School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

March 2017

It was wonderful to see the campus come alive with student activity this month. We welcome all of our new and current students and look forward to working together with you in what will be a challenging and exciting year of learning.

The first part of the year is always extremely busy, with many staff finalising external teaching programs and also preparing and commencing with semester one courses. Amongst all of this, staff have participated in the School Orientation Day event, continued to work and engage in research activity, represent the School and University at globally recognised conferences and participate in outreach activities that have engaged and will hopefully attract future students to the School.

The School has over the last two months hosted students from around the state; from primary school children from the Pilbara region, to Year 11 and 12 students from the metropolitan area. Students have had the opportunity to see the campus and hear firsthand from undergraduate students about life at Murdoch, as well as participate in some interesting and informative workshops on Chemistry applications. The feedback has been extremely positive, with one Perth school approaching our Outreach services to set up future workshops for their students. See our Outreach Activities section for further information and how staff can participate in these activities.

Photo 1b Pilbara Outreach.jpg

EV3 Lego robots get visiting Pilbara students coding

Please also read on for further articles and events and general information from the School and across the University.

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,






The Outreach team has been working closely with ATAR chemistry students from Emmanuel Catholic College.

On Monday 27th February, twenty Year 12 students visited the South Street campus to further explore chemistry and its applications. The day involved lectures on the importance of chemistry in the mining sector, biochemical applications and practical workshops in mineral identification and the extraction of valuable metals from ores. The visit concluded with a presentation from the Future Students team, providing the student with information about studying science at Murdoch University.

The Year 11 cohort from Emmanuel Catholic College also visited the campus two weeks later, on Monday 13th March. The students learnt about the chemistry of water and how industrial waste water is being used to create bio-plastic materials. Students undertook practical workshops in hydrometallurgy and atomic absorption spectroscopy and heard from the Future Students team about studying science at Murdoch University.

The day concluded with presentations from two undergraduate students studying chemistry.  The undergraduate students spoke about their experience of life at Murdoch and their future goals.

Both of these visits would not have been possible without the assistance of Graeme Thompson, Dr David Ralph, Dr Leonie Hughes, Dr Damian Laird, Ken Seymour, Stewart Kelly, Andrew Foreman and our Student Ambassadors.


On Wednesday 15th March, the Outreach team hosted twelve Year 6 students from the Pilbara as part of their study and leadership tour to Perth. The initiative is the result of a partnership between BHP Billiton Iron Ore and the Department of Education, which aims to add value to existing education programs, enhance and maintain student engagement and improve education and training outcomes.

As part of their visit, students successfully coded Lego EV3 robots to complete various tasks and also used their imagination to program the robots to do tasks of their choosing. In the afternoon, students explored the physics and engineering concepts of water bottle rockets and the effect that launch angle and volume of water have on the flight path and total distance covered.

Photo 2b Pilbara Outreach.jpg

Pilbara students get to see the coded Lego robots in action

Photo 3b Pilbara Outreach.jpg

A Pilbara student gets a 'bottle rocket' ready to launch


The Outreach team has received requests from Kennedy Baptist College to develop Year 11 Physics workshops. The workshops would relate to relevant topics taught during the school term. Topics of particular interest are heating and cooling, electricity and nuclear physics (covered in Term 1 and 2); and motion and waves (covered in Term 3 and 4). Renewable energy is also an area of particular interest and the Outreach team can be contacted for further information. If staffs have any ideas for hands-on workshops, particularly relating to the above subjects, then contact Fiona Mochrie (, Outreach Officer, External Engagement.



Article content and photos provided by ann Pryor and Fiona Mochrie, from Outreach, External Engagement



Alumni are past students who have graduated with a Degree, Certificate or Diploma from any course at Murdoch University.

The Murdoch alumni awards recognise outstanding professional and personal achievements and community service by Murdoch alumni.

The nomination form for the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards is now available online.

If you know an alumnus who has made an outstanding contribution in their field or to the community then nominate them for this prestigious award.

To submit a form:

  1. Download and prepare a nomination form Alumni Awards Nomination Form (Word Doc),  Alumni Awards Nomination Form (PDF)
  2. Provide a current CV of the nominee
  3. Inlude any additional information (eg) press or media coverage
  4. Submit all of the prepared documents using the online submission form

Submissions are open from: 5pm (AWST) 5th April 2017 to 5pm (AWST) 31st May 2017

Nominate a Murdoch Alumnus

See here for further details on the awards guidelines and selection criteria

If you have any queries regarding the nomination, preparation or submission process, contract Alumni Relations on +61 8 9360 6144.

Please join the Murdoch community in recognising and celebrating Murdoch’s outstanding alumni.



The School OF Engineering and Information Technology encourages its academic staff to pursue opportunities for active participation in national and international research conference events.

Presenting at high-profile conferences is an excellent mechanism to cement your place and that of the School, in your scientific community and create strong links and collaborations, to ensure you stay on par with the highest research standards.

The School Travel Grant Scheme has been up and running since July 2015 and is open to all employed staff in the school (excluding adjunct staff). It provides contributions towards conference travel, where the staff member will be making an active contribution at the conference and where no other travel funds are readily available.

Travel Grant Funding available:

Up to $1,000 for domestic travel

Up to $2,500 for international travel

The application form is available through the SEIT administration email attention to Rosie Price and completed applications should be submitted through the same email address.

Questions regarding the scheme can be directed to the School Research Committee, Travel Grant Coordinator, Gerd Schroeder-Turk, on

Article content provided by Gerd Schroeder-Turk



The School of Engineering and Information Technology Orientation Day, held 21st February, was a very semester. Of the 250 students enrolled to commence in undergraduate courses in the School, around 180 students attended the Orientation and Course Advice sessions. Morning tea was later provided by the School and was enjoyed by students and participating staff as they socialised and further discussed the semester ahead.

After morning tea, students separated off into more discipline-specific Course Advice sessions, delivered by the Academic Chairs. Many students remained after these sessions, to make the most of the opportunity, to ask questions of the academic staff and clarify course enrolment and learning outcome expectations. Many students also went on other available tours of key features on campus, as well as familiarising themselves with the venues and offices relevant to the School. The students finished the day with University wide social and cultural activities and a free lunch in Bush Court.

Ms Mandy Middle, Student Advisor summed up the day by saying, “It was an invigorating morning, the students seemed quite keen to engage and the atmosphere was very positive”. Ms Middle also added on behalf of the Student Advisory team, “Many thanks to all the wonderful staff who joined us at morning tea to welcome our new students.” She also acknowledged the assistance provided by the School mentors and senior students, who helped the morning to run smoothly and made all the new students feel welcome. A great day was had by all.

Article content provided by Ms Mandy Middle


As a member of the Australian X-ray Analytical Association (AXAA), Dr Fang Xia delivered an invited talk at the AXAA 2017 conference held in Melbourne 5th to 9th February 2017. The AXAA conference is held every 3 years, and is one of the most recognised conferences in the world on X-ray diffraction and X-ray florescence, showcasing the latest developments in instrumentation and data analysis, as well as the applications of X-ray analysis in diversified science and engineering areas.

The conference hosted almost 200 delegates from 18 countries, amongst which are some of the worlds’ authorities of either X-ray diffraction or X-ray florescence.

Dr Xia presented his recent research on unveiling the mechanism of high pressure leaching, using in-situ powder X-ray diffraction, carried out at the Australian Synchrotron. High pressure leaching has been very efficient for processing some of the economically important ores, but what often happens within the high temperature and high pressure autoclaves is not well understood.

In-situ powder X-ray diffraction provides an ideal tool to monitor the phase evolution within the autoclave in real time under processing conditions, leading to an unambiguous understanding of the reaction mechanism and kinetics and hence, helping process design and optimisation.

Attending this conference is highly recommended to staff and students who utilise X-ray analysis for their research. The next AXAA conference will be held in 2020.

Photo4 AXAA.jpg

Dr Fang Xia presenting at the AXAA 2017 Conference, Melbourne February 2017

Photo provided by Dr Xia


Low powered wireless transmission of sensor data over thousands of kilometres has many applications, particularly in the third world and during disaster relief, when infrastructure such as mobile services and satellites are unavailable.

Transmitting over long distances with low power is possible if the Appleton–Barnett layer of the earth's ionosphere is used to reflect signals over the horizon. The challenge is predicting where signals will go at any given time, as this layer is driven by solar radiation and varies in height between 150 and 800 km. Signals can be affected by the time of day or night, the seasons and solar-events, all these factors play their part in signal direction.

In January this year, Information Technology lecturer, Mr Terry Koziniec, embarked on a 7,000 km, two-week driving field trip. Transmitters and 6 metre fibreglass antennas’ were placed in remote bush land at Yellowdine, Balladonia, Eucla and Ceduna. The 200 mW signals will be received via the vertical antenna recently installed on the Science and Computer building 245, as well as by collaborators across Australia and internationally with similar infrastructure.

Data from this experiment will be used to develop strategies for wireless sensors to schedule their transmissions to maximise their chances of being received, minimising power consumption and wasted radio bandwidth. The use of multiple transmit and receive sites also provides insight into the optimal geographic layout for sensor networks.

Article provided by Mr Terry Koziniec


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: