School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

May 2017

Welcome to the May edition of the School Newsletter. As semester one draw’s to a close, I would like to thank all of our staff, for their hard work and contribution to the many aspects of teaching and learning that is undertaken in the School.

In particular, I would like to highlight the wonderful accomplishment this month by Dr Kate Rowen and Associate Professor Tanya McGill, for achieving overall, the highest teaching and unit survey score respectively in the School. Such a great achievement for both Kate and Tanya and associated staff members, as well as a good endorsement for the School.

You will see that our research highlight this month includes a paper by Hill, Koenigsberger and May on “Mineral precipitation and dissolution in the kidney” that has been selected as one of the “Noted Papers” by the editors of the American Mineralogist. This is a great achievement – congratulations to all authors.

I would also like to acknowledge the time and effort that the School Technical staff and postgraduate students, led by Andrew Foreman, put into help produce another fantastic outreach activity, with Dr Chris Smith, from the BBC’s ‘The Naked Scientist’ radio show.

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Dr Chris Smith from the BBC’s ‘The Naked Scientist’

The School does a marvellous job of promoting our core disciplines, courses and units and it is heartening when staff and students come together to make these events so successful.

A callout is also going out to School staff and students to volunteer for Open Day, Sunday 30th July, 2017, your assistance on the day will be very appreciated.

Please join me in celebrating another successful month, see below for more on our feature stories, as well as other news from around the School and 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,






Each month, the editors of the American Mineralogist Journal select and feature recently published papers on their website.

Last month, the article entitled “Mineral precipitation and dissolution in the kidney” by Michael G Hill, Dr Erich Koenigsberger and Professor Peter May, published in American Mineralogist, was selected as one of the ‘Noted Papers’ in the ‘Editors Selections’ for April, 2017.

Below is the excerpt from the Journal website:

How to Dissolve Kidney Stones

On page 701 of this issue, Hill et al. present a new computer model, based on current thermodynamic measurements that can be used to predict the solubility of Ca phosphates in body fluids. As noted by the authors, the human body must in places remain supersaturated in hydroxyapatite for healthy bones and teeth but that oversaturation in the kidneys can lead to the development of unwanted stones. This new model attempts to predict mineral saturation under some of the various complex fluids of the human body, and so better inform the conditions that lead to kidney stone development, and thus better inform preventative measures.

Congratulations to the authors for this recognition.

For more details on the paper and other noted papers in American Mineralogist go to:



Dr Chris Smith, medical doctor and scientist, and the driving force behind award winning BBC radio talk back science show, The Naked Scientists, wowed children and adults alike at the recent ‘Naked Scientist’ show, held at the Murdoch University Campus.

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Dr Chris Smith illuminating the stage with hydrogen bubbles

There were over 360 people that attended the event and the captivated audience were treated to demonstrations of explosions with cryogens and other gases and illuminating science displays.

The show proved to be a great collaboration with Dr Smith and Murdoch staff, all coming together to put on an exciting and educational event that showcased the knowledge and talent of the Murdoch Science community. Dr Chris Smith, who is also an Adjunct Professor at Murdoch University; was joined by Murdoch staff members, Professor David Morrison, Technical Staff from School of Engineering and Information Technology, Andrew Foreman and the School laboratory technicians, Jacqui Briggs and Caitlin Sweeney.

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Andrew Foreman igniting a Hydrogen weather balloon

The University will be holding another Science extravaganza in the coming months, when things get live and explosive again. More details on this event in the Newsletter below.


Rio Tinto has committed up to $138,900 to fund STEM School Outreach activity over the next 3 years. The STEM programs will be multi-faceted and aimed at regional high schools, as well as metropolitan schools and professional development for teachers.

I would like to acknowledge the contributions from Associate Professor Gamini Senanayake and Mr Graeme Thompson, along with a number of the Schools’ Academic and Technical staff, for their work over the past 5 years with Rio Tinto on the BAMFAD (Be a Metallurgist for a Day) program. After the success of the 5 year BAMFAD program, the new 3 year Riot Tinto proposal was prepared in collaboration with the Discipline of Information Technology and the Office of Advancement, Murdoch.

Rio Tinto and Murdoch University are committed to increasing awareness of STEM related discipline pathways at the tertiary level. The joint venture program will provide students with better information that can lead them to future career opportunities in the mining sector.

I look forward to sharing stories about the success of the new joint STEM School Outreach program in upcoming Newsletters.


This month has seen the emergence of some new science clubs, such as the Bright Sparks Science Club, hosted at Rockingham campus. This term, Year 8 students from our partner schools south of the river, will be participating in activities, such as Rube Goldberg challenges and coding Mindstorms, which explores wind turbine design.

The CoderDojo #codelikeagirl club has also started at South Street campus, with female students from years 6 to 10 training with Murdoch IT ambassadors to code their own games. For staff who wish to participate or want to provide information to the students about the courses on offer in the School, or how you use coding in your career, please free to pop in to the sessions.

The Outreach Team also ran STEM session at Penrhos after school club and activities at Kolbe Catholic College’s Technology day, which was organised by Mr Adam Brookes, a Murdoch graduate and advocate.



Come and join Murdoch University graduates, students and staff in exploring the amazing world of science. There will be explosions with cryogens and other chemistry and science demonstrations, using materials you come into contact with every day.

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When:   Friday, 21 July 2017

Time:    Morning Session: 10.00 am to 11.30 am
             Afternoon Session: 1.30 pm to 3.00 pm

Where: Murdoch University
             Perth Campus
             Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre

Book your places early to avoid disappointment – spaces are limited.

For inquiries and to RSVP, please contact Michelle Austin, Outreach Co-ordinator.

Phone: 9360 7319
RSVP: by COB, Friday, 30 June 2017

Other Upcoming Outreach Events


If you have any queries about Engineering and IT outreach activities, please contact Fiona Mochrie at


Open Day is fast approaching.

Sunday 30th July 2017

External Engagement will send a call out for volunteers on the 5th and 28th June.

To all staff and students, please consider volunteering to help out in any way you can on the day.

If students have any questions about volunteering, please contact:

Briefing sessions for volunteers are as follows:

Main Briefing Session
Thursday, 20th July
General Information: 12:30pm – 1.00pm
Emergency Awareness: 1:10pm – 1:40pm
Where: KBLT

Supplementary Briefing Session
Thursday 27th July
General Information: 12:30pm – 1pm
Where: KBLT



The opportunity to visit two of Western Australia’s iconic renewable energy projects, could not be passed up by 30 enrolled undergraduate and postgraduate students from Renewable Energy Systems, ENG442 and the Energy Studies Program (Energy in Society, ENG 592 and Renewable Energy Devices, PEN621), as they undertook a two day round trip to Geraldton.

The study tour commenced on Wednesday, 19th April, with a side trip on the first day, to view the Pinnacles, at Nambung National Park, near the town of Cervantes. The following day, the first stop was the information bay adjacent to the Alinta Wind Farm that supplies energy to the Perth region.

The 89 MW Alinta Wind Farm near Walkaway, opened in August 2005. It consists of 54 wind turbines each rated at 1.65 MW. Understanding the physical features of these wind turbines and their mechanism of generating renewable energy was helpful to the students and staff from a practical viewpoint.

Next stop was the Greenough River Solar Farm. The solar farm opened in October 2012 and has a capacity of 10 MW, the largest in Australia for several years. It consists of 150,000 cadmium telluride (CdTe) 85 W solar panels. Each string comprises 15 solar panels. The solar array capacity is 12.7 MW but the export power is limited to 10 MW. A single operator manages the Greenough River Solar Farm, during the day.

After a lunch break in Walkaway, the study group headed to the Mumbida Wind Farm, which opened in September 2013. Operated by two engineers, this wind farm consists of 22 x 2.5 MW General Electric wind turbines with a hub height of 85 m and rotor diameter of 100 m. Student were able to observe the differences between two wind farms visited.

Once the last visit was complete, the tour group started the long trip back home, arriving at Murdoch University around 8.00 pm on the Thursday evening. During the trip back, students were able to interact with Adjunct Professor Craig Carter, who helped in answering queries relating to the unit assignment. The trip was very much a success.

A special thanks to Kieran Peters, who managed the field trip arrangements and to Craig Carter who provided the technical background on the renewable energy projects.

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Staff and students stand in front of a leaning tree in Geraldton, lashed by the powerful prevailing southerly winds.

Article information provided by Kenneth Ross Tanian, postgraduate student Energy Studies, modified by Manickam Minakshi and Craig Carter.

Photo provided by Kieran Peters



Dr Kate Rowen and Associate Professor Tanya McGill were recipients of School Teaching Grants this month for their wonderful achievements in the University Teaching and Unit Surveys.

Dr Rowen achieved an overall score of (Q7) of 6 in the Teaching Survey for CHE205, Organic and Biological Chemistry I, this was the highest overall Teaching Survey score in the School. Kate’s commitment to excellence in teaching is greatly valued by the School.

Associate Professor McGill and associated staff, achieved an overall satisfaction score of (Q8) of 5.8, which is the highest score for any unit offered in the School. Tanya and all the staff involved in the Unit teaching, have provided an exceptional experience to the enrolled students.

To acknowledge these great achievements, both staff were issued with a certificate and awarded $2,000 each.

The School rewards excellence in learning and teaching and supports and encourages staff to look at ways of continuously improving the student learning experience.

Please join me in congratulating both Kate and Tanya.



Looking for information on graduate employment opportunities, scholarships or work experience? Then log on to the Career Connect website to register and subscribe to the Newsletter at CareerConnect. The site includes useful information for both students and staff.

To see what is available, check the April Newsletter for career information and upcoming events - Career Connect Newsletter, April


Update from Andrew Foreman, Technical Resources Manager

The School OSHW Committee meets regularly throughout the year to discuss occupational, health, safety and wellness matters within the School and University.

At its most recent meeting on the 1st May, the matter of the number of OSHW based incidents within the School was discussed; with ten (10) School incidents recorded in 2017, and only one incident with an outstanding action to be completed. The remaining action(s) relate to one major incident within the School, and highlights some areas the School needs to improve. Specific areas of improvement required are, our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Verification of Competency of Safe Operation with respect to equipment, instrumentation, and hazardous processes undertaken by staff.

As a result of the recent incident, a warning to all staff and students:


The School also received an internal report of Non-Compliance in relation to laboratories that have not submitted their chemical inventory lists. Academics staff are requested to submit this list by 31st July 2017, or risk the laboratory space being re-allocated.

Linked to the Chemical Inventory and the RAMP form is the requirement for staff and students that use hazardous chemicals to undertake the computer based training for Chemwatch, which helps you manage your chemicals within a laboratory, workshop and stores environment.

Laboratory, Workshop & Stores User Training Requirements

The computer based training modules that need to be completed are as per below:

Chemwatch Goldffx (Basic User Guide):

Labels Guide -

Credo -

Upon completion of the modules, please continue to send your Completion Certificates to -

Please remember to raise any safety concerns in the first instance with your line manager and report them via MUIRS

Stay Safe



Professor Bruce Gardiner has accepted the role of Head of Discipline, Electrical Engineering, Energy and Physics. Bruce commenced in the role 8th of May, 2017.

Please join me in welcoming Bruce into his new role.



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: