province Government hosted a lunch and workshop for the students, thanks to the WA Government representative in Shanghai Mrs Ngor Tan. Then on the 11th of July, students departed ZAFU for Shanghai until the 15th of July, where they had a range of site visits as part of the cultural exchange.

It was an excellent visit overall and Jeannette Geesman, Murdoch University Student Mobility Officer, must be congratulated for administering this program on behalf of Murdoch University and making this possible through the New Colombo Plan.

Prof Shengchun Wu was very happy with the outcomes of the visit and hopes that the collaboration can continue. Some of the twelve ZAFU Environmental Engineering students are also interested to come to Murdoch for their Masters.

Students will present their reports when they return and we look forward to featuring some of their experiences in the next Newsletter.


Glencore Qld Vacation Employment


Dean's Scholarships for Scientific Excellence


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:



Public Lecture

Dr Sabetta Matsumoto, visiting professor from Georgia Tech, gave a phenomenal public lecture on Monday, in the University's "Future Earth" series. Sabetta's lecture was an interactive virtual reality show of a bizarre mathematical space, called H2 X E. If you don't know that space and believe it could only excite the proper maths nerds amongst us? Well think again!

Dr Sabetta Matsumoto

Professor Matsumoto’s talk was about curved spaces. Last year’s confirmation of Einstein’s prediction of gravitational waves have put the spotlight back on the importance of curvature for the physics of the universe. While the ability of mass to curve our space has fuelled the imagination of many, it is by far not the only instance of warped spaces being important for physics. The materials science of the very small scale, the science of nanostructures and nanoengineering, is one of them. In fact, often these ‘small’ spaces are very strongly curved, far from what mathematicians call ‘Euclidean’; for example two parallel lines may no longer only meet at infinity, there are bizarre and exotic spaces with very unusual properties.

Until recently, many of these complex spaces defied most people’s imagination, but virtual reality technology has now been developed to help us immerse in them. Professor Matsumoto’s demonstration took the participants on a tour, enabled by the latest in virtual reality technology, into the innate beauty and mystery of some spaces, such as the cross between a Euclidean straight line and Poincare’s hyperbolic plane made popular by Escher’s artwork. Real-world applications or technological uses of these mathematical insights may seem to be light-years off, but don’t worry, the real world will catch up with the imagination faster than we think.

Professor Sabetta is a wonderful communicator and managed to attract a crowd of more than 180 registered participants, with many teenage girls and boys amongst them. There was a real competition amongst the crowd to volunteer for her interactive segments to explore hyperbolic space, with one volunteer spontaneously breaking into song! The whole lecture was an excellent demonstration, explaining the fascination of these warped worlds without using s single equation, and showed how younger students can get excited about science and maths.

The ‘Future Earth’ lecture series is organised by the Office of External Engagement, and Michelle Austin and Fiona Mochrie need to be congratulated for its conception and administration. The series is also a wonderful outreach platform and School staff are encouraged to get involved.

See following links for more information about Professor Matsumoto’s work in this space.