News and Events Archive - 2012
Exemplary Student Scores 100%
17th December, 2012
Graduating Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) student Kumaran Nathan has achieved the unprecedented honour of receiving 100 per cent for his final-year project.
This is the highest-ever electrical engineering project mark at the University of Newcastle.
"Getting 100 on my project was one of the proudest moments of my life. I put in countless hours over the year so I was expecting to do well, but to get a perfect score was completely unexpected as nobody has been ever been awarded 100 for their final year project in the university's history."
The exceptional engineer developed a device called the Advanced STATCOM, which increases the quality of the power flowing through the electrical network.
"While working as a cadet engineer at Ausgrid I saw the impacts of poor quality, and I developed an interest in using the latest technology to optimise the use of existing infrastructure," he said of his project.
The former Merewether High School student is excited by the prospect of his concept one day being actualised.
"It has very strong industry application – I definitely see future work on this project that would allow it to be used in the real world."
It is no wonder then that the power engineering-enthusiast already has an "amazing job offer" from infrastructure company Ausgrid, which has the largest electricity network in Australia.
Although, according to Kumaran, his options are endless.
"With an Electrical Engineering degree the world really is at your feet," he said.
"I’ve got the opportunity to do a PhD if I so desire or I can travel the world and continue to work overseas.
"So for anyone considering a degree in Electrical Engineering, I’d strongly encourage that you do it. I've always loved maths and physics and this degree combines those in a really interesting and practical way."
"But in the end, you should really study what you truly love."
Careers for Engineers
10th December, 2012
Securing the job you want from your degree can sometimes seem impossible among a sea of career-savvy graduates.
But the prospect is now a little less daunting for the University’s Bachelor of Engineering students.
In an evening of career advice, third and fourth-year students listened to talks by Young Engineer of the Year nominees and an Engineers Australia industry expert.
The event aimed to help graduating students prepare for their transition from study to work, explaining the career pathways and opportunities available to those willing to put their hands up.
First to offer industry insight was Jennifer O’Donovan of Engineers Australia.
"I am constantly amazed by how much time and energy and resources some people put into planning a holiday, buying a car, buying a property, but when it comes to their career, they just pick a job and go for it," Jennifer said.
Reinforcing the key message of the day, Jennifer reminded all in attendance about the importance of "Networking, Networking, Networking."
To prove professionalism and readiness to take that extra step, she urged the students to get their own business cards printed up.
Branding yourself in your resume in order to "stand out" was another top tip, as was researching the industry and company you want to work for, and recognising your skills and any areas where personal development is needed.
Fellow speaker Hugh Tait gave an upbeat presentation addressing work experience, loyalty, and developing a "life balance".
"Everyone talks about work-life balance – I think that’s termed wrongly, it should be life balance," the Newcastle Engineering Manager said.
"Work is just a part of your life, if you’re not enjoying work, you’re not enjoying life and so really think about that as you’re going through your degree.
"Enjoy life too – spend some time on the beach, have a cocktail."
Hunter New England Health Simulation Centre’s Ian Craig extended a similar sentiment to the young engineers.
"If you like what you’re doing it stops being work," Ian said.
Undergraduate experience, he suggested, would put you on the path to getting that dream job.
"That first placement is the most important part of your career because from there you can make your job, you can make your career," he said.
"I’ve designed every position I’ve had since that first placement."
RPC Technologies Engineering Manager Pierre Gouhier also delivered a charismatic speech on his journey from France to Australia.
He explained just how exciting the engineering industry can be, both locally and in abroad.
The event was coordinated by the faculty’s Student Experience and Engagement team in collaboration with Engineers Australia.
Deemed a great success, it will be held again next year.
The presentations were filmed and are available to view on the Faculty’s YouTube channel.
2012 Industrial Design "Newcastle Products" Exhibition
10th December, 2012
Innovation was the word on everyone’s lips as the University’s graduating Industrial Design students presented their work to industry representatives on Wednesday, November 21.
In an evening of drinks and tantalising nibbles at the awe-inspiring Newcastle Museum Link Gallery, students and staff joined with important figures from the region’s business community.
It was all part of the NEWcastle Products exhibition, showcasing the designs of final-year students in the four-year Bachelor of Industrial Design program.
Nineteen budding industrial designers showed off a wide-reaching range of products at the industry evening.
They included a watch for the visually impaired; a coffee peculator that makes aroma visible; new and improved ski boots; a folding skateboard; an effortless jar opener suitable for people with arthritis; a wireless payment system for not-for-profit and charity groups; a super hygienic toilet brush; and much more.
One such designer was graduating student David Powers who opened the event with a humorous speech.
"I may look a bit older than some of the other students here tonight – that’s because I am," the mature-age student joked.
Emphasising the importance of student showcases like NEWcastle Products, David spoke about the lack of general awareness surrounding his field.
"Industrial design is still something that people don’t fully understand," David explained.
"It’s hard to put in a nutshell what we do – that’s a shame because we really are passionate about it.
"One minute you're looking for inspiration and literally, a heartbeat later, you have developed something material. In fourteen weeks we took a sketch on a piece of paper and turned it into a product."
Also addressing the crowd was fellow graduating student Ray Wills.
The gracious student thanked everyone in attendance for "acknowledging the extraordinary amount of hard work" students in the Industrial Design program put in.
On behalf of all students, Ray extended "a most heartfelt thanks" to both TAFE and University staff, particularly "our educational chaperone" Wyn Jones.
Ray said Newcastle’s Industrial Design degree – which incorporates both TAFE and University study – offered the perfect balance between "manufacturing, functionality, cost and aesthetics".
"That balance just isn’t available in other university programs," Ray said.
"The job of an industrial designer is to solve problems and to answer questions, but the real gift of industrial design is to ask questions.
"There is nothing stopping us from coming up with fantastic answers."
Reaffirming the night’s buzzword was Neville Sawyer, co-founder of leading international electrical supplier The Ampcontrol Group.
Mr Sawyer delivered a passionate talk about the importance of innovation.
"Innovation can be the driver of any good business to be successful in the region or in Australia," he said.
"Innovation and industrial design are just so intertwined."
With innovation a key area of focus for many big local organisations such as the University and Council, Mr Sawyer said industrial designers could look forward to a very bright future.
Rowan Yap Creates Robot Car Cleaner
10th December, 2012
If you are a busy student like Rowan Yap, washing your car probably isn’t at the top of your to-do list.
That’s one reason why the budding electrical engineer thought it would be a "cool idea" to create a robot car cleaner.
Rowan’s creation is a compact device that sits on the outside of a car or truck and automatically moves around to clean the vehicle, no human effort required.
It also generates its own power to charge the battery.
While the robotic innovation is just a prototype for now, Rowan agreed it would be a welcomed convenience.
"Yep, I never wash my car," Rowan laughed.
The robot car cleaner was researched, developed, manufactured and tested throughout the course of Rowan’s last year of study.
It was one of many final-year projects on display when the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science held its demonstration day on Tuesday, November 20.
The exhibition saw the students present their work to staff, students, friends, family and members of industry.
The projects covered a diverse range of topics and demonstrated the skills and knowledge learnt in the four-year Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) degree.
Electrical engineering is the science of power generation and distribution, signal processing, and analogue and digital electronics. It is an extremely diverse field, taking in electronics, computer systems, telecommunications, bioengineering, control, robotics and electrical power engineering.
"At the start of my degree I thought it would be impossible to make something like this," Rowan said.
Find out more about studying Electrical Engineering at the University of Newcastle
Students Win IEEE Technologies of the Future Competition
3rd December, 2012
Four students of the Faculty have won prizes in the 4th IEEE Technologies of the Future (iToF 2012) Competition and Exhibition.
The event aims to foster industry involvement among coursework/research students of the Faculty of Engineering from all universities in NSW.
Student Yan Xu won the postgraduate research poster prize in the Energy and Green Environment topic. He took home $600 for his great work.
Sachin Wadikhaye was also awarded $600 for the Towards Miniaturization category, with a poster titled "Design Identification and Control of Compact Serial Kinematic Nanopositioner for High Speed Atomic Force Microscopy".
Yan and Sachin’s victories meant the University of Newcastle took out two of the three categories in the postgraduate level.
David Budden and Shannon Fenn found similar successful in the Track One: Project Demo for Undergraduates section, placing third and receiving $300 in prize money.
All the students are to be congratulated for their efforts.
The competition and exhibition was a one-spot opportunity for companies to meet the most talented students, helping them to hire the best graduates in the state.
It sought submissions from students of the Schools of Electrical & Telecommunications Engineering; Computer Science & Engineering; Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering; Photovoltaic And Renewable Energy Engineering; Spatial Information Systems & Surveying; and Biomedical Engineering.
2012 Architecture "Heist" Exhibition
3rd December, 2012
Renew Newcastle founder Marcus Westbury has thanked the University’s graduating Master of Architecture students for inspiring him to see the city in a new, exciting light.
The cultural advocate officially opened the Master of Architecture Program’s Heist Exhibition at Newcastle Town Hall last Monday night, November 12.
The exhibition showcased the spectacular visions about 40 students have for the region.
Westbury said he was "blown away" by what he had seen, with students taking many of the problems Renew Newcastle has tried to fix and using them "as raw material for imagination and possibility".
"What I love about architecture is the possibility for imagination," he told the crowd of students, staff, industry people, and community members.
"It’s wonderful to see the students engaging with the possibility of place and space – it’s inspired me to see the city in a way that I’ve never seen before.
"Thank you for inspiring me."
Coffee houses, marine research centres, digital libraries, arts venues, biomimicry laboratories and cooking schools were among the diverse array of architectural concepts on display at the exhibition, which ran until November 13.
Graduating student Steani Cilliers said these unique visions for Newcastle were the result of tireless hard work.
"It takes a lot of passion and commitment to get to this point," Steani commented in a graceful address to the audience. "Five years is a long time to study architecture."
On behalf of all the students, Steani thanked staff, friends and family for "being there through the frustration, the tears and anxiety, as well as the rare eureka moments".
She gave a special mention to tutors Chris Tucker and Mark Taylor for their endless help and support.
You can find out more about the School of Architecture and Built Environment and the Architecture programs on offer at newcastle.edu.au/school/arbe/
Top Teaching Triumphs
3rd December, 2012
Top-rate teaching has been recognised at the University, with the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment announcing the winners of its inaugural Teaching Innovation Awards.
The Awards judged Faculty teachers on originality in the context of their discipline; demonstrated impact on teaching effectiveness; student learning and/or retention; and potential for wider use within or across disciplines.
Mr Wyn Jones, A/Prof. Steve Weller and A/Prof. Tristan Perez and Mr. Chris Renton all emerged victorious.
Wyn was recognised for: "Enhancing student learning and engagement through the use of a strategic design process and contemporary instructional technologies."
Steve proved to have: "Innovative curriculum design and delivery of a general online elective course on sustainable energy."
Chris excelled in: "Course content, delivery and assessment in the three Mechatronic specialisation courses."
A special mention also went to A/Prof. Steve Mitchell and Mr John Roberts who were both highly commended for their teaching innovations.
All of the nine submissions received were of an extremely high standard, reflecting some of the truly inspiring and progressive teaching practices that are emerging across the Faculty.
The Awards showcased the exciting, world-class teaching that is being delivered in the University’s rapidly evolving education landscape.
The winners and highly commended applicants will be asked to showcase their teaching innovations at an event in early 2013.
Postgraduate Research Poster Competition
14th November, 2012
Originality and creativity were fantastically displayed by a number of the Faculty’s students in the 2012 Postgraduate Research Prize.
The annual competition asked entrants to submit a poster based on their research and answer questions from judges.
This year’s winners included:
- Yiteng Shih (Architecture and Industrial Design)
- Gizelle Sanchez Combita (Chemical Engineering)
- Xue Zhang (Civil Engineering)
- Nurul Hazrina Idris (Environmental Engineering and Surveying)
- Shashank Bhatia (Computer Science and Software Engineering)
- Md Nurul Islam (Electrical, Computer and Telecommunication Engineering)
- Wei Chen (Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering)
Winners of each category will receive a $1000 cash prize, as well as a certificate to be awarded at the Newcastle University Postgraduate Student Association (NUPSA) Dinner on November 26.
The deserving graduates were judged by a minimum of two Faculty academics on the basis of originality and innovation, technical and intellectual difficulty, scope, depth, degree of contribution and overall presentation.
The assessors were very impressed by the quality of all research posters entered for the prize.
Congratulations to all participants for their excellent results.
Masters of Architecture Exhibition
31st October, 2012
Does a culinary arts school specialising in slow food sound like somewhere you’d like to study? What about chilling out on a floating dock on Newcastle Harbour?
These are just some of the spectacular architectural visions the University of Newcastle’s final year Master of Architecture students have for our city.
They will be on display as part of the Master of Architecture Program’s Heist Exhibition, held at Newcastle Town Hall from November 12 to 13.
The annual exhibition showcases the final year works of the two-year Master of Architecture program, and represents the culmination of five years’ study for about 40 students.
The exhibition highlights the students’ final design projects – inspiring visions of a potential Newcastle.
Graduating student Steani Cilliers imagines a Newcastle enriched by a culinary arts school.
The school, which would be affiliated with the University, would teach the ethos of the slow food movement – cuisine focused on preserving local foods and regional traditions.
Steani will present her concept to both Newcastle City Council and the Slow Food Hunter convivium.
"It’s a means of rejuvenating the city – attracting younger people to live and study in the city, without losing track of the heritage of Newcastle" Steani said.
Taking a looser, more conceptual approach, fellow student Chris Mullaney will exhibit his idea of renovating one of Newcastle’s disused floating docks.
The dock would be used as a floating exhibition space, possibly holding cafes, short-term accommodation, an amphitheatre and harbour pool, boat-building workshops and festivals.
"It focuses on turning what is essentially scrap into something usable" Chris said.
"It would be a sustainable space, evolving as the city changes."
Heist challenges the students to sell their overarching concept by exhibiting just a snippet of their architectural vision.
"Some of the students’ work is quite provocative" Program Convener Chris Tucker explains.
"Newcastle city offers a unique urban canvas - there is so much potential, liberated from the development norms that usually limit possibilities their projects find new and engaging ways of looking at the city"
"We’re seeing radical designs – new architectural paradigms."
All community members and university staff are invited to join industry professionals in seeing the amazing work on display.
The Master of Architecture Heist Exhibition will be opened by Marcus Westbury from Renew Newcastle @ 5:30pm, Newcastle Town hall on Monday November 12. The exhibition is open from 5pm to 10pm on November 12, and November 13, 9am to 6pm.
Across the Ditch
31st October, 2012
One University of Newcastle student expanded her architectural horizons in the beautiful art deco city of Napier earlier in the month.
Third-year Architecture student Jess Summerhayes travelled to the picturesque part of New Zealand to attend the 2012 Annual NSW Country Division Conference 'Across The Ditch'.
Only two students were awarded a scholarship to attend the conference, run from October 1 to 6.
The scholarship was organised by the Australian Institute of Architects Country Division, with sponsorship money coming from Peter Duncan Timbers.
Along with fellow student Georgia Brennan, Jess’s passion for her field saw her win a spot.
Throughout her degree, Jess has volunteered to build tourist accommodation housing in Pokolbin with studio-based design collaborative EgresStudio, done work experience with a local architect, and studied at the University of Nottingham, England on exchange.
"It really shows you need to be in it to win it and just apply yourself to everything," she said.
A modest Jess couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities given to her.
"It means so much to me, I cannot believe how fortunate I am for winning this scholarship," she said.
While abroad, Jess was exposed to speakers from varied design backgrounds – architectures, urban designers, planners, artists and industrial designers – all from Australia or New Zealand.
"It was very educational and inspiring," she said.
"I gained invaluable knowledge about award-winning projects, the current issues relating to architecture and the role of the architect in the future."
The setting, Jess says, made the event all the more special.
"Napier as a city was a perfect site to hold an Architecture conference," she said.
"It is considered the art deco capital of the world with rich history and a beautiful town centre."
The scholarship, available to third-year architecture students, will be offered again in 2013.
Travelling scholarship winner for 2013
31st October, 2012
China, France, Turkey, India and the UK are among the countries third-year Architecture student Matt Kelly will venture to next year.
Matt’s architecture-related adventure is all thanks to the Eric Parker Travelling Scholarship, the biggest of its kind in Australia.
The scholarship is awarded to one deserving student enrolled in the University of Newcastle’s Architecture program.
With $10,000 provided by the Newcastle-based Architecture Foundation as well as sponsorship from local firms, it gives students the opportunity to gain the sense of professional worldliness that comes from global travel.
Eager to observe the effects of urbanisation on residential architecture and living standards abroad, Matt was the lucky recipient.
From May to September next year, the 21-year-old will travel to Shenzhen, Paris, Istanbul, Mumbai and London, where he will try to adopt a "first-hand resident perspective".
"How can we fulfil the goals of the user or client without being a user yourself?" Matt questioned.
He explained that in Shenzhen, a major city in the south of Southern China’s Guangdong Province, the population has boomed from 70,000 to 10 million in the past 30 years.
"I want to look at the way people are living in this hugely expanded society – the benefits and the negatives," he said.
While in Mumbai and Istanbul, he will experience life in the slums.
Then, in the vastly different London and Paris landscapes, he will view government-controlled architecture, particularly housing commission developments.
"Architects shouldn’t just focus on the one-per cent, they should focus on the masses," he said of his pending journey.
A very excited and modest Matt said he encouraged all students to apply for the scholarship.
"Never rule yourself out, who knows what will happen."
Recipients of the scholarship are judged on their passion and the benefit their travel aim could have, not grades.
To find out more, head to thearchitecturefoundation.org.au.
2012 Industrial Design "Newcastle Products" Exhibition
19th October, 2012
Compact skateboards, easy jar openers and modern coffee makers are some of the innovative products designed by University of Newcastle students on show at Newcastle Museum from November 19 to 25.
The NEWcastle Products exhibition will transform the Museum’s Link Gallery into a collection of Novocastrian innovation, with the next crop of local industrial designers showcasing a range of exciting products developed throughout their studies.
After four years of hard work, Bachelor of Industrial Design students are excited to finally bring their designs to the public arena.
Blending creativity and practicality, graduating student David Powers has created a folding skateboard.
David’s son, who was refused access to a bus because his long skateboard wouldn’t fit in a backpack, originally inspired his design.
Recognising just how popular skateboarding has become in the Hunter and across the globe, David decided to design a board that could fold in two.
Given that many new and older skaters enjoy cruising on more stable, longer boards, he feels his design is a winner - unlike past similar designs, it retains the flexibility and feel of a normal board.
In interesting contrast, fellow student Jonathan Fenwick will display a innovative jar opener in the annual end of year exhibition.
The idea for the jar opener was originally targeted at people with arthritis – but Jonathon quickly saw a wider market.
"There are a lot of people who just can’t open jars, so it would be good for all people," Jonathan said.
David and Jonathan encourage all students, community members and industry professionals to visit the very diverse student showcase.
"It will give people a better understanding of what industrial design is," Jonathan said.
"The degree is almost like a mystery, a lot of people don’t know about it."
Industrial Design students attend TAFE for three years, after which they complete one year of university study to obtain a degree.
Industrial designers create "just about everything that isn’t buildings", Jonathan said.
David agreed that there should be more awareness of local design feats.
"Newcastle could really become a centre for innovation," he said.
The NEWcastle Products Industrial Design Exhibition will be on display at the Newcastle Museum Link Gallery from November 20 to 25, 10am to 5.30pm. The public opening night is Monday November 19 starts at 7pm. There will be an industrial evening on November 21 from 5.30pm.
Congratulations ACM team
8th October, 2012
Congratulations to our two teams competing in the international ACM programming competition.
This highly competitive annual competition challenges university students with 8 programming problems in just five hours.
Each team was composed of three students from second and third years with months of rigorous practice beforehand.
The teams were relatively successful, with the 'Newcastle Menacing Manatees' team placing 17th of 89, a result supervising academic Yuqing Lin was extremely pleased with.
"It is a pretty great result considering that this is our very first time in the contest, and many teams from other universities have been competing for many years.
"I believe next year, this team will be in top 10, an amazing outcome."
If you're interested in participating next year's competition, contact Yuqing Lin.
First Year Mechanical Engineering Student Attends Asian Science Camp
25 September, 2012
First year University of Newcastle mechanical engineering student Elyse Hudson recently attended the 6th annual Asian Science Camp in Israel.
The Camp, held annually in the Asian region, brings together young people from across the world to hear Nobel Laureates talk about their fields.
Deeper thinking about science and scientific thinking is encouraged during the 6-day program and students participate in lectures and group discussions with Nobel Laureates and scientists from across the world.
Elyse explains that although the camp's excellent on face value alone, the team building and relationships established are the best things she has taken away from the experience.
"Science is universal, and today, many teams work across the world interacting only through the internet. The foundations of friendship built in this conference are going to be extraordinarily valuable to us going forward.
"These young people that we've just met might only be friends on Facebook right now, but in five or ten years we might be working on the next big thing together."
Elyse also worked with a team of students from Year 12, gap years and first year of University from around the world to design posters that promoted a field of scientific research. Her group focused on protein folding and ways to promote it to various companies and scientific groups.
This year's camp also marks only the second time Australia has been involved, sending a total of eight delegates after last year’s four.
Delegates were asked to pitch their vision for sharing their experience on the journey, with ideas ranging from songs to poetry to videos. Elyse kept a travel blog of her experiences paired with regular updates from her twitter feed.
Elyse had an amazing time and hopes that other students will follow in her footsteps - for any opportunity they can take.
"The biggest lesson that I can take from this is - put in for everything. If given an opportunity, go for it!"
To read more about Elyse's journey, visit her travel blog.
Professor Invited to 10th Annual Metaheuristics International Conference
12 September, 2012
Professor Pablo Moscato has been invited to the 10th Annual Metahueristics International Conference (MIC) in Singapore as a keynote speaker.
The event, held annually, is a forum for the exchange of new algorithmic developments, high-impact and novel applications, new research challenges, theoretical developments, implementation issues, and in-depth experimental studies in metahueristics.
"Metahueristics are high level algorithmic design procedures to solve computational problems" explains Moscato.
Moscato is the founding co-director of the Priority Research Centre for Bioinformatics, Biomarker Discovery and information-based medicine and is responsible for the introduction of the evolutionary computing concept of the "memetic algorithm".
"The invitation is really honouring my pioneering work in the area as well as my current work on the application of metahueristics to problems in medical research as well as life sciences and biotechnology."
This is the second time Moscato has been invited to the MIC, giving a tutorial on memetic algorithms in Vienna in 2005.
For more information on the MIC, visit their website
Student Success in Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Contest.
5 August, 2012
A team of students from the University of Newcastle’s Electrical Engineering program have found success in the recent Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Contest.
The Contest is part of the Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle festival, an initiative of the Tom Farrell institute to stimulate development of forward thinking and innovative transport within the Hunter.
The team, Consisting of third year students Andreas Antoniades and Francisco Gordin, raced their Electric car in the Demonstrator Division, trouncing the competition to take out best performing vehicle of the event.
Driven by Antoniades, the car made it through 20 laps with a top lap speed of 1 minute 39 seconds, and a top speed of 60km/h, a result the team were extremely pleased with.
"It was a great experience for us" Antoniades said. "Lots of work and long, long hours, but it’s definitely been worth it".
The team were brought onto the project after the University and Tom Farrell institute sought to place a team in the Contest.
Over the course of the semester, the team started big but was quickly whittled down by other commitments, but that didn’t deter Antoniades and Gordin.
Making do with a car chassis reused from a previous electric vehicle, the car was built over a number of months and served as a trial for future participation.
"We’d love to have a bigger team next year and take the project to a new level" Antoniades said.
"We’ll be able to build on the awesome results of this year, and with a few more students and a lot more time we think we’ll be even more successful."
The pair were extremely successful on the day - in addition to their win in the Demonstrator Division they were the second fastest team of the day.
The team are calling for new volunteers for next year’s competition. Any interested students should contact Colin Coates.
Engineering Your Future Career Evenings
31 August, 2012
Students, parents and teachers are invited to attend one or more of the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment’s Career Evenings to find out more about study and careers in Engineering.
Light refreshments will be included as our academics explain what our programs have to offer to prospective engineers.
For more information, see the flyer.
Newcastle Children's Art Pavilion Unmade
13 August, 2012
The children's art pavilion at the Newcastle Art Gallery has undergone an impressive unmaking under the guidance of University of Newcastle academic and architect, Chris Tucker.
The art pavilion, built in 1996, was constructed as a temporary three year structure collaboratively conceived by three fresh UoN graduates - Jodie Dixon, Ramsey Awad and Chris Tucker, but followed through by Tucker's newly established firm, Herd.
Although the pavilion's original use as a place of art for children was successful, in recent years the building had fallen into disrepair and had become wasted space – used only as storage for the gallery.
Over the past week the building has undergone a unique procedural deconstruction, revealing the space that the building's warped walls had long hid to the public.
Tucker shows no sadness in admitting that the building needed to go, but was extremely pleased that it could be demolished in a way that respected the building's character and purpose.
"We celebrate those things that are about to die, and that is exactly what this is, a celebration of the building as a work of art and part of the community".
"The building has not simply been knocked over, it is being recycled in a unique way, distributed to people across the city".
The pavilion is making way for a $21M redevelopment of Newcastle's art gallery, a development that Tucker is very receptive to.
"There is nothing more powerful that a city can do than to invest in its own art."
"It is a declaration to ourselves, and indeed Australia, that we respect our booming art culture, and that we want to celebrate it".
The public has been very welcoming to the redevelopment of the facility, with support from city council, and most importantly, people understanding and appreciating the change.
"The reception has been really positive" Tucker said. "It is a great thing for Newcastle to be Celebrating positive change".
RoboCup Junior a Resounding Success
13 August, 2012
The University of Newcastle has hosted this year’s Hunter Regional RoboCup Junior – A competition pitting school against school in a challenge to build automated robots capable of performing in three different divisions.
The competition is a spin off of the international RoboCup scientific initiative, a project aimed at furthering research into robotic automation, but with humbler goals – getting kids engaged and involved from a young age.
Children from 15 primary and secondary schools across the hunter were involved with the project with 53 participating teams and around 250 attending on the day.
The competition consists of three separate judged events – Dance, Soccer and Rescue, where each robot is judged on its optimisation for the division and ability to respond effectively to the stimulus provided.
Co-ordinator of the project, Aaron Wong, believes that getting kids involved young will drive innovation for the future.
"RoboCup Junior is all about getting kids involved to spark their minds to think about robotics."
"It teaches them the logical framework and patience needed to solve these engineering problems, getting these kids passionate will mean faster evolution of technology."
The local competition has experienced a rebirth after a period of inactivity, driven by the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment’s marketing team, Jenny Taylor and Ryan Jeffery.
The pair got Wong involved due to his expertise in robotics - A former member of the NUbots and undertaking a PhD in computer science researching Machine learning.
This year school teams were competing using Lego Mindstorms kits, and although this might not be high end scientific equipment, Wong doesn’t see it as an issue.
"It’s all about finding clever ways to make the tools at your disposal work for you"
The work from this year’s students doesn’t go to waste, either. Like in the RoboCup, school teams are encouraged to build on this year’s established code to optimise and improve on this year’s performance, encouraging a culture of curiosity and collaborative creativity.
The event was a resounding success, with kids having a great time optimising their projects and competing, Wong explains.
"The kids jumped at the freedom to work outside the supervision of their school, and as a result were very successful and really enjoyed themselves".
The winners for the day were Hamilton South Primary (Dance), Glendale High School (Soccer) and Belmont High School (Rescue).These teams will be invited to the NSW state finals next week.
The team plans to run the competition again next year, and encourages expressions of interest from students keen to help out.
To see a quick video of the event, visit the Faculty's YouTube.
If you want to get involved, contact Jenny Taylor.
Students Washing Children Well
10 August, 2012
Newcastle University's second year Architecture students are impressing more than just their tutors with their recent conceptual work designing washing stations for disadvantaged Australians.
The program was run in conjunction with HealthHabitat, a not for profit organisation aiming to improve living conditions of poor socio-economic groups across Australia, particularly remote Aboriginal communities.
Students were asked to develop and communicate a prototype design for a place for washing young children in privacy, with reliable water supply, suitable "health hardware" and workable drainage.
The project took place over three weeks, beginning with a lecture and three day intensive workshop with Health Habitat managing director, Paul Pholeros.
The workshop saw students digging holes to test water dispersal rates and to create improvised hand washing stations.
The challenges that these seemingly simple tasks presented to the group made them aware of the basic difficulties in washing people.
Owen Kelly, second year Architecture student, explains the revelation the project brought to him.
"It was a fresh stance on the glossy world of architecture. My eyes were opened to the good work that architects can do."
"For me, University is about studying to change the world, and this program really inspired me."
At the end of the three week program, the students were asked to present drawings and scale models of the washing people design proposals.
John Roberts, course co-ordinator, relates the extraordinary results achieved in the short time.
"The standard of the drawings and models was remarkable, non-architects in the school were particularly impressed by the work's intensity and seriousness."
After the program, a student group, led by Owen Kelly and independent of the University persuaded Paul Pholeros to return to Newcastle to give another demonstration.
Pholeros commented that the work was amongst the best student work he had seen, answering the brief with high levels of design intelligence and innovation.
John Roberts proudly explains the exciting future of this inspiring project.
"Following the success of this student project, achieved within the bounds of an undergraduate curriculum and budget, we've begun to seek sponsorship from industry, so that selected designs might contribute to much needed improvements in health in remote Australian communities."
Professor awarded Future Fellowship
10 August, 2012
Professor Pablo Moscato has been awarded a prestigious Future Fellowship from the Australian Research Council.
The Future Fellowships program is a national initiative aimed at promoting research into areas of critical national importance by attracting and retaining the best and brightest mid-career researchers.
Moscato was award the fellowship for his work with memetic algorithms to resolve optimisation problems in - the study of methods for storing, retrieving and analysing biological data to assist researchers in many fields including health and medicine.
"I am delighted that we can retain such talented people at the University", the University's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Mike Calford said.
"The Future Fellowships scheme is critically important to ensuring that bright academic minds can contribute locally and still make their mark on the world stage."
Pablo has been awarded $854,468, and builds on the success of his recent research into Alzheimer’s disease.
Newcastle University Graduate Wins NSW Architecture Design Medal
30 July, 2012
University of Newcastle graduate Warren Haasnoot has been awarded the Architects NSW Design Medal, the highest accolade for an architectural graduate in NSW.
Winning for his work in envisioning a future Carrington Wharf, Warren’s achievement builds on the successes of other recent Newcastle Architecture graduates Ben Walters (runner up 2011) and Lachlan Seegers (winner, 2010).
The award, held each year, goes to a fresh NSW graduate who shows exemplary and progressive vision in architectural design.
The significance of the award is not lost on Haasnoot.
"It’s fairly prestigious, a real honour", he says modestly.
Newcastle University Academic, Chris Tucker, concurs profusely.
"Some of the previous winners of this award have gone on to become some of the biggest names in Australian architecture. It’s a really significant achievement".
The award takes three final year students from each of the four architectural schools in NSW and exhibits them to the architectural community, from which High-ranking members critique projects on innovation and vision.
Haasnoot’s project aims to challenge the architectural norm of current Novocastrian developments such as Honeysuckle, and recognise the individuality of Newcastle and its people.
Tucker reflects on the qualities that led Haasnoot to his win.
"He has outstanding creative vision, is socially aware and recognises that the true value of architecture lies with the masses".
"He has a very noble outlook on architecture and is a very worthy recipient of the award".
Speaking to students, Tucker recognises the inspiration available right within their backyard.
"Newcastle is in a unique situation for architecture - we have a decaying urban centre that is in need of innovative vision and direction to remain relevant."
"Use this to feed your imagination, use it to create your vision"
Haasnoot agrees. "Architects need to look beyond just buildings. We need to consider and incorporate art, science, technology and anthropology into our designs".
"Immerse yourself within your project and imagine what the project can be within the community rather than what it will be as a building"
With Haasnoot’s success with the award this year, it bodes well for all students interested in competing in future years.
"The calibre of Newcastle’s graduates is incredible. Work on projects you care about and you’ll get out what you put in."
NUbots – Back and Ready for action
21 June, 2012
Smarter, faster and sleeker than ever, University of Newcastle’s fleet of soccer-playing robots are back and ready to compete in this year’s RoboCup.
RoboCup is an international robotics competition with the goal to creating a team of robots that will one day be able to compete and win in the FIFA world cup.
The NUbots team has competed in the RoboCup since 2002 using a number of designs and seeing success in the international championship, but they’re back with a new model and have set their sights on the international title.
The University of Newcastle’s newly purchased robots are based on a Korean design, but it’s in the software where the magic really happens.
Students from the University’s Computer Science and Electrical Engineering degrees work in small teams, competing amongst themselves using and developing software to make these robots operate in the most efficient way.
"It’s a long process" Dr Alexandre Mendes, one of the academics in charge of the program explains.
"Software and hardware need to work together, and out of the box, that just isn't the case".
"By the time the students are done with it, the networked robots can communicate and work as one cohesive team. It's like turning the computer difficulty all the way up in a computer game."
And the NUbots team certainly aren’t going easy on competition, taking home the 2011 Australian RoboCup title.
The team are currently competing in the 2012 International RoboCup championship.
Graduates honoured at Australian Indonesian Alumni Awards
14 June, 2012
Two Faculty graduates have been recognised at the Australian Indonesian Alumni Awards in Jakarta.
The annual Awards recognise outstanding talent, achievements and contributions made to Indonesia by graduates of any Australian university who live and work in Indonesia.
The Awards were first held in February 2008 and are an initiative of Australian Education International (AEI) at the Australian Embassy in Indonesia.
Krishda Tan, who completed a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (First Class Honours, University Medal) in 2010, has won the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
While a student of the University, Mr Tan participated in numerous on-campus volunteer engineering programs and donated his time to assist fellow engineering students as the Young Engineers Australia Campus coordinator. Through this role he helped reduce the drop-out rate of first-year engineering students through a targeted mentoring program and a student networking night.
Mr Tan was also heavily involved in the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment’s Student Ambassador Program and helped promote engineering degrees to high school students at expos and open days. He now visits his high school in Malang, Indonesia annually and inspires other students to follow in his footsteps.
Following an internship at ORICA Mining Services, Mr Tan was offered a position with the company and his work with explosive emulsion was patented as a commercial technology. Mr Tan is now a Graduate Chemical Engineer with Rio Tinto Pacific Aluminium at Gove Alumina Refinery in the Northern Territory.
Ficky Maurya, an industrial engineering graduate (1996) and CEO/Managing Director of Sunrise Steel, was listed as a top four finalist in the Business Leadership and Business Management category.
Challenge recharged with vital funding spark
13 June, 2012
The future of the University of Newcastle's Science and Engineering Challenge looks brighter thanks to a critical funding recharge from the Australian Government.
The Challenge has been awarded $450,000 over three years under the Government's 2012 Inspiring Australia - Unlocking Australia's Potential initiative. The grant, the largest awarded in the nation, is one of 63 Unlocking Australia's Potential science communication grants announced by the Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans.
Now in its 12th year, the Challenge aims to spark high school students' interest in science and engineering and last year attracted more than 22,000 students from 812 secondary schools in 54 locations across Australia.
Professor John O'Connor, Head of the University of Newcastle's School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, said the University was thrilled by news the National Science and Engineering Challenge would continue to inspire young minds.
"Australian Government funding for the Science and Engineering Challenge finished at the end of 2011. With bridging support from the University and sponsorship from Ausgrid, the Challenge continued to run but its future was in question," Professor O’Connor said.
"High schools across Australia have demonstrated enormous support for the Challenge and news of the renewed funding will be welcomed greatly by thousands of students, teachers and parents."
"The grant will allow us to run the Challenge as a modified program around Australia until at least 2014."
The latest funding follows the Government’s recent budget announcement of an extra $54 million over four years to improve participation rates in science and mathematics studies at school and university.
"Programs like the Science and Engineering Challenge are extremely important at a time when Australian school students’ interest and participation in science is in steady decline," Professor O’Connor said.
"Many industries, especially manufacturing and mining, rely on a workforce with science and maths skills and it is pleasing to see the Government investing in these areas of education."
The Inspiring Australia initiative is supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.
Phd student presents to nuclear council
8 June, 2012
Environmental engineering PhD student Eleanor Hobley was recently invited to present her work to the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering Council Meeting on 24 May at the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering, Lucas Heights.
Hobley’s presentation was titled ‘Soil organic carbon stability in top and subsoils,' and detailed radiocarbon data obtained at ANSTO for her PhD.
"My presentation was received very well," said Hobley.
"I had numerous attendees express interest and congratulate me on it, I was very pleased with the outcome."
Hobley received an AINSE post-graduate research award in 2010, which allows students to gain access to ANSTO’s world class Lucas Heights facilities.
She has also been awarded a $900 AINSE Travel Scholarship to help contribute to her attendance at EUROSOIL 2012 in Bari, Italy this July.
When asked about why she has chosen to conduct research in this area, Hobley replied "I love soils!"
Take a step into Victorian Newcastle
4 June, 2012
Newcastle residents will soon be able to take a step into the past thanks to a new smart phone application from a group of Faculty academics.
Dr Tessa Morrison, Dr Ning Gu and PhD candidate Nicholas Foulcher have been working on the application, which ties together the region’s history and urban development with current technology.
The project allows users to visit key architectural sites in the Newcastle landscape and use their smart phone to retrieve images of historic buildings from each location.
It has been funded by a $15,000 Faculty Strategic Pilot Grant from the Faculty Research Committee.
Ornate, high Victorian architecture and expansive verandas are hallmarks of late 19th century local architecture, and characterise many of the images used in the project.
There is a wealth of information about Victorian Newcastle, thanks to the work of local photojournalist Ralph Snowball, and his descendants, who have kindly given permission for the use of his work in this project.
Snowball photographed the town during an unprecedented boom period, and managed to capture a glimpse of the quickly evolving area.
Many of the buildings he photographed have since been altered, are in states of disrepair or have been pulled down to make way for new developments.
"There are many images sitting in the archives, not readily available to the public," said project leader Dr Morrison.
"This application builds on our expertise, using the latest technology such as augmented reality, and gives the community the tools to reconstruct our heritage."
After downloading the application, users will be able to take a virtual tour of over 20 buildings and learn more about what previously stood on each site.
One site that has been repeatedly repurposed is 277 Hunter Street. It has previously housed an ice-skating rink, a food market, the Palais theatre and is now the Southern Hemisphere’s largest KFC.
From an academic perspective, the project seeks to identify the urban and architectural patterns of the region’s capital.
The team will use this information to benchmark the development of Newcastle in comparison to similar regions.
In coming months, the team will be asking the community to contribute their own historic photos and hope that they will help to bring the rich history of the region to life.
Locals will be able to get their first taste of the historic project when it goes on exhibition at the Newcastle Museum this November.
Faculty Three Minute Thesis Heats
4 June, 2012
The Faculty’s Three Minute Thesis heats were held on Tuesday 30th May.
26 research higher degree students from across the Faculty participated in the event, which required the competitors to explain their research to a non-specialist audience in only three minutes.
"Overall the standard of presentation was excellent and the judges indicated they had difficulty selecting our four winners," said Associate Professor Richard Merifield.
"This is a significant achievement given that over 90% of the competitors were from non-English speaking backgrounds."
The winner of the event was chemical engineering PhD candidate Kim van Netten for her presentation 'Enhanced recovery of ultra-fine coal particles through a modified oil agglomeration process.'
Second Place was taken by chemical engineering RHD student Sazal Kumar Kundu for his presentation 'Conversion of Fluorocarbons in a Non-Thermal Plasma Using a Cylindrical Double Dielectric Barrier Discharge Reactor.' Runners up were Mohammad Saeed Masoomi for 'Dynamic Soil-Structure Interaction' and Vaibhav V. Gaikwad for 'Treatment of 1,2-dichloroethane in a Double Dielectric Barrier Discharge Reactor and Characterisation of the Resultant Polymer'
Each of these students will compete in the University-wide grand final in September this year.
This year, the Faculty introduced an English as Second Language (ESL) Achievement Award to recognise the unique challenge some of our presenters faced.
Yufeng Shi, a civil engineering PhD candidate received the ESL prize for his presentation 'Structural Reliability Analysis of Reinforced Concrete Structures Subject to Explosive Blast Loading'.
Watch the presentations on the FEBE YouTube page.
Women in Engineering raise funds for charity
4 June, 2012
The Women in Engineering student group held a fundraising breakfast on Tuesday, 22 May.
The students cooked pancakes for their classmates and staff, while collecting gold coin donations for the McGrath Foundation.
Over $200 was raised for the Foundation through the breakfast and from the sale of pink hard hats.
More information about Women in Engineering.
Basketball star joins local team
4 June, 2012
Bachelor of Architecture (Design) student Loma Mataika has been selected to join the Newcastle Hunters basketball team.
She has represented Fiji on the international women’s basketball, including the 2007 gold-medal winning Pacific Games team.
Find out more about Mataika’s interesting journey to Newcastle on The Herald's website.
Professor wins international offshore engineering award
4 June, 2012
Professor Robert Melchers was been selected as this years’ recipient of the Jin S. Chung Award from the International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers.
The annual award is given to "recognize outstanding creative and innovative contributions to the offshore, ocean and polar engineering fields."
Professor Melchers will receive the award at the 22th International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference & Exhibition in Rhodos, Greece, in late June. There he will present a special lecture to the conference’s delegates.
"I’m delighted, it was unexpected given the competition for the award," said Prof Melchers.
"It also recognizes the great team of people I have working with me, including Dr Robert Jeffrey, Dr Tony Wells, Dr Torill Pape, Dr Robert Petersen and Dr Mukshed Ahammed, as well as a number of research students."
The award was given for his contributions to creating a better understanding of the corrosion of steel in marine environments, the factors that contribute to that corrosion and the quantification of many of these.
His research group’s work has thrown new light on the influence of bacteria and water pollution on the severity of corrosion.
This has developed mathematical models for general corrosion and offered completely new interpretations of the statistics of maximum pit depth, which is especially important for pipelines as any a leak can be disastrous.
"I am indebted to the Australian Research Council for supporting me through two successive Australian Professorial Fellowships," said Prof Melchers.
Professor Melchers is currently on extended leave in Sweden, working on the corrosion of pipelines for oil production in the North Sea with the Swedish national research organization SWEREA-KIMAB.
Construction management student receives Colombo Plan scholarship
4 June, 2012
Construction management student Alissa Thivakon is the recipient of the 1968 Singapore Colombo Plan Students’ Scholarship for 2012.
The scholarship, valued at over $3000, was established by a group of Colombo Plan Students from Singapore who studied at the University of Newcastle from 1968 within the then Faculty of Engineering.
Thivakon is a high-achieving student with a raft of distinctions and high distinctions, and has always had a passion for the construction industry.
"I think it’s amazing how people come together, and work together, to make things function in a solid, tangible way," she said.
Thivakon grew up in Inverell, a small town in north-west New South Wales.
Her parents migrated to Australia from Thailand and are raising Alissa and her three siblings here. She says they are incredibly proud of her for winning this scholarship.
When asked what she would like to say to the generous individuals who made this scholarship possible, she doesn’t hesitate – "Thank you so much. It’s wonderful to be recognised. Receiving this scholarship has really motivated me to do the best I can.â
Colombo Plan graduate honoured with prestigious award
4 June, 2012
For the second time running, a Colombo Plan scholar from the University of Newcastle has been awarded the 2012 Eminent Alumni Award at the Singapore Australia Alumni Awards.
University of Newcastle engineering and economics graduate Dr Tan Chin Nam was honoured with the prestigious award at the event hosted at the Australian High Commission in Singapore.
The Colombo Plan was introduced in 1951 as a centrepiece of Australian Foreign Policy to strengthen relationships with Asia through numerous measures including university scholarships.
Last year, in the award’s inaugural year, the same honour was awarded to Dr Tan’s fellow Colombo Plan scholar and University of Newcastle graduate, the Honourable Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for the National Development Board of Singapore.
Dr Tan is one of Singapore's most distinguished public servants. During his 33 years of service in top leadership roles, Dr Tan received four Public Administration Service Medals. Although he retired in 2007 as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts, Dr Tan still holds the significantly influential Chair position for the Media Development Authority International Advisory Panel.
Dr Tan's expertise and personal contributions have influenced the development of art and culture, the media, information and technology and communications, tourism, human capital and the economy in Singapore.
When reflecting on his career, Dr Tan acknowledges the University of Newcastle as playing an important role in his professional achievements.
University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen said the University was very proud of its graduates who came to the University under the Colombo Plan.
"Like Dr Tan, many of the students who studied at our University through this important scholarship arrangement have made outstanding contributions to the development and success of The Republic of Singapore," she said.
The Singapore Australia Alumni Awards are open to all graduates of all Australian universities who live and work in Singapore.
PhD students papers accepted at international congress
19 April, 2012
Three PhD students from the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences have had their papers accepted for the 2012 IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence (WCCI).
The WCCI is the largest high-quality technical event in the field of computational intelligence and will be held in Brisbane this June.
The students’ papers are:
- Kenny Hong, Stephan Chalup and Robert King with their paper 'An Experimental Evaluation of Pairwise Adaptive Support Vector Machines'.
- Arash Jalalian, Stephan Chalup and Michael Ostwald with their paper 'Analysis of Pedestrian Spatial Behaviour using GDTW-P-SVMs'.
- Jason Kulk and James Welsh with their paper 'Measuring Impacts using Support Vector Machines on a Standing Humanoid Robot'.
Visit http://www.ieee-wcci2012.org/ for more information about the WCCI.
International Energy Centre students visit Newcastle
12 April, 2012
Master of Energy Studies students from the International Energy Centre (IEC) are in Newcastle this week for an intensive one week course called "Fundamentals of Climate Change".
Based in Brisbane, the International Energy Centre (IEC) is a collaboration between the universities of Queensland, Newcastle, and Western Australia, and industry partner Xstrata.
The Centre has recently commenced offering a Master of Energy Studies (MES) which is aimed at young and mid-level professionals looking to obtain a unique qualification that prepares them to strategically address the challenges posed by a carbon-constrained economy.
The module being delivered this week introduces students to the science and theory of climate change, with students gaining an understanding of the related policy, legal and regulatory aspects.
As part of this course, the students will be heading to Lake Macquarie City Council to get an understanding of the recent issues that have arisen between council and local developers with regard to climate change legislation and sea-level rise.
View this brochure for more information about the Master of Energy Studies.
GRANEX to bring solar heat and electricity to The Forum
11 April, 2012
Hunter-based invention GRANEX® will soon be powering and heating The Forum Sports and Aquatic Centre at the University of Newcastle's Callaghan campus thanks to a $770,000 grant from the Australian Solar Institute.
The $770,000 grant, together with $940,000 from partner organisations, will fund the creation of a demonstration solar thermal combined power and heat project by relocating a GRANEX® power plant to The Forum. The plant will generate energy for use in heating the pool and provide power to other areas of the complex.
The project also involves adapting GRANEX® to use solar energy for both power generation and industrial heating, and to provide for thermal storage to power the facility after sunset.
GRANEX® technology delivers higher efficiencies than conventional low-to-medium temperature power plants and therefore increases the amount of electricity that can be generated from these types of heat sources. As a result it reduces the cost of power and produces no CO2 emissions.
Inventors Professor Behdad Moghtaderi and Dr Elham Doroodchi from the University's Priority Research Centre for Energy said the project was an important next step in the roll out of the technology, which was created in partnership with Granite Power Pty Ltd (GPL) and Newcastle Innovation.
"For the first time our technology will be generating both heat and electricity," Professor Moghtaderi said. "The project will allow us to measure the efficiency of a new application of GRANEX® following the success of the 1kW and 100kW prototype plants we have operated since 2009."
GPL Project Manager Sean McCracken said solar collectors would directly heat fluid for GRANEX® to convert into electricity. "After sunset, energy that has been collected and held in thermal storage during the day will be used to maintain power and pool heating requirements. The system is expected to be fully operational by December 2013 and is intended to be the test-bed and launch platform for a commercial product."
Newcastle Innovation CEO Dr Brent Jenkins said the project was a great example of industry connecting with the University to solve problems.
"When GPL wanted to develop commercially viable geothermal energy technology we were able to link it to the expertise offered by Professor Moghtaderi and Dr Doroodchi and provide the support he needed to patent his invention," Dr Jenkins said. "Following years of intensive concept and prototype testing and the proven success of its prototype plants, GRANEX® is now a commercial reality."
The project team will focus on extending the performance parameters of GRANEX® to design and build commercially attractive power plants that work with very low temperature waste heat and put to use valuable heat sources that would otherwise be wasted.
"This is an excellent example of one of the applications of GRANEX® and assists in demonstrating the breadth of the potential commercial application of the technology and piloting a prospective commercial product that we believe has a significant potential market," GPL Managing Director Stephen de Belle said.
Project partners include the University of Newcastle, NUsport, NEP Solar, Turbo Power Systems and Yokogawa Australia. This project has been supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Solar Institute's Round 3 funding.
Newcastle scientists step closer to Alzheimer's blood test
3 April, 2012
An interdisciplinary team of scientists at the University of Newcastle has shown the potential of a simple blood-based test to identify people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, before any symptoms appear.
The team of four* spent a year studying data from the international Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) database, the most comprehensive collection of Alzheimer’s data in the world.
The Newcastle team assessed the levels of 190 proteins in blood from 566 people with either Alzheimer’s Disease, mild cognitive impairment or normal cognition and showed that measuring a panel of 11 proteins in blood can provide a predictive test with more than 85 per cent accuracy. Monitoring the change in blood protein levels over time could increase accuracy above 90 per cent.
The study was funded by the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Medical Research Institute, and its findings are published today in the prestigious PLoS ONE journal.
Senior author Professor Pablo Moscato said the results were likely to be significant for the way Alzheimer’s was diagnosed.
"Currently, Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis is based on clinical observations and testing of cognitive capacity and memory loss," he said.
"The only reliable and accurate biological markers so far identified for early diagnosis require measurement by either expensive procedures such as brain imaging, or invasive procedures, for example spinal punctures.
"Our study makes a considerable step towards cheap, non-invasive testing by identifying a blood protein panel to predict Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages."
Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease is considered vital for effective intervention as there is no cure. The only available treatments are drugs that improve the functioning of neurons but do not stop the disease progressing.
Alzheimer’s disease attacks the brain resulting in impaired memory, thinking and behaviour. It is the most common form of dementia, affecting one in 25 Australians aged 60 years and over.
* Research team: Senior author - Professor Pablo Moscato, Co-Director, University of Newcastle Priority Research Centre for Bioinformatics, Biomarker Discovery and Information-Based Medicine; Lead author - Dr Dan Johnstone; Dr Regina Berretta; Dr Liz Milward.
The researchers work in collaboration with HMRI’s Information Based Medicine Program. HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Local Health District and the community.
View the journal article online: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0034341
Visit the HMRI website.
Construction management prize-winners announced
28 March, 2012
Three students from the Bachelor of Construction Management (Building) will receive industry-sponsored awards at the Construction Management Anniversary Dinner on 14 April, 2012.
Ryan Christie-Johnston will receive the NSW Public Works Prize for Construction Management worth $2000 and Alissa Thivakon is the recipient of the MBA Student Estimator Prize. Scott Eftimovski will be awarded a Dean’s Medal and the Newcastle Master Builders Association Prize, worth $500.
"I feel very proud and privileged to receive this award," said Eftimovski.
"It vindicates all of the hard work and long hours of study I have put in over the duration of the course."
Eftimovski was a qualified builder before entering the construction management program and felt that it was the next logical step to developing his career.
He aspires to project manage large scale, unique projects that help to contribute and add value to the lives of occupants and the surrounding community.
He is currently working for top tier construction company Laing O’Rourke on the K10 project located on Kooragang Island.
Winning the MBA Student Estimator Prize came as a surprise to Alissa Thivakon (picture left), who did not know her lecturer had entered her name. She will receive the prize at the MBA’s Top 50 Builders this Friday.
"I am very grateful for receiving this award as it has opened up a lot of doors for me," said Thivakon.
Thivakon enjoys the challenge of being a woman in a traditionally male dominated industry. Since receiving the award she feels even more motivated to continue working hard to do the job she loves.
"I hope to graduate with good grades and gain employment in reputable company where I can learn from others and continue to develop professionally."
Ryan Christie-Johnston grew up on a cattle farm outside of Bathurst and always wanted to get into the building industry.
When choosing a degree to study, he felt that Construction Management offered the greatest range of career prospects and the best opportunity to work on projects from start to finish.
Christie-Johnston believes the course lived up to its billing, combining a great student culture with broad technical and management expertise.
"Studying turned out to be the best four years of my life and I made a lot of great mates," said Christie-Johnston.
Since completing his studies, he has been employed with Parsons Brinckerhoff as a scheduler on their expansion of the Bengalla, and plans to develop skills locally and abroad to the point in which he can successfully manage his own high end projects.
Olympic village architect wins gold medal
28 March, 2012
The University of Newcastle professor who has designed multiple Olympic Games venues and villages has been awarded the Australian Institute of Architects’ highest accolade, the Gold Medal.
Multi award-winning architect, Professor Lawrence Nield, provides design leadership through the university’s Architect in Residence program where he acts as a mentor to Australia’s next generation of architects.
He is one of five leading Australian architects at the university's School of Architecture and Built Environment, one of the best-equipped architecture schools in the country.
Professor Nield was recognised at the Institute’s Australian Achievement in Architecture Awards in Adelaide for his impact on Australia’s built environment and significant contributions to teaching.
Professor Nield’s impressive design career spans 45 years. He was head of masterplanning for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, designed five venues for the Athens Olympics in 2004, five venues and for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and the 2012 London Athletes Village.
Professor Nield’s work also includes the redevelopment of the overseas passenger terminal at Circular Quay, Sydney's Cook and Phillip Park near St Mary’s Cathedral and the National Science and Technology Centre – Questacon - in Canberra.
Early in his career, Professor Nield designed the University’s David Maddison clinical sciences building in Newcastle.
Research student's excellent work recognised
28 March, 2012
Dr Ibrahim Suleiman has been announced as the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment recipient of the 2011 Award for Research Higher Degree Excellence.
Dr Suleiman’s thesis ‘Catalytic Mechanism of the Deacon Reaction’ investigated the role of copper in hydrogen chloride oxidation reactions, in order to minimise the emissions of the environmentally harmful materials, chlorinated dioxins.
Prof Bogdan Dlugogorski, Conjoint Prof John Mackie, A/Prof Marian Radny, and Prof Eric Kennedy supervised Dr Suleiman’s research.
Dr Suleiman became a student at the University of Newcastle in 2008 on the recommendation of a friend who was completing their PhD here.
"The University of Newcastle is an amazing place to do research," said Dr Suleiman.
"The University’s staff were supportive and co-operative, which helped me focus on my research. The city is very beautiful with fabulous beaches, and the people of Newcastle are very friendly and helpful."
During his studies, Dr Suleiman was supported by a University scholarship and by his family's company, the Ellari Trading Establishment.
Dr Suleiman is currently assisting the Ellari Trading Establishment while looking for a position to use his skills professionally.
"I am looking to continue my research and do more investigations on the area of energy. I hope that one day I will be a research fellow at the University of Newcastle."
Pro-Vice Chancellor appointed to ERA committee
19 March, 2012
Faculty Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor John Carter has been appointed as a 2012 member of the Research Evaluation Committee for Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).
The Australian Research Council’s ERA initiative aims to identify and promote research excellence in Australian higher education institutions.
Professor Carter will join other internationally renowned experts in the Engineering and Environmental Sciences committee, which will evaluate the research output of these fields.
Early career researcher set to improve wireless migration
5 March, 2012
Dr Lawrence Ong has been awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA).
The DECRA scheme aims to support and create more opportunities for academics in the early years of their career.
Dr Ong will receive $375,000 over the next three years to fund his project ‘Achieving high-speed wireless communication networks through joint channel and network coding.’
This project will develop new coding techniques to increase the data transmission speed of wireless networks.
Its success will enable a smooth migration from wired to wireless networks for applications that require high data speed like broadband Internet, high-definition video streaming, and health-monitoring system.
"I am grateful for the financial support from the ARC and for the excellent research environment provided by the University for this project," said Dr Ong.
"I feel encouraged that my research works are well received and are inline with national research priorities."
Dr Ong’s grant is one of three awarded to the University in 2012.
Three of four future fellowships awarded to faculty
5 March, 2012
Three Australian Research Council Future Fellowships have been awarded to the Faculty of Engineering and Built the Environment.
The future fellowships aim to promote research in areas of critical national importance by giving outstanding researchers incentives to conduct their research in Australia.
Four Fellowships were awarded to the University of Newcastle in 2012. The Faculty’s high level of representation highlights the significance of the research being carried out by our academics.
The projects funded include:
- $700,316 to Dr Christopher Kellett for research into the emerging area of hybrid dynamical systems, including next generation electricity distribution networks
- $626,958 to Dr Peter Ireland to develop a dry particle separation process based on triboelectric separation, a novel way to refine mineral ores without using water
- $623,278 to Dr Sarah Johnson to develop new error correction codes to underpin the success of next-generation communications technologies
$2.5 million worth of ARC Discovery Projects begin
5 March, 2012
Over the next three years, the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment will receive $2,660,000 from the Australian Research Council Discovery Projects scheme.
The grants will fund eight projects across a range of engineering disciplines. The projects include:
- $535,000 for research into the area of turbulence, which is the usual state of fluid motion.
- $320,000 for research into developing innovative self-healing technological systems that are able to maintain appropriate levels of performance while reacting to unforeseeable faults.
- $360,000 for research aimed at resolving critical issues related to turbulent flows over rough walls, which hinder the engineer's ability to model these flows.
- $340,000 for research into integrated circuits and a new method that uses a tiny, intense spot of light to create low-cost ICs that are small, fast and will enable a vast range of new technologies.
- $320,000 for research into distributed sensor networks, that will find wide applications in smart electricity grids, traffic systems, industrial plants and security systems.
- $320,000 for research into memetic algorithms and adaptive memory metaheuristics for large scale combinatorial optimisation problems arising in biomarker discovery.
- $105,000 for research into new analysis and design tools to develop novel hybrid model predictive control systems with guaranteed stability, robustness and fault tolerance.
- $360,000 to study the fundamental behaviour of Australian natural soils under varying water contents and loading conditions.
Faculty awarded over $1 million worth of research grants
29 February, 2012
Over $1 million worth of research projects have just begun in the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment.
The projects, conducted in association with different organisations, will see Faculty researchers conduct three different investigations over the next four years. The funding has been awarded by the Australian Research Council, for more information visit the Australian Research Council website.
The 2012 ARC Linkage Projects are:
- 'Foundation systems for reactive soils using scarification and screw piles': $533,256.00 for foundation systems research to investigate the use of soil scarification, in combination with screw piles, as a reliable option for lightweight foundations on damaging reactive (expansive) clay soils. It will validate an innovative foundation alternative that will result in significant cost savings for residential foundations on reactive soil. This project is conducted in association with Ideal Foundations.
- 'Maximising the kinetics of flotation processes': $200,000 to develop a new flotation technology that can be operated at feed rates vastly higher than existing technologies. The technology will be applicable to low grade feeds often discarded to tailings, delivering billions of dollars in additional exports of Australian resources. This project is conducted in association with Australian Coal Research Ltd and Ludowici Australia Pty Ltd.
- 'Development of a measure for assessment of the dynamic thermal response of buildings': $330,000 to develop a unique measure for assessing the thermal behaviour of walls and buildings with the view to improving the accuracy and effectiveness of efforts being made in energy efficient housing. This should increase confidence for both consumers and manufacturers in the use of new energy efficient building designs. This project is conducted in association with Think Brick Australia.
NUBots qualify for international RoboCup competition
23 Feburary, 2012
The NUbots have been selected as one of the 24 fully qualified teams for participation in the 2012 Humanoid League Technical Committee of the Humanoid KidSize League of RoboCup.
The team will travel to Mexico City in June to participate in the Robocup’s soccer games.
For ten years, 2002-2011, the NUbots have participated in the Standard Platform League (SPL).
In 2012 the team has undergone a transformation from a SPL team into a Humanoid KidSize League team. This involved:
- Change from the Aldebaran Nao robots to the new Darwin-OP humanoid platform.
- Development of a new NUbot software system for the new platform and the new league's rules.
- A generation change in our team: There are four new students on the team led by one senior PhD student from the old team. All other senior students have retired from the team and remain in a supporting role while completing their Masters/PhD degrees.
"I would like to congratulate everyone in the NUbot team and thank all our supporters," said team mentor A/Prof Stephan Chalup.
"This is an excellent outcome of the summer scholarship projects and associated work in the lab for preparation of the qualification material."
"I am very glad and happy that we can say that this transformation and generation change was successful and that the new NUbot team is in an excellent shape."
Watch the NUbots' 2012 qualification video on YouTube.
Students to support natural disaster reconstruction efforts
23 Feburary, 2012
Beginning in 2012, students from the School of Architecture and Built Environment will have an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of people who have been affected by natural disasters.
During the mid-year semester break, students can take part in a four-week program in conjunction with Emergency Architects Australia.
In conjunction with aid agencies, local communities, governments and funding institutions, Emergency Architects assists to rebuild devastated areas, with the common belief that the construction of permanent (rather than temporary) structures, using local materials, will deliver effective and sustainable long-term results for communities affected by disaster.
The program has patronage from eminent architect H.E. Mr Michael Bryce, AM, AE and is the first of its type in an Australian university.
The University is currently looking for donors to help fund $4,000 scholarships, which will cover the costs of training, flights, accommodation and living expenses incurred while on the program.
Faculty University Medallists
15 February, 2012
Congratulations to the seven Engineering and Built Environment students who will be awarded a University Medal at their graduation this year.
A University Medal is awarded to graduates that have a consistent record of exceptional academic achievement at all levels of a Bachelor's degree program and qualify for a Bachelor's degree with First Class Honours.
These awards are testament to their hard work and dedication. We wish them all the best with their future endeavours.
The recipients are:
- Reginald Baker - Architecture
- James Curry - Chemical Engineering
- Timothy Evans - Civil Engineering
- Scott Eftimovski - Building
- Nathan Marks - Electrical Engineering
- Luke Babic - Environmental Engineering
- Joshua Frost - Surveying
Professor elected chair of the International Association for Fire Safety Science
15 February, 2012
Professor Bogdan Dlugogorski, Director of the Priority Research Centre for Energy, has been elected the Chairman of the International Association for Fire Safety Science.
The IAFSS constitutes a peak body for international fire safety researchers. The Association has around 600 members worldwide, with its Secretariat located in London UK. It seeks to promote high standards, to encourage and stimulate scientists to address fire problems, to provide the necessary scientific foundations and means to facilitate applications aimed at reducing life and property loss.
Professor Dlugogorski has had a long involvement with the international fire science community and with the IAFSS in particular. He has previously served as the Vice-Chairman for the Asia-Oceania region of the Association and its Honorary Secretary.
"I wish to maintain our attention to excellence in research where it already exists, and intend to work with fire safety scientists in countries which are now building up their capability to study fires," wrote Prof Dlugogorski in the latest IAFSS newsletter.
"I hope that we will continue with reaching out to all fire scientists around the world encouraging them to attend the Fire Safety Symposia, with the Symposia retaining and expanding their workshops and the English mentoring scheme."
Record enrolments reflect industry demand
2 February, 2012
Industry demands and 100% graduate employment has spurred record enrolments in the Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) this year.
The current resource boom and significant investment in renewable energy and Smart Grid technologies has led employers struggling to fill positions.
"The School is delighted with the increased interest in the Electrical Engineering area," said program convenor Dr. Steve Mitchell.
"There are many opportunities for our graduates and companies are actively pushing for more graduates in order to fill their skill shortages."
This push was reflected in this year's undergraduate enrolments, with a 58% increase on first preferences and a 45% increase in the current offers for the Electrical Engineering degree.
Electrical engineering graduates have a wide range of employment opportunities including power generation and distribution, renewable energy, electronics, and automation and control engineering.
To find out more about the discipline visit http://www.newcastle.edu.au/school/electrical-engineering-computer-science/areas-of-study/electrical.html.
Faculty Medal of the Order of Australia recipients
31 January, 2012
Two members of the Faculty were awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) on Australia day this year.
Conjoint Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor Ganapathi Asari Murugesan, received an OAM for service to medicine, particularly in the field of psychiatry. Since 2001 Associate Professor Murugesan has been the Medical Superintendent and Director of Rehabilitation at Bloomfield Mental Health Service in Orange and has served on a host of industry organisations dedicated to the improvement of mental health.
Founder of the University’s Science and Engineering Challenge, Bob Nelson, was acknowledged for his contribution to education through the development and national delivery of the innovative program. The Challenge encourages high school students’ interest in science and engineering by engaging them in fun, hands-on activities. It has grown from a local event to one involving more than 20,000 students nationwide each year.
Questioning anti-terrorism spending
16 January, 2012
Many anti-terrorism measures produce no net benefit and should be "judiciously rolled back", according to civil engineer Prof Mark Stewart from the University of Newcastle and political scientist Prof John Mueller from Ohio State University in the US.
In their book Terror, Security and Money, the authors say that increased spending on domestic homeland security over the past decade has totalled US$1 trillion in the US and A$8 billion in Australia.
"We seek to apply conventional cost-benefit and risk analytic approaches to this huge increase in expenditures, and found that vast amounts of money have been misspent."
The analysis is based on considering the probability of a terrorist attack and the resulting damage. The authors acknowledge the difficulty of estimating the probability of rare, high-consequence events such as September 11. "We are uncomfortable saying what the threat probability is," Stewart told Engineers Australia magazine. "We don’t pretend to know the answers."
Instead, the authors use "break-even analysis" to estimate how many attacks of what magnitude would have to take place to justify the expenditure. For example, they calculate that federal, state and local governments in the US have increased their annual spending on homeland security (excluding wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) by US$75 billion per annum since 2001. Supposing these measures reduce risk by 45%, there would have to be 1667 attacks per year with damage of more than US$100 million each in order to break even. To justify Australian government expenditure, there would have to be 25 such attacks per year.
According to this analysis, some measures like hardened cockpit doors in airplanes are cost-effective, while many others, such as the presence of US air marshals on board aircraft, are not. "We have not examined every aspect of enhanced homeland security in equal depth, but it is difficult to find many expenditures that, on balance, have clearly been a net benefit," the book said.
"It is possible that any relaxation in these measures will increase the terrorism hazard, that the counterterrorism effort is the reason for the low hazard terrorism currently presents. However, for the terrorism risk to border on becoming ‘unacceptable’ by established risk conventions – that is, to reach an annual fatality rate of 1 in 100,000 – the number of fatalities from all forms of terrorism in the United States would have to increase 35-fold, and in Australia more than 70-fold."
The book concludes that spending so much on measures that produce so little public benefit is "not only irresponsible, but also immoral". The authors suggest that diverting some of the security expenditure to areas such as flood protection, road safety and healthcare would save many more lives.
But the authors predict that high spending on security could continue unabated because politicians and bureaucrats fear getting accused of "being soft on terrorism". "It may be too late for careful cost-benefit analyses or for judicious comparisons of trade-offs and opportunity costs."
This article first appeared in Engineers Australia magazine, Vol 84 No 1, January 2012, and is reproduced here with permission. For more information on the publication go to www.engineersmedia.com.au.