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Behaviour and Practices in Academic Social Networks
Description: Academic Social Networks (ASN) offer more and more social information about researchers. Reversely, researchers can provide social information about themselves and even about other peers. The service...
Academic Social Networks (ASN) offer more and more social information about researchers. Reversely, researchers can provide social information about themselves and even about other peers. The services and benefits of ASN are discussed controversially. On the one hand, they allow boundless, time-and location-independent exchange, communication and collaboration between researchers as well as the option to get open access to literature. On the other hand, scientists seem to be forced to engage in ASN and are measured on their activities in those networks. Both aspects influence researchers’ behaviours and thus their research practices. In addition, those services constantly collect social information about researchers. It has to be analysed in which way this data influences human information dynamics in communities as well as research practices more specifically, and in which way the structure of academic networks influences those processes. The aim is to get a better understanding of how digital networks influence researchers and their scientific work and how this influence changes research behaviour. These results are central to be able to forecast future developments in academic practices. Research Questions are: 1. How do Academic Social Networks (ASN) influence researchers’ behaviour and practice? 2. How do ASN change the way researchers communicate and collaborate? 3. How are researchers be valued/be evaluated in ASN? 4. How do ASN influence research outcomes? Related References Alheyasat, O. (2015). Examination expertise sharing in academic social networks using graphs - The case of ResearchGate. Contemporary Engineering Sciences, 8, 137-151. doi:10.12988/ces.2015.515 Friesike, S.; Widenmayer, B.; Gassmann, O.; & Schildhauer, T. (2015). Opening science: towards an agenda of open science in academia and industry. The Journal of Technology Transfer 40 (4), 581–601. Jeng, W., DesAutels, S., He, D., & Li, L. (2016). Information exchange on an academic social networking site: A multidiscipline comparison on researchgate Q&A. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. doi:10.1002/asi.23692 Megwalu, A. (2015). Academic social networking: A case study on users’ information behavior. Advances in Librarianship, 39, 185–214. doi:10.1108/S0065-283020150000039014 Tabak, E.; Willson, M. (2012). A non-linear model of information sharing practices in academic communities. Library & Information Science Research 34 (2), 110–116. Talja, S. (2002). Information sharing in academic communities: types and levels of collaboration in information seeking and use, 3, 143-159. Utz, S. & Muscanell, N. (2016). Pushing Altmetrics into researchers’ feed: Effects on emotion and motivation. Poster presentation at Science 2.0 Conference, May 3-4 16 Cologne, Germany. Retrieved May 30th 16 from https://www.science20-conference.eu/programme/ Van Noorden, R. (2014). Online collaboration: Scientists and the social network. Nature 512,
academic social networks; human behaviour; information systems; social networks
Library and Information Studies
Australian Digital Futures Institute
Principal Supervisor: Professor Helen Partridge
Other Supervisors: Dr Tamara Heck,
Applying Social Ecological Approaches to Water Markets
Description: Water trading systems provide an economic framework for the transfer of quantities of water—private ownership of which is endowed by statutory water rights legislation—to enhance/ensure highest value...
Water trading systems provide an economic framework for the transfer of quantities of water—private ownership of which is endowed by statutory water rights legislation—to enhance/ensure highest value end use (i.e. optimisation) of scarce water resources. In this way, water markets commoditise water within an economic production-focused framework. However, water resources have significant value beyond their function in short-term economic activity. In reality, there are many competing demands for water resources and ensuring and allocating sufficient water of acceptable quality for different uses and users is a highly complex task, often subject to value conflicts. Despite this, the environmental and social impacts of water markets are relatively unknown. The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment espoused an ecosystem services framework for investigating the wider socio-ecological values associated with biodiversity and natural systems which has since gained acceptance as a guiding principle in environmental policy making. This research applies an ecosystem services valuation approach to contemporary water markets operating in the Murray Darling Basin, Australia, to better understand the socio-economic-ecological trade-offs and synergies associated with this form of water resource governance. It will investigate the broader socio-ecological values related to water trading to develop an integrated water benefits model of the total transaction system. It will also explore techniques to link bio-physical and socio-economic values, as well how these values change over different spatial, temporal and social organisational scales. Finally, it will critically analyse a range of policy settings (including a range of instruments and interventions) and provide a foundation for improved water resource decision-making and management.

Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Applied Economics,Environmental Science and Management
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Shahbaz Mushtaq
Other Supervisors: Dr Kathryn Reardon-Smith,
Meta-analytical Testing of Asset Allocation Theory Using Historical Investment Data
Description: This topic was identified as an area for future research in the prospective Supervisor's PhD thesis. The aim is to gather all theories and theory-based methods of asset allocation and quantify their...
This topic was identified as an area for future research in the prospective Supervisor's PhD thesis. The aim is to gather all theories and theory-based methods of asset allocation and quantify their comparative impact on optimising an investment portfolio's return-risk performance using historical investment data. It will require a good understanding of financial/economic mathematics on the part of the student as well as access to databases such as Datastream.
investment, portfolio theory, asset allocation
Applied Economics,Banking, Finance and Investment
School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Dr Lujer Santacruz
Other Supervisors: Professor Chandrasekhar Krishnamurti,
Big Data Security Mechanism
Description: The research project will lead to new security mechanisms for big data over cloud environments
The research project will lead to new security mechanisms for big data over cloud environments
Big Data
Information Systems
School of Management and Enterprise
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Jianming Yong
Other Supervisors:
Air Transport Policy and the Role of Air Transport in Supporting the Sustainability of Tourism, Logistics, Employment, and Regional Development
Description: Air transport is an important component of a modern economy and an essential input to many trading sectors. Higher costs of air transport add to the cost of domestic and international trade and reduc...
Air transport is an important component of a modern economy and an essential input to many trading sectors. Higher costs of air transport add to the cost of domestic and international trade and reduce the demand for tourism and other sectors that depend on people movement. An efficient air transport system benefits the economy and improves consumer welfare. Unnecessary regulations on airfare pricing and market access in air transport impose ‘taxes’ on the movement of goods and people, which restricts the degree of economic integration. A research on the impact of air transport on tourism, logistis and other sectors of our economy is much needed to build the momentum for nex step reforms towards an open skies regime.
Air transport, tourism, airlines, regional economic development, open skies, logistics
Applied Economics,Transportation and Freight Services
School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Dr Shane Zhang
Other Supervisors:
Examining Student Reflections Across a Nursing Curriculum: Where Does Evidence-based Practice fit?
Description: An important part of nursing students learning is the ability to reflect. Often written reflections are required as part of both formative and summative assessment within an undergraduate nursing pro...
An important part of nursing students learning is the ability to reflect. Often written reflections are required as part of both formative and summative assessment within an undergraduate nursing program. This study examines the extent to which evidence-based practice is 1) implicitly or explicitly discussed by students in their reflections, and 2) whether students are tasked with related their reflection in part with evidence-based practice.
evidence-based practice, nursing, curriculum
Nursing
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Principal Supervisor: Dr Lisa Beccaria
Other Supervisors: Dr Andy Davies,
Monitoring of Recalcitrant Compounds from a Wastewater Reclamation Plant by Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry
Description: Wetalla reclamation plant is a Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) process treating municipal wastewater from Toowoomba region. The plant includes membranes such as reverse osmosis to reclaim water for...
Wetalla reclamation plant is a Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) process treating municipal wastewater from Toowoomba region. The plant includes membranes such as reverse osmosis to reclaim water for the local industries. This project will sample the water at every stage of the process and monitor the non-biodegradable compounds by Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry in order to shed more light on the recalcitrant and soluble microbial products produced by bacteria during the process. It will also reveal the organic compounds causing fouling of the membranes.
Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), recalcitrant, soluble microbial products
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Analytical Chemistry,Chemical Engineering,Civil Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Vasanthadevi Aravinthan,
CFD Modelling of Export Onion Ventilation Systems
Description: Field Fresh Tasmania produces approximately 40,000 t of onions per year (about 15% of Australia's annual production), and exports about 30,000 t per year (80 - 90% of Australia's annual onion exports...
Field Fresh Tasmania produces approximately 40,000 t of onions per year (about 15% of Australia's annual production), and exports about 30,000 t per year (80 - 90% of Australia's annual onion exports). Most exports are for counter-season supply to Europe, with some going to Asia. Increased exports are needed to expand the Australian onion industry, as domestic demand has been static for many years. Australian onion exports are shipped in ventilated dry shipping containers using a configuration developed by the CSIRO in the 1980s. The positive pressure ventilation system supplies air beneath the stow, which then passes through the product and is exhausted at the top of the stow. During shipping, the system is permanently on, supplying ambient air at the same rate regardless of ambient conditions, from saturated air in the humid tropics, to hot, dry air in the Middle East. The initial conditions of the product vary, as onions are harvested from mid-summer to autumn, and shipments leave Australia in ambient conditions ranging from late summer to mid-winter. Research is required to define the ventilation requirements that are best matched to the range of shipping conditions, whilst taking into account the different product conditions, and the design of ventilation systems consistent with the economic and physical limitations of containerized shipping. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling will assist in defining the best ventilation options and research required in other aspects of the supply chain, such as managing pre-shipment product quality. CFD modelling will evaluate a range of ventilation system design and operating characteristics, and identify those most worthy of evaluation in field trials. CFD modelling has not been used before to predict the impact of design or operating environment on the effectiveness of container ventilation, and this could be an important contribution to improving the ventilation performance immediately post-packing and during transit.
Ventilation, shipping, Computational Fluid Dynamics
Mechanical Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ruth Mossad
Other Supervisors: Dr Andrew Wandel,
A Multi-Criterion Simulation-Optimization Approach for Irrigation Water Resources With Regard to Climate Change
Description: Irrigation water resources are currently facing a number of stressors due to climate change/variability and new environmental demands. Optimal operation of limited irrigation water resources under un...
Irrigation water resources are currently facing a number of stressors due to climate change/variability and new environmental demands. Optimal operation of limited irrigation water resources under uncertainty of climate and the requirement for environmental preservation is an international concern. There is an urgent need to develop a reliable management framework which could help facilitating decisions of not only water resources planners but also farmers. The developed management framework would allow satisfying the requirements of sustainable development by not only achieving the conventional objective of maximum economic benefit but many other objectives relating to environmental, social and ecological factors; and constraints will be considered. Such a multi-objective irrigation water resources optimal allocation would be achieved by a combination of advanced simulation and optimisation techniques with uncertainty handling capability. This research topic is directly related to the Drought and Climate Adaptation Program funded by Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) to USQ (Project code: DCAP USQ).
Irrigation, water resources management, climate change, optimisation, drought, sustainable development
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Applied Mathematics,Civil Engineering,Econometrics,Environmental Science and Management,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Shahbaz Mushtaq
Other Supervisors: Dr Duc-Anh An-Vo,
Nonlinear Dynamics in Bio-Chemical and Similar Active Systems
Description: A class of bio-chemical systems can be simulated by a system of coupled oscillators. Phase of oscillations satisfies an evolution partial differential equation which takes different forms depending o...
A class of bio-chemical systems can be simulated by a system of coupled oscillators. Phase of oscillations satisfies an evolution partial differential equation which takes different forms depending on the values of parameters. In the simplest case the equation is effectively a diffusion equation which is excitation-free. However, more complex forms are possible such as the Nikolaevskii equation and the Kuramoto-Sivashinsky equation incorporating linear excitation. We analyse a situation when the phase equation is based on nonlinear excitation. The nonlinear dynamics is explored numerically.

Applied Mathematics,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Dmitry Strunin
Other Supervisors: Professor Thanh Tran-Cong,
The Role of Volatile Chemicals and Secondary Spread from Metarhizium Anisopliae in Biological Control of Sweet Potato Weevil
Description: The sweet potato weevil (SPW), Cylas formicarius, is an important pest of sweet potato in Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG). The entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae has been used succes...
The sweet potato weevil (SPW), Cylas formicarius, is an important pest of sweet potato in Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG). The entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae has been used successfully as a biocontrol agent on soil-inhabiting insects such as SPW and other coleopteran pests. Some strains of these fungi have been developed as biological pesticides and registered to control various agricultural pests in Australia and overseas. Recently it has been shown that the SPW can sense volatiles produced by the fungus and can even differentiate virulence of the fungi using these volatiles. This PhD will the study the chemical makeup of the volatiles and the putative genes in the pathway to their production using published genomes. Gene knockout technology will be used to determine the effect of volatiles on pathogenicity. This will be combined with studies on the potential for horizontal transmission of M. anisopliae, and on the efficacy of conidial treatments under glassouse and field conditions.
Sweet potato, Australia, Papua New Guinea, fungi, genes
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Professor Gavin Ash
Other Supervisors: Dr Bree Wilson,
Improved Use of Seasonal Climate Forecast for Agricultural Production Assessment and Farmer Decision Support
Description: Agricultural production responses to climate variability require salient information to support decisions. If farmers are to benefit from seasonal climate forecasts, the information must be presented...
Agricultural production responses to climate variability require salient information to support decisions. If farmers are to benefit from seasonal climate forecasts, the information must be presented in terms of production outcomes at a scale relevant to their decisions. Agricultural outcomes of decisions are more relevant to stakeholders than raw climate information: a farmer is more interested in receiving likely distributions of crop yields or economic returns than a seasonal precipitation forecast. Unfortunately, still there is a gap between the information routinely produced by climate prediction centres and regional climate outlook forums, and the need of farmers and other agricultural decision-makers. A greater capacity is needed to convert raw climate information into distributions of relevant outcomes for agricultural risk assessment and management. An integrated assessment will be developed which couples a stochastic weather generator with a crop simulation model to assess yields and economic returns relevant to crop productions in selected case studies. The weather generator can produce climate scenarios in space and time scales being suitable for crop simulation models, based on historical climatology and modified climatology conditioned on the seasonal forecast. Analysed results of the linked models will provide assessment of likely outcomes and production risks for seasonal forecasts of different seasonal climate scenarios. Furthermore, farmer decisions e.g. cultivar, plating window and configuration, trading water, irrigation scheduling, deficit irrigation will be optimised in a dynamic decision-analytic model which can employ the seasonal climate forecast uncertainty. This research topic is directly related to the Drought and Climate Adaptation Program funded by Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) to USQ (Project code: DCAP USQ15).
Seasonal climate forecast, decision support, downscaling, crop modelling, economic modelling, stochastic programming, stochastic weather generators
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Applied Mathematics,Econometrics,Environmental Science and Management,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Shahbaz Mushtaq
Other Supervisors: Dr Duc-Anh An-Vo,
Motivating Activity and Social Inclusion
Description: In this project, we will enlist a group of participants who are physically and socially active in their local and/or larger communities. We will investigate their motivations and how they manage diff...
In this project, we will enlist a group of participants who are physically and socially active in their local and/or larger communities. We will investigate their motivations and how they manage difficulties associated with their activities to provide insight into successful strategies in managing healthy life styles. The long term goal of the project is to apply this knowledge to participants who are not self-managing, such as older adults post-fall or post-stroke or morbidly obese people. We will support the project with a co-advisory set of researchers from PALs: Physically Active Lifestyles Research Group. The project addresses issues identified as strategic to the Institute for Resilient Regions, the Digital Life Lab and USQ for healthy, active well being and connected and collaborative initiatives. We have a small successful pilot running for 3 months currently with volunteers from U3A. Students at Masters Level or wanting to start their PhD are welcome to contact ann.morrison@usq.edu.au and apply
Activity, Mobility, Social Inclusion, Connection, Older Adults, Tracking Activity
Electrical and Electronic Engineering,Information Systems,Other Information and Computing Sciences
Australian Digital Futures Institute
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ann Morrison
Other Supervisors: Dr Tamara Heck,
Effect of Early-diagnosed Dementia on Normal Gait COP Path
Description: In this research the effect of early-diagnosed dementia subjected will be tested to determine whether this chronic illness affect both low-limbs. The COP path of early-diagnosed dementia subjects wi...
In this research the effect of early-diagnosed dementia subjected will be tested to determine whether this chronic illness affect both low-limbs. The COP path of early-diagnosed dementia subjects will be tested on level surface and short access ramp upslope and downslope walking. Plantar pressure will be acquired during gait on these surfaces. A newly developed COP path analysis technique will be utilised to determine the effect on both low-limbs gait characteristics. COP path and plantar pressure distribution will be compared to the data of adults and older adults to determine the incidence of COP path anomalies.
Plantar pressure, gait, dementia, COP path, older adult
Human Movement and Sports Science
Centre for Health Sciences Research
Principal Supervisor: Dr Albert Kon-Fook Chong
Other Supervisors:
Molecular Identification and Host Range of Powdery Mildew Fungi Infecting Horticultural Crops
Description: Powdery mildew fungi (Erysiphales) are one of the most conspicuous groups of plant pathogens. Important crops, including wheat, barley, grapevine, and a number of fruit and vegetable crops, as well ...
Powdery mildew fungi (Erysiphales) are one of the most conspicuous groups of plant pathogens. Important crops, including wheat, barley, grapevine, and a number of fruit and vegetable crops, as well as ornamentals, grown in the field and glasshouses, are amongst the major targets of powdery mildew fungi. Their control is mainly based on the use of resistant cultivars, repeated application of fungicides, and agro-technical methods. In spite of their economic importance, the precise identity, host range, life cycle, perennation, virulence patterns, and other characteristics of a number of powdery mildew fungi infecting diverse crop species have not been deciphered yet. The project will focus on these aspects of powdery mildew fungi causing disease in horticultural crops in Queensland and elsewhere, based on field, glasshouse and laboratory experiments, as well as molecular studies including DNA genotyping, phylogenetic analyses, and qPCR methods.
mycology, plant disease, plant biosecurity, crop protection, horticulture
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health
Principal Supervisor: Professor Levente Kiss
Other Supervisors: Professor Roger Shivas,
Capsaicin in the Prevention of High Animal fat Diet-induced Development of Prostate Cancer.
Description: One in five Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85 and in 2012 this equated to 20,065 cases. Fifteen percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will lose their life...
One in five Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85 and in 2012 this equated to 20,065 cases. Fifteen percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will lose their life to the disease and those that survive due to treatment will often be left with life-long side effects that diminish both quality of life and overall survival. Epidemiological and molecular studies strongly suggest that a diet high in animal fat, particularly red meat, can drive the development of prostate cancer. As diet is a modifiable risk factor for many cancers, reversal or prevention of the effect of diet is an attractive cancer prevention strategy. Recent research has suggested that capsaicin, an alkaloid compound derived from the chilli has potent anti-cancer activity against human prostate cancer cells grown in culture. Further studies have demonstrated that capsaicin is a ligand of the transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) and interaction with this receptor in prostate cancer cells induces cell death via apoptosis. The USQ Functional Foods Research Group has established a rat model to investigate the effects of a high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet on the pathophysiology and cell biology associated with metabolic syndrome. The model consists of male Wistar rats fed a diet high in animal fats (from beef tallow and condensed milk) and high in sucrose and fructose along with control rats who are fed a corn starch diet. A current project in this laboratory is investigating whether capsaicin reverses the pathophysiology of metabolic syndrome in the high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet rats. This cancer biology project will investigate the tumourigenic gene expression changes in the prostate glands of these rats that occurs in response to a high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet and determine whether a high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that is supplemented with capsaicin can prevent these gene expression changes. Tissue samples will be collected from the prostate glands and analysed for prostate cancer gene and protein expression changes. The techniques that will be used in this project include RNA and protein extraction from rat tissues; quantitative/real time RT-PCR using prostate cancer gene-specific primers; polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) and Western immunoblot. It may also require human cell culture of normal prostate and prostate cancer cell lines and siRNA knock-out experiments (time and results dependent).
Cancer, prostate, diet, gene expression, prevention
Biochemistry and Cell Biology,Oncology and Carcinogenesis,Other Medical and Health Sciences
Centre for Health Sciences Research,School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Eliza Whiteside
Other Supervisors: Dr Sunil Panchal,
Detection and Prediction of Abnormalities for Diagnosis of Brain Diseases from Brain Signal Data
Description: Detection and prediction of abnormalities from brain signal data is a significant research area in modern medical technology. ‘Brain signal data’ refers to electroencephalogram (EEG) signal data. Cur...
Detection and prediction of abnormalities from brain signal data is a significant research area in modern medical technology. ‘Brain signal data’ refers to electroencephalogram (EEG) signal data. Currently, EEG is the most frequently-used technique for studying the functional states of the brain. EEG is becoming increasingly important in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and brain neuro-degenerative diseases and abnormalities. The study of the brain electrical activity, through the EEG records, is one of the most important tools for the diagnoses of brain diseases, such as epilepsy, brain tumour, head injury, sleep disorder, dementia and monitoring depth of anaesthesia during surgery. It may also be recommended for the treatment of abnormalities, behavioural disturbances (e.g. Autism), attention disorders, learning problems, language delay etc. If a brain abnormality can be accurately identified, patients can be given timely treatment to slow progression or avoid sudden deterioration. Furthermore, if impending abnormalities can be predicted in their early stages, the treatments can significantly improve patient’s’ survival and quality of life. Vast amounts of multi-channel EEG signals are visually analysed by neurologists to identify and understand abnormalities within the brain and how they propagate. Visual inspection of EEG signals is not a satisfactory procedure because there are no standard criteria for the assessment and it is time-consuming, error-prone, and subject to fatigue. Therefore, there is an ever-increasing requirement for developing an automatic analysis system to ensure the proper evaluation and treatment of brain disorder diseases. The aim of this project is to develop reliable, robust and analysis techniques that will be able to detect abnormalities from EEG signal data discovering brain disease. This project also helps to predict future abnormalities based on EEG signals. This project will advance the existing techniques in medical applications to identify brain disorder diseases and also to provide appropriate early-warning indicative information to reduce health risks and enhance health monitoring.
Electroencephalogram (EEG), Epileosy, dementia, sleep disorder
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Biomedical Engineering,Medical Biotechnology
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Enamul Kabir
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Yan Li,
Intracellular Mycoparasites as Trojan Horses in the Biological Control of Powdery Mildews: Enhancing the Biocontrol Potential of new Ampelomyces Strains
Description: Ampelomyces spp. are the best-known natural mycoparasites of powdery mildew fungi worldwide. Their hyphae and pycnidia commonly occur inside powdery mildew colonies in the field. Ampelomyces strains ...
Ampelomyces spp. are the best-known natural mycoparasites of powdery mildew fungi worldwide. Their hyphae and pycnidia commonly occur inside powdery mildew colonies in the field. Ampelomyces strains can be isolated from powdery mildew mycelia and maintained on artificial media. Some strains have already been commercialized to be used as biological control agents (BCAs) of powdery mildew infections of some crops in Europe, USA, India, Korea, and elsewhere. This project will focus on the isolation of new Ampelomyces spp. strains from diverse powdery mildew species in Australia, their genotyping based on already existing molecular markers, such as nrDNA ITS, ACT1, RPB1 and EukNR sequences and microsatellites, and selection of promising BCA candidates based on mycoparasitic activities of the newly isolated strains. Genomic tools and genetic transformation will be applied to study, and enhance, the biocontrol potential of the selected strains.
Biological control, fungi, parasites, crop diseases, powdery mildew
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health
Principal Supervisor: Professor Levente Kiss
Other Supervisors: Professor Gavin Ash,
Asset Management Tool for Timber Bridges
Description: Majority of the thousands of timber bridges around Australia are more than 50 years old and strengthening and rehabilitation of deteriorated timber bridges is a strong financial commitment. The main...
Majority of the thousands of timber bridges around Australia are more than 50 years old and strengthening and rehabilitation of deteriorated timber bridges is a strong financial commitment. The maintenance cost of timber bridges are affected significantly by a number of deterioration mechanisms which require a systematic approach for diagnosis and treatment. Evaluation of the risk of failure of these bridges is of importance in bridge design, performance assessment and decision making to optimize rehabilitation options. Early diagnosis of possible deterioration scenarios will be useful for formulating an effective asset management strategy. Thus, infrastructure managers from many road authorities and councils across Australia need predictive models for condition assessment to optimize the repair and maintenance management process over the life cycle of a given timber bridge. USQ recently started working on timber bridges through undergraduate projects. The proposed project aims at developing a decision support tool for timber bridge rehabilitation or replacement.
Timber bridges; asset management; deterioration; rehabilitation
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Weena Lokuge
Other Supervisors:
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Timber Pile Rehabilitation
Description: Timber bridges are vulnerable structures of a bridge network. Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP) reports the need to repair/replace deteriorated timber bridges in the state. Au...
Timber bridges are vulnerable structures of a bridge network. Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP) reports the need to repair/replace deteriorated timber bridges in the state. Australia has about 27,000 timber bridges and most of which are more than 50 years old thus requiring immediate attention to maintain them as serviceable assets. The maintenance cost of timber bridges are affected significantly by a number of deterioration mechanisms which require a systematic approach for diagnosis and treatment. The approaches used to rehabilitate timber bridges vary depending on the deterioration mechanism and location. This research mainly focusses on the rehabilitation of deteriorated timber piles using a wrapping system. Experimental and numerical study on the effectiveness of the confinement is the main objective of the project.
Timber bridges; deterioration; rehabilitation techniques
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Weena Lokuge
Other Supervisors: Dr Allan Manalo,
Food and Culture: the role of food in social integration
Description: Food is a basic necessity for life, and for many homeless people obtaining, preparing and consuming nutritious food is a constant challenge. At the same time a number of social enterprises establishe...
Food is a basic necessity for life, and for many homeless people obtaining, preparing and consuming nutritious food is a constant challenge. At the same time a number of social enterprises established to assist homeless and other at risk youth develop skills, careers and find housing are centred on the provision of food and beverages for others. This project explores how food acts as a means to reengage marginalised groups with family, home, education and careers.
food, culture, identity, homeless, integration, social exclusion, social inclusion
Anthropology,Cultural Studies,Other Studies in Human Society,Psychology
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Dr Celmara Pocock
Other Supervisors: Professor Lorelle Burton,
Airborne and Terrestrial Laser Scanning For Forest Structure Measurement: Focus on Forest Biomass Estimation and Carbon Accounting
Description: Forests play an important role in the global carbon balance and make a significant contribution to mitigation of climate change. Australia has some of the most carbon-dense forests in the world, with...
Forests play an important role in the global carbon balance and make a significant contribution to mitigation of climate change. Australia has some of the most carbon-dense forests in the world, with the potential to sequester carbon equivalent to 25% of our current annual emissions. In recent years, policies have been developed to increasing the carbon sequestration role of Australian forests. Accurate description of forest structure is essential for estimation of biomass and carbon accounting. Remote sensing technologies have been used for estimation of above ground forest biomass. However, three-dimensional information on forest structure for estimating biomass cannot be directly obtained from passive remote sensing data. Fortunately, it has been shown that active remote sensing technologies via airborne and terrestrial laser scanning offer the capability for detailed description of the forest structure in three-dimensions. This project aims to use both airborne and terrestrial laser scanning to measure 3D forest structure for biomass estimation and carbon accounting.
LiDAR, Laser scanning, GIS, Remote sensing, Spatial science, Surveying, Geography, Forest, Carbon, Environment, Agriculture
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Environmental Science and Management,Forestry Sciences,Geomatic Engineering
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zhenyu Zhang
Other Supervisors: Dr Xiaoye Liu,
Machine Learning to Facilitate and Enhance the Parametrisation of Agricultural/Cropping Systems Mode
Description: Supervisory team: Cropping systems models are becoming increasingly important tools in agricultural research, polcy development and implementation and on farm decision making. They are being applie...
Supervisory team: Cropping systems models are becoming increasingly important tools in agricultural research, polcy development and implementation and on farm decision making. They are being applied to explore and address challenges in adaptation and mitigation to climate change, production system risk analysis, and resource use efficiency and precision and prescription agriculture. A fundamental aspect when using models is their initial parametrisation and considerable effort is expended to identify and estimate appropriate input/initialisation parameters. This project will develop and apply machine learning methodologies directly within agricultural systems models to accurately estimate hard to measure/spatially variable parameters (e.g. soil parameters) from easy to measure data like crop growth, development and yield. The application of these methodologies will mean that agricultural system models can be easily and appropriately parametrised and will enhance their accuracy and application.
Agricultural Modelling, Crop Modelling, Machine learning
Crop and Pasture Production,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Dr Keith Pembleton
Other Supervisors: Dr Duc-Anh An-Vo, Dr Shreevatsa Kodur, Dr Tai Nguyen,
Artificial Intelligence in Advanced Composite Manufacturing
Description: The proposed PhD project aims to develop a novel adaptive automated composite manufacturing process, in the light of Industry 4.0 – the smart factory revolution. The project will integrate smart inte...
The proposed PhD project aims to develop a novel adaptive automated composite manufacturing process, in the light of Industry 4.0 – the smart factory revolution. The project will integrate smart interface pressure sensors and advanced computing, including process modelling, stochastic methods, and optimisation algorithms. Interfacing with a lab scale mould tool, the study will establish a cyber-physical framework that will enable the investigation of the stochastic nature and optimisation of liquid composite moulding. The project will focus on two manufacturing stages for continuous (in situ) processing: reinforcement forming and liquid resin infusion. The study will benchmark the proposed process with aerospace standards, to achieve minimum process-induced defects.
Advanced Composites Manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence, Numerical Modelling
Aerospace Engineering,Manufacturing Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Centre for Future Materials
Principal Supervisor: Dr Xuesen Zeng
Other Supervisors: Professor Peter Schubel,
Manufacturing of Advanced High Value Aerospace Structures using Automated Fibre Placement
Description: Composite materials are viewed as key to the development of the next generation of fuel-efficient aircrafts. This project will lead to the establishment of a state-of-the-art automated fibre placemen...
Composite materials are viewed as key to the development of the next generation of fuel-efficient aircrafts. This project will lead to the establishment of a state-of-the-art automated fibre placement (AFP) research capability at the Centre for Future Materials (CFM). Key to ensuring the success and future growth of the aerospace sector (and more specifically the composites industry) in Queensland and Australia, is the requirement to introduce automated manufacturing techniques. Currently, most of the composite parts produced in Queensland are manufactured via labour-intensive routes, such as hand lay-up prepreg technologies and, to a lesser extent, resin infusion and resin transfer moulding. Extensive research is needed to fully understand the opportunities available through introducing automated manufacturing techniques. One of the fundamental aims of CFM is to therefore investigate new manufacturing approaches and to embed this technology in Queensland’s composites industry.
Robotics, Composites, Automation
Aerospace Engineering,Materials Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Centre for Future Materials
Principal Supervisor: Dr Rehan Umer
Other Supervisors: Professor Peter Schubel, Dr Xuesen Zeng,
Using Agricultural Production Systems Models and Spatial Analysis of Crop Yields to iIdentify, Diagnose and Address Areas of Environmental Constraints to Crop Production
Description: Modern agricultural production systems and enterprises are data rich environments. In theory the availability of data enhances decision making and allows producers to readily identify and address p...
Modern agricultural production systems and enterprises are data rich environments. In theory the availability of data enhances decision making and allows producers to readily identify and address production constraints. However, the volume of data available and a lack of easy to apply methodologies to ingest and analyse this data often leads to a paralysis in decision making. Agricultural production system models have traditionally been used to explore complex interactions between climate/weather, soils, crops, livestock and management. This makes such models ideally suited for ingesting an interpreting complex and large agricultural data flows in a way that facilitates decision making. This project will use yield maps coupled with other on-farm data flows that are ingested through agricultural models within a machine learning/artificial intelligence framework to diagnose areas of constraint within cropping systems and develop prescriptive agricultural strategies to help producers overcome these constraints.
Crop modeling, artificial intelligence
Crop and Pasture Production,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Dr Keith Pembleton
Other Supervisors: Dr Duc-Anh An-Vo, Dr Shreevatsa Kodur, Dr Duc Ngo-Cong,
Machine Vision-based Sensing of the 3D Structure of Plants for Phenotyping in Daylight
Description: Plant identification and phenotyping using machine vision technology is a growing area in research. This PhD project would evaluate and identify new and novel methods of identifying plant species or ...
Plant identification and phenotyping using machine vision technology is a growing area in research. This PhD project would evaluate and identify new and novel methods of identifying plant species or plant disease or nutrient deficiency. The use of depth, multisprectral, hyperspectral, thermal, Flourecence, far Infra red can help in locating specific features associated with plants and possible plant disease and all machine vision spectrums will be evaluated to determine the most appropriate.
Machine vision, 3D , image analysis, phenotyping
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Electrical and Electronic Engineering,Information Systems
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Dr Cheryl McCarthy
Other Supervisors: Dr Steven Rees,
Mobile Robot Obstacle Avoidance Using Vision/Image Processing
Description: Traditionally, autonomous mobile robots utilise active-based sensors such as laser and sonar system for obstacle detection and avoidance. However, many mobile robots are incorporating vision systems ...
Traditionally, autonomous mobile robots utilise active-based sensors such as laser and sonar system for obstacle detection and avoidance. However, many mobile robots are incorporating vision systems for more complex tasks in image recognition and localisation. Visual information obtained from a camera image, and moreover multiple camera images can theoretically provide (under certain conditions) complete 3D structure of a scene. This ultimately makes active sensors redundant, an observation also evident in biological animals. This project looks to develop a visual-based technique for the task for autonomous robots. Students should have skills and interest in developing and implementing computer-vision algorithms, alongside developing control aspects of the mobile robot platform, such as a quadcopter, or ground-based mobile robot.
Obstacle Avoidance, Computer Vision, Image Processing, Mobile Robot, UAV.
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Tobias Low
Other Supervisors: Professor John Billingsley,
Large-Scale Modelling of Surface Water Flows Associated With Extreme Weather Events
Description: This project concerns the development of a new accurate and efficient numerical tool to simulate surface water flows, especially extreme flows like flooding, using advanced numerical approaches. Remo...
This project concerns the development of a new accurate and efficient numerical tool to simulate surface water flows, especially extreme flows like flooding, using advanced numerical approaches. Remote sensing techniques including either satellite images or 3-D high-resolution Airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) will be used for creating the digital elevation (DEM) of terrains. It is expected that this numerical tool can be used to simulate flooding flows resulting from heavy rains and huge dam releases and predict the impact of flooding on human activities such as agricultural production.
Surface water flow, extreme weather event, numerical modelling, flooding, dam release
Environmental Engineering,Mechanical Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Management and Enterprise
Principal Supervisor: Dr Duc Ngo-Cong
Other Supervisors: Professor Nam Mai-Duy, Professor Thanh Tran-Cong,
Economics of agriculture and the environment
Description: This project aims to cover the economics of agriculture in its broadest sense, from farm productivity and innovation to land use and the environment to climate adaptation and vulnerability assessment...
This project aims to cover the economics of agriculture in its broadest sense, from farm productivity and innovation to land use and the environment to climate adaptation and vulnerability assessment, at every scale of analysis from households to markets and the macroeconomic impacts. The research can employ quantitative and/or qualitative methods using both primary and secondary sources of data and information. The thesis can be written in either traditional format or in PhD by publication. The following is a list of indicative, but not exhaustive, broad topic areas on which PhD research proposals are invited: * Agriculture economics and policy * Farm productivity and innovation * Rural entrepreneurship * Environmental issues * Climate adaptation * Effectiveness of recent drought responses in Australia * Food policies across different stages of development, across different regions, and across different units of aggregation (micro, macro) * Non-market valuation * Potential to develop markets to sustain the provision of services that have non-market values * Applied economic and policy issues

Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Applied Economics,Econometrics,Environmental Science and Management
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Khorshed Alam
Other Supervisors:
Artificial Intelligence Model for Monitoring and Predicting Crop Status
Description: An Artificial Intelligence model will be developed to adapt crop biophysical models so they can determine current and predict future soil-water, nitrogen and fruit load of cotton and horticulture pl...
An Artificial Intelligence model will be developed to adapt crop biophysical models so they can determine current and predict future soil-water, nitrogen and fruit load of cotton and horticulture plants based on day of the season, weather data and visual plant response captured using fixed field based cameras. A data base (weather, soil electrical conductivity, soil-water values, daily crop coefficient, NDVI, plant density, crop height) has been collected on a series of fertiliser and irrigation experiments using the remote sensing technique such as hyper-spectral imaging, visible and infrared sensors and satellite image. A spatial analysis was conducted to compare measured spatial variability and variability estimated using spatial interpolation for different locations in the field. Based on this data base, the crop and soil situations are monitored on the time series corresponding to different trials of fertilizer rate and irrigation scenarios. From this project an artificial intelligence model that is capable of autonomous or semi-autonomous decision making will be developed to facilitate the development of automated irrigation and fertiliser applications to field crops.
Artificial intelligence , monitoring and predicting crop status, remote sensing technique
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Crop and Pasture Production
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Dr Tai Nguyen
Other Supervisors: Dr Shreevatsa Kodur, Dr Keith Pembleton,
Super-high Mobility Dirac Cd3As2 Semimetal
Description: Three dimensional (3D) Dirac semimetals are 3D analogue of graphene, which display Dirac points with linear dispersion in k-space, stabilized by crystal symmetry. Cd3As2 and Na3Bi were predicted to b...
Three dimensional (3D) Dirac semimetals are 3D analogue of graphene, which display Dirac points with linear dispersion in k-space, stabilized by crystal symmetry. Cd3As2 and Na3Bi were predicted to be 3D Dirac semimetals and were subsequently demonstrated by angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy. As unveiled by transport measurements, several exotic phases, such as Weyl semimetals, topological insulators, and topological superconductors, can be deduced by breaking time reversal or inversion symmetry. This project, a facile and scalable chemical vapor deposition method will be developed to fabricate high-quality Dirac semimetal Cd3As2 microbelts. Their ultrahigh mobility and pronounced Shubnikov-de Haas oscillations will be investigated. This research opens a new avenue for the scalable fabrication of Cd3As2 materials towards exciting electronic applications of 3D Dirac semimetals.
Thermoelectric nanomaterials, Band Engineering, Struture Engineering, Power generation
Electrical and Electronic Engineering,Materials Engineering,Nanotechnology
Centre for Future Materials,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Hao Wang
Other Supervisors:
Collection, Identification and Classification of Novel Australian Fungi and Yeasts
Description: Fungi and yeasts have many applications in drug production, food processing, fermentation (beer, wine and bread), biological control agents, and enzyme technology. However indigenous Australian fungi...
Fungi and yeasts have many applications in drug production, food processing, fermentation (beer, wine and bread), biological control agents, and enzyme technology. However indigenous Australian fungi have rarely been considered or applied to industrial applications. The aim of this project is to collect, identify and classify Australian fungi and yeasts that may be screened for their potential use in novel industrial applications. The number of known species of yeasts worldwide has doubled in the past decade as gene sequences now allow the easy and rapid identification of species. Yeasts will be isolated from leaf surfaces from a range of locations and plant species. These isolates will be grown in pure culture and identified using phylogenetic analysis of gene sequences. Novel species will be formally described in the scientific literature.
fungus, yeast, molecular biology, gene sequence, phylogenetic analysis
Biochemistry and Cell Biology,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering,Evolutionary Biology,Genetics,Industrial Biotechnology,Microbiology
Centre for Crop Health,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Professor Roger Shivas,
Understanding the Adaptive Capacity of the Cotton Industry Under Climate Variability and Water Policy
Description: Climate is one of the fundamental factors that determine where different types of agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture can be successfully pursued. For primary industries such as the cott...
Climate is one of the fundamental factors that determine where different types of agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture can be successfully pursued. For primary industries such as the cotton industry, climate conditions, including variability, determine annual production and actual profitability. Australia’s cotton production relies largely on irrigated areas: about 400,000 ha of irrigated cotton is grown (depending on water availability), compared to 5,000-120,000 ha for dry land cotton. Along with adequate nutrition, water availability is very important to achieving adequate yields (high quantity and god fibre quality) in cotton. In Australia, cotton is grown in a region with the highest levels of climate variability in the country which has required farmers to have a relatively high ability to diversify. Such growing conditions have led to significant levels of adaptive capacity and considerable adaptation have been achieved over the past decades. Although these characteristics will support ongoing effective responses to climate variability and change, any adaptation strategies need to be considered in the context of other environmental, social, and economic and political frameworks. They will be most effective if they can also integrate multiple risks from a range of interacting processes across spatial and temporal scales. The multifaceted biophysical impacts of climate variability on cotton production are complex, geographically varied, and encumbered with varying degrees of uncertainty. Experience in undertaking production system and transformational changes is also limited, and many transformational changes will involve unknown and unpredictable risks to the personal and financial well-being of the people and communities directly involved, and to investment in land development, and production infrastructure. Given primary industry responses to climate variability/change impacts move from adjusting current practices to changing production systems or transforming industries, the complexity, cost and risk of climate-driven enterprise changes will increase. There is therefore a need to actively engage in the research required to support incremental adaptations to climate, system and transformative changes in the future so as to ensure the cotton industry is able to continue adapting to climate change impacts in the longer term. This PhD will investigate adaptation pathways and water management systems (namely irrigation control systems) in Cotton industry. Outcomes from different scenarios will help to developing regionally-specific pathways and maintaining or increasing the profitability and sustainability of cotton production and related industry and communities.

Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Applied Economics,Atmospheric Sciences,Environmental Science and Management
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Shahbaz Mushtaq
Other Supervisors: Dr Louis Kouadio,
Compact Local Approximations, Based on Integrated Radial Basis Functions, For Solving Mechanics Problems
Description: The behaviour of mechanics problems can be modelled by differential equations (DEs). in solving DEs, one needs to express the field variables as linear combinations of nodal function values. Compact ...
The behaviour of mechanics problems can be modelled by differential equations (DEs). in solving DEs, one needs to express the field variables as linear combinations of nodal function values. Compact local approximations, where nodal values of DEs are also included, allow the achievement of high levels of accuracy of the solution and sparseness of the system matrix together. This project is concerned with the use of compact local approximations, based on integrated radial basis functions, to represent the field variables in DEs to enhance the efficiency of numerical solution procedures.
Partial differential equation, radial basis function, mechanics, numerical method, compact local approximation
Applied Mathematics,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Thanh Tran-Cong
Other Supervisors: Professor Nam Mai-Duy,
Investigating the Capacity for Sebacinoid Mycorrhizal Fungi to Alleviate Drought Stress in Plants
Description: Although a number of research groups around the world are now investigating the agricultural potential of mycorrhizal Sebacinales, no work has yet been undertaken in Australia. This is despite Austra...
Although a number of research groups around the world are now investigating the agricultural potential of mycorrhizal Sebacinales, no work has yet been undertaken in Australia. This is despite Australia having a source of diverse isolates of these fungi. Verbruggen et al. (2014) noted that Sebacina spp. are ubiquitous in plants in natural systems but they appear to disappear with intensive farming. Thus being able to re-establish these important plant partners in agricultural crops could prove to be critical for sustainable farming in Northern Australia, particularly under the climatically variable and stressful conditions in this region. In this study, a number of sebacinoid mycorrhizal fungi will be sourced from native plant taxa from south-east Queensland. These fungal taxa will be identified via DNA extraction, PCR amplification and sequencing of taxonomically important rDNA regions. Identified sebacinoid taxa will be then tested for their capacity to improve plant biomass and tolerance to drought stress by inoculating plants and growing them under varied watering regimes. The plant species to be used include Buffel Grass (Cenchrus ciliaris, Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and Cowpea (Vigna unguicalata), important pasture species in the Northern region. Plants with improved drought tolerance will be investigated further via brightfield and fluorescence microscopy to document the anatomical features of the interaction between the symbionts. Real Time RT-PCR will also be used to identify gene targets (e.g. aquaporins, 14-3-3 proteins) that are modified via the mycorrhizal fungal-induced response. Outcomes of this project will include isolation and identification of a range of new species of Sebacinales fungi, advances in understanding the biology of plant mycorrhizal associations and the development of a sustainable method of improving growth and stress tolerance in a range of agriculturally important plant species. Reference: Verbruggen et al. (2014). New Phytologist 203:1036-1040.
Fungi, drought stress, plants, tolerance to drought stress
Crop and Pasture Production,Microbiology
Centre for Crop Health,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof John Dearnaley
Other Supervisors: Dr Diana Leemon,
Food and Culture: Consuming Migrant Culture
Description: Australian food is a blend of culinary traditions enriched by waves of successive migrant groups from different parts of the world. For migrants food traditions are a link to country of origin, home ...
Australian food is a blend of culinary traditions enriched by waves of successive migrant groups from different parts of the world. For migrants food traditions are a link to country of origin, home and family, and for ‘local communities, food may superficially become a means for cultural understanding and acceptance. This project explores the role of food in the resilience of migrant groups in regional Australia, both as a means of maintaining cultural practice and identity, and as an agent of acceptance and assimilation.
food, culture, migration, identity, integration, community
Anthropology,Cultural Studies,Curatorial and Related Studies,Historical Studies,Other History and Archaeology,Other Studies in Human Society
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Dr Celmara Pocock
Other Supervisors: Dr Jayne Persian,
Dispersion of Contaminants in Turbulent Flows: Theory and Applications
Description: Centre manifold method is an accurate approach for analytically constructing an advection-diffusion equation (and even more accurate equations involving higher-order derivatives) for the depth-averag...
Centre manifold method is an accurate approach for analytically constructing an advection-diffusion equation (and even more accurate equations involving higher-order derivatives) for the depth-averaged concentration of substances in channels. This project is focused on a direct numerical verification of this method with examples of the dispersion in laminar and turbulent flows in open channels. The one-dimensional integrated radial basis function network (1D-IRBFN) method is used as a numerical approach to obtain a numerical solution for the original two-dimensional (2-D) advection-diffusion equation. The 2-D solution is depth-averaged and compared with the solution of the 1-D equation derived using the centre manifolds.
Contaminants, turbulent flows, modelling
Applied Mathematics,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Dmitry Strunin
Other Supervisors: Professor Thanh Tran-Cong,
Automated Non-contact Advance Rate Detection
Description: Surface irrigation systems account for over 90% of Australia's irrigation cotton which involve gravity fed water flowing along a field. Surface irrigation events are typically managed by manually ins...
Surface irrigation systems account for over 90% of Australia's irrigation cotton which involve gravity fed water flowing along a field. Surface irrigation events are typically managed by manually inspecting the location of water along each furrow and stopping the water inflow when the water reaches the end of the field. Existing commercial advance sensors measure single fixed points in the field; however, irrigation advance rates can vary significantly between crop rows. Current research has shown colour and temperature can indicate water advance. This project will research detection of advance rate using visual responses from a field edge camera-based system when water approaches the tail drain.
Automation, machine vision, irrigation control system
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Crop and Pasture Production,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Alison McCarthy
Other Supervisors: Dr Malcolm Gillies,
Evaluation of the Resilience of Physical Infrastructure Systems
Description: This research will develop a methodology for evaluating resilience in physical infrastructure systems. Resilience in this context refers to the ability of infrastructure systems to be robust, and ret...
This research will develop a methodology for evaluating resilience in physical infrastructure systems. Resilience in this context refers to the ability of infrastructure systems to be robust, and retain their basic function and structure following disturbances and shocks. Achieving life cycle infrastructure resilience requires an understanding of the natural environment, sustainability, systems analysis approaches, risk management, minimisation of the impact of natural disasters, disaster resistant design, consideration of stakeholder requirements, use of suitable materials and related areas of expertise. The methodology developed from this research would be used by planners and designers to develop and implement infrastructure systems that would be resistant to the impact of disasters.
Resilience, sustainability, infrastructure, planning, design
Interdisciplinary Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
Other Supervisors: Dr Nateque Mahmood,
Independent publishing
Description: This project will explore the impact of independent and self-publishing practices and technologies on the Australian and international publishing industry and on the career trajectories and skill dev...
This project will explore the impact of independent and self-publishing practices and technologies on the Australian and international publishing industry and on the career trajectories and skill development of independent or self-published writers in Australia and elsewhere.
self-publishing, publishing, creative writing
Cultural Studies,Literary Studies,Performing Arts and Creative Writing
School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Dr Dallas Baker
Other Supervisors: Dr Sharon Bickle, Dr Jessica Gildersleeve, Assoc Prof Laurie Johnson,
Mental Health of Children and Educational Attainment
Description: Mental health disorder in children and adolescent are growing worldwide, and statistics reveal that 10% to 20 % children and adolescent are having mental health problem worldwide. Childhood has recen...
Mental health disorder in children and adolescent are growing worldwide, and statistics reveal that 10% to 20 % children and adolescent are having mental health problem worldwide. Childhood has recently gained renewed focus from the researchers and policy makers as Heckman and colleagues found that childhood outcomes are strong predictors of future educational achievements and labour market success. The main concern of childhood mental disorder is that it may affect a child’s human capital accumulation by limiting the amount and quality of schooling a child received. This project will empirically investigate the determinants of mental disorders of children and probability of diagnosis and treatment of these mental disorders. Then it will explore how mental health can affect educational attainment of children and whether the relationship between mental health and educational outcomes can be explained by other risky behaviour (consumption of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and cannabis, and skipping classes) of the children. The project can be conducted using data from either Australia or from other countries.
Mental Health; Risky Behaviour; Parental Socio-economic Status; Schooling.
Applied Economics,Cognitive Sciences,Public Health and Health Services
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Centre for Health Sciences Research,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Dr Rasheda Khanam
Other Supervisors: Dr Jan Du Preez, Dr Enamul Kabir,
Developing a Novel Ranking Index Based on Resilience of Road Infrastructures
Description: Road infrastructures, such as bridges, culverts and floodway's are vital components to facilitate the mobility of people. However, they are subjected to damage during natural disasters such as extrem...
Road infrastructures, such as bridges, culverts and floodway's are vital components to facilitate the mobility of people. However, they are subjected to damage during natural disasters such as extrement flood events. Damage to those road infrastructures has impact to the general household travels, emergency services and reconstruction activities, in three phases, namely before, during and after a natural disaster. Current practice in ranking roads and road infrastructures is mainly based on the traffic volume. However, recent extreme flood events that Queensland experienced in 2011 and 2013, indicated that resilience is an important aspect to be addressed. Several road infrastructures were subjected to damage and hence communities were completely or partially isolated for short or long period of time depending on the pace of reconstruction activities. in an event of a widespread natural disaster, it is important to evaluate the impact of the road infrastructure damage and prioritize them based on the resilience of the community. This research will therefore develop a novel framework to rank road infrastructures based on the resilience of the community.
Bridges, Culverts, Floodway's, Natural Disasters, Floods, Damage, Resilience
Civil Engineering,Engineering Design,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Professor Karu Karunasena
Other Supervisors: Dr Weena Lokuge,
Development of Railway Sleeper Technologies Using Low-Grade Timber
Description: This research aims to develop cost-effective railway sleeper technologies from low grade timber, thereby increasing the utilisation of plantation timber and creating a new market for the timber indus...
This research aims to develop cost-effective railway sleeper technologies from low grade timber, thereby increasing the utilisation of plantation timber and creating a new market for the timber industry. This project will maximise the use of low-grade timber by mix-laminating them with high-grade grade timber to satisfy serviceability and strength requirements for railway sleepers and significantly improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness of railway sleepers. Numerical and experimental studies of railway sleepers under static, dynamic and fatigue loading conditions will underpin the development of the new concept of variable strength and optimal material distribution that will provide cost-effective solutions to Australian railway industry. Durability investigation will also be conducted to determine the service life of new railway sleeper technologies and if needed, appropriate surface protection system will be developed to extend the life of this technology ensuring their safe and reliable use.
Railway sleepers; low-grade timber; optimal material usage; performance evaluation.
Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Dr Allan Manalo
Other Supervisors: Professor Thiru Aravinthan, Professor Karu Karunasena,
Ontology-based User Concept Modelling for Personalised Information Gathering in Big Data Era
Description: User concept models are formal description and specification of user background knowledge. In their brains, users implicitly possess a concept model, which is generated from their background knowledg...
User concept models are formal description and specification of user background knowledge. In their brains, users implicitly possess a concept model, which is generated from their background knowledge. While this concept model cannot be proven in laboratories, many knowledge engineers have observed it in user behaviour. When users read through a document, they can easily determine whether or not it is of their interest, on the basis of a judgement that arises from their implicit concept models. Therefore, there exists a hypothesis if a user’s concept model can be simulated, we can understand how a decision (e.g., whether a document is interesting) is made, and thus, we can infer user information needs by analysing the existing concepts in simulated user concept model. This study focuses on user concept models in the personalised information gathering considering challenges presented in Big Data era. The thesis project will make potential theoretical contributions to knowledge advancement in knowledge engineering and cognitive science, as well methodological contributions to text mining, information retrieval, and data format to help deal with Big Data challenges.
User modelling, Ontology, Personalisation, Big Data
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Cognitive Sciences,Data Format,Information Systems
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Xiaohui Tao
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Ji Zhang,
Towards Climate Smart Landscapes
Description: The majority of the world’s six billion farmers are smallholders, farming areas of 5 ha or less. Subsistence farmers such as these are highly susceptible to food insecurity arising from a range of ri...
The majority of the world’s six billion farmers are smallholders, farming areas of 5 ha or less. Subsistence farmers such as these are highly susceptible to food insecurity arising from a range of risks including market failure, social conflict and climatic variability. Adoption of climate smart farming practices (climate smart agriculture or CSA) provides a mechanism for greater resilience and enhanced wellbeing at the local scale. The emerging concept of climate smart landscapes (Scherr et al., 2012) offers a framework for scaling up CSA to a more integrated level to enhance socio-ecological resilience at the larger landscape scale. However, implementing such a framework will require both enhanced technical capacity and community, institutional and political support for multi-stakeholder planning, governance, strategic investment and monitoring and evaluation. As in other farming systems, adoption of new practices may be constrained by a range of social and economic barriers. This study investigates the social norms, community structures and other barriers in smallholder communities that may act to prevent innovation and adaptation at a range of scales and will inform strategies aimed at enhancing security and well-being in such communities.
climate risk; food security; socio-ecological resilience; climate smart landscapes; decision-making; governance; well-being
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Environmental Science and Management
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Shahbaz Mushtaq
Other Supervisors: Dr Kathryn Reardon-Smith,
Screening of Indigenous Strains of Fungi and Yeasts for Industrial Applications
Description: Fungi and yeasts have many applications in drug production, food processing, fermentation (beer, wine and bread), biological control agents, and enzyme technology. However indigenous Australian fungi...
Fungi and yeasts have many applications in drug production, food processing, fermentation (beer, wine and bread), biological control agents, and enzyme technology. However indigenous Australian fungi have rarely been considered or applied to industrial applications. The aim of this project is to screen indigenous microorganisms available in culture collections for novel applications. Examples include screening (i) oleaginous yeasts indigenous to Australia for their capacity to accumulate intracellular lipids for biodiesel production, (ii) ethanol producing yeasts for their capacity to produce ethanol for the brewing industry, (iii) filamentous fungi for their capacity to produce enzymes such as glucoamylase for the saccharification of starches or cellulases/hemicellulases/ligninases for the hydrolysis of lignocellulosics materials for biofuels production. The experimental work will involve screening microorganisms on Petri dishes or fermentation flasks with analysis of relevant intermediates and products.
fungus, yeasts, screening, biofuel, fermentation, enzymes, biorefinery, brewing, ethanol, lipids, biodiesel
Biochemistry and Cell Biology,Ecological Applications,Ecology,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management,Evolutionary Biology,Fisheries Sciences,Food Sciences,Forestry Sciences,Genetics,Industrial Biotechnology,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Microbiology,Other Biological Sciences,Other Chemical Sciences,Other Engineering,Other Environmental Sciences
Centre for Crop Health,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Professor Roger Shivas,
Respiratory Muscle Induced Oxidative Stress
Description: There is now overwhelming evidence that oxidative stress is a major influence in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Oxidative stress increases when appearance rates of c...
There is now overwhelming evidence that oxidative stress is a major influence in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Oxidative stress increases when appearance rates of chemically reactive molecules exceed the ability of antioxidants to counteract their harmful effects. Oxidative stress may reduce quality of life and contribute to mortality in COPD. Unfortunately though, the source of systemic oxidative stress is unclear and therefore cannot be treated effectively. In COPD, the respiratory muscles may contribute significantly to oxidative stress as they work harder to overcome airway resistance. Accordingly, the aim of this project is to investigate whether the respiratory muscles contribute to systemic oxidative stress during inspiratory resistive loaded breathing in healthy adults. With COPD projected to be the third most prevalent cause of death in the world by 2030 and the cost of the disease rising globally from AUD $3.1 trillion to $7 trillion, there is an urgent need to discover whether the respiratory muscles are a source of systemic oxidative stress so that they can be targeted with treatments.
Oxidative Stress; Respiratory; COPD
Biochemistry and Cell Biology,Human Movement and Sports Science,Physiology
Centre for Health Sciences Research,School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Dean Mills
Other Supervisors: Dr Ben Hoffman,
Cultural Heritage Research: Heritage and Wellbeing
Description: The importance of heritage sites and practices has long been linked to cultural identity and is a common rationale for conserving heritage. Underpinning this rationale are claims of a connection betw...
The importance of heritage sites and practices has long been linked to cultural identity and is a common rationale for conserving heritage. Underpinning this rationale are claims of a connection between the conservation of heritage and community wellbeing. There is a growing interest in exploring these connections more methodically to understand the links between heritage, identity and wellbeing. This includes identity work with marginalized communities, including Australian Indigenous communities, people who are institutionalized including the elderly, mentally ill and frail, and those who have suffered life trauma, including returning military personnel. In this growing area of research there is scope for a number of research projects.
heritage, history, identity, wellbeing, health, community
Anthropology,Archaeology,Cultural Studies,Curatorial and Related Studies,Historical Studies,Other History and Archaeology,Other Studies in Human Society,Psychology
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Dr Celmara Pocock
Other Supervisors: Professor Lorelle Burton, Professor David Collett, Dr Jane Palmer,
An Economic Evaluation of Pest Animal Control Measures in Rangeland Grazing Systems
Description: The control of pest species in grazing systems has the potential to generate private and social benefits but there is little economic evaluation of the different control options. Results from this pr...
The control of pest species in grazing systems has the potential to generate private and social benefits but there is little economic evaluation of the different control options. Results from this project will inform the decisions of land and livestock managers, ultimately contributing to the sustainability of grazing industries. It is also an opportunity for the successful candidate to develop a range of skills in economic and environmental analyses and to be part of a team at the forefront of research in this field.
Invasive species, applied economics, grazing systems, natural resources management
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Applied Economics
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Professor Geoff Cockfield
Other Supervisors: Dr Benjamin Allen,
Manufacturing and Properties of Ground Macadamia Nutshell Filled Particulate Composites
Description: Macadamia nut shells can be used in the production of environment-friendly composite materials. The shells can be ground into a fine powder, then mixed with a polymeric resin to create particulate co...
Macadamia nut shells can be used in the production of environment-friendly composite materials. The shells can be ground into a fine powder, then mixed with a polymeric resin to create particulate composites. Green composites from these high strength macadamia nut shells are a relatively new innovation and are mostly used for handmade crafts at present. However, macadamia nutshell filled polymeric composites can be engineered through research and development for the uses as various structural components including sandwich composites and in areas where low weight to strength ratio is required. Their potential applications include products in building, aerospace and automotive industries. A wide variety of polymeric resins can be used for fabricating macadamia nutshell composites. The ground filler can also be of various size ranges depending on the potential applications. Thus, a wide range of different types of composites can be made by selecting different materials and consolidating techniques for different resins and filler sizes. Various types of sandwich composites can also be made by selecting different constituent materials for skins and these particulate composite cores. For the selection of constituent materials, factors such as properties and cost may be considered. Main objectives of these projects are to (a) develop novel green composites using ground macadamia nutshell fillers and suitable polymeric resins, (b) investigate relationships between various manufacturing parameters, (c) investigate mixing behaviour of fillers and resins, (d) characterise mechanical behaviour of the developed particulate composites, and (e) develop and investigate properties of novel sandwich composites made of developed composite cores and suitable skins.
Macadamia nut shells, polymeric resins, composites, fabrication, characterisation.
Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Mainul Islam
Other Supervisors: Professor Thiru Aravinthan, Dr Nateque Mahmood,
Proofs in Dynamic Geometry Environments
Description: A key issue in Mathematics Education is how students can be supported in making transition from ‘it seems to be right’ to convincing arguments which work in general. In learning geometry, dynamic sof...
A key issue in Mathematics Education is how students can be supported in making transition from ‘it seems to be right’ to convincing arguments which work in general. In learning geometry, dynamic software environment may be useful as it enables students to interact with geometrical theory. It is extremely important to investigate ways in which dynamic geometry environments improve students’ understanding of the nature of mathematical proof and their skills in proofs. We analyse three applications of dynamic geometry software – heuristics, exploration and visualisation – as valuable tools in teaching proofs in geometry.
Dynamic geometry environment, proof, heuristics, exploration, visualisation
Curriculum and Pedagogy
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Oleksiy Yevdokimov
Other Supervisors:
Development and Performance Evaluation of Concrete Sleepers Reinforced with GFRP Bars
Description: Concrete sleepers have become widely and successfully accepted for railway sleepers. However, this type of sleepers is vulnerable to rail-seat deterioration and concrete cracking resulting in the cor...
Concrete sleepers have become widely and successfully accepted for railway sleepers. However, this type of sleepers is vulnerable to rail-seat deterioration and concrete cracking resulting in the corrosion of steel reinforcements, thereby reducing its service life. Similarly, the steel reinforcement in concrete sleepers affects the train signalling systems causing costly operation delays and accidents. These issues are anticipated to be addressed by using FRP bars due to its non-corrosive and electromagnetic neutral properties. Thus, the aim of this project is to develop and investigate the structural performance of new concrete sleeper technologies reinforced with GFRP bars. It involves experimental and analytical studies to come up with a sleeper technology with optimum section and material usage, and assured structural performance.
Railway sleepers; concrete; FRP bars; performance evaluation
Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Dr Allan Manalo
Other Supervisors: Professor Thiru Aravinthan, Assoc Prof Guangnan Chen,
Modelling Reactions and Forcing in Sub-Diffusive Systems
Description: In recent years numerous physical and biological systems have been reported in which the diffusion rates of species cannot be characterized by the single parameter of the diffusion constant. Instead,...
In recent years numerous physical and biological systems have been reported in which the diffusion rates of species cannot be characterized by the single parameter of the diffusion constant. Instead, the (anomalous) diffusion is characterized by a scaling parameter as well as a diffusion coefficient and the mean square displacement of diffusing species scales as a nonlinear power law in time. The case of subdiffusion is particularly prevalent in biological systems and is generic in media with obstacles or binding sites. Anomalous subdiffusion can be modelled mesocopically using Continuous-Time Random Walks (CTRWs) and macroscopically by fractional subdiffusion equations. CTRWs are more general random walk where a waiting time and step length are chosen from probability densities. A fundamental question that, has arisen in recent years, is how to incorporate reaction terms correctly when the particles involved are undergoing anomalous subdiffusion. Models derived by simply adding reaction terms to the fractional variant of the diffusion equation lead to physically unrealistic negative predictions. A number of alternative fractional reaction diffusion equations instead have been proposed. However only the case of linear reactions have been verified by the use of Monte Carlo (CTRWs) simulations. The general case of nonlinear reactions remains untested by simulation. This project will involve the development of simulation software to simulate the mesoscopic process using CTRWs. This will also include the modelling of reactions due to particle interaction.
Anomalous Subdiffusion, Nonlinear reactions, Monte Carlo Simulation, Continuous Time Random Walks
Applied Mathematics,Mathematical Physics,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Trevor Langlands
Other Supervisors: Professor Shahjahan Khan,
LIVESTOCK PRODUCTIVITY BENEFITS ASSOCIATED WITH CLUSTER FENCING
Description: Substantial private and public investments have been made into constructing pest-proof netting fences (‘cluster fences’) around multiple grazing properties in western Queensland. Effective control of...
Substantial private and public investments have been made into constructing pest-proof netting fences (‘cluster fences’) around multiple grazing properties in western Queensland. Effective control of many vertebrate pests (e.g. wild dogs, kangaroos, feral pigs and feral goats) is now possible across large areas, by denying immigration, offering widespread and substantial benefits to agriculture and the environment. Broad-scale monitoring of these investments is limited to recording changes in crude livestock numbers, pest control activity and qualitative environmental assessments. However, there is little information on the mechanisms by which livestock productivity benefits accrue. This project seeks to determine the gains in livestock production from reduced predation and kangaroo competition resulting from cluster fencing. This project will involve collation and analysis of data on, for example, livestock weight gain, reproductive output, survival and injuries. It will also require evaluation of the relative contributions of kangaroos and livestock to total grazing pressure. Whole-farm systems modelling might also be undertaken by combining empirical data from on-farm and off-farm activities (e.g. changes in livestock numbers, economics, pasture growth, weather) to identify the fastest route to payback on fencing investment, identify which mechanism provides that payback (e.g. increased stocking rates, diversification of stock, getting paid for ecosystem services (e.g. carbon storage) and improved financial risk management), and describe how to achieve that payback.
Animal, sheep, cattle, beef, wool, livestock, kangaroo, productivity, reproduction, modelling
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Animal Production,Ecology
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Dr Benjamin Allen
Other Supervisors: Professor Geoff Cockfield,
Interaction Between Root-lesion Nematodes and Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi in the Growth of Chickpea and Mungbean
Description: Arbuscular-mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) colonise the roots of many crop species and provide many benefits including improved nutrient uptake from soil and fertiliser sources, increased drought tolerance a...
Arbuscular-mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) colonise the roots of many crop species and provide many benefits including improved nutrient uptake from soil and fertiliser sources, increased drought tolerance and antagonism of plant pathogens. Root-lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus thornei) also colonise crop roots and cause pathogenic effects resulting in poor uptake of nutrients and water from the soil, stunting and yellowing of the crop, and lost grain yield. Chickpea (Cicer arietinum) is the most important winter pulse crop and mung bean (Vigna spp.) is the most important summer pulse crop in the northern grains region of Australia. Both are major crops and sources of protein in India. The root-cortex of chickpea can be colonised by both AMF and P. thornei, but to date there has been no investigation into the interaction between these organisms and the possible effects on chickpea growth. In the proposed program, the levels of AMF and P. thornei occurring in the roots of chickpea ad mumgbean in field trials on the Darling Downs of Queensland will be investigated by microscopy and molecular methods. In a glasshouse study similar methods will be used to investigate levels of colonisation of both organisms in chickpea plants over time following dual inoculation at varying rates of each. The levels of colonisation of the two organisms will be related to plant growth, nutrition and grain yield and an optimum level of AMF for optimum growth when plants are attacked or not by P. thornei will be determined.
Root-lesion nematodes, chickpea, mungbean, crops, nutrients, soil, fertiliser
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Professor John Thompson
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof John Dearnaley, Dr Kirsty Owen,
The Role of the East Australian Current in Climate Variability
Description: The East Australian Current is the major western boundary current of the South Pacific Ocean subtropical gyre. It has a large influence upon Australia’s climate. It transports heat along the east coa...
The East Australian Current is the major western boundary current of the South Pacific Ocean subtropical gyre. It has a large influence upon Australia’s climate. It transports heat along the east coast of Australia and into the Tasman Sea. This project aims to explore this influence linking changes in the EAC on interannual to decadal time scales to regional climate, rainfall and temperature variability. This project will utilise global climate and ocean reanalysis model data. See for further information the following reference: Cai, W., Shi, G., Cowan, T., Bi. D., Ribbe, J. 2005. The response of the southern annual mode, the East Australian Current, and the southern mid-latitude ocean circulation to global warming. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, L23706.
Climate Change, Climate Variability, East Australian Current, rainfall, El Nino Southern Oscillation
Atmospheric Sciences,Environmental Science and Management,Oceanography,Other Earth Sciences,Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Joachim Ribbe
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Shahbaz Mushtaq,
Fuzzy-Neural Network Based Flow Prediction and Optimized Operation For River Murray System
Description: The river/catchment flow models of River Murray System are highly complex hydrological models with many uncertain environmental conditions, and the River Murray Operations are very complex functions ...
The river/catchment flow models of River Murray System are highly complex hydrological models with many uncertain environmental conditions, and the River Murray Operations are very complex functions to direct water releases from storages and control the diversions of water from the River Murray for irrigation and agricultural use, and for consumers in urban areas. Both hydrological modelling and water operation are the key functions of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), which manages the River Murray System in close cooperation with state authorities to ensure reliable water supplies for all users. The existing river/catchment models used in MDBA have been continuously developed for decades. They fit into the River Murray Operations requirements. The River Murray Operations decisions are made by running a series of river/catchment models sequentially from upstream to downstream, and by taking in a range of technical considerations. The operation by using existing models, however, doesn’t contain any automatic optimization scheme. For example, the existing models used for flow prediction are based on historic data without considering rainfall forecasts, which would impact on the predictive accuracy. A lot of decisions depend upon how an operator responds to the model run results and understands of technical considerations. The objectives of this study are: • to investigate alternative ways of flow prediction modelling. • to develop practical optimization methods for River Murray Operations. • to develop a user-friendly software tool implementing flow prediction modelling and optimizing operation for River Murray System.
River Flow Modelling, Big Data, Data Mining
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Yan Li
Other Supervisors: Dr Ravinesh Deo,
Investigating Health System and Individual Factors That Predict Delays in Pathways to Cancer Treatment: A Regional Comparison
Description: In Australia, regional cancer patients experience poorer rates of survival compared with their metropolitan counterparts. It is estimated that 350 deaths could be avoided each year if survival rates ...
In Australia, regional cancer patients experience poorer rates of survival compared with their metropolitan counterparts. It is estimated that 350 deaths could be avoided each year if survival rates in the bush were equal to those in the city. One of the key reasons identified for this disparity is late detection and diagnosis. It has been suggested that delays may be a result of personal interpretation of symptoms, access to health care, competing demands, and various psychological factors such as optimism, stoicism, machismo, fear, and embarrassment. The aims of this project will be to 1) investigate, in detail, the timing of processes in cancer pathways, from very first symptoms to treatment and in the health system and to compare timing of pathways for metropolitan and non-metropolitan patients, and 2) identify health system and behavioural/psychological barriers to efficient pathways to treatment. Finding will contribute to efforts to close the regional gap in cancer survival in Queensland and Australia. This project aligns with the strategic research projects within the Institute for Resilient Regions.
cancer, health disparities, geographic variation, health outcome, screening, public health
Psychology,Public Health and Health Services
Institute for Resilient Regions
Principal Supervisor: Dr Sonja March
Other Supervisors: Dr Belinda Goodwin,
Modelling Nonlinear Reactions and Forcing in Sub-Diffusive Systems
Description: In recent years numerous physical and biological systems have been reported in which the diffusion rates of species cannot be characterized by the single parameter of the diffusion constant. Instead,...
In recent years numerous physical and biological systems have been reported in which the diffusion rates of species cannot be characterized by the single parameter of the diffusion constant. Instead, the (anomalous) diffusion is characterized by a scaling parameter as well as a diffusion coefficient and the mean square displacement of diffusing species scales as a nonlinear power law in time. The case of subdiffusion is particularly prevalent in biological systems and is generic in media with obstacles or binding sites. Anomalous subdiffusion can be modelled mesocopically using Continuous-Time Random Walks (CTRWs) and macroscopically by fractional subdiffusion equations. CTRWs are more general random walk where a waiting time and step length are chosen from probability densities. A fundamental question that, has arisen in recent years, is how to incorporate reaction terms correctly when the particles involved are undergoing anomalous subdiffusion. Models derived by simply adding reaction terms to the fractional variant of the diffusion equation lead to physically unrealistic negative predictions. A number of alternative fractional reaction diffusion equations instead have been proposed. However only the case of linear reactions have been verified by the use of Monte Carlo (CTRWs) simulations. The general case of nonlinear reactions remains untested by simulation. This project will involve the development of simulation software to simulate the mesoscopic process using CTRWs. This will also include the modelling of reactions due to particle interaction.
Anomalous Subdiffusion, Nonlinear reactions,Monte Carlo Simulation, Continuous Time Random Walks
Applied Mathematics,Mathematical Physics,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Trevor Langlands
Other Supervisors: Professor Shahjahan Khan,
Development of Novel Gasification Technology for the Grain Industry
Description: Gasification is a distributed technology which converts biomass (eg, grain waste) into bioenergy as well as biochar under the influence of temperature with limited oxygen. The purpose of this project...
Gasification is a distributed technology which converts biomass (eg, grain waste) into bioenergy as well as biochar under the influence of temperature with limited oxygen. The purpose of this project is to evaluate and further develop this technology for agricultural applications in Australia. Small-scale lab experiments will be carried out to characterize the properties of the feedstock. Numerical methods will also be applied to understand how the design and operating factors influence the performance of the energy systems being considered. The technology developed in this project has the potential to offer major value-adding opportunities for the grain industry in Australia.
Grain, energy, bio-energy
Interdisciplinary Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Guangnan Chen
Other Supervisors: Dr Les Bowtell,
Monitoring of Livestock Buildings Using Integrated Instrumentation
Description: An environmental monitoring module will be designed and built to monitor/record and communicate environmental data from livestock farms to a central web-server using wireless communication techniques...
An environmental monitoring module will be designed and built to monitor/record and communicate environmental data from livestock farms to a central web-server using wireless communication techniques potentially. The variables to be monitored will include air temperature, humidity, ammonia, carbon dioxide and potentially methane concentrations. The monitoring module will be minimised and encased so it can be installed permanently in a livestock buildings.

Animal Production
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Thomas Banhazi
Other Supervisors:
Analysing Multi-variable Signals Using Wavelet Based Independent Component Analysis
Description: This project aims to develop an Independent Component Analysis (ICA) method to analyse multi-variable signals, especially agricultural and environmental signals, and brain signals from a specific bra...
This project aims to develop an Independent Component Analysis (ICA) method to analyse multi-variable signals, especially agricultural and environmental signals, and brain signals from a specific brain disorder disease (such as epilepsy and dementia etc) from EEG recordings. ICA becomes one of the exciting topics both in the fields of signal processing and artificial intelligence. An interested student will join a strong research group with cross-discipline knowledge. Some financial support is possible for a student with a good academic record and interested in further postgraduate studies.
Multi-variable Signals, Independent Component Analysis, Aritficial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Yan Li
Other Supervisors: Dr Enamul Kabir,
Ecology, Epidemiology and Pathology of Whitegrain Disease of Wheat
Description: White grain disease of wheat occurs in northern and southern Australia, predominantly in wet winters and springs. White grain was first described in Queensland in 1999 after harvested wheat was noice...
White grain disease of wheat occurs in northern and southern Australia, predominantly in wet winters and springs. White grain was first described in Queensland in 1999 after harvested wheat was noiced to have high levels of white, mummified grains. The disease has not be reported to be important on small grain cereals anywhere else in the world. The causal fungus has recently been renamed Eutiarosporella darliae. E. darliae appears to be stubble borne, but little is known about its survival and epidemiology. Preliminary work has suggested that there are differences in resistance in commercial cultivars but this needs to be verified. Methods need to be developed to assess disease severity so that control methods can be assessed. This project will 1) investigate the ecology, epidemiology and pathology of whitegrain disease, 2). develop methods for culturing the pathogen and inoculum production, 3) develop a disease rating scale, 4) assess wheat and barley germplasm for resistance, 5) undertake other studies on the disease or pathogen that are of interest to the candidate.
Plant disease, phytopathology, white grain, wheat, cereals, plant pathology
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Stephen Neate
Other Supervisors: Dr Niroshini Gunasinghe,
Airborne LiDAR Data and High Resolution Imagery for Natural Resource and Environmental Management
Description: The rapid progress of remote sensing technologies provides scientists with new ways of solving conventional problems. Newly available high-resolution spatial data from various sensors such airborne L...
The rapid progress of remote sensing technologies provides scientists with new ways of solving conventional problems. Newly available high-resolution spatial data from various sensors such airborne LiDAR, WorldView-2 satellite, and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) offer capability of capturing and modelling spatial features in much more detail than ever before. Detailed description and modelling of natural and human phenomena is required for sustainable environmental management in adaption of climate changes. Advanced new remote sensing technologies and urgent requirement in reply with important environment problems inspire researchers to develop and test more reliable approaches to discover new knowledge for improvement of the applications of these new technologies in natural resource and environmental management. Candidate high degree research students can select topics which they are interested in from the following: • High quality DEM generation from LiDAR and high-resolution imagery for flood plain mapping and hydrological modelling; • Urban sprawl and land use/land cover change analysis; • Forest biophysical feature extraction and species identification; • Applications of UAV for mining industry or riparian ecosystem management; • Development of new algorithms and data processing methods for detection, interpretation, characterisation, and modelling of Earth surface features.
GIS, Remote Sensing, Spatial Science, LiDAR, Image Processing, UAV, Ecosystem, Agriculture, Forest, Land Use / Land Cover Change, Integration, Data Fusion.
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Environmental Science and Management,Geomatic Engineering
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Xiaoye Liu
Other Supervisors: Dr Zhenyu Zhang,
Self-learning Technology for Irrigation and Fertiliser Management
Description: Water savings in the Australia's irrigated agricultural industries can be achieved through irrigation control systems that automatically and optimally adapt to the crop water requirements from real-t...
Water savings in the Australia's irrigated agricultural industries can be achieved through irrigation control systems that automatically and optimally adapt to the crop water requirements from real-time sensor data. A common approach for irrigation is from crop stress and soil-water status measurements. Model-based control strategies enable irrigation and crop optimisation using a calibrated crop production model to predict which irrigation application and timing maximises productivity. This project will investigate control strategies and/or crop production models for optimisation of irrigation application. The model used may be industry developed black-box models; alternatively, deep learning may be used for training and predicting crop dynamics based on infield data.
Automation, machine vision, irrigation control system
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Crop and Pasture Production,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Alison McCarthy
Other Supervisors: Dr Malcolm Gillies,
Engagement in Online and Blended Learning
Description: As the number of student who is learning in online and blended learning environments increases so does the need to have an in-depth understanding of how to best promote online engagement. Engagement ...
As the number of student who is learning in online and blended learning environments increases so does the need to have an in-depth understanding of how to best promote online engagement. Engagement in online and blended learning environments is a very broad topic and could be investigated under one or more of the following research questions. How do students and teachers conceive of online engagement? Are there differences between student and teachers expectations of online engagement? Are there differences in expected levels and types of engagement according across disciplines? How does assessment impact online engagement? Are there gender or age differences in the expectations of online engagement?

Communications Technologies,Education Systems,Other Education
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Petrea Redmond
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Linda Galligan,
Books, Culture and Identity
Description: This project will explore the ways that book publishing practices and published literary works of both fiction and non-fiction inform, constitute or reflect social movements and issues such as gender...
This project will explore the ways that book publishing practices and published literary works of both fiction and non-fiction inform, constitute or reflect social movements and issues such as gender, ethnicity, citizenship, nationhood, class, sexuality and identity. The focus is not on the written or published word but on a critically informed discussion of the publishing industry, publishing practices, published artefacts and book culture (festivals, prizes, fan communities etc.). There is room for the PhD candidate to tailor the project to suit their interests.
publishing, books, literature, writing
Cultural Studies,Literary Studies,Performing Arts and Creative Writing
School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Dr Dallas Baker
Other Supervisors: Dr Sharon Bickle, Dr Jessica Gildersleeve, Assoc Prof Laurie Johnson,
Numerical Simulation of Arterial Blood Flow
Description: We analyse a model of the fluid flow between elastic walls simulating arteries actively interacting with the blood. The lubrication theory for the flow is coupled with the pressure and shear stress f...
We analyse a model of the fluid flow between elastic walls simulating arteries actively interacting with the blood. The lubrication theory for the flow is coupled with the pressure and shear stress from the walls. The resulting nonlinear partial differential equation describes the displacement of the walls as a function of the distance along the flow and time. The equation is solved numerically using the one-dimensional integrated radial basis function network (1D-IRBFN) method. Solutions in the form of self-sustained trains of pulses are explored. Numerical experiments demonstrate the process of formation of the pulses from randomly chosen initial conditions.

Applied Mathematics,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Dmitry Strunin
Other Supervisors: Professor Thanh Tran-Cong,
Stability and Instability in Seismic Waves
Description: This project is focused on numerical and analytical analysis of partial differential equations modelling seismic and elastic waves. A popular model of such waves is the Nikolaevskiy equation. So far,...
This project is focused on numerical and analytical analysis of partial differential equations modelling seismic and elastic waves. A popular model of such waves is the Nikolaevskiy equation. So far, interest to the equation was largely due to its capacity to generate self-excited structures, for example rolls. However, as was argued recently, solid matrix formed by rocks is an essentially passive system, therefore only decaying behaviour should have physical sense. We will thoroughly investigate this type of dynamics and also explore if the self-excited structures may still be formed provided the system is added up by external or internal energy-generating factors. This project has both theoretical and practical engineering aspects.

Applied Mathematics,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Dmitry Strunin
Other Supervisors: Professor Thanh Tran-Cong,
Mungbean powdery mildew: Molecular profile, host range, and virulence patterns
Description: Powdery mildew fungi (Erysiphales) are one of the most conspicuous groups of plant pathogens. Important crops, including wheat, barley, grapevine, and a number of fruit and vegetable crops, as well ...
Powdery mildew fungi (Erysiphales) are one of the most conspicuous groups of plant pathogens. Important crops, including wheat, barley, grapevine, and a number of fruit and vegetable crops, as well as ornamentals, grown in the field and glasshouses, are amongst the major targets of powdery mildew fungi. Their control is mainly based on the use of resistant cultivars, repeated application of fungicides, and agro-technical methods. In spite of their economic importance, the precise identity, host range, life cycle, perennation, virulence patterns, and other characteristics of a number of powdery mildew fungi infecting diverse crop species have not been deciphered yet. For example, this is the case of the species causing disease in mungbean fields in Australia and elsewhere. The project will focus on the precise identification of the powdery mildew fungi infecting this crop, their host ranges, virulence profiles of diverse isolates, and quantification of the infection of different cultivars and breeding lines, based on field, glasshouse and laboratory experiments, as well as molecular studies including DNA genotyping, phylogenetic analyses, and qPCR methods.
Powdery mildew, crop disease, molecualr biology, plant disease control, DNA
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health
Principal Supervisor: Professor Levente Kiss
Other Supervisors: Professor Gavin Ash,
Comparative Genomics of Phomopsis spp Associated with Diseases of Summer Crops and Weeds
Description: Phomopsis Stem Canker is a debilitating disease of sunflower which can lead to senescence, plant wilting and/or stem breakage. It is caused by a fungi belonging to the Diaporthe species. Yield losses...
Phomopsis Stem Canker is a debilitating disease of sunflower which can lead to senescence, plant wilting and/or stem breakage. It is caused by a fungi belonging to the Diaporthe species. Yield losses can be significant. Currently no resistant varieties have been identified and control relies on management of plant residues. Recently large numbers of new species of this fungus have been discovered from a range of plant hosts. This PhD will use DNA sequence data and genome annotation of representative fungal species found on sunflowers in Queensland as a basis of understanding of phylogeny, virulence and phytotoxin production by the fungi and for the development of robust diagnostics.
Disease, sunflower, DNA sequence data, genome annotation, Queensland
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Professor Gavin Ash
Other Supervisors: Dr Kiruba Arun Chinnappa,
Online Peer-to-Peer Mental Health Support
Description: This project area focuses on how children and young people engage in, and constitute, peer-to-peer mental health support in online spaces. Research suggests that children and young people frequently...
This project area focuses on how children and young people engage in, and constitute, peer-to-peer mental health support in online spaces. Research suggests that children and young people frequently seek mental health support and advice from the world wide web. The anonymity that most online mental health programs and mental health support websites offer are thought to be a key factor in the increased uptake of such services and sites by children and adolescents. However little research has focused on the actual peer-to-peer mental health support that is provided by online mental health programs or on the more informal peer-to-peer mental health support that is found on the ever growing number of self-help mental health websites. This means that little is known about how such support is constituted, how such support is utilised, and what actually constitutes this as support. The particular mental health areas that this project area covers are depression, suicide, and anxiety.
Conversation analysis; Online therapy; Peer Support; Internet forums; Computers; Adolescents; Children
Clinical Sciences,Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine,Public Health and Health Services
Centre for Health Sciences Research,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Psychology and Counselling
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Andrea Lamont-Mills
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Charlotte Brownlow,
Respiratory Muscle Injury During Exercise
Description: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a long-term disease of the lungs which affects over one in seven Australians over the age of 40. In the next decade, COPD will be a major leading cause...
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a long-term disease of the lungs which affects over one in seven Australians over the age of 40. In the next decade, COPD will be a major leading cause of death worldwide. In 2008, the total economic impact of COPD was estimated to be $98.2 billion of which $8.8 billion was attributed to financial costs and $89.4 billion to the loss of wellbeing. Individuals with COPD experience breathlessness and leads them to cut back on physical activities. This gradual decline continues until simple daily activities like showering, dressing or making a cup of tea, become almost impossible. Depression and anxiety often affect those with COPD. Muscle injury is a concept that refers to a group of morphological abnormalities in the muscles associated with either exertion or diseases. Muscle injury has a clinical impact because it is associated with muscle dysfunction which is the loss of either strength or endurance properties of muscles. This is a major co-morbidity in COPD that results in the impairment of the patients’ exercise capacity and quality of life. Respiratory muscle dysfunction has been associated with an increased risk for repeated hospital admissions and premature death. Recent studies have demonstrated that the diaphragm (the main respiratory muscle) shows signs of injury in patients suffering COPD. The greatest injury is found after inspiratory loading (i.e., diaphragm exertion). The ultimate cause of diaphragm injury present in COPD is not clear. The features of COPD are inflammation of the airways and a destruction of lungs, whilst the functional consequences of these abnormalities are expiratory airflow limitation and dynamic hyperinflation. Dynamic hyperinflation refers to an increased amount of air that remains in the lungs at the end of expiration. This causes the inspiratory muscles to become stretched, reducing their function (strength and endurance), and means that more work is required for breathing, leading to breathlessness and exercise intolerance. Accordingly, this project aims to investigate the effects of dynamic hyperinflation and exercise on respiratory muscle injury.
respiratory; muscle; exercise; inury
Human Movement and Sports Science,Medical Physiology
Centre for Health Sciences Research,School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Dean Mills
Other Supervisors: Dr Ben Hoffman,
Impact of Orchard Environment on Pest Insects and Beneficial Insects of Macadamia
Description: A suite of pests significantly impact on the productivity of the Australian Macadamia Industry and sustainable management of these pests is crucial for continuing market access, productivity, profita...
A suite of pests significantly impact on the productivity of the Australian Macadamia Industry and sustainable management of these pests is crucial for continuing market access, productivity, profitability and maintenance of industry viability. Pest management strategies in the past have been developed for single pest species; no truly integrated strategy has been developed to date that has taken more than 1 or 2 of the key-pests into account. Hort Innovation is funding the 5-year Macadamia IPM Program. The overall aim of the program is to develop pest-resilient orchard production systems for growing macadamias. The program, comprised of eight partner organisations, commenced in October 2016, with NSW DPI leading the largest component. BioResources, another of the partners, is a private company specialising in the production of commercial biological controls. As part of this IPM program we offer a student project that will investigate macadamia orchard and margin landscape arthropod ecology to understand the interactions of key insect and mite pests and beneficials with their biotic and abiotic environment. The applied objective of the project is to use this understanding to further sustainable arthropod pest management for the macadamia industry. - In collaboration with NSW DPI entomology and BioResources, the student and university supervisor will develop a project to investigate the interactions of selected pests and beneficials with each other and their environment. This is to include: o Seasonal surveys on abundance, distribution and select behaviours of key arthropods on macadamia orchards under defined conditions (e.g. organic and conventional farms) o Experiments on interactions of interest between arthropods and their environment under field conditions o Experiments on specific pest and beneficial interactions under laboratory conditions
Macadamia, pest management, beneficials, insect interactions
Horticultural Production
Centre for Crop Health
Principal Supervisor: Dr Bree Wilson
Other Supervisors: Professor Gavin Ash,
Using Image Processing Techniques for Food Nutrient Quantity Estimation
Description: This project involves developing image processing algorithms to identify and classify food content on a plate to estimate neutrient quantity. The developed algorithms will be tested through series of...
This project involves developing image processing algorithms to identify and classify food content on a plate to estimate neutrient quantity. The developed algorithms will be tested through series of pilot testing to improve their reliability and efficiency. This project will complement diabetic study I am conducting with Proj Raj Gururajan and several National and international collaborators.
Image processing, object detection, quantity estimation
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Information Systems
School of Management and Enterprise
Principal Supervisor: Dr Subrata Chakraborty
Other Supervisors: Professor Raj Gururajan, Dr Abdul Hafeez-Baig, Dr Xujuan Zhou,
Authorisation Management of Medical and Healthcare Networks in Cloud Computing
Description: Granting or restricting access to medical and healthcare networks in Cloud compouting has long been account for to be a problem of Web service security. Role based access control model is a recent p...
Granting or restricting access to medical and healthcare networks in Cloud compouting has long been account for to be a problem of Web service security. Role based access control model is a recent paradigm that can use the X.509 Attribute Certificates to do authorisation and/or privileges management. This project adopts the art-of the state Cloud computing technology to develop secure medicial and Healthcare web applications.
Eletronic Health Record, XACML, Public Key Cryptography, Web service security
Distributed Computing,Public Health and Health Services
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zhongwei Zhang
Other Supervisors: Dr David Lai,
Human Muscle and Tendon Mechanics Underpinning Exercise-induced Muscle Damage
Description: Following a bout of unaccustomed exercise (e.g. pre-season training or the first day of your new gym program), we typically wake-up sore and stiff in the days following this exercise bout. This soren...
Following a bout of unaccustomed exercise (e.g. pre-season training or the first day of your new gym program), we typically wake-up sore and stiff in the days following this exercise bout. This soreness is caused by a process known as exercise-induced muscle damage. While greatly researched and prevalent in sport and exercise science, we still do not understand the mechanism that causes exercise-induced muscle damage and what implication this has on performance and injury. Recent improvements in ultrasonography to measure the mechanics of muscle fascicles has provided novel insights into how human muscle behaves during and following a bout of exercise that induces damage. This research will look to use this technique to further investigate muscle fascicle and tendon properties to better understand the mechanism of and adaptation to exercise-induced muscle damage.
exercise-induced muscle damage, ultrasound, biomechanics, repeated bout effect, muscle mechanics
Human Movement and Sports Science
School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ben Hoffman
Other Supervisors: Dr Dean Mills,
Evaluation of Sorghum Stay-green as an Effective Method of Controlling Fusarium Stalk Rot
Description: Sorghum stalk rots are a continual threat to Australian sorghum producers. Stalk rot pathogens and the diseases they cause are associated with plant lodging and yield losses. Stay-green sorghum varie...
Sorghum stalk rots are a continual threat to Australian sorghum producers. Stalk rot pathogens and the diseases they cause are associated with plant lodging and yield losses. Stay-green sorghum varieties have been found to maintain their yield in post-anthesis drought conditions. Some research suggests that stay-green traits may also have an effect on lodging caused due to stalk rots. This PhD project in plant pathology will examine the effects of stay-green traits on Fusarium spp. ability to infect and cause disease and subsequent lodging in sorghum. This project will support sorghum breeders in selecting sorghum lines for resistance to sorghum stalk rots and growers in controlling fusarium stalk rot.
Sorghum, stalk rot, Australia, disease, plant pathology
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Adam Sparks
Other Supervisors: Dr Dante Adorada,
Development of High-performance Topological Insulators for high speed chips
Description: Topological Insulators (TIs) are a class of quantum materials that exhibit topological surface states. These materials are usually small band gap semiconductors where the bulk of the material is in...
Topological Insulators (TIs) are a class of quantum materials that exhibit topological surface states. These materials are usually small band gap semiconductors where the bulk of the material is insulating, but they exhibit special surface states that are conducting and topologically protected. The materials are usually made of heavy atoms that give rise to strong spin-orbit coupling and this leads to the formation of surface states that are not destroyed by scattering or impurities. TIs are proving to be ideal materials for study in condensed matter physics, as the physics of these materials is novel and they offer huge scope for developing new theories and for the discovery of new materials. In this proposal, we describe the methodology to be adopted to obtain high quality materials, for the different experiments proposed. We propose to synthesize a range of materials, some of which are already known to be Topological Insulators and other new materials such as Dirac semimetals and Wyles semimetals.

Chemical Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Zhigang Chen
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang,
Analysis of Blood Flow in a Dissected Aorta By Computational Fluid Dynamics
Description: Type B Aortic Dissection (TBAD), a tear in the inner wall of the aorta, is a thoracic aortic disease with a high mortality rate. In terms of physiology, an entry tear originates just below the subcla...
Type B Aortic Dissection (TBAD), a tear in the inner wall of the aorta, is a thoracic aortic disease with a high mortality rate. In terms of physiology, an entry tear originates just below the subclavian artery and extends distally to the descending aorta. A modern surgical treatment, endovascular repair (EVAR), is to close the entry tear by deploying a stent graft. Thrombus formation may occur since the blood flow in the false lumen becomes sluggish. A higher degree of thrombosis is generally believed to be safer for TBAD patients. The blood may still enter the false lumen through the re-entry tear and flows backward to an upper level in the false lumen. The degree of backwash of blood in the false lumen is generally greater when the area ratio is higher. If the level the blood can reach in the false lumen is higher, the chance for thrombus formation becomes lower. Consequently, the weakened false lumen is unsteady with a large region of streaming blood. Patients with a larger area ratio will generally suffer a higher risk of vessel rupture. The main objective of this research is to analyse the effect of the area ratio of the false lumen to the true lumen, on the blood flow pattern in a dissected aorta after EVAR using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). These results will be highly relevant for clinical practitioners in determining the course of treatment.
Type B Aortic Dissection , Computational Fluid Dynamics
Biomedical Engineering,Mechanical Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ruth Mossad
Other Supervisors: Dr Andrew Wandel,
Effect of Psychosocial Wellbeing on Chromosomal Stability and Stress Biomarkers in Breast Cancer Survivors.
Description: One in two Australian men and one in three Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85 and this is estimated to equate to 130,466 cases in 2016 alone. Sixty-seven percent of those...
One in two Australian men and one in three Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85 and this is estimated to equate to 130,466 cases in 2016 alone. Sixty-seven percent of those diagnosed and treated will survive at least five years following their diagnosis. Unfortunately the majority will be left with life-long health and/or psychosocial side effects that diminish both quality of life and overall survival. The proposed project will be undertaken in collaboration with Blush Cancer Care Inc, St Andrew’s and St Vincent’s hospitals (Toowoomba) and researchers in the USQ School of Psychology and Counselling and will determine the effect of a randomised controlled trial utilising Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on psychosocial wellbeing, stress biomarkers and chromosomal stability. Recent research efforts have established the factors that influence the psychosocial wellbeing of cancer survivors and these include treatment regimen, severity of disease, age, gender, marital and economic status, pre-existing mental illness and perceived social support to name a few. There have also been numerous psychological intervention studies that have reported improvements in quality of life and other psychosocial wellbeing parameters. ACT incorporates mindfulness and other psychological techniques and has shown promise in improving wellbeing in several chronic disease groups but has not been reported as an intervention in a breast cancer group setting. Chromosomal stability in cells is maintained by the function of telomeres. Telomeres are repetitive sequences of DNA (TTAGGG) that cap both ends of mammalian chromosomes and are essential in preventing loss of critical DNA sequence (genes) by acting as a buffer which is consumed during DNA replication. As DNA polymerase is unable to reach the end of linear chromosomes, chromosomes are shortened after each round of DNA replication and eventually the cell will enter senescence or apoptosis. This is the process by which telomeres have been shown to shorten with age and the relative telomere length (RTL) of chromosomes in peripheral blood leucocytes (PBLs) has been utilised as a marker for ageing. Research has also reported an increase in the rate of RTL shortening associated with several age-related diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and dementia, as well as an increased risk of mortality from these diseases. Chromosomal instability is also a driver of cancer development. This project will involve the collection of blood and saliva specimens from participants in the ACT study before and after the intervention. DNA will be extracted from PBLs and buccal cells; RTL analysis performed on the DNA; and the protein/lipid/hormone analysis of several metabolic, immunological and neuroendocrine stress biomarkers (such as serum cholesterol, albumin and cortisol, IL-6, TNF- a, C- reactive protein, adrenaline, dopamine, dehydroepiandrosterone and salivary amylase) undertaken

Biochemistry and Cell Biology,Medical Biochemistry and Metabolomics,Oncology and Carcinogenesis,Other Medical and Health Sciences
Centre for Health Sciences Research
Principal Supervisor: Dr Eliza Whiteside
Other Supervisors: Dr Kate Kauter,
Childhood Obesity and Socio-economic Status: Evidence from Australia
Description: This thesis aims to identify the factors that are associated with the increased presence of obesity among Australian children. In particular, this thesis will examine the factors that cause differenc...
This thesis aims to identify the factors that are associated with the increased presence of obesity among Australian children. In particular, this thesis will examine the factors that cause difference in the incidence of childhood obesity between families from high and low socio-economic status. Results from this research will contribute to policy implications that can result in the reduction of the obesity rate among Australian children and improve the equity of children regarding access to health care and nutritional practice. This project can be conducted using quantitative data from either Australia or from other developed countries.
Childhood obesity; Socio-economic status; Australia
Applied Economics,Public Health and Health Services
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Centre for Health Sciences Research,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Dr Rasheda Khanam
Other Supervisors: Dr Mafiz Rahman,
Data Mining From Big Data Sources
Description: We are now in the big data era and there are huge amounts of data available from where we can discover useful patterns and knowledge to support critical actions and decision-making processes using a...
We are now in the big data era and there are huge amounts of data available from where we can discover useful patterns and knowledge to support critical actions and decision-making processes using advanced data analytics and mining techniques. This project provides a abundance of research opportunities in many possible topics within data mining such as outlier detection, clustering, high-dimensional data analysis and data privacy, etc. Students will acquire useful skills and capacities that are in high demand from academia and industry.

Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Data Format
Centre for Crop Health,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Ji Zhang
Other Supervisors: Dr Xiaohui Tao,
Enhancing the Properties of FRP Tubes to be Used as Columns
Description: The use of Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) tubes in structural applications such as columns and beams dates back to decades. USQ was engaged in investigating the behaviour of pultruded FRP beams and t...
The use of Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) tubes in structural applications such as columns and beams dates back to decades. USQ was engaged in investigating the behaviour of pultruded FRP beams and this research came into practice when Queensland Transport MainRoads starts using FRP composite girders to rehabilitate the deteriorated timber bridge girders. On the other hand, FRP confinement is predominantly used in columns to improve the properties of concrete such as ductility and strength and it is very well researched and documented. This research aims to investigate the use of FRP tubes especially in slender column applications and the possibility of using them to replace the timber piles in aging timber bridges in Queensland.
FRP tubes; columns; timber bridges; rehabilitation; structures; materials engineering
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Thiru Aravinthan
Other Supervisors: Dr Weena Lokuge,
Reducing Assessor Specific Bias in Assessments Marking in Multi-Assessor Scenarios Utilising Group Normalising Technique
Description: In this study we intend to investigate, develop and test a new innovative and adaptive bias reduction technique in multi-assessor marking scenarios. We intend to develop innovative and adaptable grou...
In this study we intend to investigate, develop and test a new innovative and adaptive bias reduction technique in multi-assessor marking scenarios. We intend to develop innovative and adaptable group normalisation based algorithms and identify requirement specifications to build software to handle the assessor bias in an automated manner considering the marking behaviour of individual assessors. The project will conduct test marking on assessments to identify the bias trends among assessors. The results will be included in the adjustments of the marking bias along with assessor specific trend data.
Marker bias, group normalisation, automated bias reduction, marker influences
Education Systems,Information Systems,Other Education
School of Management and Enterprise
Principal Supervisor: Dr Subrata Chakraborty
Other Supervisors: Professor Raj Gururajan, Dr Abdul Hafeez-Baig, Dr Xujuan Zhou,
Novel Forward Osmosis Concentration Technology for Anaerobic Sewage Treatment
Description: We propose to develop a novel forward osmosis (FO) concentration technology to enable effective anaerobic treatment of sewage. Anaerobic biological processes have many advantages including energy re...
We propose to develop a novel forward osmosis (FO) concentration technology to enable effective anaerobic treatment of sewage. Anaerobic biological processes have many advantages including energy recovery through methane production and low sludge production. While they have been widely used to treat medium to high strength wastewaters, their applications for raw sewage treatment have been limited due to the dilute nature (400 mg COD/L). The successful implementation of anaerobic treatment of dilute wastewater calls for an effective and energy-efficient wastewater concentration technology. This can be achieved by incorporating an FO pre-concentration process before anaerobic treatment. In the proposed FO process, seawater or brine will be used as a draw solution to concentrate raw sewage by a factor of 10 times or greater (4,000 mg COD/L) at nearly zero energy input. The pre-concentrated sewage will then be treated anaerobically for significant energy recovery.
Forward Osmosis; Anaerobic digestion; wastewater; bioreactor; membrane; biofuel; biorefinery; green energy; sustainability
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Professor Jochen Bundschuh,
Simulation and Manufacturing of Carbon Nanotube Based Nano Composites
Description: Important nano-materials can range from molecules to complex mixtures and composites. Understanding and simulating their bulk properties remain as a major challenge in the efforts to integrate them i...
Important nano-materials can range from molecules to complex mixtures and composites. Understanding and simulating their bulk properties remain as a major challenge in the efforts to integrate them in various mechanical and electrical systems. A powerful enabling simulation technology based on coarsed grain method will be developed and empolyed by the project. Newly obtained knowledge will contribute to better understanding of the structure of complex materials, especially the CNT/graphene based materials.
Nanomaterials, carbon nanotube, multiscale simulation, coarse grain method
Materials Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Canh-Dung Tran
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang,
Modelling transportation demand using EMME4: A case study of Toowoomba urban area
Description: Creating a livable urban environment and fostering more sustainable travel behaviours are on the top most agenda for councils. Obviously, there are many factors that could contribute in this creation...
Creating a livable urban environment and fostering more sustainable travel behaviours are on the top most agenda for councils. Obviously, there are many factors that could contribute in this creation including the interactions between urban form, human activities, and travel behavior, and failing to adequately address human needs and desire. In this process, microsimulation plays a vital role in reducing the risk of incompatible urban planning outcomes. The objective of this study is to develop a transport model for the Toowoomba city area using EMME4 and to evaluate the role of transport system management (TSM) strategies to be introduced for easing city’s traffic congestion. First, this study will to develop a transport model for the Toowoomba city area using EMME4. Recent data on urban activities, geographical details, and transport network will be used in modeling, and the predictability of the developed model will be checked against the observed data. The model will then be used to predict the expected outcomes from the application of various TSM strategies in near future for easing the city’s traffic-related issues.
Transport planning, Planning models, Travel demand forcasting, Reginal planning, Traffic simulation
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Urban and Regional Planning
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Soma Somasundaraswaran
Other Supervisors: Professor Ron Ayers,
Develop a Separation Method of Lignocellulosic Materials into their Components (Lignin, Cellulose and Hemicellulose) Using Nanotechnology, Catalytic Reactions and Separation Techniques
Description: The purpose of this research is to develop efficient and economically sound method for separating the three components of any lignocellulosic material. The research will examine particle size reducti...
The purpose of this research is to develop efficient and economically sound method for separating the three components of any lignocellulosic material. The research will examine particle size reduction of biomass to Nano scale using mechanical and electrical methods. Also, chemicals will be used to dissolve and separate these components without losing or degrading the original materials. A commercial technique will be developed for easy and complete separation of the three main components of any lignocellulosic materials. The project will also investigate the potential of using the separated cellulose for ethanol production.
Nano-particles: Bioethanol; Bioenergy: Lignocellulose
Chemical Engineering,Electrical and Electronic Engineering,Environmental Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ihsan Hamawand
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Saman Seneweera,
Makerspaces as Learning Environments
Description: The maker movement is a growing community of individuals in different disciplines, different sectors, and different contexts. Makers are characterized by creativity, creation, tinkers, who use physi...
The maker movement is a growing community of individuals in different disciplines, different sectors, and different contexts. Makers are characterized by creativity, creation, tinkers, who use physical and digital tools and materials to make things. Any topic that looks at Making and Makerspaces would be relevant under this study. Examples of topics include Curriculum assessment in Makerspaces, Pedagogy in School Makerspaces, STEM curriculum integration in Makerspaces; Assessment of soft skills in Makerspaces, Collaboration in Makerspaces, Virtual making, Makerspaces for rural and remote learners, Mobile makerspaces.
Making, makerspaces, rural, mobile, STEM, curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, virtual, collaboration
Curriculum and Pedagogy,Education Systems,Other Education,Specialist Studies in Education
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Petrea Redmond
Other Supervisors: Dr Lindy Orwin,
Shape Memory Foam Composites
Description: Aerospace and automotive sectors are witnessing a major increase in innovative structures for light-weighting and higher performance requirements in the recent times. Polymeric foams are used traditi...
Aerospace and automotive sectors are witnessing a major increase in innovative structures for light-weighting and higher performance requirements in the recent times. Polymeric foams are used traditionally for achieving a lower density and hence a lower overall vehicular weight for higher fuel efficiency. With innovations in vehicular technologies, concomitant advancements in materials and manufacturing technologies are warranted. To that end, this project will develop self healing strategies with shape memory polymer foams for automotive and aerospace structures. Utilising macromolecular chemistry and materials engineering principles, this project will develop self deploying structures with self healing capabilities.
nanotechnology, biocomposite, polymer, foam, self healing, shape memory
Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Professor Hao Wang
Other Supervisors: Dr Venkata Chevali,
Practical on-the-go Soil Moisture and Nutrient Measurement
Description: Efficient application of nutrients to crops is essential in a precision farming system. An issue with the current industry practice is that all nutrient measurements are obtained from Laboratory test...
Efficient application of nutrients to crops is essential in a precision farming system. An issue with the current industry practice is that all nutrient measurements are obtained from Laboratory tests, which is time consuming and costly. The aim of the project would be to develop an on the go sensor that can monitor soil Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. The project would suit someone with a soil science background or Electrical/electronic background or both.
Sensors, nutrients, fertilising,electronics
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Crop and Pasture Production,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Dr Cheryl McCarthy
Other Supervisors: Dr Steven Rees,
A Study of any Australian Composer Or Genre of the 20th Century
Description: My supervisory range is fairly widespread around a number of music history topics from 16th century music to concert music of the present. in particular I have expertise in 20th century Australian m...
My supervisory range is fairly widespread around a number of music history topics from 16th century music to concert music of the present. in particular I have expertise in 20th century Australian music and symphonic music from throughout the century.
20th century Australian music , symphonic music

School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Professor Rhod McNeill
Other Supervisors:
Integration of Plant Disease Models into Oryzae Rice Module of the APSIM Framework
Description: The Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM) is a model framework that utilizes weather, soil parameters, crop physiology and management to model crop growth and development. Within APSIM, s...
The Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM) is a model framework that utilizes weather, soil parameters, crop physiology and management to model crop growth and development. Within APSIM, several modules enable modelling of different agricultural systems. The Oryze model represents rice, which is a mechanistic model simulating rice growth on a daily time-step but not simulating the effects of diseases. This PhD project will examine existing rice disease models and integrate them in the Oryza module of APSIM. This project will support model testing of novel traits to determine their contribution to disease resistance, help identify economic thresholds for disease control and enable further evaluation of potential diseases in new production environments and climate change.
APSIM, weather, soil, crop physiology, crop growth and development, agricultural systems, Oryze
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Adam Sparks
Other Supervisors: Dr Keith Pembleton,
Platform Chemical Production Using Novel Biorefinery
Description: Food waste is a problem worldwide due to the volume generated by rich countries and the environmental threat that it represents. Food waste has a strong potential to be transformed into valuable by-p...
Food waste is a problem worldwide due to the volume generated by rich countries and the environmental threat that it represents. Food waste has a strong potential to be transformed into valuable by-products. This research will investigate the hydrolysis of food waste to generate a novel fermentation medium containing sugars, amino acids and essential minerals. Sugars can then be converted by fermentation to biofuels (bioethanol, biodiesel or biogas) or platform chemicals (succinic acid, lactic acid and many others). We have all the equipments and resources to carry out this research including: autoclave, 5L Sartorius automated fermenter, GC for gas analysis and HPLC for analysis of chemicals in the fermentation broth.
Biorefinery, platform chemicals, food waste, biofuels, hydrolysis, saccharification
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Ian Craig,
Development of Activated Carbon Composites for Drinking Water Treatment
Description: World’s activated carbon demand keeps on increasing for different environmental needs. In the meantime, several thousands of potential precursors for the production of activated carbon found in agri...
World’s activated carbon demand keeps on increasing for different environmental needs. In the meantime, several thousands of potential precursors for the production of activated carbon found in agricultural wastes such as nutshells find their way into landfills. These wastes can be converted into useful resources for application in water/ wastewater treatment. This project aims to identify the potentials of converting identified agricultural wastes into useful activated carbon and its composites for selected applications in water/wastewater treatment.
Activated carbon, Water, wastewater treatment, Agricultural wastes
Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Vasanthadevi Aravinthan
Other Supervisors: Dr Antoine Trzcinski,
Measuring the Effectiveness of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) in South-East Queensland (SEQ)
Description: The proposed research is to examine in detail the existing TODs in SEQ to better understand and quantify the impact that established TODs have on promoting public transport and non-motorized travel. ...
The proposed research is to examine in detail the existing TODs in SEQ to better understand and quantify the impact that established TODs have on promoting public transport and non-motorized travel. The focus will be a contextual evaluation of the effectiveness of TOD implementation in SEQ. The research will recognize and measure the extent to which self-selection of households near TODs captures mode share, will take into account the competitiveness effects of alternative modes on the effectiveness of TODs, and will endeavour to quantify the extent of alignment between land use offerings and their target users.
Mode share, public transport, sustainable development, demand analysis, land use planning.
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Nateque Mahmood
Other Supervisors: Dr Marita Basson,
Behaviour of Innovative Fibre Composite Structures Using Recycled Materials
Description: This project will investigate the behaviour of composite structures using recycled materials such as agricultural wastes. This research project will be carried out within the Centre for Future Materi...
This project will investigate the behaviour of composite structures using recycled materials such as agricultural wastes. This research project will be carried out within the Centre for Future Materials with industry partner involvement. The Centre plays a leading role in the research and development of composite structures and materials for various infrastructure and other applications. This research will include experimental and analytical investigations including material characterisation and structural testing. The outcome of this study can enhance the understanding of the materials behaviour and develop appropriate design methodology with such structures that would greatly benefit the composite industry and wider community.
Infrastructure; rehabilitation; composite structures; recycled materials; engineering applications
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,Institute for Resilient Regions,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Thiru Aravinthan
Other Supervisors:
Characterisation of the Physical, Mechanical and Long-term Durability Properties of FRP Bars in Australian Harsh Environments
Description: Fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) bars is a cost-effective replacement for steel as an internal reinforcement to concrete members exposed in severely aggressive environments. As internal reinforcement, ...
Fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) bars is a cost-effective replacement for steel as an internal reinforcement to concrete members exposed in severely aggressive environments. As internal reinforcement, FRP bars are continuously subjected to either alkaline concrete or other environmental conditions that may affect their physical, mechanical and long-term durability properties. While a number of studies have investigated the performance of FRP bars in different simulated environmental conditions, there are no studies conducted yet on the short and long-term properties of GFRP bars in harsh Australian environments. This study aims to evaluate the physical, mechanical and durability/long-term properties of FRP bars in under high moisture, saltwater and alkali environments. It also aims at developing empirical model(s) to predict the long term performance of GFRP bars. The results of this project will provide a better understanding on the durability of FRP bars for their safe design and application as reinforcement in concrete structures.
FRP bars; durability; long-term performance; harsh environment.
Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Allan Manalo
Other Supervisors: Professor Karu Karunasena, Assoc Prof Belal Yousif,
The Communication of Individual and Group-directed Feedback
Description: Effective feedback is an important condition for re-balancing and adjusting collective views, values, and actions. Both criticism and praise have the potential to become powerful tools for improvemen...
Effective feedback is an important condition for re-balancing and adjusting collective views, values, and actions. Both criticism and praise have the potential to become powerful tools for improvement. Criticism can stimulate reform to suboptimal behaviours or maladaptive practices, while praise can support and strengthen best practice. Consequently, it is important to understand psychological processes that drive, (1) the delivery of criticism and praise and (2) responses to criticism and praise, in order to maximise feedback effectiveness. This PhD work has the scope to take many forms, focusing on individual and/ or group-based feedback (or both), specific intergroup and/or individual contexts (e.g., gender, occupational), the delivery and/or acceptance of feedback and/or praise or criticism. The supervisor of this project(s) has a particular interest in the communication of feedback (both praise and criticism) between and within gender groups, the psychological underpinnings of the reluctance to communicate criticism, and the intergroup sensitivity effect.
Feedback, communication, group, individual, gender
Psychology
School of Psychology and Counselling
Principal Supervisor: Dr Carla Jeffries
Other Supervisors:
Functional Foods and Diet-induced Obesity
Description: Obesity as part of metabolic syndrome is a major lifestyle disorder throughout the world. Around 2/3rd of the Australian population is overweight or obese. Current pharmaceutical treatments for obesi...
Obesity as part of metabolic syndrome is a major lifestyle disorder throughout the world. Around 2/3rd of the Australian population is overweight or obese. Current pharmaceutical treatments for obesity produce small and usually unsustainable decreases in body weight with the risk of major adverse effects. Lifestyle modification including the use of functional foods could produce a reliable decrease in obesity with decreased comorbidities. Our major research projects use the high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-fed rats as a model for obesity, hypertension and fatty liver. These rats develop symptoms of metabolic syndrome including an increased body fat mass, systolic blood pressure, heart weights, abdominal circumference, visceral fat pad deposition, glucose tolerance after oral glucose loading, infiltration of inflammatory cells in left ventricle and liver, cardiac collagen deposition, left ventricular diastolic stiffness, liver collagen deposition and plasma liver enzyme markers. We then treat the rats with functional foods such as purple fruits and vegetables, seaweeds, oilseeds and grains. At the end of the protocol, the responses to these functional foods are characterised and possible mechanisms are investigated.
Metabolic syndrome, functional foods, fatty liver, nutraceuticals, obesity
Nutrition and Dietetics,Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Sunil Panchal
Other Supervisors: Professor Lindsay Brown, Dr Stephen Wanyonyi,
Industrial Gas Sensing
Description: The detection of gases such as methane (for fuels) and ethylene (for fruit ripening) is important in many industrial and commercial contexts. Existing sensors exhibit many problems in practice. This ...
The detection of gases such as methane (for fuels) and ethylene (for fruit ripening) is important in many industrial and commercial contexts. Existing sensors exhibit many problems in practice. This research program is currently developing new sensors based on semiconductor infrared sources including LEDs and lasers. A particular focus is on the signal processing aspects of the sensors, so as to provide useful gas concentration measurements in the presence of background noise, utilizing with low-cost sensors. The group has published internationally in prestigious journals and is seeking high-calibre students with a background in digital signal processing, electronics, fibre optics, lasers, and acoustics.
gas sensors, digital signal processing, optics, lasers, fiber optics
Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof John Leis
Other Supervisors: Professor David Buttsworth,
Multivariat Student-T and Elliptical Models
Description: The customary use of the normal model is seriously questioned when the population distribution is symmetric but have heavier tails than the normal distribution. Also, the normal model fails to incorp...
The customary use of the normal model is seriously questioned when the population distribution is symmetric but have heavier tails than the normal distribution. Also, the normal model fails to incorporate dependent but uncorrelated responses. In such cases the multivariate Student-t distribution provides an appropriate model for the population. Such a model can be viewed as a mixture of normal and inverted gamma distributions. Using this result we have obtained the maximum likelihood estimators of the mean and scale parameters of multivariate Student-t distribution. The model has been used to find appropriate test statistic to test the mean vector. The non-null distribution of the test statistic has been derived. The distribution of the sum of squares and product matrix for the multivariate Student-t model as well as the predictive distribution of future model have been proposed. Similar results for the matrix T and elliptical models are also obtained. This project will extend this work.
multivariate Student-t distribution, Elliptical Models, statistic
Other Medical and Health Sciences,Statistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Shahjahan Khan
Other Supervisors: Professor Muhammed Memon,
Functional Significance of Inspiratory Muscle Training to the Respiratory Response to Exercise
Description: The respiratory system is classically suggested to be “overbuilt” and exceeds the demands placed upon it. However, this situation may not apply during high-intensity exercise where the demands may ex...
The respiratory system is classically suggested to be “overbuilt” and exceeds the demands placed upon it. However, this situation may not apply during high-intensity exercise where the demands may exceed its capacity. In many trained athletes, the respiratory system is “underbuilt” and can limit exercise performance. One approach to overcome this limitation is to undertake inspiratory muscle training (IMT). This would improve the fatigue resistance and efficiency of the respiratory muscles. The value of IMT is, however, still under debate. While IMT always results in significant improvements in inspiratory muscle function at rest, the significance of these adaptations to the exercise response have yet to be defined. Accordingly, this project aims to investigate the functional significance of IMT to the respiratory response to exercise. Recommendations on the use of IMT in athletes in international guidelines are ambiguous. The outcome of this study will, therefore, have an impact on athlete practices as the results will clarify whether IMT leads to improvements in the respiratory response to exercise.
Athletes; Respiratory; Training
Human Movement and Sports Science,Physiology
Centre for Health Sciences Research,School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Dean Mills
Other Supervisors: Dr Ben Hoffman,
New Frameworks for Drought Risk Modelling and Drought Assessment Tools for Sustainable Agriculture and Farming Systems Applications
Description: Agricultural commodity, ecosystems, health and well-being are impacted by drought. Improving confidence in spatial modelling is necessary. Local drought information using regional climate prediction ...
Agricultural commodity, ecosystems, health and well-being are impacted by drought. Improving confidence in spatial modelling is necessary. Local drought information using regional climate prediction is difficult to achieve due to coarse resolution of models, unique geographical location and lack of real-time observations over large regions. Local-scale predictive models using machine learning (computational programs) can achieve accurate outcomes. Efficient tools for local assessment as alert or predictive systems are needed to operate locally using point-based input data and modelling that can be used by farmers and local government to be forewarned of drought in their localised regions. To address deficits in methods, students will forecast Rainfall-Decile Drought Index and Standardized Precipitation and Evapotranspiration Index. This information acts as crucial knowledge for farmers and Government Ministries. The project develops hybrid models using meteorological data, sea surface temperature and climate indices with spatial mapping of accuracy, limitations and model performances. Objectives are: (1) To test a series of models including Artificial Neutral Network, Support Vector Regression and Extreme Learning Machine, (2) Address issues related to ‘‘noise’’, non-stationary or contaminated inputs that deteriorate model performance by novel wavelet technique for “cleaning” the input variables, (3) Validate input/output data and model uncertainties arise from quality and representativeness of data, model structure (ability of model to describe the input variable’s response) (4) Combine several models into a hybrid framework that presents the best prediction of climate-risk. The use of hybrid models new addition to drought modelling for climate-risk management.
Climate Risk Management; Agriculture; Drought Modelling; Machine Learning; Predictive Modelling
Atmospheric Sciences,Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors:
Prefabricated Modular Housing (Building Manufacturing) Research Projects
Description: These projects involve critically evaluating and benchmarking housing designs and manufacturing systems that are widely disseminated within the residential building and architecture industry both in ...
These projects involve critically evaluating and benchmarking housing designs and manufacturing systems that are widely disseminated within the residential building and architecture industry both in Australia and overseas. Limited engineering approach to the design of structures, functionality and purpose, embodied and servicing energies, water and waste management etc., has resulted in that most modular houses being perceived as second class or viewed as cheap "fibro". These projects aim to provide a comprehensive overview of modular housing designs and manufacturing systems, and recommend (and test) a systematic approach to industrialising the manufacturing of housing solutions.
Housing designs; Manufacturing systems; Industrial engineering.
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Manufacturing Engineering
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Steven Goh
Other Supervisors:
Exploring the Efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Interventions Within a Vocational Psychology Context
Description: This project explores the efficacy of mindfulness-based psychological interventions, particularly Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), for individuals with career-related concerns. Research into...
This project explores the efficacy of mindfulness-based psychological interventions, particularly Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), for individuals with career-related concerns. Research into the application of third wave Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT) approaches within a vocational counselling context is in its infancy, so there is a broad scope in terms of the focus, research question, and methodological approach.
Mindfulness; Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT); Career Development; Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT).
Psychology
School of Health and Wellbeing,School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education,School of Psychology and Counselling
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Peter McIlveen
Other Supervisors: Dr Nancey Hoare,
Evaluation of Sustainable Infrastructure
Description: This research will investigate the design and development of sustainable infrastructure, with a view to developing a methodology for assessing the main factors in its development and management. Such...
This research will investigate the design and development of sustainable infrastructure, with a view to developing a methodology for assessing the main factors in its development and management. Such factors might include environmentally sensitive design, use of advanced and sustainable materials, resilience to natural disasters, water sensitive urban design, energy efficient use, and environmentally responsible project management and development. The methodology developed should be capable of forming the basis of a computer model for use by planners and designers to select the best development and life cycle management option that balances the requirements of sustainability and those of major stakeholders
Sustainability, infrastructure, development, management, life cycle, energy
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
Other Supervisors: Dr Nateque Mahmood,
Enhancing outcomes through mentoring
Description: Any topic related to improving outcomes through mentoring. Depending on student interest and context a range of topics would be relevant as long as there is a potential to add to the body of knowled...
Any topic related to improving outcomes through mentoring. Depending on student interest and context a range of topics would be relevant as long as there is a potential to add to the body of knowledge. Contexts might include Online mentoring, STEM mentoring, Gender mentoring, Mentoring for enhanced leadership, Mentoring for marginal students, Intergenerational mentoring, Mentoring to support rural and remote learners.
Mentoring, development, online, gender, education, STEM, leadership, rural and remote, marginalised
Communications Technologies,Education Systems,Other Education,Other Technology,Specialist Studies in Education
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Petrea Redmond
Other Supervisors: Professor Peter Albion,
Development of Pultrusion Process for advanced Civil Structures
Description: For civil and architectural composite structures, pultrusion is the manufacturing method of choice due to its ability to produce large sections in volume which are economical and consistent in qualit...
For civil and architectural composite structures, pultrusion is the manufacturing method of choice due to its ability to produce large sections in volume which are economical and consistent in quality. The pultrusion process is a continuous manufacturing process of “pulling” fibre reinforced profiles through a die, which contain heating and cooling zones for the impregnating resin. This project focuses on three major areas of development for increased productivity, a) resin system development, b) textile development, and c) process development. All these areas contribute to the productivity of the process and quality of the products produced.
Civil Structures, Manufacturing, Composites
Civil Engineering,Manufacturing Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials
Principal Supervisor: Dr Rehan Umer
Other Supervisors: Professor Peter Schubel,
Food and Culture: Darling Down Tastes
Description: The Lockyer Valley an area regarded as Australia’s food bowl producing some 110,000 tonnes of fresh produce across the region each year. Despite this, a regional food sector report found that there w...
The Lockyer Valley an area regarded as Australia’s food bowl producing some 110,000 tonnes of fresh produce across the region each year. Despite this, a regional food sector report found that there was minimal downstream value adding within the region. This is supported anecdotally by the very small number of fine food purveyors within the region. There is a growth in café culture that is successfully mimicking the successes of capital city enterprises, but towns like Toowoomba largely offer traditional pub food or bistro meals. This project looks at a number of underlying reasons for the resistance to a gourmet food culture in the Darling Downs region. By asking who gourmet food is produced for and who it is produced by, it explores a dichotomy between a rural identity expressed in simple local food, and a city consumer who desires sophisticated local food.
food, culture, identity, gourmet
Anthropology,Cultural Studies,Historical Studies,Other Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services,Other Studies in Human Society
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Dr Celmara Pocock
Other Supervisors: Dr Daniel Hourigan,
Development of Bio-Composites Using Renewable Agricultural Biomass
Description: Bio-composites are composite materials that are created by adding two or more dissimilar materials such as a natural fibre and a synthetic/bio-based polymer, both of which contribute to the strength ...
Bio-composites are composite materials that are created by adding two or more dissimilar materials such as a natural fibre and a synthetic/bio-based polymer, both of which contribute to the strength while retaining the structural integrity of the final product. Natural fibres such as flax, alpaca, hemp, jute and wood fibres are bio-degradable in nature, used in reinforcement of composites by adding into different thermoplastic matrices. The benefit of bio-composite materials over other conventional material with a view to their higher specific strength, stiffness and fatigue characteristics, which permits structural design to be more adaptable. Moreover, bio-composites offer bio-degradability; higher tensile strength, low specific gravity, recyclability, and renewability. Therefore, bio-composite materials are being used to manufacture medical instruments and also other new areas, because these materials are not physically dangerous. Different types of fibre materials are used in bio-composites like as flax, alpaca, hemp, jute and wood fibres and researcher are trying to use new materials for bio-composites. This new dimension of the research will help to develop new area of bio-composite research and also help to develop agricultural sector through utilising diversified agricultural biomass for economic development.
Bio-composite, natural fibres, polymer, agricultural biomass.
Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Mainul Islam
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang,
Structural Behaviour of Hybrid Concrete-FRP Composite Beams
Description: Pultruded Fibre reinforced polymer (PFRP) is becoming an attractive construction material for Civil Engineering applications due to its high stiffness, high strength to weight ratio, light weight, co...
Pultruded Fibre reinforced polymer (PFRP) is becoming an attractive construction material for Civil Engineering applications due to its high stiffness, high strength to weight ratio, light weight, corrosion resistance and good durability. However, relatively low elastic modulus of FRP results in the design being governed by deflections and buckling rather than the strength. This problem can be overcome to some extent by filling the hollow PFRP sections with concrete. Of particular interest will be a hybrid beam constructed by bonding several hollow square PFRP sections and filling only some sections (preferably the top section) with concrete. However, ordinary Portland cement concrete has its own problems like environmental issues (high carbon foot print), chemical attack and durability. Research has shown that geopolymer concrete is an alternative to Portland cement concrete with added advantage of having low carbon foot print, good bond strength and excellent durability against chemical attack. in this project, structural behaviour of hybrid geopolymer concrete-FRP beams under different load conditions will be investigated. A validated numerical model will be developed to carry out parametric studies to predict the behaviour of hybrid beams with different dimensions.
Composites, FRP, concrete, numerical modelling
Civil Engineering,Engineering Design,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Professor Karu Karunasena
Other Supervisors:
Corporate Risk Taking and Accounting Returns
Description: Existing literature seem to indicate a negative relationship between corporate risk taking and accounting returns, which appear counter-intuitive. This might be attributed to the lack of a definitiv...
Existing literature seem to indicate a negative relationship between corporate risk taking and accounting returns, which appear counter-intuitive. This might be attributed to the lack of a definitive measure for corporate risk taking, and this suggested research topic could address this gap.
corporate finance
Applied Economics,Banking, Finance and Investment
School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Dr Lujer Santacruz
Other Supervisors: Professor Chandrasekhar Krishnamurti,
Effects of Nanoparticles on Anaerobic Digestion Trophic Groups
Description: Anaerobic digestion is a complex multi-stage bioprocess involving various types of bacteria and methanogens for the conversion of organics to methane gas which can be harvested for clean energy produ...
Anaerobic digestion is a complex multi-stage bioprocess involving various types of bacteria and methanogens for the conversion of organics to methane gas which can be harvested for clean energy production. Some recent evidence showed that the addition of some nanoparticles had positive impacts on some microbial communities which resulted in increased methane production during anaerobic digestion, but very little is known about how this is happening and why. We have a gas chromatograph to analyze methane, HPLC to analyze various intermediates and a gas chromatograph coupled with mass spectrometry available in our laboratories to carry out this research.
Nanoparticles; Anaerobic digestion; wastewater; interspecies electron transfer; bioenergy; energy production; sustainability; biorefinery
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Ian Craig,
Dissipative Particle Dynamics Modelling of Highly Dispersed Suspensions
Description: Suspensions, which are formed by rigid particles, droplets or gaseous bubbles suspended in a liquid, occur widely in nature and man-made products. Typical examples include foodstuffs, paints, blood, ...
Suspensions, which are formed by rigid particles, droplets or gaseous bubbles suspended in a liquid, occur widely in nature and man-made products. Typical examples include foodstuffs, paints, blood, fluidised beds and bubble columns. The project aims to explore new aspects of the rheology of particulate suspensions by means of an advanced mesoscale coarse-grained emulation technique, known as Dissipative Particle Dynamics (DPD). The resultant DPD computer code and new insights into the fluid mechanics of particulate suspensions allow one to effectively design and control industrial particulate-flow processes.
Particle method, suspension, complex fluid, multiphase flow
Chemical Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Thanh Tran-Cong
Other Supervisors: Professor Nam Mai-Duy,
Bushfire Attenuation Fence
Description: This research is to design a wire mesh fence to withstand bushfire conditions and retard bushfire progress, and determine necessary structural requirements based upon detailed design simulations.
This research is to design a wire mesh fence to withstand bushfire conditions and retard bushfire progress, and determine necessary structural requirements based upon detailed design simulations.
Bushfire, wildfire, firebrand attack, thermal stress
Biomedical Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ahmad Sharifian-Barforoush
Other Supervisors: Professor John Billingsley,
The Role of Ecosystem Services in Supporting Resilient Farming Systems
Description: Natural ecosystems play a key role in supporting agricultural production systems through a range of ecosystem services, including carbon storage, soil health, hydrological function, biodiversity, and...
Natural ecosystems play a key role in supporting agricultural production systems through a range of ecosystem services, including carbon storage, soil health, hydrological function, biodiversity, and pest and pollination services. Research undertaken to date in cropping landscapes has increased our understanding of the contribution that natural ecosystems on and around farms make in providing these important services. It has identified and quantified individual services and investigated best management practises to enhance their value. However, rarely does this research focus on optimisation of multiple functions and outcomes or the management required to deliver win-win solutions (i.e. environmental and production benefits). Decision making (from farm level to policy level) in the face of projected climate variability and growing pressure on the natural resource base is also increasingly complex and subject to significant uncertainty. This research will investigate the interactions between natural environments and crop production systems in agricultural landscapes and develop an integrated predictive ES model which will support decisions aimed at optimising both environmental and productivity gains at a range of scales from properties to landscapes under a rage of probable climate and land use/land cover futures.
Ecosystem services; systems modelling; future climates; socio-ecological resilience; predictive modelling
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Ecological Applications,Ecology,Environmental Science and Management
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Andy Le Brocque
Other Supervisors: Dr Kathryn Reardon-Smith,
Development of Novel Coagulants from Waste Slags
Description: Different types of slags are produced as by-products from iron and steel making industries which could be turned as potential coagulants for wastewater treatment. This project focusses on finding al...
Different types of slags are produced as by-products from iron and steel making industries which could be turned as potential coagulants for wastewater treatment. This project focusses on finding alternative uses for these by-products in environmental applications.
Slags, coagulant, wastewater treatment
Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Vasanthadevi Aravinthan
Other Supervisors: Dr Antoine Trzcinski,
Strengthening regional resilience thorugh digital connectivity: the socio-economic impacts of upgraded communications and connectivity in several remote central Queensland communities
Description: Internet-enabled digital technologies are crucial resources for communications and creating alternative development pathways towards resilience and connectedness in remote and rural communities. Man...
Internet-enabled digital technologies are crucial resources for communications and creating alternative development pathways towards resilience and connectedness in remote and rural communities. Many rural and remote communities are plagued by patchy connectivity, lower speeds, poor quality broadband internet and no mobile phone coverage. To establish greater confidence and certainty about the value of investing in digital infrastructure and technology in rural and remote communities, there is both a need and considerable scope to identify, map and assess the socio-economic characteristics, processes and impacts involved in communities transforming beneficially from being digitally dis-advantaged to digitally-empowered. This project is a three year longitudinal evaluative study of the impacts arising from the upgrading of digital and communications infrastructure in the Barcoo and Diamantina Regional Councils in central western Queensland. Several objectives frame the study. These are to: 1. Identify, record and map the socio-economic profile of five localities before the activation of ADSL 2+ broadband services and 4G mobile services; 2. Identify and measure the changes (if any) over time of any socioeconomic characteristics over time, following the activation of digital connection in the case study communities; 3. Understand better how digital connection has led to community and economic change; 4. Identify and describe implications for the future socio-economic development of the Barcoo, Diamantina and broader Central western Queensland region; and 5. Draw out any conclusions that should bear on future digital communications policy and programs in regional Australia.
Digital economy, connectivity, socio-economic impact
Applied Economics,Sociology
Institute for Resilient Regions
Principal Supervisor: Professor Jim Cavaye
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Khorshed Alam,
Resilience Index for Road Structures
Description: Bridges, Culverts and Floodway's are critical road structures to bridge geographical barriers between communities. However, extreme natural hazards can have detrimental effect on these structures as ...
Bridges, Culverts and Floodway's are critical road structures to bridge geographical barriers between communities. However, extreme natural hazards can have detrimental effect on these structures as evident from recent flood events in Queensland. Such events have raised several challenges for road authorities in terms of design, construction and maintenance perspectives. Needness to evaluate existing design guidelines, infrastructure classification techniques and maintenance strategies are few areas to mention. Existing road structure classification systems do not have provision to measure community impact due to failures of road structures. To address this gap in knowledge, this research aims at developing a new framework to classify road structures that accounts the community resilience. A resilience index is developed to assess impact to the community due to failures of road structures based on travel demand and pattern for a given community. This will enable road authorities to rank road infrastructures based on needness of the community and then take appropriate decisions at the design stage.
Road structures, natural disasters, community resilience, failures, resilience index
Civil Engineering,Engineering Design,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Professor Karu Karunasena
Other Supervisors: Dr Weena Lokuge,
Industrial Application of Naturally Induced Swirling Flows
Description: Previous study show that a stationary split channel can generate swirling flow. The swirling flow have many applications in food, painting, and automotive industries. This project aims to optimize t...
Previous study show that a stationary split channel can generate swirling flow. The swirling flow have many applications in food, painting, and automotive industries. This project aims to optimize the naturally induced swirling flow for different applications using a combined computational (CFD) and empirical approach.
Swirling Flows, wind energy, waste heat
Mechanical Engineering
School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ahmad Sharifian-Barforoush
Other Supervisors: Dr Andrew Wandel,
Behaviour of Confined Geopolymer Concrete Under Cyclic Loadings
Description: With increased attention on environmental concerns such as global warming, sustainable development and recycling, alternatives for conventional concrete such as geopolymer concrete have been research...
With increased attention on environmental concerns such as global warming, sustainable development and recycling, alternatives for conventional concrete such as geopolymer concrete have been researched around the world. There is no doubt that this new green construction material will be used in earthquake prone areas in the future. Structural analysis in a seismic region demands an understanding of the behaviour of geopolymer concrete and confining materials (steel, FRP) subjected to cyclic loadings. This research aims at investigating the behaviour of confined geopolymer concrete under earthquake loadings and proposing a constitutive model for the same. An experimental program will be carried out and analytical process will be used to validate proposed models.
Geopolymer concrete; cyclic loadings; confinement; constitutive models
Civil Engineering,Engineering Design,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Weena Lokuge
Other Supervisors:
Developing a Framework For Strategic Asset Management
Description: The objective of asset management is to optimise service delivery potential of assets, to minimise related risks and costs, and ensure positive enhancement of natural and social capital over the asse...
The objective of asset management is to optimise service delivery potential of assets, to minimise related risks and costs, and ensure positive enhancement of natural and social capital over the asset life cycle. in many firms asset management is often fragmentary and seldom considered on the strategic level. Due to financial, economic and human significance of asset management, a more holistic and integrated approach to asset management is increasingly being recognised as an urgent need to ensure effective and smooth management of company’s assets and service delivery outcomes. The likely benefit of the research is that asset service organisations will be able to develop a clear image about the landscape of best practiced strategic asset management process areas, assess capability for each process area and their practices; and understand target capability level.
ISO 55000, service delivery, maintenance management, stakeholder management, knowledge management, organisational management.
Interdisciplinary Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Nateque Mahmood
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof David Thorpe,
Static and Dynamic Behaviour of Composite Sandwich Beams and Plates with Disbonds
Description: Composites materials made by combining two individual materials where one material forms the matrix while the other provides the reinforcement. A novel composite sandwich made up of glass fibre reinf...
Composites materials made by combining two individual materials where one material forms the matrix while the other provides the reinforcement. A novel composite sandwich made up of glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) composite face sheets and modified phenolic core has been developed recently. This composite sandwich is an attractive basic building block for producing structural beams, slabs and larger structures such as fibre composite bridges due to its high strength, durability and light weight. Although perfect bond between the skin and the core is a common assumption, the development of debonding between the skin and the core in sandwich is quite possible during fabrication or under service conditions, affecting the static and dynamic behaviour in addition to the strength degradation. This project investigates the effect of debonding on the static and dynamic characteristics of sandwich beams and plates. Full and partial debonds with different debond sizes and locations in beams/plates with different end support conditions will be investigated. Finite element software packages (Strand7 and Abaqus) will be used in the numerical study. After validating the numerical model, parametric analyses will be conducted to predict the behaviour of more complex structures made from composite sandwich building blocks. Dynamic behaviour of debonded structures under earthquake loads will be a part of the study.
Composites, Beams, Plates, Static Behaviour, Dynamic Behaviour, Disbond, Earthquake Load
Civil Engineering,Engineering Design,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Professor Karu Karunasena
Other Supervisors:
Nanostructured Thermoelectric Materials for Power Generation
Description: High-efficiency thermoelectric material, through which converting waste-heat into electrical energy, is one of key materials for power-generation devices. The conversion of waste-heat into electrical...
High-efficiency thermoelectric material, through which converting waste-heat into electrical energy, is one of key materials for power-generation devices. The conversion of waste-heat into electrical energy is a challenge to develop alternative energy technologies to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Current thermoelectric materials are not efficient enough to be practically used to generate alternative energy, except in some specific situation where the cost does not have priority such as artificial satellite. With the shortage of fossil fuels, thermoelectric materials are becoming more significant. Low-cost and high-performance thermoelectric nanomaterials are considered as promising thermoelectric materials, this project will develop new thermoelectric nanostructures in order to develop high-efficiency thermoelectric generator for heat recovery. This project will provide critical “know-why” of fabrication of advanced nanostructures.
Thermoelectric nanomaterials, Band Engineering, Struture Engineering, Power generation
Electrical and Electronic Engineering,Materials Engineering,Nanotechnology
Centre for Future Materials,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Hao Wang
Other Supervisors:
Piggery Wastewater Treatment in an Anaerobic Baffled Reactor
Description: In Australia, conventional treatment of piggery wastewater is carried out in anaerobic ponds occupying a large surface. Residence times are typically long (>100 days) and solids removals are low. Tow...
In Australia, conventional treatment of piggery wastewater is carried out in anaerobic ponds occupying a large surface. Residence times are typically long (>100 days) and solids removals are low. Towards the end of the design lifespan of the pond, sludge accumulation may encroach on the pond treatment volume, adversely affecting pond function. At this point in time, the pond effluent may become unsuitable for flushing sheds and irrigation onto agricultural land, due to higher total solids concentrations, while the large surface area may emit high levels of offensive odours as pond biological function becomes impeded. Producers are then faced with the major practical and financial problem of determining how to desludge a relatively large pond without interfering with the ongoing operation of the piggery. These issues and more will be addressed using an anaerobic baffled reactor.
anaerobic baffled reactor; piggery wastewater
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Ian Craig,
Investigation of the Predictive Accuracy in the Catchment Modelling for Toowoomba Region and an Assessment of Catchment Behaviour in Response to Extreme Events
Description: Since 2011 flood, a number of mitigation measures have been implemented for reducing the risk of flooding in Toowoomba and surrounding region. However, an assessment of the vulnerabilities of existin...
Since 2011 flood, a number of mitigation measures have been implemented for reducing the risk of flooding in Toowoomba and surrounding region. However, an assessment of the vulnerabilities of existing infrastructures under extreme flood events and the future expansion load is necessary to determine the effectiveness of the measures for flood proofing. Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) has developed and maintained a suite of hydrological and hydraulic models for catchment planning and management. A confidence needs to be built in the existing modelling tools accounting the recent upgrades in the drainage system and changes in hydrologic characteristic. The change in land use pattern considerably affects the runoff characteristics. The loss of open space and floodplain storages has been the issue for major flooding. The drainage system has been upgraded recently with detention basins for reducing the floods risks. However, the undersized structures such as culverts, bridges and sluices gates create drainage congestion in various parts of the catchment from low to moderate level flooding. A proper water balance of catchment storages and accounting of hydrologic losses are necessary components for improved modelling, which will be investigated in this study. The project aims to be undertaken through 1) hydrological monitoring of runoff and infiltration losses in various part of the catchment; 2) development of the methodology to improve the loss function used in the hydrologic model; 3) updating the existing models and evaluation of models performance; 4) Assessment of land use and climate change impact on runoff characteristics; and 5) evaluation of the drainage performance in upgrading and accommodating the future changes. The research will be highly innovative through adopting latest technology and advanced methods in computational modelling. The study will develop a tool for proper accounting of hydrologic losses, which will provide a greater accuracy in Council’s existing models for predicting catchment runoff and stream flow.
Floods, Hydrology, catchment modelling, urban drainage system
Civil Engineering,Environmental Engineering,Other Earth Sciences
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor:
Other Supervisors: Dr Md Jahangir Alam,
Development of Low-CO2 Durable Concrete Using Geopolymer and Related Chemically-Activated Cements
Description: Concrete is the largest manmade material people use in this world, and also causes heavy environmental footprint due to the use of Portland cement, a energy and recourse intensive product. This proje...
Concrete is the largest manmade material people use in this world, and also causes heavy environmental footprint due to the use of Portland cement, a energy and recourse intensive product. This project aims to develop low-CO2 concrete by using alkali-activated aluminosilicate materials, including locally available coal combustion ash (fly ash), slag, and heated clays, such as metakaolin. By avoiding using Portland cement, the concrete will significantly reduce environment footprint, in terms of CO2 emissions and energy consumption. This project will combine experimental research and data analysis into life cycle analysis (LCA) to evaluate the real reduction in CO2 emissions and other environmental impacts. A candidate can not only learn fundamental knowledge about chemical activation technique and materials characterization but also the approach of LCA.

Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zuhua Zhang
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang,
Damage Assessment of Bridges Under Extreme Flood Events
Description: Resilience of critical road infrastructure such as bridges are of paramount importance for the community that has been served by these during an extreme flood event as well as in the recovery stage. ...
Resilience of critical road infrastructure such as bridges are of paramount importance for the community that has been served by these during an extreme flood event as well as in the recovery stage. USQ is engaged in a research project to enhance the resilience of road structures through a national research centre named “Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC)”. It is progressing well in partnership with four major road authorities in Australia: VicRoads, Road and Maritime Services (NSW), Queensland Transport Main Roads and Western Australia MainRoads. In this research effort, it was found out that the bridge design standards need to be updated for urban debris loading. This research aims at investigating the failure modes and assessing damage on bridges particularly due to the urban debris. This will provide the basis to prioritize bridges based on their capacity to withstand for different flood levels/loads and further investigate on strengthening techniques.
Road structures; bridges; rehabilitation; resilience; urban debris, flood
Civil Engineering,Engineering Design,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Weena Lokuge
Other Supervisors: Professor Karu Karunasena,
Ultra-high Performance Concretes Reinforced by Carbon Nanotubes/Graphene
Description: Ultra-high performance concretes (UHPC) exhibit exceptional mechanical and durability properties. It is a cementitious material consisting of cement, sand, silica fume or silica flour, admixture, wat...
Ultra-high performance concretes (UHPC) exhibit exceptional mechanical and durability properties. It is a cementitious material consisting of cement, sand, silica fume or silica flour, admixture, water with a low water-cement ratio, and may include steel fibres or polymer fibres. It is almost self-placing, has a compressive strength of 150-200 MPa and a flexural strength of 30-40 MPa. The new material revolutionises the traditional concrete. The dense microstructure in UHPC enables the materials to be further engineered with nano additives. Promising results have already shown with the incoporation of Carbon nanotube and graphene. The aim of this project is to develop advanced models and simulation schemes that can provide an improved understanding of the role of CNTs in UHPC and thire reinforcement mechanism.
Ultra-high performance concrete, Nanomaterials, Carbon Nano Tube, mesoscale, multiscale simulation methods
Materials Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Centre for Future Materials,Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Canh-Dung Tran
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang,
Behaviour of Hollow Structural Concrete Members Reinforced with FRP Bars
Description: Concrete structures reinforced with Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) bars are suitable for use in infrastructure that operates in highly aggressive environments. In important concrete structures such a...
Concrete structures reinforced with Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) bars are suitable for use in infrastructure that operates in highly aggressive environments. In important concrete structures such as bridge piers and fender piles, hollow sections are being implemented to reduce material usage and overall weight. Current research and developments on concrete structures reinforced with FRP bars are focused on solid sections but very few have studied the behaviour of hollow concrete sections. Thus, this research aims to investigate the main behavioural parameters of hollow concrete beams and columns reinforced with GFRP bars. A comprehensive testing program combined with theoretical and analytical investigations will be performed to determine the important parameters that affect the structural behaviour of such type of structural systems. The results of this project are anticipated to provide useful information to the effective design and to contribute in the formulation of design standards for FRP reinforced concrete structures enabling their wide acceptance and use in civil engineering.
FRP bars; reinforced concrete; hollow sections; structural performance.
Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Dr Allan Manalo
Other Supervisors: Professor Karu Karunasena,
The Impact of Language on the Learning of Mathematics
Description: Language plays an important role in the understanding of mathematics. Students whose first language is not English, but are learning mathematics in English can feel the impact. Possible questions of ...
Language plays an important role in the understanding of mathematics. Students whose first language is not English, but are learning mathematics in English can feel the impact. Possible questions of interest: What is the role of language-switching in bilingual students’ processing of mathematics? What are the Effects of Language Differences on Processing of Mathematical Text?
Mathematics, language, language-switching, bi-lingual
Curriculum and Pedagogy,Linguistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Linda Galligan
Other Supervisors: Dr Ann Dashwood,
Modelling the Relationship Between Broiler’s Body Weight with some Nutrient in Diets
Description: Chicken meats are increasely favored as healthy and delicious dishes on dinning table by Australian families. Phosphorus (P) and Calcium (Ca) are essential nutrient in broiler’s body growth. However,...
Chicken meats are increasely favored as healthy and delicious dishes on dinning table by Australian families. Phosphorus (P) and Calcium (Ca) are essential nutrient in broiler’s body growth. However, the effect of these two and others on chicks body and bone tissus is intrincated, and consequently too difficult to analyse. This project aims at assisting the pualtry industry, in particular in broiler farming, reduce the production cost while minimising the P residural in the excreta by formulating the most effective and nutriential diets. We approach this by Logit regression and machine learning technology.
Broiler growing, nutrient in poultry diets, statistical analysis, machine learning
Animal Production,Statistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zhongwei Zhang
Other Supervisors: Dr David Lai,
Food Security Affected by Increase in Crop Diseases and Pests Under Climate Change
Description: Management of crop pests and diseases has played a significant role on global food production and food security, yet about 16% of the global yield losses is caused by the crop pest and diseases acros...
Management of crop pests and diseases has played a significant role on global food production and food security, yet about 16% of the global yield losses is caused by the crop pest and diseases across the globe. Climate change has already impacted the intensity and extent of pest and pathogen infection in some regions and the effect is likely to increase in coming decades. This project aims to model the impacts of changes in climate factors on selected crop disease at different scales from local to global. This research would support for design of adaptation strategies by reducing negative impact on global food productivity.
Food, crop, diseases, pests, climate change
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health
Principal Supervisor: Professor Gavin Ash
Other Supervisors: Dr Afshin Ghahramani, Dr Uttam Shrestha,
Role of Women in Planned Burns in Volunteer Services in Victoria
Description: Some research has been conducted on the role of women in the masculine culture of emegency agencies, and in particular, volunteer fire fighting. The Department of Environment, Water and Landuse Plan...
Some research has been conducted on the role of women in the masculine culture of emegency agencies, and in particular, volunteer fire fighting. The Department of Environment, Water and Landuse Planning in Victoria would like to know more about the roles of women in prescribed burns, which, alongside bushfire fighting, is an important part of the role of a volunteer firefighter.
Women, gender, firefighting, bushfire, prescribed burns, planned burns, controlled burns, volunteer, volunteers
Other Studies in Human Society
School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Dr Jess Carniel
Other Supervisors: Mrs Barbara Ryan,
Development of Syntactic Foams and Foam Core Sandwich Composites
Description: Syntactic foams are in general ternary materials made of pre-formed hollow microspheres, binder and voids. Syntactic foams can be used as various structural components including sandwich composites a...
Syntactic foams are in general ternary materials made of pre-formed hollow microspheres, binder and voids. Syntactic foams can be used as various structural components including sandwich composites and in areas where low densities are required e.g. undersea/marine equipment for deep ocean current-metering, anti-submarine warfare and others. Their other uses include products in aerospace, automotive and building industries. However, the densities of syntactic foams in the past have been relatively high compared to the traditional expandable foams, limiting their applications. A wide variety of materials can be used for syntactic foams. The filler microspheres may be glass, polymeric, carbon, ceramic or metallic materials. Thus, a wide range of different types of syntactic foams can be made by selecting different materials and consolidating techniques for binder and hollow microspheres. Various types of sandwich composites can also be made by selecting different constituent materials for core and skins. For the selection of constituent materials, factors such as properties and cost may be considered. Main objectives of this project are to (a) develop novel syntactic foams using hollow microspheres and suitable binders, (b) investigate relationships between various manufacturing parameters, (c) investigate mixing behaviour of fillers and binders, (d) characterise mechanical behaviour of the developed syntactic foams, and (e) develop and investigate properties of novel sandwich composites made of developed syntactic foams and suitable skins.
Syntactic foam, microsphere, binder, sandwich, develop, properties.
Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Mainul Islam
Other Supervisors: Dr Jayantha Epaarachchi,
Indigenous Social & Emotional Wellbeing
Description: Any topic that looks at Indigenous social & emotional wellbeing. A range of topics would be relevant as long as there is a potential to add to the body of knowledge that can contribute to improving t...
Any topic that looks at Indigenous social & emotional wellbeing. A range of topics would be relevant as long as there is a potential to add to the body of knowledge that can contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people. Either qualitative or mixed methods would be the preferred methodology.
Indigenous, social & emotional wellbeing, health, mental health
Nursing,Public Health and Health Services
College for Indigenous Studies, Education and Research,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Nursing and Midwifery
Principal Supervisor: Professor Don Gorman
Other Supervisors: Mrs Raelene Ward,
Improved Estimation
Description: Traditionally the unknown population mean is estimated by the sample mean. Improved estimators, in the sense of admissibility, accuracy and efficiency are recent phenomenon in statistical inference. ...
Traditionally the unknown population mean is estimated by the sample mean. Improved estimators, in the sense of admissibility, accuracy and efficiency are recent phenomenon in statistical inference. Improved estimators such as the preliminary test, shrinkage and positive-rule shrinkage estimators, perform better than the traditional estimators based on normal models. When a number of alternative estimators are available to estimate an unknown parameter (scalar or vector) a natural question is, which one should be used and why? The choice obviously depends on the objective of the study and some appropriate criteria to judge the relative performance of the estimators. Generally, in classical theory of statistics several criteria are employed to judge the characteristics of good estimators. The most common/popular of these criteria include unbiasedness, mean squared error (mse), and quadratic risk. Although the level of emphasis on these criteria varies from application to application, it is desirable that a good estimator will meet the most important/appropriate criterion determined by the researcher, and over perform the rest.
Non-sample prior information, preliminary test estimation, shrinkage estimation, bias, quadratic loss, admissibility
Other Mathematical Sciences,Statistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Shahjahan Khan
Other Supervisors: Dr Trevor Langlands,
Mesoscopic Simulation of Nutrients in Porous Media
Description: The transport of nutrients in porous media can be considered as a mesoscopic mechanics problem. Micromechanics can thus be applied to investigate the behaviour of such a multiphase system. On meso le...
The transport of nutrients in porous media can be considered as a mesoscopic mechanics problem. Micromechanics can thus be applied to investigate the behaviour of such a multiphase system. On meso length scale (microns), effective numerical simulation methods include Dissipative Particle Dynamics (DPD), Smoothed Dissipative Particle Dynamics and Lattice Boltzmann methods. in DPD, the method to be considered here, DPD particles are regarded as groups of molecules and thus the DPD simulations can be conducted on time and length scales that are far beyond those of molecular simulations. We propose using freely-movable DPD particles to model the fluid (water) and spring-connected DPD particles to represent the nutrients and soil grains. Through the interactions of three types of particles, the movement of nutrients in porous media can be tracked in a direct manner. Furthermore, force fields (e.g. magnetic) can be easily accommodated in the DPD system by applying appropriate potentials. This direct (natural) simulation approach is expected to lead to a significant improvement in accuracy over continuous-medium-based approaches.
Nutrient transport, porous media, particle method, mesoscopic simulation, macroscopic property
Interdisciplinary Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics,Soil Sciences
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Thanh Tran-Cong
Other Supervisors: Professor Nam Mai-Duy,
Drivers of Global and Australian Climate and Rainfall
Description: Climate models are constraint by the requirement to represent present climate and climate processes, in order to produce reliable/representative future climate change scenarios. This includes the rep...
Climate models are constraint by the requirement to represent present climate and climate processes, in order to produce reliable/representative future climate change scenarios. This includes the representation of global atmospheric and oceanic circulation features such as the Hadley Cell, Walker Cell, location of the subtropical ridge, the Intertropical Convergence Zone, the South Pacific Convergence Zone, the El Nino Southern Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole, the Southern Annular Mode, the Austral-Asian Monsoon circulation, the Pacific Warm Water Pool and other features. This project will utilise global climate model data to investigate how the present generation of climate model represent climate phenomena that drive global and Australia rainfall variability. The project would utilise existing climate model data, statistical methods and data visualisation and analysis software. See for further information the following reference: i) Murphy, B. F., Ribbe, J. 2004. Variability of southeast Queensland rainfall and its predictors. International Journal of Climatology, 24(6), 703-721. ii) Cai, W., A. Sullivan, T. Cown, Ribbe, J., Shi, G., 2011. Simulation of the Indian Ocean dipole: a relevant criterion for selecting models for climate projections. Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L03704.
Climate models, climate variability, rainfall, Hadley Cell, El Nino Southern Oscillation
Atmospheric Sciences,Environmental Science and Management,Oceanography,Other Earth Sciences,Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Joachim Ribbe
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Shahbaz Mushtaq,
Privacy Preservation for digital identity federation
Description: this research will address the challenges over digital identity for its privacy preservation
this research will address the challenges over digital identity for its privacy preservation
Digital Identity Privacy
Information Systems
School of Management and Enterprise
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Jianming Yong
Other Supervisors:
The Grammar of Judicial Bias: A comparative analysis of the lexical qualification of Judicial Impartiality in the Australian Judicial Systems .
Description: The concept of judicial objectivity is a cornerstone of modern legal systems. This project will follow existing studies into the qualification of the concept of objectivity in cases that review ...
The concept of judicial objectivity is a cornerstone of modern legal systems. This project will follow existing studies into the qualification of the concept of objectivity in cases that review the judicial impartiality of the court. The candidate will analyze data retrieved from a large sample of cases (over one hundred) taken from Australian state jurisdictions , the ACT , and the Northern Territory. The analysis of a large sample of cases aims at describing how judges in different jurisdictions lexically qualify allegations of bias. The questions the project will attempt to answer are, whether allegations of bias generate a cluster of judicial responses in different states, and whether the cluster of responses shows an indication of convergence or divergence of judicial decisions. This study focuses on textual references – retrieved by using Langacker’s studies on grammar – to the concept of judicial objectivity.
Law, Objectvity, Bias, Comparative Law
Language Studies,Law,Philosophy
School of Law and Justice
Principal Supervisor: Dr Vito Breda
Other Supervisors: Professor Reid Mortensen,
Biophysical Modelling of Weed Germination and Emergence
Description: Every year farmers on the Darling Downs spend $70-$100 per hectare for weed management but weeds remain a problem and herbicide resistance is an emerging issue. Currently, the overall cost of weeds t...
Every year farmers on the Darling Downs spend $70-$100 per hectare for weed management but weeds remain a problem and herbicide resistance is an emerging issue. Currently, the overall cost of weeds to Australian grain growers is $3.3 billion annually. In Queensland the cost is estimated to be $600 million every year. The timing of herbicide application is critical for weed removal. The spray has to occur in the early stage of plant growth in order to effectively remove the weeds, prevent herbicide resistance, and over time, remove the weed seed pool from the paddock. USQ is tackling this challenge by developing a warning and management system to predict weed emergence using climate forecast and on-farm data. Dr Ghahramani is building a mathematical model-based intelligent weed management system based on cloud services and infrastructure. Experimental field results will be used to develop a biophysical model that can use, for example, soil moisture and temperature to predict the emergence of different weed species in the paddocks. The student will explore different approaches to building a mathematical model, converting to simulation models, and performing parametrisations, verifications, calibrations, and validations. The student will gain unique experience and skills in modelling and software development in applied agriculture and scientific computing. The results of this project will be publishable in a top-quartile peer-reviewed journal. This topic is suitable for students with a background in agriculture (with a passion for computer modelling, and coding), agricultural engineering, mathematics, statistics, IT, computer science, software engineering, plant biology, or engineering in general.
modelling, agroecosystems, simulation, agriculture, weed
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Applied Mathematics,Computer Software,Crop and Pasture Production,Ecological Applications,Environmental Science and Management,Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences,Other Environmental Sciences,Soil Sciences
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Afshin Ghahramani
Other Supervisors: Dr Keith Pembleton,
Critical thinking within a community of inquiry
Description: Knowledge is growing exponentially, with information and experiences being exchange rapidly. This mass increase in the information requires a range of purposeful intellectual activities to action th...
Knowledge is growing exponentially, with information and experiences being exchange rapidly. This mass increase in the information requires a range of purposeful intellectual activities to action the knowledge. The community of inquiry framework provides one example of how critical thinking and reflective processes might be actioned within a learning environment be it face to face, blended or online. A range of subtopics that is related to critical thinking in community would be relevant within this study.
critical thinking, thinking, community, community of inquiry, social presence, teaching presence, cognitive presence, practical inquiry, reflection
Communications Technologies,Curriculum and Pedagogy,Education Systems,Other Education
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Petrea Redmond
Other Supervisors: Dr Christine McDonald,
Use of Advanced Materials By Small and Medium Enterprises (Smes)
Description: This topic will investigate and evaluate the extent to which advanced materials are used by the SME engineering sector. Such materials have to potential to contribute significantly to sustainable dev...
This topic will investigate and evaluate the extent to which advanced materials are used by the SME engineering sector. Such materials have to potential to contribute significantly to sustainable development and revolutionise activities like building and infrastructure construction. The research will enable improved understanding of how these materials are used or not used by industry, and evaluate those factors that aid and hinder their adoption. Such factors include perceptions by industry about these materials, experience with their use, availability of relevant standards and codes, design and construction methods and practices, risk factors, and how and where they might best be used in engineering projects.
Advanced materials, SME, building, infrastructure, sustainability
Interdisciplinary Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
Other Supervisors: Dr Mainul Islam,
Smart processing of smart aircraft skins
Description: In closed moulding processes such as autoclave and resin transfer moulding (RTM), there is limited realtime feed back to the progression of flow and curing of the resin. Knowledge regarding flow fron...
In closed moulding processes such as autoclave and resin transfer moulding (RTM), there is limited realtime feed back to the progression of flow and curing of the resin. Knowledge regarding flow front advancement, and fibre wetting can help in devising control methods for the manufacturing process. Several fibre optic and piezoelectric sensors are placed in the mould and within the laminate to monitor the manufacturing parameters and structure in-service health. All the above-mentioned techniques are costly and add considerably to the overall manufacturing and final part cost. In the proposed study, we will use the graphene coated piezo-resistive fabrics in key aerospace manufacturing processes to monitor important manufacturing parameters, such as, in-situ compaction, vacuum levels, extent of mould-filling, gelation, and degree of cure. This novel technology can improve cycle times through faster cure cycles and help reduce product flaws in the composite produced through autoclave prepreg moulding, and out-of-autoclave resin injection processes, including VARTM. The longterm goal is to utilse this low cost sensing network to create smart structures to monitor processing conditions and for in-service applications such as identifying the severity and location of barely visible impact damage (BVID), lightning strike protection and anti-icing capabilities of the skins.
Composite Materials, Graphene, Smart Processing
Aerospace Engineering,Materials Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Centre for Future Materials
Principal Supervisor: Dr Rehan Umer
Other Supervisors: Professor Peter Schubel, Dr Xuesen Zeng,
Communicating with a Flexible Volunteer Emergency Services Work Force
Description: New South Wales State Emergency Service (NSW SES) is moving to a more flexible volunteering model. The old model of a volunteer who trains weekly and does an exercise or extended training once a mont...
New South Wales State Emergency Service (NSW SES) is moving to a more flexible volunteering model. The old model of a volunteer who trains weekly and does an exercise or extended training once a month is no longer as effective as it was. There is a move away from the traditional emergency service volunteer to a model with other categories including spontaneous, corporate, specialised teams, etc. There are already challenges for volunteer agencies communicating with their volunteers, and with emergency service agencies across Australia re-evaluating how they communicate with their members – or even what a member is anymore - how do emergency agencies such as NSW SES ensure they can communicate and engage with these different volunteering types so they are able to continue to safely and effectively assist their communities?
Volunteering, volunteer, emergency agency, disaster, bushfire, flood, State Emergency Service, communication, engagement
Communication and Media Studies,Other Studies in Human Society
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Dr Geoffrey Woolcock
Other Supervisors: Mrs Barbara Ryan,
Evaluating Design and Retrofitting Options for Floodways
Description: Road infrastructure becomes extremely important in enhancing the resilience of a community during and after a disaster event. Damage to the road structures such as floodway's due to flood loadings wa...
Road infrastructure becomes extremely important in enhancing the resilience of a community during and after a disaster event. Damage to the road structures such as floodway's due to flood loadings was attributed to the overall vulnerability of the road infrastructure and the resilience of the rural community. USQ is in partnership with a national research centre named “Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC)” to work on the resilience of road structures subjected to extreme flood events (researchers-RMIT, University of Melbourne and industry partners- Queensland Transport Main Roads, VicRoads, Road and Maritime Services (NSW), Western Australia MainRoads, Lockyer Valley Regional Council). As part of this effort, it is important to evaluate the design options for new floodway's and propose strengthening methods for existing floodway's so that they can be more resilient in extreme flood events. This project aims to investigate design and rehabilitation options structurally as well as to perform whole of life cycle cost analysis for these road structures.
Road structures; floodway's; design; rehabilitation; resilience; flood
Civil Engineering,Engineering Design,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Weena Lokuge
Other Supervisors: Professor Karu Karunasena,
Depth of anaesthesia control techniques and human body models
Description: The objective of this project is to develop patient dose-response models and to provide an adequate drug administration regimen for anaesthesia to avoid under- or over-dosing of patients. The control...
The objective of this project is to develop patient dose-response models and to provide an adequate drug administration regimen for anaesthesia to avoid under- or over-dosing of patients. The controllers are designed to compensate for patients’ inherent drug response variability, in order to achieve the best output disturbance rejection, and to maintain optimal set point response. To address this issue, this project uses four independent methods to investigate the control strategies for the regulation of hypnosis. Two medications are used in a thorough evaluation and comparison of controller performance. An automatic controller that infuses drugs based on the patient’s anaesthetic level will provide the following benefits: 1. It will reduce the anaesthetist’s workload during the surgery and allow him/her to monitor and deal with other critical aspects of the surgery (blood loss, sudden blood pressure change, etc.). 2. Better depth of anaesthesia will be achieved compared to manual administration because the controller variable is sampled more frequently leading to active adjustment of the delivery rate of the drug. 3. A well-designed automatic control system can tailor the drug dosage based on the patient’s response, which avoids both over-dosage and under-dosage of the drugs. Overall, these improve the patient’s rehabilitation and safety during and after the surgery. 1. Collect data from Toowoomba Based Hospital; 2. Import this data from spreadsheet files into MATLAB; 3. Analyse the data to establish the relative importance of each independent variable in the prediction; 4. Develop the models based on the data analysis. The methods to use in this project: Internal Model Control (IMC) to generate the framework. This method provides a much easier framework for the design of robust control system.
Computer Control Systems, Networked system, Complex Medical Engineering, Biomedical engineering and Mathematics Research
Biomedical Engineering
Open Access College,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Paul Wen
Other Supervisors: Dr Shahab Abdulla,
Testing After Pretest
Description: The idea of using non-sample prior information in the form of pre-testing for improving properties of estimators is applied in the testing regime to achieve better power of the ultimate test in this ...
The idea of using non-sample prior information in the form of pre-testing for improving properties of estimators is applied in the testing regime to achieve better power of the ultimate test in this project. For example, to test the intercept of a simple regression model, prior information from previous investigations or expert knowledge on the suspected value of the slope is potentially beneficial. Any uncertainty on the value of the slope is removed by performing a pre-test before testing the significance of the intercept. The impact of the pre-test on the performance (power and size) of the ultimate test will be studied. Defining unrestricted test (UT), restricted test (RT) and pre-test test (PTT) corresponding to the unrestricted (UE), restricted (RE), and preliminary test estimators (PTE) in the estimation case, the critical region and power functions are derived. Analytical and graphical comparisons of the three tests are obtained by studying the power functions with respect to size and power of the tests. It is shown that PTT achieves a reasonable dominance over the others asymptotically. The problem can be addressed for both parametric and non-parametric set ups. Robust procedure based on M-estimator can also be used to formulate a test and deriving its power function. In comparison to the other non-pre-test based test, the PTT based on pre-test performs better and its power function behaves similar to the quadratic risk function of the preliminary test estimator (PTE). Guidelines in choosing appropriate value of nominal sizes of pre-test for appropriate value of size of the PTT subject to the values of the slope can also be investigated in this project.
Non-sample prior information, test of hypothesis, pre-test test, power of a test, sampling distribution
Other Medical and Health Sciences,Statistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Shahjahan Khan
Other Supervisors: Dr Trevor Langlands,
Practical Applications of Machine Vision and Control Theory
Description: Through the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture there are opportunities to identify projects that have practical applications – and the possibility of external funding. An attractive area...
Through the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture there are opportunities to identify projects that have practical applications – and the possibility of external funding. An attractive area is the concept of small autonomous robots, performing tasks such as weeding or planting with the aid of low cost machine vision, exploiting computing platforms such as the Android. Other areas can include mobile applications, perhaps legged, such as the ‘Turtle’ proposed for marine inspection. A technique has recently developed for a fast-model predictive controller, simple enough that it can be embodied in a microcontroller for near-optimal operation. This can be taken further in theory or in a practical application.
Mechatronics, Control theory, computer vision, actuation, applications, software strategies, sensing.
Electrical and Electronic Engineering,Mathematical Physics,Mechanical Engineering,Other Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor John Billingsley
Other Supervisors: Dr Tobias Low, Dr Cheryl McCarthy, Assoc Prof Paul Wen,
Modelling Problem Posing Activities in Teacher Education
Description: Problem solving is one of the most widely used classroom activities in teaching mathematics. At the same time, problem posing activities are quite often neglected and even excluded from teachers’ con...
Problem solving is one of the most widely used classroom activities in teaching mathematics. At the same time, problem posing activities are quite often neglected and even excluded from teachers’ consideration. Moreover, there is a significant mismatch between students’ problem solving and problem posing activities while studying mathematics on any level. In particular, secondary mathematics. One of the reasons is teachers’ problem posing skills are underdeveloped. We analyse problem posing as a theoretical issue in Teacher Education and investigate the factors that encourage teachers to use problem posing activities as part of any learning process in mathematics. We also focus on developing educational materials in a constructivist framework which can contribute to the professional development of mathematics teachers.
Problem solving, problem posing, constructivist framework
Curriculum and Pedagogy,Specialist Studies in Education
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Oleksiy Yevdokimov
Other Supervisors:
OPTIONS FOR IMPROVING THE EFFICIENCY OF KANGAROO HARVESTING
Description: Kangaroos are sustainably harvested from many livestock production areas across Australia. However, increasing costs of harvest (e.g. labour and diesel) means that kangaroo harvesting is often 'not w...
Kangaroos are sustainably harvested from many livestock production areas across Australia. However, increasing costs of harvest (e.g. labour and diesel) means that kangaroo harvesting is often 'not worth the money', forcing harvesters to find alternative employment. Concomitantly, large and increasing populations of kangaroos in some areas compete with livestock for vegetation, causing substantial economic loss to livestock producers. Control of kangaroos to mitigate damage is also undertaken in many areas, and both the harvest and control of kangaroos is highly regulated. There remains an urgent need to identify ways to improve kangaroo harvest efficiency within existing governance and operational constraints. This project involves designing and testing various options for improving the harvest efficiency of kangaroos in western Queensland, including extensive monitoring of harvested kangaroo populations on livestock properties. The purpose of the project is to identify practical techniques that livestock producers can implement to simultaneously reduce kangaroo competition with livestock and improve kangaroo harvest efficiency.
Kangaroo, harvest, livestock production, overgrazing, ground cover, wildlife, animal, fauna
Ecology
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Dr Benjamin Allen
Other Supervisors: Professor Geoff Cockfield,
Voices of Indigenous Educational Leaders: Stories of the Journey
Description: Digital story telling of professional and personal journeys of Indigenous education leaders, particularly school principals. Opportunity for an Indigenous research student to conduct a qualitative st...
Digital story telling of professional and personal journeys of Indigenous education leaders, particularly school principals. Opportunity for an Indigenous research student to conduct a qualitative study in collaboration with a Canadian Indigenous doctoral student working on a parallel project with Athabasca University. This project will involve collection of reflections of educational leaders on their professional journeys to that role and experiences in that role to be shared with Indigenous people in their own communities, nationally and internationally through digital storytelling. The methodology would be culturally appropriate and relevant incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing, narrating and re-living experiences (intercultural aspects) and leading to advice/suggestions educational leaders can offer to aspiring Indigenous educational leaders in addition to documentation of the experiences, knowledge and learning that can be shared and passed on through accumulating/compiling archival resources for incoming and future principals. Collaborative partnership has been established with Athabasca University and A/Prof Debra Hoven and A/Prof Karen Trimmer are presenting on the topic at the Nordic Educational Research Association Conference in March 2016 and are also co-editing a book titled 'Indigenous postgraduate education: Intercultural perspectives' as part of an invited series with IPA (US).
Indigenous, education, leadership, digital story telling
Specialist Studies in Education
College for Indigenous Studies, Education and Research,School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Karen Trimmer
Other Supervisors: Professor Tracey Bunda,
Development and Characterisation of a Modified Digital Camera for UV Reflectance Measurements from Building Materials
Description: Recent research in UV radiation physics has shown that reflection of ultraviolet (UV) radiation of man-made structures can be highly influential on an individual’s UV exposure, with outdoor workers b...
Recent research in UV radiation physics has shown that reflection of ultraviolet (UV) radiation of man-made structures can be highly influential on an individual’s UV exposure, with outdoor workers being particularly prone to increased exposure due to UV reflection from surfaces such as metal. However, whilst measurements have been investigated on a limited array of surface types and have been reported for those surface types, there is no straightforward measurement mechanism that outdoor workers or any other researcher (who has no access to the highly specialised equipment) can use to simply identify a highly UV reflective surface in their immediate vicinity. This project will develop a method for the measurement of UV reflectance that can be used by researchers, and other interested parties to map UV reflectance on a variety of surfaces. This will be achieved by using existing UV sensitive technology such as CMOS sensors (digital cameras). Algorithms will be developed and used to extract reflectance information from the sensors.
modified digital camera, UV reflectance measurements, smartphone technology
Atmospheric Sciences,Optical Physics,Other Physical Sciences
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Joanna Turner
Other Supervisors: Professor Alfio Parisi,
Evaluation of Sustainable Infrastructure
Description: This research will investigate the design and development of sustainable infrastructure, with a view to developing a methodology for assessing the main factors in its development and management. Such...
This research will investigate the design and development of sustainable infrastructure, with a view to developing a methodology for assessing the main factors in its development and management. Such factors might include environmentally sensitive design, use of advanced and sustainable materials, resilience to natural disasters, water sensitive urban design, energy efficient use, and environmentally responsible project management and development. The methodology developed should be capable of forming the basis of a computer model for use by planners and designers to select the best development and life cycle management option that balances the requirements of sustainability and those of major stakeholders
Sustainability, infrastructure, development, management, life cycle, energy
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
Other Supervisors: Dr Nateque Mahmood,
Mobile Robots in Agricultural Environments - Localisation and Navigation, Plant Identification, Picking.
Description: Agricultural environments are generally large and have unpredictable ground surfaces. As such, mobile robots have great difficulty in navigating and localising in such environments. However, these en...
Agricultural environments are generally large and have unpredictable ground surfaces. As such, mobile robots have great difficulty in navigating and localising in such environments. However, these environments also have many properties that are ideal for navigation, such as their uniformity and structure. This research attempts to trade off such advantages to create a robust mobile robot that can operate in agricultural environments. Students will require skills in field work robotics, sensor technologies, and computer algorithms.
Mobile robots, agriculture, navigation, localisation
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Tobias Low
Other Supervisors: Dr Cheryl McCarthy,
Early Warning System for FLood-Risk Prediction with Artificial Intelligence-Based Predictive Models
Description: Floods are insidious hazards with social and environmental problems. They are becoming an ever-increasing challenge for developed and developing nations, yet there is a paucity of predictive models t...
Floods are insidious hazards with social and environmental problems. They are becoming an ever-increasing challenge for developed and developing nations, yet there is a paucity of predictive models to provide lead-time information on flood events. A flood-risk and early detection system allows time for disaster management and decision-making in relation to climate adaptation. In this project, student will develop empirical methods that utilize hourly and daily data for short-term (flash flood) and long-term (inundation) predictions. Mathematical models will use concept of weighted precipitation and accumulated water resources to assess the flood possibility and computational tools for flood management will be developed using artificial intelligence, wavelet transformation and bootstrapping. Flood risk will be assessed on how the remaining quantity of water resources due to heavy rain fluctuates over time and whether operational index to assess the flood danger is able to respond to hydrological conditions. New method will monitor a flood based on antecedent rainfall to allow operational monitoring and decision-making using an index that encapsulates start, peak danger, duration and strength of flood events and time-dependent variability. The project is in priority area of climate risk management.?????
Climate Risk Management; Artificial Intelligence; Mathematical Modelling; Disaster Management; Predictive Modelling; Hydrology; Water Resources
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Atmospheric Sciences,Environmental Science and Management
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors:
Developing an Integrated Climate and Sweet Potato Production Model for PNG and Queensland (a Coffee Model is Also Possible)
Description: The predominance of subsistence agriculture in Papua New Guinea (PNG) highlights the importance of food security. Small holders have generally learnt to manage the localised shortages of food that oc...
The predominance of subsistence agriculture in Papua New Guinea (PNG) highlights the importance of food security. Small holders have generally learnt to manage the localised shortages of food that occur regularly through the use of families and friends and purchasing food from the sale of cash crops such as coffee and potatoes. It is the large scale shortages of food that occur irregularly that threaten human health and survival such as during the 1997 El Nino. Extreme events (droughts and floods) have significant impacts on agricultural production and natural resource management. On a national scale droughts are associated with El Niño's and wet events are associated with La Niña's. There are local and regional differences that are important to understand. During extreme events that cause widespread food shortages the PNG government has relied upon food aid (national and international) and more recently on small holders’ self-reliance to purchase imported food. It is the more remote and isolated rural communities that are most vulnerable because of their poor access to food distribution points and markets to sell produce from cash crops. Sweet potato is the dominant staple food and is therefore the most important crop in PNG. Over 60% of the rural population depend on it as their main food source. About 75% of annual sweet potato production is grown in the highlands. Climatic extremes, particularly high soil moisture, droughts and frosts are among the main constraints to production. Although sweet potato is relatively drought tolerant, excessive wet periods during tuber initiation followed by drought during tuber development significantly reduce tuber production, and the low yields may not be discovered until harvest. Repeated frost also significantly reduces tuber yield. Being a crop grown below ground, the yields of sweet potato are not known until harvest time. A climate integrated sweet potato production model can help predict yields some months in advance which will help with management of the impacts from these extreme events. Smallholders produce about 85% of the coffee grown in PNG making it a valuable cash crop for many villages. It is grown mainly for export and represents ~40% of all agricultural exports. The production of coffee is triggered by natural cycles of dry and wet conditions however extreme wet periods in poorly drained soils have as large a negative impact on production as drought, particularly during cherry ripening and development when large quantities of nutrients and water are required for high yields. A climate integrated model for Robusta coffee in Vietnam has been developed, but there is nothing for Arabica coffee which is the main species grown in PNG. This project will use the potato model in APSIM as the framework and data from Qld and PNG to parameterise a climate driven sweet potato model. Another aspect could be to develop an Arabica coffee model using PNG coffee data.
smallholder agriculture production, food security, managing extreme climate events, modelling
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Atmospheric Sciences
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Roger Stone
Other Supervisors: Mr David Cobon,
Intercostal muscle fatigue
Description: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a global health problem and is predicted to be the third most common cause of death worldwide by 2020. Despite maximal medical therapy with inhaled bro...
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a global health problem and is predicted to be the third most common cause of death worldwide by 2020. Despite maximal medical therapy with inhaled bronchodilators and steroids, COPD patients often have distressing symptoms, poor health status and present frequently to primary care and hospital physicians. Today it is recognised that COPD affects the function of other organs besides the lungs. In particular, dysfunction of the respiratory muscles has been shown. This includes fatigue of the muscles and reduced muscle strength and endurance. The main respiratory muscles are the diaphragm and the intercostals. The majority of studies examining respiratory muscle dysfunction in COPD has focused on the diaphragm, mainly because it is the principle muscle of inspiration. The intercostal muscles, possibly because of their complex anatomical and geometric relationships, have been less intensively studied than the diaphragm, but their role in ventilation is important. The importance of respiratory muscle fatigue during COPD, particularly of the diaphragm, has become well recognized in the last decade. If the diaphragm muscle fails, so does effective ventilation and tissue respiration, leading to morbidity and mortality. However, the diaphragm has proved to be more resistant to developing fatigue than limb muscles in vivo and in vitro. A small fibre size, abundance of capillaries, and a high aerobic oxidative enzyme activity are typical features of diaphragm fibres and give them the resistance to fatigue required by their continuous activity. Whether the intercostal muscles contribute to respiratory muscle fatigue in humans is unknown. However, because of their fibre composition, intercostal muscles they may be less resistant to fatigue. These muscles therefore represent a potential site to improve patients’ level of function and quality of life, in contrast with the largely irreversible impairment of the lungs. According, this projects aims to investigate intercostal muscle fatigue in humans and will test the hypotheses that intercostal muscle fatigue occurs during respiratory exacerbations and during exercise.
respiratory; muscle; exercise; fatigue
Physiology
Centre for Health Sciences Research,School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Dean Mills
Other Supervisors: Dr Ben Hoffman,
Development of Depth of Anaesthesia Monitoring Techniques
Description: The use of clinical signs for assessing depth of anaesthesia (DoA), although universally employed, is notoriously unreliable. Changes in middle latency auditory evoked potentials have been shown to r...
The use of clinical signs for assessing depth of anaesthesia (DoA), although universally employed, is notoriously unreliable. Changes in middle latency auditory evoked potentials have been shown to reflect reliably the level of anaesthesia with a wide range of anaesthesia drugs and to detect awareness. This study is to develop a reliable method to evaluate the depth of anaesthesia to minimize the change of awareness and overdosing.
Depth of Anaesthesia, Graph Theory
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Yan Li
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Paul Wen,
The Ficto-Critical in Speculative Fictions
Description: This project will explore speculative fiction's unique capacity for challenging cultural values such as gender, class, sexuality, and subjectivity through a critically informed discussion of key text...
This project will explore speculative fiction's unique capacity for challenging cultural values such as gender, class, sexuality, and subjectivity through a critically informed discussion of key texts and genres.
literature; speculative fiction; science fiction; weird fiction; horror; fantasist literature; contemporary literature; popular culture; literary theory; literary criticism
Literary Studies
School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Dr Daniel Hourigan
Other Supervisors: Dr Nike Sulway,
Predictive Analytics Using Big Data for Environmental Problems: Developing Models for Drought and Heatwaves Using Nature-Inspired Machine Learning Algorithms
Description: This project will analyse and model big data (of environmental origin) particularly for drought and heatwaves that trigger reduced environmental flows, loss of biodiversity and food insecurity. Quite...
This project will analyse and model big data (of environmental origin) particularly for drought and heatwaves that trigger reduced environmental flows, loss of biodiversity and food insecurity. Quite often, the agricultural industry fails to utilise the relevant input features from atmospheric data when developing drought and heatwave models. Machine learning offers solutions for high-precision modelling as an emerging technology to help discover patterns in natural (geo & hydro-physical) data to develop prototypical models for accurately downscaling drought information for real-life use. Local-scale models are useful for real applications, yet challenging to develop as they require a large number of (atmospheric & ground) inputs from physical and statistical models. This project will develop models for feature selection to find optimal features in input data, and reduce model complexity to improve its efficiency. Students will apply bio-inspired algorithms for modelling heatwaves and drought with applications in agriculture, climate risk and environment.
Big Data; Predictive Models; Predictive analytics; Evolutionary Algorithms; Drought; Heatwave; Agriculture; Environment; Climate Risk Management
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Atmospheric Sciences,Environmental Science and Management
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors:
The Role of the Ocean in Global and Australian Climate Variability
Description: The global scale water masses such as North Atlantic Deep Water, Antarctic Bottom and Antarctic Intermediate Water are the conduit for climatic changes into the deep ocean. Heat is exchanged at the o...
The global scale water masses such as North Atlantic Deep Water, Antarctic Bottom and Antarctic Intermediate Water are the conduit for climatic changes into the deep ocean. Heat is exchanged at the ocean/atmosphere interface; processes such as ocean mixing and deep ocean convection drive this heat into the interior. Measurements from around the globe indicate that the ocean is absorbing most of the extra heat with recent discussions of a ‘pause’ in global warming wrongly ignoring this fact. Climate models are unique tools to investigate current and future ocean circulation and mixing changes. This project will utilise global climate model data to investigate the role of the ocean in climate change further with a particular focus on the Southern Hemisphere. See for further information the following reference: Ribbe, J. 2004. The southern supplier. Nature, 427, 23-24.
Climate change, global warming, Southern Ocean, ocean water masses, ocean circulation,
Atmospheric Sciences,Environmental Science and Management,Oceanography,Other Earth Sciences,Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Joachim Ribbe
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Shahbaz Mushtaq,
EEG Based Brain Activity Decoding For Clinical Instrumentation and Neurological Disorder Early Detection
Description: This proposal focuses on the analysis of several types of EEG signals (such as anaesthetised, sleep and epileptic EEGs), using multi-disciplinary approaches from Computational Intelligence, Brain Mod...
This proposal focuses on the analysis of several types of EEG signals (such as anaesthetised, sleep and epileptic EEGs), using multi-disciplinary approaches from Computational Intelligence, Brain Modelling and Biomedical Research areas. This research will lead to • an intelligent device that can help clinicians administer the appropriate dosages of anaesthetic drugs in real time. • a software tool that can identify sleep stages and patterns of people who have sleep disorders • an effective real-time diagnostic method to predict epilepsy seizures. This proposal tackles important issues in human health. The outcomes of the research will assist the diagnoses and treatment of neurological disorders and diseases, and better clinical practice. It will benefit the community by reducing medical costs and improving the quality of people’s lives.
Electroencephalography (EEG), Artificial Intelligence, Pattern Recognition
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Yan Li
Other Supervisors:
Predictive Inference
Description: Prediction distribution is the basis for many predictive inferences. Unlike the common practice of estimating parameters of a model or performing tests of hypotheses regarding the parameters involved...
Prediction distribution is the basis for many predictive inferences. Unlike the common practice of estimating parameters of a model or performing tests of hypotheses regarding the parameters involved, often the aim of a researcher/practitioner is to predict the value of a (or a set of) future response(s) from a given model. The technique of prediction is used in many real world situations as it has common sense appeal and simple interpretation. The prediction distribution is the probability distribution of one or more future (unobserved) responses, conditional on a set of observed responses from the same model. The method is useful in both univariate and multivariate problems. Predictive inference is possible for models with independent as well as dependent and correlated responses. Bayesian and other approaches are adopted for the purpose of predictive inference. Available methods can handle the conventional normal model and non-normal robust models. Application of predictive inference includes problems in areas such as tolerance regions, model selection, process control, optimisation, perturbation and many others. The customary use of the normal model comes under serious question when the population distribution is symmetric but have heavier tails that the normal distribution. Also, the normal model fails to incorporate dependent but uncorrelated responses. In such cases the multivariate Student-t distribution provides an appropriate model for the population. For such models we can obtain the maximum likelihood estimators of the mean and scale parameters of multivariate Student-t distribution. The model has been used to find appropriate test statistic to test the mean vector. The distributions of the sum of squares and product matrix for the multivariate Student-t model as well as the predictive distribution of future model have been proposed. Similar results for the matrix T and elliptically contoured model are also obtained. Both classical and Bayesian approaches can be applied. Projects in this area will extend this previous work.
Prediction distribution, future response, conditional distribution, Bayesian prediction, tolerance region
Other Medical and Health Sciences,Statistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Shahjahan Khan
Other Supervisors: Dr Trevor Langlands,
Climate and Oceanography of Southeast Queensland
Description: This project is designed to support our long-term activities leading to a better understanding of the climate and physical oceanography of the coast of Southeast Queensland. Previous work includes: i...
This project is designed to support our long-term activities leading to a better understanding of the climate and physical oceanography of the coast of Southeast Queensland. Previous work includes: i) Brieva et al. (2014a) provided a first investigation of ocean upwelling in this region. They found evidence of frequent sporadic 7-8 day events to the southeast of Fraser Island, which appear to be both driven by wind and the East Australian Current. The identified region of upwelling was named The Southeast Fraser Upwelling System. ii) Hervey Bay is situated just to the west of Fraser Island and has recently been documented by Ribbe (2014) as one out of seventeen important large Australian marine estuaries and is a large hypersaline, inverse system. This work has recently contributed to a new Estuarine and Marine Habitat Classification Framework for Queensland introduced by the Department of Environment and Heritage. i) Brieva, D., Ribbe, J., Lemckert, C., 2015. Is the East Australian Current Causing A Marine Ecological Hot Spot and An Important Fisheries near Fraser Island, Australia? Estuarine, Coastal, Shelf Science. 153, 121-134. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2014.12.012; ii) Ribbe, J, 2014. Hervey Bay and Its Estuaries. In: Estuaries of Australia in 2050 and beyond. Springer Publishing. Editor: Eric Wolanski.
East Australian Current, upwelling, estuaries, Hervey Bay, Fraser Island, ocean circulation
Atmospheric Sciences,Environmental Science and Management,Oceanography,Other Earth Sciences,Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Joachim Ribbe
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Shahbaz Mushtaq,
A Data Fusion Algorithm for Site-specific Irrigation and Fertigation Optimisation
Description: A data fusion algorithm will be developed that can determine current and predict future availability and demand for soil-water and nitrogen and fruit load of cotton plants has been developed. This al...
A data fusion algorithm will be developed that can determine current and predict future availability and demand for soil-water and nitrogen and fruit load of cotton plants has been developed. This algorithm ingests information on season progression, weather data and visual plant response captured using remote, vehicle mounted and fixed sensing techniques. A neural-fuzzy model will be developed and integrated with statistic model for irrigation and fertigation optimisation. This model uses the mathematical theory of fuzzy set and neural network training to simulate the process of human reasoning by allowing the computer to behave less precisely and logically than conventional computer method require. The thinking behind this approach is that decision making is not always a matter of black and white or true or false: it often involves gray areas, or “maybes”. Through integration with biophysical crop models these models have potential to be used to enhance autonomous and semi-autonomous decision making within agricultural production systems. The procedure used to develop the model could be applied to any crop/production system.
data fusion, neural-fuzzy model, irrigation and fertigation optimisation
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Crop and Pasture Production
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Dr Tai Nguyen
Other Supervisors: Dr Keith Pembleton,
Great Barrier Reef Environmental Management Review
Description: There are several environmental pressures upon the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), one of Australia's greatest assets, which generates billions of dollars into the economy through tourism. The main stresso...
There are several environmental pressures upon the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), one of Australia's greatest assets, which generates billions of dollars into the economy through tourism. The main stressor is polluted runoff from the various industries located along Australia's north-eastern coastal fringe. Before an effective environmental management plan (EMP) can be put in place, under which various environmental engineering solutions could be envisaged, the nature of the various individual pollutants and the industry from which they emanate needs to be accurately quantified. Much of this work has been carried out, but information is widely dispersed across the white and grey literature. Via a literature review, the information needs to be pulled together in one comprehensive document. Potential funders/collaborators in this project would possibly be the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM), NCEA USQ, and Reef Rescue Phase II.

Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ian Craig
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof David Thorpe,
Cultural Legal Studies in the 21st Century
Description: This project will explore the methods, strategies, and key texts of cultural legal studies in Australia and internationally to elucidate how legal and literary education can benefit insights into con...
This project will explore the methods, strategies, and key texts of cultural legal studies in Australia and internationally to elucidate how legal and literary education can benefit insights into contemporary media and cultural politics.
cultural legal studies; law and humanities; law and literature; jurisprudence; literary theory; literary criticism; comparative literature
Cultural Studies,Law,Literary Studies,Other Law and Legal Studies,Philosophy
School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Dr Daniel Hourigan
Other Supervisors: Dr Kelly McWilliam,
Solar Desalination System
Description: Solar distillation technique has been used for thousands of years. The technique was utilized by Greek mariners and Persian alchemists to produce freshwater or pharmaceutical extracts. Dominant proce...
Solar distillation technique has been used for thousands of years. The technique was utilized by Greek mariners and Persian alchemists to produce freshwater or pharmaceutical extracts. Dominant procedures of desalination are energy intensive and rely on fossil fuels. Nowadays, solar desalination techniques contribute to less than 1% of desalination process. This project aims to improve the efficiency of existing solar desalination techniques using both empirical and computational (CFD) approaches.
Solar energy, desalination, wind energy
Environmental Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ahmad Sharifian-Barforoush
Other Supervisors: Dr Andrew Wandel,
Taking Atomic Theory Into Primary Schools
Description: Having successfully verified the capacity and enthusiasm of Year 3 and 4 students to engage with and learn atomic theory when taught by a specialist science teacher, we are now continuing the project...
Having successfully verified the capacity and enthusiasm of Year 3 and 4 students to engage with and learn atomic theory when taught by a specialist science teacher, we are now continuing the project by seeking to upskill primary teachers to teach the program. This successful project has already attracted a keynote address in USA in 2014, a presentation at AERA in Chicago in 2015 and NARST in Baltimore in 2016. There is considerable scope for the involvement of one or more HDR students.

Curriculum and Pedagogy,Education Systems
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Dr Carole Haeusler
Other Supervisors: Dr Jennifer Donovan,
Evaluating the Risk of Fungicide Resistance in Mungbean Powdery Mildew due to Prophylactic Applications
Description: Mungbean powdery mildew, causal agent Podosphaera xanthii, is a widespread fungal disease of mungbean in Australia. Moderate temperatures (22-26°C) and high relative humidity favour the disease. Grow...
Mungbean powdery mildew, causal agent Podosphaera xanthii, is a widespread fungal disease of mungbean in Australia. Moderate temperatures (22-26°C) and high relative humidity favour the disease. Growers are often concerned about the occurrence of this disease as losses can vary from year to year depending on weather conditions. Currently, research indicates spraying at first sign is an effective tactic, however, many farmers make a prophylactic application with other pesticide applications rather than scouting for the disease development. Fungicide resistance has been reported in this fungus in other countries on other crops. This PhD project will examine the ability of the pathogen to develop fungicide resistance in Australia and help determine if fungicide resistance could become an issue for growers.
Mungbean, powdery mildew, fungal disease, Australia, weather, fungicide resistance
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Adam Sparks
Other Supervisors: Professor Gavin Ash, Professor Levente Kiss,
Investigations in the Theory of Procepts
Description: The theory of procepts was developed by Gray and Tall. The name ‘procept’ has its origin from the dual role as process and concept most mathematical symbols have. For example, a symbol such as 3+2 ca...
The theory of procepts was developed by Gray and Tall. The name ‘procept’ has its origin from the dual role as process and concept most mathematical symbols have. For example, a symbol such as 3+2 can be seen both as a process of addition and a concept of sum. The notion of procept is present throughout mathematics. Gray and Tall noted the peculiar case of the concept of Limit where the potentially infinite process of computing a limit may not have a finite algorithm at all. In this case a procept may exist which has both a process (tending to a limit value) and a concept (of limit), yet there is no procedure to compute the desired result. Many concepts of mathematics still need further investigations in the framework of the theory of procepts and they will be in the focus of our consideration.
Procept, process, concept, mathematical symbols
Curriculum and Pedagogy
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Oleksiy Yevdokimov
Other Supervisors:
Too Old to Breathe? Respiratory Limitations to Exercise in Healthy Ageing
Description: The number of adults aged over 60 years will double in the next half century and unfortunately, even with life-long health, there is a progressive decline in respiratory function with ageing. The res...
The number of adults aged over 60 years will double in the next half century and unfortunately, even with life-long health, there is a progressive decline in respiratory function with ageing. The respiratory muscles become weaker, airways narrower, chest wall stiffer, and the lungs lose their elasticity. These age-related changes may result in an increased incidence on exercise induce laryngeal obstruction (narrowing of the larynx) and exercise induced bronchoconstriction (asthma during exercise). It is also likely these contributes to the increased breathlessness that is observed in older adults and will limit their exercise tolerance. Lifelong exercise is essential for preserving or delaying the onset of functional disability and chronic diseases. Accordingly, this project will investigate respiratory limitations to exercise in healthy ageing. Ultimately, this project will lead to the development of more effective therapies to improve respiratory function and exercise tolerance in older adults, reducing the incidence of functional disability and chronic diseases. The candidate will join a successful team of multi-disciplinary scientists from several institutions, and will work in state-of-the-art laboratories with exceptional core facilities. For informal discussion regarding the project, please contact: dean.mills@usq.edu.au
Ageing; Respiratory; Exercise
Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology,Human Movement and Sports Science
School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Dean Mills
Other Supervisors: Dr Ben Hoffman,
Advanced Statistical and Computational Framework for Solar Energy Modelling with Satellite and Geophysical Data: Application for Renewable Energy Prospectivity Mapping with Machine Learning
Description: Solar energy is a renewable resource to combat climate change with least environmental impact. In Australia, there is growing debate on the adoption of solar energy as a substitute for carbon-based f...
Solar energy is a renewable resource to combat climate change with least environmental impact. In Australia, there is growing debate on the adoption of solar energy as a substitute for carbon-based fuels and solar energy is projected to increase from 7.0 PJ in 2007–08 to 24.0 PJ in 2029–30 with electricity generation from solar power projected to increase from 0.1 TWh in 2007–08 to 4.0 TWh in 2029–30. Due to the correlation between solar radiation and daytime electricity demand, it is envisaged that solar energy has good potential to supply electricity in peak demand time. As Renewable Energy Target advocates that 23.5% of electricity is to be derived from renewables by 2020, incentive to develop scientific techniques to harness solar energy must be explored. This project will apply advanced data-driven models (neural networks, boot-strapping, wavelet transformations and Bayesian framework) combined with satellite and geophysical data to develop models for solar prospectivity mapping. Data from AVHRR, MODIS and other satellites and meteorological measurements will be used to design models for solar energy prediction and uncertainty assessment in models to help design new models for solar energy simulation.
Climate Risk; Renewable Energy; Environmental Models; Solar Energy; Machine Learning; Predictive Modelling
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Atmospheric Sciences,Mechanical Engineering
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors:
Forward Osmosis Technology for Resource Recovery
Description: Typical supernatant from anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge and primary sludge contains 100-200 mg/L COD, 300-400 mg/L ammonia and 80-100 mg/L phosphorus. After dewatering, this supernatan...
Typical supernatant from anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge and primary sludge contains 100-200 mg/L COD, 300-400 mg/L ammonia and 80-100 mg/L phosphorus. After dewatering, this supernatant is normally recycled to the head of the wastewater treatment plant which puts an additional load on the waste activated sludge process. An alternative to this is to concentrate the supernatant using forward osmosis membrane which is a natural process requiring no energy input. An increase in concentration of soluble ammonia and phosphorus by a factor of 10 will facilitate without any doubts their recovery via precipitation as struvite or apatite. Recovery of nitrogen and phosphorus as solid fertilizer is a great concern worldwide as these elements are highly valuable in agriculture
Forward osmosis; resource recovery (nitrogen and phosphorus); Anaerobic digestion; wastewater; bioreactor; membrane; biorefinery; sustainability
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Professor Jochen Bundschuh,
Improving Student Fundamental Understanding of Mathematics
Description: There are three strands to this research: First, is investigating the impact of digital technologies that enhance mathematical understanding. These technologies allow the user to write (and perhaps r...
There are three strands to this research: First, is investigating the impact of digital technologies that enhance mathematical understanding. These technologies allow the user to write (and perhaps record) on a screen. Questions to consider: How does tablet technology assist in the learning and/or teaching of mathematics? Do student produced screencasts improve mathematical understanding? What is the impact of the flipped classroom on student engagement in mathematics? (see research publications to date Galligan, L & Hobohm, C, 2013) Second, is investigating how effective self-testing is in the demonstration of students’ reflective practice and personal numeracy skills and understanding (see research publication to date Galligan, L 2011). Third is to improve teacher knowledge by linking pre-service teachers with the university’s applied mathematicians and specialist educators to develop pre-service teachers’ understanding of mathematics through the context of everyday life in the local region. Initial publication (Galligan & Woolcott 2015) in “Conversations on knowledge for teaching” University of Tasmania: Launceston. (http://conversationsonkft.weebly.com/uploads/1/9/4/1/19412239/l._galligan_engaging_university__community.pdf )
Mathematics education, tablet technology, screencasts, flipped classroom, self-testing, pre-service teachers
Curriculum and Pedagogy,Specialist Studies in Education
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Linda Galligan
Other Supervisors: Dr Oleksiy Yevdokimov,
Artificial Intelligence Applications and Optimisation Techniques for Financial or Stock market Forecasting
Description: Optimisation of stock market prediction is regarded as a challenging task in financial time-series modelling, yet this is really important to optimise the predictions and reduce the uncertainties inv...
Optimisation of stock market prediction is regarded as a challenging task in financial time-series modelling, yet this is really important to optimise the predictions and reduce the uncertainties involved in the movement of the markets and other commodities. Predicting market price is quite difficult as they are a highly non-linear, dynamic problem. Also, the ability to predict the direction and not the exact value of the future stock prices is the most important factor in making money using financial prediction. Furthermore, investors needs to know how to buying or selling decision and the general direction of the stock, and accurate predictions can lead to higher profits. In this project, students will apply artificial neural network algorithms on time-series data to predict stock market, cash or other commodity prices. Students will apply various ‘predictor variables, and develop forecasting models. The integration of neural network models with optimiser tools such as particle swarm optimisation (PSO) or firefly optimiser algorithm (FFA) for optimal performance of artificial intelligence models will lead to more accurate predictive models. The purpose of this project is: • Develop neural network models with carefully selected input variables, • Apply various mathematical and computational tools such as multi-resolution wavelet analysis and empirical mode decomposition algorithms to optimise the performance of neural network models. • Integrate neural network models with optimiser algorithms (such as particle swarm optimisation or firefly optimiser tools). • Provide uncertainty assessment in stock market forecasting using various predictive models. The outcomes of this project will lead to the enhancement of financial modelling to attain more accurate forecasting capability of models. The project is suitable for students with background in mathematics/statistics, finance, economics and business. Student will learn MATLAB as a data analysis and modelling tool. There is potential for advancing their research career, developing good programming related to financial modelling and publication opportunities within the Environmental Modelling and Simulation Research Group.
artificial intelligence; predictive modelling; finance; business; stockmarkets
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Banking, Finance and Investment
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Yan Li,
Animal Monitoring Via Noise Recognition
Description: The objective of this study is to correlate the vocal communication of livestock with their state of welfare. Outcomes of the proposed research: An automatic system for monitoring of livestock to fac...
The objective of this study is to correlate the vocal communication of livestock with their state of welfare. Outcomes of the proposed research: An automatic system for monitoring of livestock to facilitate increased frequency of surveillance while minimizing human labour inputs, with the goal of improving animal welfare. Animal calls have partly evolved as communication signals to indicate some types of “need” and they are relatively easy to record. Hence, it seems to be reasonable to regard vocalizations as easy indicators of an animal’s state of welfare. The dependence of animal vocalizations on wellbeing makes voice recognition a potentially useful tool for judging stress levels in animals. The proposed project seeks to develop an automated noise recognition and analysis system for automatic monitoring of health and welfare of livestock.

Animal Production
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Thomas Banhazi
Other Supervisors: Dr Les Bowtell,
Behaviour and Modelling of Concrete/Masonry Structures Retrofitted With Near-Surface Mounted (NSM) FRP Bars Using Engineering Cementitious Composite (ECC)
Description: Over recent years, the NSM FRP strengthening method has become an attractive alternative to the popular technique of externally bonded FRP plates/sheets. The behaviour of NSM FRP-to-masonry bonded jo...
Over recent years, the NSM FRP strengthening method has become an attractive alternative to the popular technique of externally bonded FRP plates/sheets. The behaviour of NSM FRP-to-masonry bonded joints is more complicated than that of externally bonded FRP-to-masonry as the former depends on many more parameters. The FRP bar may be embedded in an epoxy- or cementitious-based paste, which transfers stresses between the substrate and the bar. The previous testing results indicated that debonding failure was most common due to the brittle behaviour of the filling material which has caused some concerns of the method. The proposed research aimed at using ECC as groove filling material to improve the bond behaviour between FRP bar and the substrate. ECC belongs to the family of high performance fibre reinforced cementitious composites, featuring ultra-high ductility and excellent energy absorption. The project will include experimental testing on bond-slip behaviour of the composite and the testing results can also be used for the calibration of the theoretical. It is expected that a meso-scale finite element (FE) model will be developed.
NSM FRP Bars, retrofitting, masonry structures, ECC, bond behaviour
Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Yan Zhuge
Other Supervisors:
Improving Optimisation Methods for Diverse Business Decision Making
Description: This project involves theoretical improvements of optimisation and ranking methods such as SWARM, TOPSIS, NP, AHP etc. The methods are them tested in practical problem settings in business decision m...
This project involves theoretical improvements of optimisation and ranking methods such as SWARM, TOPSIS, NP, AHP etc. The methods are them tested in practical problem settings in business decision making. The study will involve improving fuzzy techniques as well.
Decision support systems, Fuzzy systems, Ranking and selection, Optimisation,
Information Systems
School of Management and Enterprise
Principal Supervisor: Dr Subrata Chakraborty
Other Supervisors: Professor Raj Gururajan, Dr Abdul Hafeez-Baig, Dr Xujuan Zhou,
Vision-based Condition Score Assessment of Cattle from Aerial Images
Description: Many cattle management operations occur by manual visual inspection of cattle in feedlots and grazing situations. Automation of animal measurements, like condition scoring, that integrates with exist...
Many cattle management operations occur by manual visual inspection of cattle in feedlots and grazing situations. Automation of animal measurements, like condition scoring, that integrates with existing cattle management routines, would enable enhanced management potentially on an individual animal level. This research will develop a proof-of-concept machine vision technology for Remotely Piloted Aircraft (drones) or other camera platforms that automates visual assessment of cattle conditions.
Automation, machine vision, image analysis, crop scouting
Animal Production,Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Cheryl McCarthy
Other Supervisors:
Big Data Analytics For Personalised Healthcare
Description: To succeed in transforming healthcare, many countries are moving toward targeted, personalised healthcare. As a part of healthcare transformation, medical risk assessment aims to prioritise patients ...
To succeed in transforming healthcare, many countries are moving toward targeted, personalised healthcare. As a part of healthcare transformation, medical risk assessment aims to prioritise patients on the basis of their medical status and treatments in order to optimise the deployment of medical resources; targeted monitoring aims to provide personalised monitoring medical services to individual patients. To achieve these tasks, evaluation of massive data in various types is essential in order to access individual patients' medical status and personal demands. However, the current accessibility to patients’ individual medical status and demands is still limited in IT-based healthcare systems. This study aims to breakthrough the problem by exploiting a medical domain ontology to model patients’ behaviour in order to provide decision support to medical doctors and health carers.
Data analytics, big data, health care, personalisation
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Information Systems,Public Health and Health Services
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Xiaohui Tao
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Ji Zhang,
Critical Editions of a Number of Pre-1960 Australian or British Symphonic Works
Description: My supervisory range is fairly widespread around a number of music history topics from 16th century music to concert music of the present. in particular I have expertise in 20th century Australian m...
My supervisory range is fairly widespread around a number of music history topics from 16th century music to concert music of the present. in particular I have expertise in 20th century Australian music and symphonic music from throughout the century.
music history, Pre-1960 Australian works, British Symphonic Works

School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Professor Rhod McNeill
Other Supervisors:
Design of Wind Farms and Optimisation of Wind Power Production with High-precision Forecast Models Using Geophysical, Statistical and Evolutionary Modelling Approach
Description: Clean-energy wind power is a promising renewable energy, pushed by the crisis of fossil fuels and environmental concern. Wind industry is the fastest growing renewable source in many countries and is...
Clean-energy wind power is a promising renewable energy, pushed by the crisis of fossil fuels and environmental concern. Wind industry is the fastest growing renewable source in many countries and is expected to continue to grow rapidly over 2030s although the production of real wind energy production is concentrated in Europe, US, Spain, China and India. Australia has one of the best wind resources that are located in coastal region of western, south-western, southern and south-eastern Australia. Research in onshore and offshore wind farms must be performed, yet, reliable and accurate models are lacking. Wind energy resources for potential wind farm location sites requires integration of high quality monitoring with a micro-scale model of wind flow incorporating the effects of topography, terrain and advanced models that provide reliable information on wind power sustainability for economically-viable future investments. This unique project investigates the design of wind farms and optimisation of power production using high-precision forecasts with geophysical, statistical and evolutionary models. It considers uncertainty assessment and power-failure risk, effect of wakes with power production, atmospheric stability on performance and loading characteristics throughout a typical daily cycle, power production in extreme event and optimum placement of wind system for best performance. Predictive methods include machine learning with analysis of atmospheric data and knowledge of environmental and renewable energy physics.
Climate Risk; Renewable Energy; Environmental Models; Wind Energy; Machine Learning; Predictive Modelling
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Atmospheric Sciences,Mechanical Engineering
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors:
Engineered Bioreactors Technology to Produce Value-Added Products from Aquaculture Wastewater
Description: There is an interesting opportunity to work at USQ to solve issues faced by the Queensland prawn farming industry which is worth several millions. The project aims to improve on farm water remediatio...
There is an interesting opportunity to work at USQ to solve issues faced by the Queensland prawn farming industry which is worth several millions. The project aims to improve on farm water remediation processes and culture pond water quality. In response to incursion of an exotic virus that causes white spot disease, this multimillion dollar aquaculture industry is looking for more efficient ways to reduce reliance on seawater drawn from the environment by implementing novel engineered bioreactors technology to remediate effluent water containing elevated dissolved and particulate waste levels. A PhD candidate is expected to work on a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) to treat ammonia from waste effluent and convert it into bio-floc rich in bacterial nitrogen that could be harvested as new feedstock for growing prawns.
prawn, farming, wastewater, bioreactor, sustainable, remediation
Agricultural Biotechnology,Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering,Fisheries Sciences
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Professor Jochen Bundschuh,
Enzymes Cocktail Production from Food Waste and its Application in the Waste Industry
Description: In this project, we will investigate the production of enzymes from organic waste such as food waste using a filamentous fungi. Tests will involve the fermentation in liquid or solid state cultures i...
In this project, we will investigate the production of enzymes from organic waste such as food waste using a filamentous fungi. Tests will involve the fermentation in liquid or solid state cultures in our laboratory. The mixture of enzymes will be evaluated for their efficiency to hydrolyze organic waste and sludge which will improve current processes. We have all the equipments and resources to carry out this research including: autoclave, 5L Sartorius automated fermenter, GC for gas analysis and HPLC for analysis of chemicals in the fermentation broth.
solid state fermentation; food waste; sustainability; organic waste; enzymes; sludge hydrolysis
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Vasanthadevi Aravinthan,
High resolution yield monitoring
Description: Yield monitoring and yield maps are a significant enabler of precision agriculture. Currently there is a push for wider and wider harvester fronts which reduces the resolution of the yield maps. This...
Yield monitoring and yield maps are a significant enabler of precision agriculture. Currently there is a push for wider and wider harvester fronts which reduces the resolution of the yield maps. This project would develop novel implementations of sensors or machine vision techniques to improve the resolution of current yield monitors
Sensors, harvesting,machine vision, precision agriculture
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Dr Cheryl McCarthy
Other Supervisors: Dr Steven Rees,
Artificial Intelligence Application for Solar Ultraviolet Index Prediction and Health-risk Mitigation
Description: Australia, New Zealand and Europe face challenges in respect to the effect of solar ultraviolet radiation on our body. Therefore, implementing sun-protection to mitigate health impacts of erythemally...
Australia, New Zealand and Europe face challenges in respect to the effect of solar ultraviolet radiation on our body. Therefore, implementing sun-protection to mitigate health impacts of erythemally-effective solar radiation is a strategic initiative of Global Solar UV index (UVI) developed by World Health Organisation. Exposure to erythemally-effective UV that contributes to malignant keratinocyte cancers and other health-risk can be mitigated through decision-support systems, with global solar UV index (UVI) models. Such models can inform real-time sun-protection behaviour recommendations and act as useful tools for such decision-making. In this project, students apply artificial intelligence algorithms to develop high-performance predictive models for simulation of solar ultraviolet index. Students will learn to integrate highly innovative mathematical tools, including wavelet transformation, Bayesian Modern Averaging and neural networks to generate artificial intelligence models. These models will utilise satellite-based dataset including ground-based measured climate products and reanalysis climate datasets. The purpose of this project would be: • Develop neural network models (ANN or ELM), including statistical models (ARIMA, M5 Tree, etc) for forecasting solar radiation at key locations in Australia. • Apply several statistical techniques to investigate uncertainties in predictive models, particularly from the viewpoint of a real-time decision support system for health-risk mitigation. • Evaluate model preciseness with several statistical score metrics (and implementation of multi-resolution analysis techniques e.g. wavelet transformations and empirical mode decompositions). The outcomes of this project will lead to the enhancement of science in respect to more accurate forecasting capability to measured conditions that can enhance real-time exposure advice for public and help mitigate the potential for solar UV-exposure-related disease. The project is suitable for students with background in meteorology, mathematics/statistics, environmental, atmospheric or climate sciences. Student will learn MATLAB as a data analysis and modelling tool. There is potential for collaboration with overseas partners for advancing their research career, developing good programming related to climate sciences and publication opportunities within Environmental Modelling and Simulation Research Group.
solar radiation; artificial intelligence; machine learning; health risk; predictive modelling; applied mathematics; computing; climate; environment
Applied Mathematics,Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Atmospheric Sciences,Public Health and Health Services,Statistics
Centre for Health Sciences Research,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors: Dr Nathan Downs, Professor Alfio Parisi,
Contemporary commercial music (CCM) vocal pedagogy
Description: Supervision is offered for research in the area of CCM vocal pedagogy. Topics might cover issues of technique, studio teaching, studio teacher identity and agency, CCM styles, the history of CCM voca...
Supervision is offered for research in the area of CCM vocal pedagogy. Topics might cover issues of technique, studio teaching, studio teacher identity and agency, CCM styles, the history of CCM vocal pedagogy, specific CCM methods or prominent teachers. Studies will preferably take a qualitative approach.
CCM vocal pedagogy, music
Other Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Andrew Hickey
Other Supervisors: Dr Melissa Forbes,
Applying Social Ecological Approaches to Water Markets
Description: Water trading systems provide an economic framework for the transfer of quantities of water—private ownership of which is endowed by statutory water rights legislation—to enhance/ensure highest value...
Water trading systems provide an economic framework for the transfer of quantities of water—private ownership of which is endowed by statutory water rights legislation—to enhance/ensure highest value end use (i.e. optimisation) of scarce water resources. In this way, water markets commoditise water within an economic production-focused framework. However, water resources have significant value beyond their function in short-term economic activity. In reality, there are many competing demands for water resources and ensuring and allocating sufficient water of acceptable quality for different uses and users is a highly complex task, often subject to value conflicts. Despite this, the environmental and social impacts of water markets are relatively unknown. The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment espoused an ecosystem services framework for investigating the wider socio-ecological values associated with biodiversity and natural systems which has since gained acceptance as a guiding principle in environmental policy making. This research applies an ecosystem services valuation approach to contemporary water markets operating in the Murray Darling Basin, Australia, to better understand the socio-economic-ecological trade-offs and synergies associated with this form of water resource governance. It will investigate the broader socio-ecological values related to water trading to develop an integrated water benefits model of the total transaction system. It will also explore techniques to link bio-physical and socio-economic values, as well how these values change over different spatial, temporal and social organisational scales. Finally, it will critically analyse a range of policy settings (including a range of instruments and interventions) and provide a foundation for improved water resource decision-making and management.
economic framework; water markets; water trade; optimisation of scarce water resources; trade-offs and synergies; socio-economic analysis; ecosystem services
Ecological Applications,Econometrics,Environmental Science and Management
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Shahbaz Mushtaq
Other Supervisors: Dr Kathryn Reardon-Smith,
An Outdoor Playground Optimisation Strategy for the Reduction of Skin Cancer Risk in Queensland Schools
Description: Exposure to natural levels of solar radiation in Queensland schools is an accepted contributor to the development of melanocytic naevi in children, a known risk factor for the development of cutaneou...
Exposure to natural levels of solar radiation in Queensland schools is an accepted contributor to the development of melanocytic naevi in children, a known risk factor for the development of cutaneous melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer in humans. The project will survey school playground duty times across Queensland, Australia’s highest skin cancer prone state, and report on practical optimisation strategies divided specifically by education region to provide local advice on outdoor playground times that will minimise skin cancer risks for both children and school staff. The project is supervised jointly by staff belonging to the USQ Ultraviolet Radiation Research group and the James Cook University Skin Cancer Research Unit.
Skin Cancer, Epidemiology, Schools
Public Health and Health Services,Statistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Nathan Downs
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Simone Harrison, Dr Rachel King, Professor Alfio Parisi,
Current Issues in applied Economics, agriculture-environmental and natural resource economics and su
Description: The broad objective of this project is to engage PhD students in research on the consequences of contemporary socio-economic and environmental problems and issues facing individuals, households, firm...
The broad objective of this project is to engage PhD students in research on the consequences of contemporary socio-economic and environmental problems and issues facing individuals, households, firms, businesses, communities and governments. The research can employ quantitative and/or qualitative methods using both primary and secondary sources of data and information. The thesis can be submitted in either traditional format or in PhD by publication.
Agriculture, environmental and energy economics; sustainability; digital economy; water market and pricing; climate change mitigation and adaptation; regional economic development; applied economics; microeconomic issues; economic growth and productivity; economic policy analysis; social inequality; economic valuation; technology adoption and usage.
Applied Economics,Environmental Science and Management,Information Systems
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Khorshed Alam
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Khorshed Alam,
Data-driven Predictive Analytic Model for Rainfall, Temperature and Drought Simulation with Hybrid Machine Learning-wavelet Transformation-bootstrapping Algorithms
Description: Chunks of environmental signals (classified normally as big data) contain useful features that may be analysed to extract information for climate risk management and agricultural simulation models. A...
Chunks of environmental signals (classified normally as big data) contain useful features that may be analysed to extract information for climate risk management and agricultural simulation models. Agriculture, ecosystems, health and environment are hugely impacted by natural hazards such as floods, drought and heatwaves. Our challenges to embrace climate adaptation, agricultural planning or water management is addressed with efficient and reliable models. This project innovates high-precision modelling of meteorological properties (e.g. rainfall, temperature, drought) to assist decision-makers in designing robust forewarning systems for climate risk prediction and assessment. Artificial Intelligence models are well-placed to analyse big data, particularly time-series of rainfall, temperature and drought. The project develops predictive analytics model using artificial neutral network (ANN), support vector machines (SVM), extreme learning machine (ELM), Bayesian techniques, genetic programming, Gaussian process regressions, etc. and test their application in environmental modelling, agriculture, hydrology and water resources management. The project will develop hybrid models for climate risk modelling in agriculture, climate risk management and environment.?????????
Big Data; Predictive Models; Predictive analytics; Machine Learning Algorithms; Drought; Rainfall; Temperature; Agriculture; Environment; Climate Risk Management; Risk Assessment
Applied Mathematics,Atmospheric Sciences,Environmental Science and Management
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors:
Resistance to Root-lesion Nematode in Australian and International Mungbean Cultivars and Germplasm Sources in Relation to their Molecular Diversity and Geographic Origin
Description: Pratylenchus spp. called root-lesion nematodes are among the most damaging nematode pests of agricultural and horticultural crops world-wide. The species Pratylenchus thornei attacks cereal and legu...
Pratylenchus spp. called root-lesion nematodes are among the most damaging nematode pests of agricultural and horticultural crops world-wide. The species Pratylenchus thornei attacks cereal and legume grain crops (pulses) in Australia and many other countries throughout the world. In Australia it causes substantial yield loss in wheat (greater than 50% in intolerant varieties) and about 20% yield loss in intolerant chickpea varieties. It is also hosted by other grain crops grown in rotation such as barley, fababean, mungbean and soybean. In the northern grain region of Australia, mungbean (Vigna radiata) is the most important summer-grown pulse crop. The susceptibility of mungbean crops to P. thornei limits their benefits (such as nitrogen fixation and fungal disease breaks) to wheat grown in rotation. Despite this limitation to the uptake of mungbean growing by grain farmers there is no active breeding program for resistance to P. thornei in mungbean. The proposed research will start to redress this situation.
Root-lesion nematodes, mungbeans, Australia, international, molecular diversity
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Professor John Thompson
Other Supervisors: Dr Kirsty Owen, Dr Rebecca Zwart,
Suicide Talk: Client, Clinician, and Online Interactions
Description: More Australians die from suicide than road deaths every year. Lifeline estimates that for each person who completes suicide at least 30 people have attempted suicide, and a further 2000 people a da...
More Australians die from suicide than road deaths every year. Lifeline estimates that for each person who completes suicide at least 30 people have attempted suicide, and a further 2000 people a day think about ending their life. Predicting with certainty who will attempt suicide is difficult. What we know is that those who attempt suicide are more likely to have a pre-existing mental health problem than not. Organisations such as Beyond Blue, R U Ok, and Lifeline outline suicide prevention strategies that revolve around talking about suicide with the person you are worried about. However little empirical research has focused on how suicide is actually talked about between clinicians and clients, families, or in online spaces. There are suggestions for what to ask but little guidance on how to ask about what are delicate matters. The aim of this project is to explore how suicide talk is constituted. Depending on the student’s interest this may be between clinicians and clients, amongst families, or in online suicide support forums.
Conversation analysis; Suicide; Online therapy; Internet; Online peer support
Clinical Sciences,Other Medical and Health Sciences,Public Health and Health Services
Centre for Health Sciences Research,School of Psychology and Counselling
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Andrea Lamont-Mills
Other Supervisors: Dr Jan Du Preez,
Cement-Bonded Composites from Cotton Gin Wastes
Description: Cotton gin trash, a by-product of the ginning process, presents a significant waste disposal problem. In fact, it is considered as a hazardous waste in Australia and the potential costs and implicati...
Cotton gin trash, a by-product of the ginning process, presents a significant waste disposal problem. In fact, it is considered as a hazardous waste in Australia and the potential costs and implications in managing them is becoming a major concern. Utilising this waste and converting them into value-added products will help minimise this problem. This project aims at developing eco-friendly building technologies by combining cotton gin wastes with cement to produce cement-bonded composites and evaluate their mechanical properties. This project involves experimental investigation to study the basic characteristics of this sustainable material produced using different manufacturing parameters and numerical simulations to predict their structural behaviour for their potential application in housing and construction.
Cotton gin wastes; composites; materials; cement bonded; housing; construction.
Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Allan Manalo
Other Supervisors: Professor Thiru Aravinthan, Assoc Prof Guangnan Chen,
Behaviour of Culverts During Extreme Flood Events
Description: After many years of service and ongoing deterioration, infrastructure culvert assets require timely and effective maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement to reduce the number of failures and incre...
After many years of service and ongoing deterioration, infrastructure culvert assets require timely and effective maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement to reduce the number of failures and increase their performance. Damage to the critical road infrastructures such as bridges, floodway's and culverts hinders the activities during a flood event and in the recovery stage of it too. USQ is investigating the methods to improve the resilience of road structures subjected to extreme flood events. It is aligned with a national research centre named “Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC)” (researchers-RMIT, University of Melbourne and industry partners- Queensland Transport Main Roads, VicRoads, Road and Maritime Services (NSW), Western Australia MainRoads, Lockyer Valley Regional Council). Culverts are one of the road structures that USQ is working on. This research project aims to investigate the structural design aspect of the culverts although at the moment it is governed by the hydraulic aspect.
Road structures; culverts; design; flood; resilience
Civil Engineering,Engineering Design,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Weena Lokuge
Other Supervisors: Professor Karu Karunasena,
Behaviour of Seawater-sand Sea Concrete Structures Reinforced with GFRP Bars
Description: Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites bar has gained considerable worldwide interest and growing acceptance in the construction industry as internal reinforcement in concrete structures. The use ...
Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites bar has gained considerable worldwide interest and growing acceptance in the construction industry as internal reinforcement in concrete structures. The use of FRP bar is particularly attractive for structures that operate in highly aggressive environments near coastlines and in mining infrastructures where corrosion of steel reinforcing bar is a major problem. At the same time, the use of seawater and sea-sand has attracted attention in producing concrete due to material savings and scarcity of potable water. This research aims at investigating the structural performance and durability of concrete structures utilising seawater and sea-sand reinforced with FRP bars and addressing the key issues associated with their application for their widespread acceptance and use.
civil, materials, composites, concrete, seawater, sea-sand, bars, durability, structures
Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Allan Manalo
Other Supervisors: Professor Thiru Aravinthan,
Design inexpensive, abundant, low-toxic and high-efficiency thermoelectric nanomaterials
Description: Thermoelectric materials directly convert thermal energy into electrical energy, offering a green and sustainable solution for the global energy dilemma. This project aims to develop inexpensive, abu...
Thermoelectric materials directly convert thermal energy into electrical energy, offering a green and sustainable solution for the global energy dilemma. This project aims to develop inexpensive, abundant, and low-toxic metal selenide nanomaterials for high-efficiency energy conversion using novel industry-level approach, coupled with nanostructure and band engineering strategies. The key breakthrough is to design high performance thermoelectric nanomaterials with engineered chemistry and unique morphology for new generation thermoelectrics. The expected outcomes of this project will lead to an innovative technology for harvesting electricity from waste heat or sun light, which will place Australia at the forefront of energy technologies.
Thermoelectric; power generations; nanostructure and band engineering strategies
Environmental Engineering,Materials Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Centre for Future Materials
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Zhigang Chen
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang,
Machine Learning Based Statistical Methods For Object-Based Imagery and Lidar Data Analysis and Classification
Description: Recently, rapid developments in remote sensing technologies have provided new ways of solving conventional problems. Advanced new remote sensing technologies and an urgent need to respond to some imp...
Recently, rapid developments in remote sensing technologies have provided new ways of solving conventional problems. Advanced new remote sensing technologies and an urgent need to respond to some important environment problems have inspired researchers to develop and test more reliable approaches and to discover new knowledge for improvement of the applications of these new technologies. Traditional methods for forest classification were based either on the interpretation of aerial photographs or field work. These methods are labour intensive and time consuming. In past decades, remotely sensed data have been a valuable source of information in forest characterisation and classification. For example, high spatial resolution satellite imagery can be used to capture data relating to horizontal forest structure. However, it is unable to directly describe vertical forest structure. LiDAR, on the other hand, is able to describe the forest structure in three dimensions. This project aims to integrate the LiDAR data and satellite imagery data, along with the usage of object-based image analysis (OBIA) and machine learning based classifiers such as decision trees, random forests and support vector machines (SVMs) to improve the characterisation and classification of forest communities.
LiDAR, Laser scanning, GIS, Remote sensing, Spatial science, Object-based image analysis, Image classification, Statistics, Machine learning, Support vector machines, Environment, Forest
Environmental Science and Management,Geomatic Engineering,Statistics
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zhenyu Zhang
Other Supervisors: Dr Xiaoye Liu,
Coffee Crop Production Model Integrated with Advanced Seasonal Climate Forecast System and Agronomic Practices
Description: Coffee is one of the most important commodity in the international agricultural trade, playing a crucial role in the economy of several Asian, African, and American countries. The total world product...
Coffee is one of the most important commodity in the international agricultural trade, playing a crucial role in the economy of several Asian, African, and American countries. The total world production was estimated to more than 143 million 60-kg bags of green coffee beans in 2014/2015, of which 80% were exported. The coffee industry is significantly influenced by seasonal climate variations, water shortages, and extreme climatic events, especially drought. Cropping systems and management practices (e.g., high input monocultures, natural agroforestry associations, soil conservation practices, irrigation, etc.) also affect the year-to-year variation of coffee production. Moreover, biotic stresses induced by pest and diseases can alter the productivity over several growing seasons. Indeed, some parasites can adapt more quickly to climate change than the perennial host plants and spread into new habitats, causing noticeable yield losses in years of outbreaks if not controlled. Given the expected increase in global coffee demand and the potential adverse effects of projected climate variability, the success of coffee industry depends heavily on minimising the risks along the supply chain and capitalising on potential opportunities. Advances in seasonal climate forecasts, when integrated with crop production systems, can greatly improve industry preparedness and productivity. Current and expected impacts on Robusta production in vulnerable producing countries need to be assessed and available climate change data and scenarios need to be analysed in order to develop impact scenarios for the coffee sector and support adaptation strategies to changing climate conditions. A prototype integrated modelling approach for Robusta coffee yield forecasting based on a biophysical coffee growth model has been developed by the International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (ICACS), USQ, with promising preliminary results. This research will investigate further improvement of the prototype integrated modelling approach through the embedding of crop management modules under various climate scenarios. The reliability and robustness of the integrated model across different regions in Vietnam and Indonesia also will be assessed for its operationality in changing climate conditions. Hence, it will provide a foundation and add to the knowledge for improved climate risks management in coffee industry.

Crop and Pasture Production
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Shahbaz Mushtaq
Other Supervisors: Dr Louis Kouadio, Professor Roger Stone,
Evaluation of the Damaging UV Exposures Under Cloudy Skies
Description: The amount and the type of cloud cover changes the damaging UV exposures from those predicted by the UV index. This project will develop a model to predict the damaging UV exposures for different con...
The amount and the type of cloud cover changes the damaging UV exposures from those predicted by the UV index. This project will develop a model to predict the damaging UV exposures for different conditions of cloud cover. The project will involve the analysis of a year of cloud data, damaging UV irradiances and global solar irradiances measured at each 10 minute interval of the day. The project will investigate the influence of the percentage of sky covered by cloud on the UV irradiance, the influence of the type of cloud on the UV irradiance and will establish a model to investigate the relationship between the global UV irradiance and the amount and type of cloud cover. The results will be tested to assess the validity of the model for the prediction of damaging UV exposures under different cloud conditions. This project will directly address a lack of scientific knowledge on the complex influence of cloud cover on the biologically damaging UV.
UV, cloud, erythema, skin cancer, UVA, Physics
Other Physical Sciences
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Alfio Parisi
Other Supervisors: Dr Nathan Downs,
Self Care and Health Protective Behaviour Among Clinicians
Description: This project would utilise social psychological and social cognitive models of health behaviour to identify and improve self-care and well being among psychologists, nurses and other allied health an...
This project would utilise social psychological and social cognitive models of health behaviour to identify and improve self-care and well being among psychologists, nurses and other allied health and medical clinicians. This project will seek to understand what modifiable factors contribute to improved coping with work demands in clinical roles, and improved training.
Clinician well being, self care, psychology, nursing, allied health, health protective behaviours
Nursing,Other Medical and Health Sciences,Psychology
School of Health and Wellbeing,School of Nursing and Midwifery,School of Psychology and Counselling
Principal Supervisor: Dr Amy Mullens
Other Supervisors:
Farming and the risk of melanoma
Description: In rural communities where access to preventive and therapeutic services for skin cancer is equivalent, farmers have nevertheless been identified as a group at greater risk of skin cancer. Working ou...
In rural communities where access to preventive and therapeutic services for skin cancer is equivalent, farmers have nevertheless been identified as a group at greater risk of skin cancer. Working outdoors for many years, many hours, on a daily basis is considered as the main reason for this increased risk among farmers. However, there is limited epidemiological evidence presented in previous research to confirm this increased risk of skin cancer among farmers. The proposed study will collect epidemiological and clinical data needed to substantiate the need for better screening, health promotion and management of melanoma in rural farming populations.
Skin cancer, Epidemiology
Public Health and Health Services
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Dr Janani Pinidiyapathirage
Other Supervisors:
Use of Porous Material To Contain Combustions
Description: Previous studies indicate the significant impact of porous material in improving combustion efficiency, reducing heat waste, and containing particles generated during combustion. This study aims to a...
Previous studies indicate the significant impact of porous material in improving combustion efficiency, reducing heat waste, and containing particles generated during combustion. This study aims to assess some specific applications of porous material using an empirical approach.
combustion efficiency, reducing heat waste,
Chemical Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ahmad Sharifian-Barforoush
Other Supervisors: Dr Andrew Wandel,
Auto-Reconstruction of Realistic Head Modelling of EEG
Description: The objective of this project is to reconstruct a geometry model (3D) of the head from Magnetic Resonance Images (MRI) or other brain images. This work is a part of a wide research program that aims ...
The objective of this project is to reconstruct a geometry model (3D) of the head from Magnetic Resonance Images (MRI) or other brain images. This work is a part of a wide research program that aims to develop better diagnostic tools for predicting the electroencephalograph (EEG) signal at any point on the scalp as a function of the source locations and blood flow within the cortex. It is envisioned that this will help to achieve a better understanding of the structure and function of the brain.
Head Modelling, Electroencephalograph (EEG)
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Yan Li
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Paul Wen,
Family Income and Child Cognitive, Behavioural and Health Outcomes: the Possible Pathways
Description: Understanding the origin of health and development deficits of low-income children is not only important for the scholarship of knowledge, but it is also vital for informing cost efficient policies t...
Understanding the origin of health and development deficits of low-income children is not only important for the scholarship of knowledge, but it is also vital for informing cost efficient policies to improve outcomes for these children. There is a clear policy debate whether we should target direct income transfers to the family or whether we should instead target the factors that may mediate the relationship between income and child outcome. The broad aim of this project is to provide new policy-relevant research focussing on the role of income in determining children’s cognitive, behavioural and health outcomes and empirically investigating the routes through which income affects child outcomes. This project will examine this association both in cross section approach and in longitudinal dimension using fixed effects and random effects approach to account the potential endogeneity of income. This project can be conducted using either Australian data or overseas data.
Family income, Child cognitive and non-cognitive development, Health inequalities, Panel data
Applied Economics,Public Health and Health Services
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Centre for Health Sciences Research,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Dr Rasheda Khanam
Other Supervisors: Dr Enamul Kabir,
Studies in 20th Century Symphonic Music
Description: My supervisory range is fairly widespread around a number of music history topics from 16th century music to concert music of the present. in particular I have expertise in 20th century Australian m...
My supervisory range is fairly widespread around a number of music history topics from 16th century music to concert music of the present. in particular I have expertise in 20th century Australian music and symphonic music from throughout the century.
20th Century Symphonic Music

School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Professor Rhod McNeill
Other Supervisors:
Nursing students’ perceptions of evidence-based practice approaches during clinical placements
Description: During their undergraduate education, nursing students begin to develop a sound knowledge and skills base that prepares then to engage in evidence-based practice as future health professionals. Durin...
During their undergraduate education, nursing students begin to develop a sound knowledge and skills base that prepares then to engage in evidence-based practice as future health professionals. During clinical placements, students are provided with the opportunity to observe ‘real world’ practices of registered nurses. This study will explore the perceptions of nursing students as to the engagement of evidence-based practice of registered nurses.
evidence-based practice, nursing
Nursing
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Principal Supervisor: Dr Lisa Beccaria
Other Supervisors: Dr Andy Davies,
Sentiment Analysis in Social Media
Description: Text mining technology is applied to analyse social media data to find public sentiment towards various social and personal issues such as election results prediction, cancer management etc.
Text mining technology is applied to analyse social media data to find public sentiment towards various social and personal issues such as election results prediction, cancer management etc.
text mining, data analysis, text mining
Information Systems
School of Management and Enterprise
Principal Supervisor: Dr Xujuan Zhou
Other Supervisors: Dr Subrata Chakraborty, Professor Raj Gururajan, Dr Abdul Hafeez-Baig,
An Economic Cost-Benefit Analyses of Cluster Fencing in Livestock Production Lands
Description: Substantial private and public investments have been made into constructing pest-proof netting fences (‘cluster fences’) around multiple grazing properties in western Queensland. Effective control of...
Substantial private and public investments have been made into constructing pest-proof netting fences (‘cluster fences’) around multiple grazing properties in western Queensland. Effective control of many vertebrate pests (e.g. wild dogs, kangaroos, feral pigs and feral goats) is now possible across large areas, offering widespread and substantial benefits to agriculture and the environment. Broad-scale monitoring of these investments is limited to recording livestock production, pest control activity and qualitative environmental assessments. However, there has been only limited assessment of the economic costs and benefits of these investments. Using a combination of empirical data and modelling, this project seeks to quantify the economic costs and benefits of cluster fencing to livestock producers, livestock industries, and local, state and Commonwealth governments.
Livestock production, sheep, wool, cattle, beef, economics, modelling, agriculture, agribusiness, regional development
Animal Production,Applied Economics,Banking, Finance and Investment,Other Economics
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Dr Benjamin Allen
Other Supervisors: Professor Geoff Cockfield,
Improving the Waste Activated Sludge Process by Combining Moving Bed Bioreactor and Membrane Bioreactor Technology Using Microbes Immobilization Techniques
Description: Raw sewage has been treated by the waste activated sludge process for a hundred years. Due to increasing population and more stringent regulation regarding effluent quality, membranes have been intro...
Raw sewage has been treated by the waste activated sludge process for a hundred years. Due to increasing population and more stringent regulation regarding effluent quality, membranes have been introduced in the process to uncouple hydraulic and solid retention times. The main problem remains membrane fouling which requires regular cleaning. This is due to the high Mixed Liquor Suspended Solids (MLSS) that these membrane bioreactor operate at which results in a cake layer on the membrane as well as soluble colloids that clog the membrane pores. In this project, we will investigate the use of a baffled bioreactor to keep the sludge in the upstream compartments to achieve low solids concentration in the membrane compartment. Further improvement will be studied by using plastic biocarriers and powdered activated carbon (PAC) creating an hybrid baffled membrane bioreactor with biomass immobilization using biocarriers and PAC.
waste activated sludge, moving bed bioreactor, membrane bioreactor, aerobic wastewater treatment, biocarriers, powdered activated carbon
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Vasanthadevi Aravinthan,
Cloud Computing Security and Privacy
Description: This research will address the concerns when individuals and organisations use the cloud services.
This research will address the concerns when individuals and organisations use the cloud services.
Cloud Computing
Information Systems
School of Management and Enterprise
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Jianming Yong
Other Supervisors:
Harnessing Energy From Waste
Description: Fossil fuels are becoming more expensive, less available and environmentally disreputable. Hydrogen is promising energy alternative to non-renewable fossil fuels. It is green and clean energy since i...
Fossil fuels are becoming more expensive, less available and environmentally disreputable. Hydrogen is promising energy alternative to non-renewable fossil fuels. It is green and clean energy since it produces only water as a by-product when burnt. Bio-hydrogen production from different types of organic wastes is gaining increasing attention recently. However, hydrogen producing potential of different agricultural wastes is yet to be explored fully. In Australia, we produce tons of waste, which could be converted to potential energy. This research aims to explore the potential of harnessing bio-hydrogen from different agricultural wastes using anaerobic fermentation.
Harnessing energy, Biohydrogen. Agricultural wastes
Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Vasanthadevi Aravinthan
Other Supervisors: Dr Antoine Trzcinski,
Mainstream Anaerobic Treatment of Municipal Wastewater Using a Hybrid Baffled Membrane Bioreactor
Description: This project aims to investigate the combination of the anaerobic baffled reactor and the submerged anaerobic membrane bioreactor to treat domestic wastewater. By combining both types of reactors and...
This project aims to investigate the combination of the anaerobic baffled reactor and the submerged anaerobic membrane bioreactor to treat domestic wastewater. By combining both types of reactors and their advantages it is expected that synergistic effects would result in better performance and concurrent energy production. The project aims to investigate and compare the use of microfiltration membrane and forward osmosis membrane.
Anaerobic digestion; wastewater; bioreactor; membrane; energy production; biofuels; biorefinery; green energy; sustainability
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Vasanthadevi Aravinthan,
Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Business Cycle
Description: To further evaluate the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions – particularly carbon dioxide – and the phases of the business cycle. This study would be quantitative in nature requiring the ca...
To further evaluate the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions – particularly carbon dioxide – and the phases of the business cycle. This study would be quantitative in nature requiring the candidate to be well skilled in advanced econometric techniques – such as cointegration analysis and error correction modelling, as well as the technique of decomposition analysis – and would extend existing published work by the Principal Supervisor (see, for example, Applied Energy, 2015).
Greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide, business cycle phases, cointegration analysis, decomposition analysis, error correction modelling.
Applied Economics,Econometrics
School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Professor Allan Layton
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Khorshed Alam, Mr Md Shahiduzzaman,
How do Clinical Facilitators Support the Development of Evidence-Based Practice of Nursing Students During Their Clinical Placement?
Description: Clinical facilitators play a critical role in the learning of students during their clinical placement. They often act as role models themselves, as well as helping to decode and contextualise the he...
Clinical facilitators play a critical role in the learning of students during their clinical placement. They often act as role models themselves, as well as helping to decode and contextualise the health care context helping to bridge the theory practice gap. This explores how clinical facilitators engage in dialogue with students about evidence-based practice within clinical settings.
evidence-based practice, nursing, clinical facilitation
Nursing
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Principal Supervisor: Dr Lisa Beccaria
Other Supervisors: Dr Andy Davies,
Design of Asphalt Overlay for Concrete Pavements
Description: It is known that concrete pavements can last a long time if designed and constructed properly. However, any concrete pavement will eventually lose its serviceability and for that reason rehabilitatio...
It is known that concrete pavements can last a long time if designed and constructed properly. However, any concrete pavement will eventually lose its serviceability and for that reason rehabilitation or reconstruction may be needed. While slab replacement is possible, the cost implications and various technical issues may render this option impractical. In this case, the use of an asphalt overlay over the existing concrete pavement may offer an advantage. However, often the application of asphalt overlay does not result in a lasting solution due to the development of reflective cracking, delamination and other defects of the overlay. This research project attempts to study the critical design requirements for providing a durable asphalt overlays on top of cracked concrete pavements. A three-dimensional finite element model will be built using the computer program ABAQUS to analyse the dynamic response of a concrete pavement structure with an asphalt overlay under moving loads. A 3D finite-element program EVERFE will also be used as a benchmarking tool. Factors such as pavement configurations, loading conditions, material characteristics, subgrade support, pavement deflection and environmental factors will be considered in the research.
Concrete pavement, asphalt overlay, 3D finite element, moving wheel loads, reflective cracking
Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Andreas Nataatmadja
Other Supervisors: Professor Karu Karunasena,
Airborne LiDAR Data for High Quality DEM Generation and Applications
Description: There is an increasing demand for national and regional scale elevation data for use in environmental modelling and spatial analysis to support environmental policy development and implementation. Di...
There is an increasing demand for national and regional scale elevation data for use in environmental modelling and spatial analysis to support environmental policy development and implementation. Digital elevation data and derived products such as digital elevation models (DEM) are important components in national and regional spatial data infrastructure. To support sustainable development and resource management at a catchment scale, the improvement and update of existing DEMs or, alternatively, the development of a new high-accuracy and high-resolution DEM has been identified as a priority by many catchment management authorities. Recently, it has been shown that the deployment of airborne LiDAR (light detection and ranging) systems offers a way to acquire high-density and high-accuracy terrain data. LiDAR data promise to become one of the major sources of digital terrain data, and may become the primary choice for the updating of catchment-scale DEMs. The DEM requirements at catchment scale are diverse and refer to many identified natural resource issues, including drainage systems, groundwater, lakes and wetlands, water quality, landslides, salinity, and biodiversity. The overall objective of this research is to investigate the ways of processing the airborne LiDAR data for high quality DEM generation in terms of both accuracy and efficiency and explore the applications of LiDAR data at catchment scale.
GIS, Remote Sencing, Spatial Science, LiDAR, Digital Elevation Model, DEM, Digital Terrain Model, DTM, Environmental Management, Natural Resources
Environmental Science and Management,Geomatic Engineering,Other Environmental Sciences
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Xiaoye Liu
Other Supervisors: Dr Zhenyu Zhang,
Sustainable Hybrid Composite Sandwich Wall Panel With Natural Fibre Composites As Intermediate Layer
Description: Providing accommodation in a large scale at relatively affordable price has always been a challenging task. The proposed research is aimed at developing a new type of hybrid composite sandwich wall p...
Providing accommodation in a large scale at relatively affordable price has always been a challenging task. The proposed research is aimed at developing a new type of hybrid composite sandwich wall panel that might be manufactured as modular panelised system. The sustainable hybrid concept will be considered where an intermediate layer made from natural fibres composites (NFC) laminate will be introduced. Natural fibres are a major renewable resource material throughout the world specifically in the tropics. The research work will be focused on four main stages: 1. An investigation of the mechanical properties of a few different types of natural fibre composites that particularly prepared using vacuum bagging method. 2. An examination of structural behaviour of the hybrid sandwich panels under in-plane shear and out-of-plane bending tests. 3. Developing theoretical models to predict the behaviour of the developed hybrid sandwich panels. 4. A numerical modelling to predict the behaviour of the hybrid sandwich panels. Verification of the model and parametric studies.
Sandwich panel, natural fibres, in-plane shear, hybrid composite, wall panels.
Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Yan Zhuge
Other Supervisors:
Knowledge and Expertise Representation: Moving from Thought Leader to Thought Cataliser
Description: With the now ubiquitous use of social media, discipline experts (academics/professionals) are learning new ways to communicate their knowledge and to stay prominent in their fields. For the lucky one...
With the now ubiquitous use of social media, discipline experts (academics/professionals) are learning new ways to communicate their knowledge and to stay prominent in their fields. For the lucky one’s others may be employed to do this for them, but for emerging experts, it is unlikely they have this luxury. It is a relatively new field, to understand the advantages and implications of representing oneself in new and different ways, particularly with the increasing range of social media tools. This study will look to quantify how discipline experts are using these tools, firstly to create holistic profiles of themselves as ‘thought leaders’. Secondly, and possibly more importantly, how they link this with more traditional research outlets to promote one’s profile as a ‘thought catalyzer’. That is, a knowledge leader who is not working in isolation, but is fully engaging in their community of scholars to contribute to their discipline more broadly.
Social media, representation, communication, thought leadership, emerging practice, Knowledge representation, Educational leadership, technology
Linguistics,Sociology,Specialist Studies in Education
School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Michael Sankey
Other Supervisors:
Benchmarking Asset Management Capability
Description: The proposed research aims to deliver actionable knowledge about developing a culture of best practice for assessing and ascertaining the state of managing assets of public, private and community sec...
The proposed research aims to deliver actionable knowledge about developing a culture of best practice for assessing and ascertaining the state of managing assets of public, private and community sectors. Two of the key objectives of the proposed research are to a) Explore the level of capability maturity of asset management within private, public and community sectors towards understanding and building asset management capability benchmark b) Inform future asset management policies and strategies across different sectors in the context of managing assets. The likely benefit of the research is that asset service organisations will be able to develop a clear image about the landscape of best practiced strategic asset management process areas, assess capability for each process area and their practices; and understand target capability level.
Maturity model, asset service organisation, process areas, infrastructure assets, best practice.
Interdisciplinary Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Nateque Mahmood
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof David Thorpe,
Diabetes self-management: psychological factors and self-protective behaviours
Description: This project will provide an initial exploration of psychological factors which contribute to self-management among people living with type 2 diabetes in the West Moreton and Darling Downs regions. ...
This project will provide an initial exploration of psychological factors which contribute to self-management among people living with type 2 diabetes in the West Moreton and Darling Downs regions. Utilising established socio-cognitive and social-psychological models of health and illness, this project will explore enablers and barriers to improved health behaviours (e.g., diet, exercise) and how modifiable risk factors impact upon health outcomes, in regional and rural settings. Socio-cultural and demographic features associated with greater health disparities will also be explored; as well as implications for improving health promotion, self-management and health outcomes.
diabetes, psychology, self-management, models of care, behaviour
Psychology,Public Health and Health Services
Centre for Health Sciences Research,Institute for Resilient Regions
Principal Supervisor: Dr Amy Mullens
Other Supervisors:
Applied economics and policy issues
Description: The broad objective of this project is to engage PhD students in research on the consequences of contemporary economic problems and issues facing individuals, households, firms, businesses, communiti...
The broad objective of this project is to engage PhD students in research on the consequences of contemporary economic problems and issues facing individuals, households, firms, businesses, communities and governments. We are interested in both theoretical, empirical and applied research with an emphasis on policy issues within local, regional, national and international contexts. Research proposals are invited across a broad range of applied economic issues concerned with innovation, productivity, competitiveness, growth, and health, agriculture, environmental and energy economics. The scope of research is open to a variety of methodological approaches ranging from case studies to econometric exercises with sound theoretical modelling and empirical evidence in both longitudinal and cross-sectional settings. The research can employ quantitative and/or qualitative methods using both primary and secondary sources of data and information. The thesis can be written in either traditional format or in PhD by publication. The following is a list of indicative, but not exhaustive, broad topic areas on which PhD research proposals are invited: * Agricultural, environmental and resource economics * Sustainable agriculture and development * Small and medium enterprises * Business economics * Economics of energy, water, climate and natural resources * Resource pricing and the valuation of environmental goods; * Cost-benefit and cost effectiveness analysis * Economic development * Digital economy, technological change and growth * Broadband internet and socio-economic impacts * Health economics and public Policy * Economics of innovation, productivity and growth
Applied economics, Economics, Environmental economics
Applied Economics,Communications Technologies,Demography,Ecological Applications,Economic Theory,Environmental Science and Management,Other Economics
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Khorshed Alam
Other Supervisors:
Terrestrial Laser Scanning For Building Information Model (BIM) Development and Application
Description: Building information model (BIM) provides detailed information on building components, geometry, spatial relationships, and semantic properties in three-dimension (3D) space. BIM helps understand geo...
Building information model (BIM) provides detailed information on building components, geometry, spatial relationships, and semantic properties in three-dimension (3D) space. BIM helps understand geometric and semantic properties of buildings and provides the basis for a variety of functional analyses and applications such as facility management and maintenance, heritage (archaeology and architecture) protection, building deformation monitoring, town planning and decision support. The key aspect of building information modelling is to use an efficient way to obtain 3D building data for detailed description of building structure. Terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) offers the capability of collecting high-density and high-accuracy 3D point cloud. Recently, it has been realised that the TLS has the potential for building information modelling. However, the applications of TLS in BIM have not been extensively tested. Moreover, the efficient ways and algorithms for extracting effective building structure information from large volume of laser scanning data have not been developed. Therefore, this research project aims to develop new ways and algorithms to extract object-based building geometric/structural information from laser scanning point cloud data and test their applications in building information modellings.
Terrestrial laser scanning, Laser scanner, GIS, Remote sensing, 3D building modelling, Building information modelling, BIM, Building structure, Point cloud, 3D cadastre,
Geomatic Engineering,Other Built Environment and Design,Other Environmental Sciences
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zhenyu Zhang
Other Supervisors: Dr Xiaoye Liu,
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for Sustainable Development of Agriculture Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for Sustainable Development of Agriculture
Description: The environmental impacts and the sustainable development of agricultural activities have been identified as a significant issue. At present, the greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector ...
The environmental impacts and the sustainable development of agricultural activities have been identified as a significant issue. At present, the greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector (excluding land-clearing) represents 16% of Australia’s total national emissions. There are growing pressures from the community to significantly improve the management practices and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and water uses from the farming sector. This project will use life cycle assessment (LCA) method to analyse and quantify the environmental impacts of agriculture, thus contributing to a more sustainable future.
Grain, energy, bio-energy
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Guangnan Chen
Other Supervisors:
Model of Care for People in Darling Down Region with Diabetes
Description: Description of the clinical models to be evaluated: This innovation is based on a stepped-up approach for diabetes care. There are two main aims: A) Reduce the demand on specialist and emergency se...
Description of the clinical models to be evaluated: This innovation is based on a stepped-up approach for diabetes care. There are two main aims: A) Reduce the demand on specialist and emergency services by up-skilling primary health care to manage their patients within the community; and B) Improve patient health literacy and self-management to "close the gap" and improve health outcomes. The model incorporates four components: 1) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) Care Coordination Virtual Team; 2) GP-Led Diabetes Care; 3) QAS Referral Pathway; and 4) Home Monitoring. While individual components of this project have been trialled elsewhere, it is believed that this integrated model, covering low to high need diabetics, is the first of its kind to be undertaken. This initiative (applied and translational health services research) is innovative in that it keeps people with diabetes within the local community and provides wrap around services for the most vulnerable population groups (complex needs and ATSI clients).
Diabetes, models of care, stepped care, Indigenous, integration
Psychology,Public Health and Health Services
School of Psychology and Counselling
Principal Supervisor: Dr Amy Mullens
Other Supervisors: Professor Tony Machin,
Issues in Applied Economics including International Trade and Business, Environment and Development Economics
Description: Students are being encouraged to conduct research on any important unexplored issues of the above mentioned fields that are contemporary and relevant for their own country or region. The research top...
Students are being encouraged to conduct research on any important unexplored issues of the above mentioned fields that are contemporary and relevant for their own country or region. The research topic may be related to Australia or other regions as well. Primary and secondary data and materials can be used, and quantitative or qualitative research method or the combination of both methods can be applied. The chosen topic should explore the causes of problems and provide solution strategies to benefit the people, society and economy.
Applied Economics; Development and Environmental Economics; International Trade and International Business
Applied Economics,Banking, Finance and Investment,Environmental Science and Management,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Dr Mafiz Rahman
Other Supervisors: Dr Rasheda Khanam,
Development of Precision Livestock Farming Tools
Description: This project aims to develop a number of subsystems as part of a Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) system being developed to improve production efficiency. Principal components of precision farming a...
This project aims to develop a number of subsystems as part of a Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) system being developed to improve production efficiency. Principal components of precision farming are the accurate real time yield/performance monitoring and control systems. The emergence and on-going research/development into new real-time sensing technologies and data acquisition systems are primarily focused on improving the accuracy and reliability of these systems. However, considering the diverse range of on-farm environmental variables requiring monitoring and control, their integration and a sound decision making process based on all these variables still remains a challenge. This project will enable students to develop a number of subsystems in the areas of real-time data acquisition, analysis, decision making, environmental and other on-farm control systems. This project area presents opportunities to work in cross-disciplinary application areas of mechatronic engineering and electrical, electronic and computer engineering. The specific focus of project/s undertaken will be determined by negotiation as appropriate to each student’s major and interests.

Animal Production
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Thomas Banhazi
Other Supervisors:
Cultural Heritage Research: Critical Heritage Studies
Description: Critical heritage studies has emerged as a research area that offers many opportunities to explore and challenge conventional heritage management. There are opportunities to engage with significant t...
Critical heritage studies has emerged as a research area that offers many opportunities to explore and challenge conventional heritage management. There are opportunities to engage with significant theoretical issues and contribute to more equitable and representative models of heritage conservation. This requires the development and application of new approaches and methods in heritage assessment, including ethnography and storytelling (e.g. Pocock et al 2014 and Pocock 2002). A number of projects might be explored through considerations of social significance, intangible heritage, the interconnection of natural and cultural heritage, and the heritage values of the marginalized and underrepresented, including Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, the elderly, the homeless, the poor, women, migrants, gay and lesbians.
heritage, history, identity, community, intangible, environment, storytelling, narratives
Anthropology,Archaeology,Cultural Studies,Curatorial and Related Studies,Historical Studies,Other History and Archaeology,Other Studies in Human Society,Sociology
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Dr Celmara Pocock
Other Supervisors: Professor David Collett, Dr Jessica Gildersleeve,
Methane and Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Sewage Sludge
Description: In contrast with other wastewater treatment plants where the sludge is treated anaerobically to produce methane and electricity, Wetalla reclamation plant in Toowoomba is applying aerobic digestion t...
In contrast with other wastewater treatment plants where the sludge is treated anaerobically to produce methane and electricity, Wetalla reclamation plant in Toowoomba is applying aerobic digestion to stabilize the sludge. Aerobic digestion is essentially a biological process where aerobic and facultative bacteria degrade further the organic matter in the final sludge to reduce the final volume and also obtain a mature humus-like compost that can be used as fertilizer in agriculture. It can also be used as soil cover or landfill cover depending on its quality. One way to measure its quality is to measure the CO2 emission rate. A high CO2 production will indicate an unstable product with high content of easily biodegradable material promoting bacterial growth. This could badly affect plant growth if the material was used as compost. It is therefore important to monitor the CO2 production rate to ensure that the aerobic digestion process is working properly. Typical residence times are 2-3 weeks and the biosolids should be overturned regularly to ensure good oxygen mass transfer. USQ has recently acquired an online CO2/CH4 analyzer to measure emission rate from soils. The monitoring of Wetalla’s biosolids is important for several reasons: - Gather data from the process and ensure that the design residence time is sufficient to obtain a stabilized final residue suitable for further applications - Estimate the volatile solids destruction in the process and the overall kinetic. - Fine-tune the overturning/mixing regime: if the CO2 emission rate from the final residue was found to be lower than the required standard, it would mean that fewer turnings could be applied which could save electricity. - Ensure that the aerobic process is operating properly by measuring methane emissions. If Methane was found it would mean that aeration is not sufficient and that anaerobic bacteria are growing. Methane emissions should be avoided as methane has a strong greenhouse gas potential. USQ researchers have already obtain some data from the process and need a student to analyze them and possibly go to the plant to obtain further data.
sludge, sustainability, Carbon dioxide, methane, respirometric activity tests, wastewater treatment plant, biosolids
Agricultural Biotechnology,Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Analytical Chemistry,Atmospheric Sciences,Biochemistry and Cell Biology,Chemical Engineering,Civil Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Ian Craig,
Students' mathematical preparation at university level
Description: Of particular interest in this study is students’ preparation in mathematics, including statistics, because a smooth transition to tertiary education can, for many students, be hindered by less than ...
Of particular interest in this study is students’ preparation in mathematics, including statistics, because a smooth transition to tertiary education can, for many students, be hindered by less than adequate mathematical background. Students who face difficulties with their first year mathematics may not continue or may fail some courses.

Other Mathematical Sciences
Open Access College
Principal Supervisor: Dr Shahab Abdulla
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Linda Galligan,
Dust Reduction From Livestock Buildings
Description: No doubt that one of the major source of pollution in poultry buildings is the bedding (Banhazi et al., 2008). Capturing/removing emission at the point of exit is still one of the most obvious ways ...
No doubt that one of the major source of pollution in poultry buildings is the bedding (Banhazi et al., 2008). Capturing/removing emission at the point of exit is still one of the most obvious ways of reducing airborne emission from both agricultural and industrial facilities. Although the principles of removing pollutants from air is well known, there are no commercially available tools developed for poultry farmers to harness air-cleaning technologies that have been proven in other industrial applications. Thus building on previous and successful studies (Banhazi, 2007); the development of an air-scraper specially designed for poultry buildings would deliver practical benefits for producers. in this project we will aim to improve the design of air-scrapers to enhance the pollutant removal capacity of the filtration device.

Animal Production
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Thomas Banhazi
Other Supervisors:
Statistical Meta-Analysis with applications
Description: This is a statistical method to combine data from several independent studies conducted using randomised control trails or for making inferences on effect measures or outcome variables. Analyses are ...
This is a statistical method to combine data from several independent studies conducted using randomised control trails or for making inferences on effect measures or outcome variables. Analyses are done for relative risks and odd ratios for binary data, and weighted mean difference, using precision as weight, for continuous variables. Both classical and Bayesian approaches can be used. Forest plots and funnel plots are used to study the outcome variables. Issues such as study bias and heterogeneity of outcome measures are required to be handled properly. Although initially used in clinical studies involving randomised control trials, the methods are now being used in many areas of education, criminology, psychology, pharmacy, and business. The combination of data from independent studies is likely to provide better quality of inference due to increased sample size. The results of studies involving binary outcomes are generalised for ordinal categorical data. Methods for ordinal categorical data are also investigated. Analyses of data under various popular statistical models such as the fixed effect, random effects, inverse variance heterogeneity and quality effect models are explored. This project area provides students with a good opportunity to mix theoretical developments with real life applications using various medical and epidemiological data. Issues such as heterogeneity, publication bias, network meta-analysis, multivariate meta-analysis may also be investigated.
Meta-analysis, common effect size, inverse variance estimation, statistical models, systematic analysis, heterogeneity, publication bias, randomised control trials
Other Medical and Health Sciences,Statistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Shahjahan Khan
Other Supervisors: Professor Muhammed Memon,
Examination of the transferability of crash modification factors developed from observational data and simulation
Description: Road safety has become an intensively studied topic with an overarching aim of better understanding of why road crashes occur. Crash occurrences can be viewed as a result of the interaction of severa...
Road safety has become an intensively studied topic with an overarching aim of better understanding of why road crashes occur. Crash occurrences can be viewed as a result of the interaction of several variables such as road geometry, vehicle and operational conditions (which includes speed, traffic volume, and environment). Traditionally statistical models have been used to identify the factors contributing to road crashes using available data. Over the last decade, the data collection system has improved, and it can now accommodate information needed to allow experts to develop more advanced models to investigate and establish evidence-driven countermeasures to improve road safety. This study will use observational data to build safety performance functions, identify selected countermeasures and estimate of crash modification factors (CMFs). Using micro-simulation in road safety investigation is a new area. Therefore, this study will then test whether the micro-simulation models help to estimates CMFs for selected countermeasures in consideration of before and after scenarios. Thus it would allow the researchers to see how micro-simulation methods can be used to quantify safety outcome from modifying road geometric conditions.
Highway, Transport, Road, Road Safety, Road Crashes, Crash Prediction, Black Spots
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Soma Somasundaraswaran
Other Supervisors: Professor Ron Ayers,
Production of a High Nutritional Value Soybean Meal through Solid State Fermentation using Filamentous Fungi
Description: In this project we will explore the feasibility to ferment soybean meal using a filamentous fungus under solid state fermentation. The fungus will produce cellulolytic enzymes to digest the non-diges...
In this project we will explore the feasibility to ferment soybean meal using a filamentous fungus under solid state fermentation. The fungus will produce cellulolytic enzymes to digest the non-digestible carbohydrate in soybean meal, leaving a higher amino acid content and a higher nutritional value. We have all the equipments and resources to carry out this research including: autoclave, 5L Sartorius automated fermenter, GC for gas analysis and HPLC for analysis of chemicals in the fermentation broth.
fungal hydrolysis; soybean meal; nutritional value; enzymes; solid state fermentation
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Ian Craig,
The Role of Microcredit in Enhancing Health Knowledge, Health-Seeking Behaviour and Health Services
Description: Achieving universal health coverage is still a long way to go. Worldwide 400 million people lack access to one or more essential health services (WHO 2015). Poverty is the main reason for this poor h...
Achieving universal health coverage is still a long way to go. Worldwide 400 million people lack access to one or more essential health services (WHO 2015). Poverty is the main reason for this poor health coverage. The government alone cannot solve all these problems due to lack of fund in social welfare programs. The wide spread emergence of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in developing countries can play a significant role in this regard. A part from loan delivery, providing social services, especially health related services to this poor people should also be the ultimate mission of these MFIs. They can operate the following health-related programs: health- related education (including nutrition and sanitation), health care financing such as health loans, training community health workers, direct delivery of clinical services and health insurance. The main questions will be addressed in this project are: 1. Can microcredit play any role in increasing health seeking behavior? How? 2.What role microfinance can play in enhancing health knowledge of the poor? 3.How can health services be delivered to the poor with microcredit? Are these services effective to improve health status of the poor especially women and children?. This project can be conducted by using primary or secondary data from other developing countries.
Microcredit, Health Knowledge, Health-Seeking Behaviour, Health Services Delivery
Applied Economics,Public Health and Health Services
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Centre for Health Sciences Research,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Dr Rasheda Khanam
Other Supervisors: Dr Mafiz Rahman,
Mapping and Monitoring of Agricultural Crops Using Remote Sensing and GIS
Description: This PhD research topic will focus on developing novel techniques for mapping and monitoring agricultural crop types, conditions, stresses yield, etc. using remote sensing and GIS technologies. Speci...
This PhD research topic will focus on developing novel techniques for mapping and monitoring agricultural crop types, conditions, stresses yield, etc. using remote sensing and GIS technologies. Specific topic will be scoped in consultation with the student applicant. Sample of previous topics can be seen from https://eportfolio.usq.edu.au/user/apana
remote sensing, GIS, mapping, crops, agriculture, geomatic, spatial
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Crop and Pasture Production,Geomatic Engineering
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Professor Armando Apan
Other Supervisors:
Multiscale Modelling of Soil used in Agriculture
Description: Recently the advances in particles based simulation methods as well as meso and nano scale measurements of material properties yield a new paradigm for understanding the multi-scale behaviour of comp...
Recently the advances in particles based simulation methods as well as meso and nano scale measurements of material properties yield a new paradigm for understanding the multi-scale behaviour of complex materials including soils, soft matters, nanomaterails . The main objective of this project is to use molecular models/coarsed grain models and High Performance Computing techniques to investigate the interactions between soil platelets to develop meso-scale models of soil aggregates. The research will then extend to analyse the distribution of particle sizes and different soil minerals. The goal is to use the bottom-up approach to improve macroscopic models of soil behaviour.
Molecular Dynamics, soil, multiscale, mesoscale modelling
Chemical Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Canh-Dung Tran
Other Supervisors: Professor Jochen Bundschuh, Dr Tai Nguyen,
Taxonomy and Phylogeny of Australian Tar Spot Fungi
Description: The tar spot fungi (Phyllachora spp.) are foliar pathogens that typically produce shiny, raised, black spots on leaves of a diversity of agricultural and native host plants. Some examples of the tar ...
The tar spot fungi (Phyllachora spp.) are foliar pathogens that typically produce shiny, raised, black spots on leaves of a diversity of agricultural and native host plants. Some examples of the tar spot fungi from Australia are P. musicola (the cause of black cross of banana) and P. sacchari (the cause of black leaf spot of sugarcane). The most recent taxonomic revision of the tar spot fungi in Australia (Pearce and Hyde, 2006) covered about 100 species using a traditional morphological approach. The Australian species of Phyllachora are in need of a modern molecular phylogenetic study as a basis for a revised taxonomic treatment. This study will use ITS sequences (the universal DNA barcode marker) to develop a phylogeny as a basis for a revised classification. It is expected that new species will be discovered, which will be molecularly characterized, morphologically described and formally named.
Taxonomy, fungi, agriculture, morphological, molecular
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health
Principal Supervisor: Professor Roger Shivas
Other Supervisors: Professor Levente Kiss,
Behaviour of Structural Rehabilitation Using External Post-Tensioning
Description: Strengthening of existing structures such as bridges, buildings and other infrastructure has become an important issue for the civil and structural engineers. External post-tensioning is considered a...
Strengthening of existing structures such as bridges, buildings and other infrastructure has become an important issue for the civil and structural engineers. External post-tensioning is considered as one of the most appropriate techniques for strengthening and rehabilitation of the existing structures. It is important to understand the behaviour of structural rehabilitation using external post-tensioning, so that the rehabilitation could be optimised and cost could be reduced. This research project will include experimental and analytical investigation of structures strengthened by external post tensioning. A comparison of existing design models and prediction equations will also be made. The outcome of this study can enhance the understanding of the behaviour of externally post-tensioned structures and develop appropriate design methodology for structural rehabilitation.
Infrastructure; post-tension; prestress concrete; rehabilitation; structures; materials engineering; structural design
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Materials Engineering
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Thiru Aravinthan
Other Supervisors: Dr Weena Lokuge,
Integrated Treatment for Brackish Groundwater
Description: Australia, being the driest continent of the world, explores unconventional waters such as seawater in coastal areas and brackish groundwater in inland areas as potential drinking water resources. Wh...
Australia, being the driest continent of the world, explores unconventional waters such as seawater in coastal areas and brackish groundwater in inland areas as potential drinking water resources. While the current technologies such as reverse osmosis can make this hurdle into a reality by desalination process, these membrane processes suffer from fouling and scaling issues with consequent need for periodic replacement of these membranes. The problem is aggravated when inland brackish waters need to have higher recovery rate for reducing the quantity of concentrate to be eventually managed within inland areas. Therefore, in this project, alternative pre-treatment options are being investigated that can prolong the membrane’s lifetime.
Desalination, Reverse osmosis, Brackish Water, Pretreatment
Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Vasanthadevi Aravinthan
Other Supervisors: Dr Antoine Trzcinski,
Spatial Variation in Soil N Mineralisation Patterns in Irrigated Cotton
Description: Cotton Research & Development Corporation is receiving low return on investment into N response trials in furrow-irrigated cotton. Nitrogen-fertilised paddocks are yielding not more than unfertilised...
Cotton Research & Development Corporation is receiving low return on investment into N response trials in furrow-irrigated cotton. Nitrogen-fertilised paddocks are yielding not more than unfertilised paddocks in all but a few experimental settings, from plot to paddock scale. Yet at the farm system scale, growers see a nitrogen response, and likewise under overhead irrigation, measurable N responses are found in plot studies. The point of difference between studies where yield responses are, and are not, significantly measurable, is whether or not hydrological connectivity has the potential to transfer N from fertilised, to unfertilised soil. The industry needs a better understanding of the influence of hydrological spatial heterogeneity in furrow-irrigated systems on background soil N mineralisation and on conversion of fertiliser N.This project will use standard methods to map spatial variation in soil and soil wetness, and N supply from SOM in furrow irrigation systems used for cotton production, and investigate how this variation relates to measured soil mineral and mineralisable N on representative soil types for the cotton industry.
Soil organic matter; nitrogen mineralisation; nitrogen; irrigation; cotton
Environmental Science and Management,Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Dr Dio Antille
Other Supervisors: Dr Alice Melland,
Planning Support Systems For Complex Infrastructure Development
Description: With the increasing number of stakeholders in the infrastructure planning and development domain, there is a requirement to foster the ability to express a common planning language and provide an int...
With the increasing number of stakeholders in the infrastructure planning and development domain, there is a requirement to foster the ability to express a common planning language and provide an interactive medium to engage wide range of stakeholders. Therefore, there is a growing demand for planning support systems to collaborate between state and local governments, experts, industries and community groups that have social, economic and environmental stake in planning for infrastructure development through the best practice governance model. It is in this context, the purpose of this paper is to propose a framework for an integrated Planning Support System (PSS) in order to facilitate effective decision-making process.

Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Nateque Mahmood
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof David Thorpe, Assoc Prof David Thorpe,
Sustainable use of Engineering Materials
Description: Engineering materials are used in a wide range of applications. They include metals such as steel and aluminium, concrete, asphalt, fibre composites and plastics. The continued production of new mate...
Engineering materials are used in a wide range of applications. They include metals such as steel and aluminium, concrete, asphalt, fibre composites and plastics. The continued production of new materials is, however, contributing to ongoing greenhouse gas emissions, natural resource shortages, energy demand, use of toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process and waste. An option is to better use engineering materials. For example, a number of engineering materials, such as steel and concrete, can be successfully recycled or reused. There are many opportunities for research in the improved use and recycling of engineering materials, including smart design processes to more closely match material designs to the product life cycle, development of alternative materials, and the use of lean production and construction activities to improve the production process and reduce waste. Such research would be expected to make a positive impact on sustainable engineering practices.
Sustainability, engineering, materials, recycling, production, waste
Environmental Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
Other Supervisors: Dr Ian Craig,
Epidemiological Significance of Bacterial Associations with Sugarcane
Description: A range of previously unsuspected bacterial strains and species have been found to be associated with sugarcane throughout Australia. They are closely related to, but distinct from, a major sugarcane...
A range of previously unsuspected bacterial strains and species have been found to be associated with sugarcane throughout Australia. They are closely related to, but distinct from, a major sugarcane pathogen that causes tens of millions of dollars of annual yield losses. It is not yet known whether these other strains are infectious, causing a pathology, or fulfilling other roles in relation to the plant host. This work requires the candidate to collect samples in (often) uncomfortable conditions (albeit in some of the nicest places on Earth), and attempt to isolate the novel strains with a view towards their epidemiological characterisation. Molecular, bacteriological and bioinformatic skills will be required (taught if necessary), and lateral thinking is a must. Good command of English is advantageous. Fear of hard work disadvantageous.
crop health, epidemiology, microbiology
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health
Principal Supervisor: Dr Anthony Young
Other Supervisors: Dr Bree Wilson,
Health Economics
Description: The key focus of this project is to investigate issues of resource allocation and scarcity in setting priorities to meet the growing metropolitan-rural inequality in health outcomes. This important r...
The key focus of this project is to investigate issues of resource allocation and scarcity in setting priorities to meet the growing metropolitan-rural inequality in health outcomes. This important research will focus on the measurement of health status and the demand for and/or supply of health care services and the costs and benefits of prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases in rural communities. The research can employ quantitative and/or qualitative methods using both primary and secondary sources of data and information. The thesis can be written in either traditional format or in PhD by publication. The following is a list of indicative, but not exhaustive, broad topic areas on which PhD research proposals are invited: * Issues of cost and benefit of non-communicable diseases * Estimating burden of diseases * Rural health and wellbeing, and demographic differentials * Economic evaluation of healthcare interventions and programs * Socio-economic determinants of health status * Economics of telehealth * Cost-effectiveness of rural health interventions * Public policy relating to health insurance, health financing and health status.
Health economics, applied economics, econometrics, public health and policy
Applied Economics,Econometrics,Economic Theory,Public Health and Health Services
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Khorshed Alam
Other Supervisors:
Academic Numeracy
Description: Academic numeracy is an underdeveloped area of research. Students interested in this topic may investigate contexts such as Nursing, Business, Engineering, Education or Health; or concentrate on syst...
Academic numeracy is an underdeveloped area of research. Students interested in this topic may investigate contexts such as Nursing, Business, Engineering, Education or Health; or concentrate on systems within universities such as the support of underprepared students, Enabling programs; or approaches to identify academic numeracy issues such as testing; or they may be interested in the adult learner and how adults learn mathematics looking using particular developmental frameworks (e.g. Valsiner's Human Development Theory)
Academic numeracy, mathematics, enabling programs, Adult learning
Curriculum and Pedagogy,Education Systems
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Linda Galligan
Other Supervisors: Dr Sue Worsley,
Reducing Spray Drift of Herbicides with Controlled Droplet Application
Description: Spray drift from aircraft applying pesticides is still a concern in many rural areas. In particular, herbicide spray drift can travel large distances downwind of the sprayed paddock. This can cause s...
Spray drift from aircraft applying pesticides is still a concern in many rural areas. In particular, herbicide spray drift can travel large distances downwind of the sprayed paddock. This can cause significant damage to crops, in addition to being an environmental nuisance. Several improvements in atomiser design took place in the 1990s, but a review is required to see if any further developments have taken place around the world since then. Herbicide spray drift damage continues to be the subject of regular legal action, wastes significant time and money, and is something which could be eliminated with more effective atomiser (spray nozzle) design. The most effective nozzle designs, which produce droplets mainly within the 100 to 300 micron size range, are those of the rotary atomiser type, which feature well defined fluid issuing points or teeth. Collaboration with UQ Gatton Campus is envisaged, with laser droplet sizing of nozzle prototypes at the wind tunnel laboratory based there.

Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ian Craig
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof David Thorpe,
Mapping and Assessment of Climate Impacts on Floral Resources for Honey Production
Description: Climate change can have profound impacts on honey bees. The spatial extent, phenology, and quality of the floral environment may be altered, and consequently affect honey production. While many rural...
Climate change can have profound impacts on honey bees. The spatial extent, phenology, and quality of the floral environment may be altered, and consequently affect honey production. While many rural industries have attempted to assess the potential impacts of climate change on future production, the Australian honey bee industry has yet to undertake similar studies. This study aims to assess the impacts of climate change and variability on floral resources and their implications for future honey production. Using geospatial tools, this study will map the deployment and movement of honey bee hives by apiarists at the landscape scale and examine any trends in honey production. Modelling tools (e.g. Bayesian model, MaxEnt, CLIMEX, etc.) will be used to quantify floral resources and landscape factors, and to assess the influence of historic climate patterns on hive deployment and production. Subsequently, analyses of honey production under future climate and land use scenarios will be conducted. With expected outcomes (i.e. maps, modelling tools, and knowledge), this research will enable the development of adaptation strategies.
honey, bee, climate, vegetation, GIS, spatial, remote sensing, agro-ecology
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Ecology,Environmental Science and Management,Geomatic Engineering
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Professor Armando Apan
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Tek Maraseni, Dr Uttam Shrestha,
Optimisation of Diesel Engine Combustion Parameters for Biodiesel
Description: Biofuel is increasingly used in diesel engines due to the lower emissions and the option of local production. The current diesel engine is optimised to run with diesel fuel. Using biofuels such as bi...
Biofuel is increasingly used in diesel engines due to the lower emissions and the option of local production. The current diesel engine is optimised to run with diesel fuel. Using biofuels such as biodiesel in the current commercially available diesel engines produce lower emissions but reduced power compared to standard mineral diesel fuel. This study aims to investigate and optimise the engine performance and emission for biodiesel by modifying some of the combustion parameters such as injection timing, duration and injection pressure to suit the new fuel. The expected outcomes from this study are less engine emission and enhanced engine performance when tuned for biodiesel fuel.
Biodiesel, bioethanol, fuel specifications, Engine performance, exhaust gas emissions
Automotive Engineering,Environmental Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Professor Talal Yusaf
Other Supervisors: Dr Saddam Hussen Al-Lwayzy, Dr Paul Baker,
WILDLIFE RESPONSES TO VERTEBRATE PEST ERADICATIONS ON REMOTE LIVESTOCK PROPERTIES
Description: Ongoing sheep declines in western Queensland have led to a resurgence in the use of pest-proof fences to exclude economically-important pest animals, primarily wild dogs and kangaroos. Control of the...
Ongoing sheep declines in western Queensland have led to a resurgence in the use of pest-proof fences to exclude economically-important pest animals, primarily wild dogs and kangaroos. Control of these and other pest animals is now being implemented across large areas, view the view to completely eradicating some of them (i.e. wild dogs). These actions have the potential to change fauna assemblages, presenting both negative and positive economic and environmental outcomes. This project involves undertaking and monitoring wildlife responses to the removal and exclusion of wild dogs, feral pigs, kangaroos, foxes and feral cats. The purpose of the project is demonstrate that eradications of wild dogs and feral pigs (and possibly other pest species) are possible, and that threatened fauna and livestock can simultaneously benefit from such actions. The project will involve a substantial amount of travel for fieldwork in remote areas.
Dingo, wild dog, predator, threatened species, livestock, lethal control, wildlife management, feral pig, kangaroo
Ecology
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Dr Benjamin Allen
Other Supervisors: Professor Geoff Cockfield,
Qualitative inquiries into music educator identity in the field of contemporary commercial music (CCM)
Description: Supervision is offered for qualitative studies into music educator identity in the field of contemporary commercial music (CCM). Possible lenses include the expert/novice dyad and how that shapes ide...
Supervision is offered for qualitative studies into music educator identity in the field of contemporary commercial music (CCM). Possible lenses include the expert/novice dyad and how that shapes identity when teaching CCM, or the development of educator agency through collaboration and social or informal learning. Methodological approaches might include narrative inquiry, ethnography or autoethnography.
CCM educator identity, music educator identity, agency, narrative inquiry, ethnography, autoethnography
Other Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Andrew Hickey
Other Supervisors: Dr Melissa Forbes,
Discovery of Genes Responsible for Bacterial Pathogenicity on Rice
Description: Rice is a major commodity for Australia contributing around 800 million Australian dollars annual revenue. Rice production in Australia is relatively free of major plant diseases, however, a new ba...
Rice is a major commodity for Australia contributing around 800 million Australian dollars annual revenue. Rice production in Australia is relatively free of major plant diseases, however, a new bacterial disease was found in Australia in 2005. The disease is called sheath brown rot and it can cause losses of up to 100%. With the availability of whole genomes for the pathogen the search for genes involved in pathogenicity is intensifying. This PhD project will use Tn5 mutants, DNA sequencing of the bacterium and glasshouse screening to determine the genes involved in pathogenicity of this organism. This project has implications for both plant microbe interactions and host plant resistance.
Rice, diseases, pathogenicity, DNA sequencing
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Professor Gavin Ash
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Adam Sparks,
Mental Health and Ageing/Clinical Geropsychology
Description: My interests are fairly broad in mental health and ageing. Specific areas in my own past research include stress and coping among family caregivers, wisdom, differences in the effects of emotion on ...
My interests are fairly broad in mental health and ageing. Specific areas in my own past research include stress and coping among family caregivers, wisdom, differences in the effects of emotion on cognition. I am also generally interested in psychological interventions with older adults.
Ageing, gerontology, mental health, caregiving, wisdom
Clinical Sciences,Psychology,Public Health and Health Services
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Psychology and Counselling
Principal Supervisor: Professor Bob Knight
Other Supervisors:
Duality and Common Features Between Mathematics and Mathematics Education
Description: Actual mathematical research and learning inquiry activities in a classroom have many common features. We investigate inquiry activities from the educational point of view and analyse how they can be...
Actual mathematical research and learning inquiry activities in a classroom have many common features. We investigate inquiry activities from the educational point of view and analyse how they can be constructed similarly to the process of mathematical research, and how this mode of teaching can contribute to the development of students’ mathematical thinking. For example, Hanna and de Villiers noted that in actual mathematical research mathematicians have to convince themselves first that a mathematical statement is true and then move to a formal proof. This and other similar features are the subject of investigation. One of the most important questions within the research topic is to find out how natural for students is a process of learning mathematical discovery and, more broadly, inquiry activities in a classroom from a psychological point of view.
Mathematical discovery, inquiry activities, proofs
Curriculum and Pedagogy
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Oleksiy Yevdokimov
Other Supervisors:
Automatic Surveillance of Crop Hotspots using Remotely Piloted Aircraft (Drones)
Description: Time and labour constraints limit the ability of farmers and consultants to scout their fields for emerging weed, pest and disease problems. This research will develop a proof-of-concept machine visi...
Time and labour constraints limit the ability of farmers and consultants to scout their fields for emerging weed, pest and disease problems. This research will develop a proof-of-concept machine vision technology for Remotely Piloted Aircraft (drones) to perform flight missions and detect unhealthy areas of a field by use of automatic machine vision and analysis algorithms, and enable real-time notification of the farmer of detected field conditions.
Automation, machine vision, image analysis, crop scouting
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Crop and Pasture Production,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Cheryl McCarthy
Other Supervisors:
Sentiment Analysis for Detection of Depressive Users on Social Networks
Description: Many people are suffering from depression without knowledge of it. As a result, they are unable to access to appropriate helps. Finding and helping such depressive people have motivated us in the wor...
Many people are suffering from depression without knowledge of it. As a result, they are unable to access to appropriate helps. Finding and helping such depressive people have motivated us in the work proposed in this thesis project, which will evaluate users' expressions on social networks and alert potential depression adopting the techniques in natural language processing, text mining and sentiment analysis. With the outcome of the work, social workers can find depressive people and deliver help to them efficiently; guardians like parents can have an eye on their children's psychological conditions closely; people suffering from minor depression can monitor their psychological conditions easily, so that they could pull back at early stage and avoid falling into more severe circumstances if anything wrong is happening. The proposed thesis will make potential theoretical contributions to understandings of depression on social networks, as well methodological contributions to text mining and sentiment analysis.
Sentiment analysis, opinion mining, social networks, depression
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Information Systems,Other Psychology and Cognitive Sciences,Public Health and Health Services
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Xiaohui Tao
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Ji Zhang,
Consequences of Maintaining Long Term Acceptable Weight: Evidence from Longitudinal Study
Description: The adverse effect of weight gain on health and wellbeing is well documented. Many research studies have investigated the effects of overweight and obesity on numerous chronic conditions, but maintai...
The adverse effect of weight gain on health and wellbeing is well documented. Many research studies have investigated the effects of overweight and obesity on numerous chronic conditions, but maintaining long term acceptable weight is yet to be investigated. A person is identified as an acceptable weight if his/her body mass index (BMI) is less than 25 (kh/m^2). This project will examine the effect of maintaining long-term acceptable weight on health and wellbeing. Secondary data will be collected from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) involving three age cohorts (young, middle-aged and older women). This project will also compare the outcome with those who don’t maintain acceptable weight for a long time. This data will also be compared with the available data sources from developing countries. Depending on the time and cost, this project also aims to collect some primary data from Australian university students and the results will be compared with those of both developed and developing countries. Understanding the characteristics of people who do remain in the acceptable weight range may shed light on potential strategies for the prevention of weight gain.
Overweight, acceptable weight, chronic conditions
Demography,Public Health and Health Services,Statistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences,School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Enamul Kabir
Other Supervisors: Dr Rachel King,
Identification of Plant Parasitic Nematodes in Soybean Fields by Molecular and Morphological Methods and Development of Resistant Soy Bean Germplasm
Description: Pratylenchus spp., called root-lesion nematodes, are among the most damaging nematode species of agricultural and horticultural crops world-wide. The species P. thornei and P. neglectus attack wheat...
Pratylenchus spp., called root-lesion nematodes, are among the most damaging nematode species of agricultural and horticultural crops world-wide. The species P. thornei and P. neglectus attack wheat and other cereal and pulse crops in the northern grain region of Australia and elsewhere in the world. Soybean cultivars are a good host of P. thornei negating the value of soybean/wheat rotations. Further information is required on the identification of other species of Pratylenchus occurring in certain areas of the northern grain region and on the reaction of a range of soybean genotypes to the various species as a prelude to the production of resistant soybean varieties.
Plant parasitic nematodes, soybeans, molecular, morphological methods, resistance
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Professor John Thompson
Other Supervisors: Dr Kirsty Owen, Dr Rebecca Zwart,
3D GIS and Applications
Description: 3D GIS offers new insights into spatial data for 3D modelling and visualisation and has attracted increasing interest in a wide range of applications. Technologies for high quality terrain and other ...
3D GIS offers new insights into spatial data for 3D modelling and visualisation and has attracted increasing interest in a wide range of applications. Technologies for high quality terrain and other 3D object data acquisition are advancing rapidly. Recently, it has been shown that airborne and terrestrial laser scanning systems provide efficient way to acquire high-quality 3D data. Innovation in 3D modelling technologies and software such as 3D visualisation environment of ArcScene and ArcGlobe in ArcGIS, KML (Keyhole Markup Language) in support of presentation of GIS data in Google Earth, CityGML and newly available Esri CityEngine for 3D city modelling, make it possible to efficient 3D visualisation and modelling. Potential master and PhD students can select 3D GIS topics they are interested in: • Multi-source 3D data integration for 3D modelling • 3D modelling and geodatabase integration • 3D city modelling and applications • Integration of 3D GIS and Building Information Modeling (BIM) • 3D technologies for urban and regional planning • 3D GIS for natural resources and environmental management • 3D utility management • 3D cadastre.
GIS, 3D GIS, Remote Sensing, Spatial Science, 3D Modelling, 3D Visualization, 3D Cadastre, 3D City Modelling, 3D Urban and Regional Planning, Building Information Modelling, BIM
Environmental Science and Management,Geomatic Engineering
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Xiaoye Liu
Other Supervisors: Dr Zhenyu Zhang,
The Degradation of Alkali-activated Cements and the Implication to Concrete Durability
Description: Alkali-activated cements (AACs) are manufactured from industrial waste materials, such as coal combustion ash (fly ash) and slag. They possess the lower CO2 emissions, lower energy consumption than c...
Alkali-activated cements (AACs) are manufactured from industrial waste materials, such as coal combustion ash (fly ash) and slag. They possess the lower CO2 emissions, lower energy consumption than conventional Portland cement but equivalent mechanical properties that can satisfy for construction purposes. One of the biggest challenges to scale-up the industry application of this type of sustainable materials is the uncertainty of durability. Are these materials durable over time, for decades, even longer? This project aims to investigate to the molecular structure and microstructure of AACs with three levels of Ca/Si ratio and understand their degradation under simulated but accelerated service conditions, for example, the marine conditions, the sewage conditions, and the ambient conditions. The degradation of the AACs due to concentrated salt (sulphates) attract, biochemical attack and accelerated carbonation and efflorescence impacts will be revealed and related to the durability of AAC concretes. This project will present world-leading knowledge and transformable skills of green cement development and manufacturing.
Concrete; Cement; Durability; Geopolymer; Fly ash; Sustaibility; Alkali-activation; Carbonation
Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zuhua Zhang
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang,
Remote Sensing and GIS for Mapping and Monitoring Terrestrial Ecosystems and their Responses to Environmental/Climate Change
Description: This research topic will focus in one or more of the following areas: vegetation and habitat mapping; biodiversity assessment; land use/cover change analysis; soil and water; and catchment modelling....
This research topic will focus in one or more of the following areas: vegetation and habitat mapping; biodiversity assessment; land use/cover change analysis; soil and water; and catchment modelling. Specific topic will be scoped in consultation with the student applicant. Sample of previous topics can be seen from https://eportfolio.usq.edu.au/user/apana
environment, spatial, GIS, remote sensing, ecology, mapping, soil, water, biodiversity, vegetation, carbon
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Ecological Applications,Ecology,Environmental Science and Management,Geomatic Engineering
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Professor Armando Apan
Other Supervisors:
The Influence of Entertainment Mass Media on Children’s Understandings of a Particular Aspect of Science
Description: This work would follow and consolidate existing research into the influence of entertainment mass media on understandings about genes and DNA held by 10-12 year olds in Australia. The candidate could...
This work would follow and consolidate existing research into the influence of entertainment mass media on understandings about genes and DNA held by 10-12 year olds in Australia. The candidate could choose an aspect of science according to their interest and expertise. This work could be conducted in Australia or overseas. The research would most likely involve a mixed methods approach, including surveys and semi structured interviews. This is an under researched area in the literature. Key themes would include the prevalence and importance of the mass media, the presence and presentation of science concepts in entertainment mass media, children’s conceptions and misconceptions in science, and scientific literacy.
Mass media, science understandings, children’s misconceptions in science, scientific literacy
Curriculum and Pedagogy,Education Systems
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Professor Peter Albion
Other Supervisors: Dr Jennifer Donovan,
Evaluation of traffic flow characteristics under mixed traffic condition
Description: The effective usage of arterial networks in urban areas is of great importance in our daily life as it influences travel delays, times, costs, and environmental concerns. In recent years, the increas...
The effective usage of arterial networks in urban areas is of great importance in our daily life as it influences travel delays, times, costs, and environmental concerns. In recent years, the increasing amount of vehicular traffic has led to frequent traffic jams in urban arterials. Several control strategies have been implemented to increase the efficiency of the existing road networks such as use of dynamic traffic management, use of navigation systems, and application of corporative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS). Most of these control strategies are based on traffic stream models both at a macroscopic and microscopic level, specially traffic stream description models and travel time estimation models. However, all these models are sensitive to the degree of mixed flow condition (i.e., the presence of autonomous vehicles, vehicles with connected devices, heavy vehicles, and other user groups) within the traffic stream. Therefore there is a need to investigate the traffic stream for identifying areas where mixed traffic flow conditions bring a qualitative jump in the level of service. This study will use real time observational data and micro-simulation techniques (e.g., VISSIM) to examine the effect of mixed traffic to understand changes to traffic flow characteristics. Results from this study will help to develop more efficient traffic operational decisions in mixed flow conditions on urban road networks.
Traffic flow characteristics, Traffic modelling, Road network, Traffic simulation
Civil Engineering,Other Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Soma Somasundaraswaran
Other Supervisors: Professor Ron Ayers,
Development of Graphene Coated Smart Fabrics for Advanced Composite Manufacturing Process Monitoring.
Description: In the proposed study, we will use the graphene coated fabrics in key aerospace manufacturing processes to monitor important manufacturing parameters, such as, in-situ compaction, vacuum levels, exte...
In the proposed study, we will use the graphene coated fabrics in key aerospace manufacturing processes to monitor important manufacturing parameters, such as, in-situ compaction, vacuum levels, extent of mould-filling, gelation, and degree of cure in a full composite manufacturing process. This novel technology can improve cycle times through faster cure cycles and help reduce product flaws in the composite produced. Aims: • Exfoliation of graphene into reduced graphene oxide. • Development of a coating process for glass fabrics and/or consumables. • Conduct sensitivity measurement experiments for resin infusion process. • Develop calibration methods for fabric compaction characterization and flow sensing. • Integrate the pressure sensing data for real time numerical prediction of mould clamping forces and permeability.
Graphene, Processing
Aerospace Engineering
Centre for Future Materials
Principal Supervisor: Dr Rehan Umer
Other Supervisors: Professor Peter Schubel, Dr Xuesen Zeng,
Mitigating of Impact Load on Concrete Column Using Basalt Textile Reinforced Dductile Cementitious Composite
Description: Structures such as columns and walls along roadsides are vulnerable to vehicular impacts. Most of these structures would not have been designed for impact loads and hence could fail upon accidental o...
Structures such as columns and walls along roadsides are vulnerable to vehicular impacts. Most of these structures would not have been designed for impact loads and hence could fail upon accidental or deliberate impact by vehicles. In recent years, several projects and studies have improved the knowledge about textile reinforced mortar (TRM) technology. TRM has been used in strengthening masonry and reinforced concrete structural elements such as walls, arches, columns and beams. This material is presented as a real alternative to the use of fibre-reinforced polymers (FRP) in situations where these composites have presented some drawbacks or their use is banned. The proposed project aims to develop a new type of TRM using different types of fibres and cement for applications in structures that are vulnerable to impacts. In order to investigate the performance of column confined with this new composite, it will be necessary to investigate their energy absorption and cracking resistance characteristics under impact loads. The outcome of these tests will provide new information that can be used to develop design guidance.
Basalt fibre, textile reinforced mortar, ECC, column confinement, impact load
Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Yan Zhuge
Other Supervisors:
Dust Suppression Technology For Mining Areas in Queensland
Description: Suppression of dust generated by high traffic levels on dirt roads in mining areas is usually achieved via boom and nozzle application of substantial quantities of water from bowser trucks. This can ...
Suppression of dust generated by high traffic levels on dirt roads in mining areas is usually achieved via boom and nozzle application of substantial quantities of water from bowser trucks. This can be expensive in terms of fuel, water and labour requirements. A review needs to be carried out covering the reported efficacies of the current range of commercially available dust suppression adjuvants. Dust suppression adjuvants, which are mainly water based polymer emulsions, are claimed to reduce the frequency of water applications necessary for a required dust suppression level. To properly assess the efficacy of products on dirt roads in mining areas, experimental field trials are required which deploy Automatic Weather Stations, dust monitoring units and traffic activity recording units. AWS instrumentation would include atmospheric stability measurement capability. The field data obtained from a number of mining localities could also be compared to best available dispersion models

Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ian Craig
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof David Thorpe,