How our academics are building a brighter future: Associate Professor Jonathan Whale

Murdoch University's Jonathan Whale smiling off camera outside of Boola Katitjin

Murdoch University’s staff are helping build a better, brighter future for all. Meet Associate Professor Jonathan Whale: renewable energy expert, wind turbine engineer, researcher and teacher.

How will we solve our planet’s most complex climate and energy challenges?

If this is where your interest and drive lie, a great place to start is at our School of Engineering and Energy. It’s where you’ll meet Dr Jonathan Whale, a 30-year veteran of sustainable energy, with a special interest in wind turbine engineering.

This is his story, and how he’s building a brighter future.

An internationally-renowned engineering researcher with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics and a PhD in Fluid Dynamics, Dr Whale can be found teaching on campus or deep in investigation at our Centre for Water, Energy and Waste at world-leading Harry Butler Institute.

His greatest achievement?

“Receiving funding for the National Small Wind Turbine Centre at Murdoch University, which aimed to improve the quality of small wind turbines.”

Dr Whale spent over a decade working internationally on cutting-edge developments and collaborating with fellow wind energy researchers in Europe and in the United States.. When he returned to Australia, he established the federally-funded National Small Wind Turbine Centre at Murdoch, and began teaching students at our School of Engineering and Energy.

“In Energy Studies, we have taught around 1000 students from over 80 countries. Many are out in the workplace, working on projects that will reduce emissions for our planet. They’re working with organisations like the United Nations, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the Red Cross, FMG, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Western Power, and Horizon Power.

“My teaching goals are to inspire students and provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to hit the ground running when they enter the workforce. Our graduates get involved in projects that will reduce our carbon emissions and lead us on the path to net zero emissions,” he said.

Did you know…
Murdoch University has the longest-running tertiary education program in energy in Australia? The Master of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.


Still at work on innovative projects, one of those being built and tested at the School of Engineering and Energy is a wind turbine with a single vertical blade design. It’s these kinds of developments which have the potential to make a big impact in the energy sector, on our reliance on fossil fuels, and the ongoing effects from a changing climate.

This research also supports Goal 7 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which pledges access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. We were the first WA university to sign up to the SDG initiative. Learn more about the sustainability goals in our Ngala Kwop Biddi mission.

 “For the past 20 years I have been passing on my knowledge to my wind energy students at Murdoch University.”

Ngala Kwop Biddi, Building a Brighter Future Together is a shared purpose. As a university we aim to:

  • Change lives and society for the better through accessible education and research.
  • Contribute to the solution of societal and environmental challenges, and
  • Provide an inclusive, caring community in which everyone can realise their potential.

What it means and how our academics achieve that is different for each person. For Dr Whale, it means tackling important issues like climate change and the energy transition for our future and for our children. It means working with colleagues in multi-discipline research. And, lastly, it means facilitating teaching and learning that is inclusive and engaging.

 “It means tackling important issues like climate change and the energy transition for our future and for our children.”

Thanks to experts like Dr Whale, there is a workforce of energy and engineering professionals ready to take on the world’s major challenges. This is the power of education. At Murdoch, sustainability is a mindset embedded in everything we do, and it is both part of our enduring legacy and in our vision of a brighter future. 

We are on a shared journey to a brighter future. Learn more
Posted on:

31 Oct 2023



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