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UQ Ingenuity Magazine - For graduates, alumni, industry and studentsof Engineering at The University of Queensland.


  • BREAKING NEW GROUNDSafer mines and saving lives with UQ Alumnus David Noon

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    ingenityISSUE 1, 2011

  • ingenuity MAGAZINEEDITORIAL TEAMJonathan Cosgrove Garry Bain Madelene Flanagan

    CONTRIBUTING WRITERSJonathan Cosgrove Claire Corones Caroline Crosthwaite Erik De Wit Madelene Flanagan Andrew Liveris Graham Schaffer Tara Young

    DESIGNWendy Oakley

    PHOTOGRAPHYLyle Radford Stewart Gould (UQ) Jeremy Patten (UQ)

    PUBLISHING INFORMATIONFergies Print and Mail

    [email protected]

    CRICOS Provider Number 00025B

    Printed on recycled paper

    >Due for completion in 2013, The Advanced

    Engineering Building will enable research-led

    learning experiences and small group learning.

    < COVER PHOTO: David Noon, GroundProbes Chief Commercial Officer

  • UQ Engineering is ON THE MOVE

    MUCH HAS CHANGED IN THE WORLD over the past century since UQ Engineering admitted its first students. But while empires, moon-landings and post-modernism may have come and gone, our mode of teaching in universities has largely endured. This is now beginning to change and rapidly. A transformation in higher education is occurring.

    Crucially, we now refer to learning rather than teaching, which puts the student and their experience at the centre of our enterprise. As you will discover in this first edition of ingenuity, these changes have been driven by technological factors, student demands and the emergence of learning in higher education as a discipline of its own. Im proud that UQ Engineering is at the forefront of this transformation.

    We now have a major team of engineering educators and are rapidly developing as an international centre of excellence in engineering education. Our staff have won ten national teaching awards in the last eight years, including a Prime Ministers Prize for University Teacher of the Year.

    Our classroom practice is changing, with the engineering curriculum under continuous improvement, and learning spaces are also being transformed; the opening of the Advanced Engineering Building in 2013 will provide a magnificent space to enable research-led learning, with classrooms designed for small group learning that give students the opportunity to design, build and test components, structures and systems.

    04 NewsWhats been happening at UQ Engineering in 2011?

    08 A leader of nationsAustralia needs an innovation revolution to solve the worlds greatest challenges

    10 Need for speedLeading the world in Hypersonics research

    14 Women in powerLeading the way often means just getting on with it

    18 The quest for sustainabilityTackling engineering issues to improve industry practice

    20 Engineering goes greenSugarcane, jet fuels and new generation plastics

    22 Global best practiceCover story: From UQ labs to global best practice

    24 Navigating how we thinkMaking sense of the complex world of ideas

    25 Emerging researchersThe research work of today will transform the world of tomorrow

    26 Turning theory into practiceThe evolution of engineering education

    30 Inspiring othersStudent Yassmin-Abdel Magied: leading the way for others is all in a days work

    31 Make it soEngineering students are improving lives in developing countries



    And as these changes take place on campus, we are evolving off-campus by reaching out in new ways to support mutually beneficial relationships between UQ Engineering, and our alumni and friends in industry. The launch of ingenuity

    is one small way that we believe we can better share the stories, opportunities and challenges that come with being associated and involved with UQ Engineering. With engineering education on the move particularly at UQ the challenge in producing this first issue of ingenuity has not been what to put in, but what to leave out.

    I encourage you to drop us a line with your thoughts and feedback.

    With best wishes,

    Professor Graham SchafferExecutive Dean Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

    [email protected]

    INGENUITY ISSUE 1, 2011 3

  • NEWS

    What a degree from UQ means for youTerrific news for alumni as UQ has again been listed amongst the top universities around the globe, in 2011.

    Global rankings are becoming increasingly important as students and academics rely upon them to make informed choices on where to study and work.

    Three independent ranking systems have ranked UQ amongst the leading institutions in the world for engineering research and education this year.

    The prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities, published by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, ranked UQ in the 52-75 band internationally in engineering/technology and computer engineering. UQ was the only Queensland university ranked in the top 100, and one of only four from Australia.

    UQ has also fared extremely well in the QS World University Rankings. UQ was ranked 29 in the world for chemical engineering, 34 in the world for civil and structural engineering and 48th for computer science and information systems. We were also ranked in the top 100 in electrical and electronic engineering, mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing engineering.

    The Excellence in Research for Australia survey has ranked UQ among the top three engineering universities in Australia, with more researchers at UQ working in research fields assessed above world standard than at any other Australian university. All nine of our engineering fields ranked at well-above the world standard (level 5) or above world standard (level 4).

    As a graduate, these rankings reflect on the high calibre of your degree, and help promote ongoing recognition of its quality amongst employers.

    GREEN THUMBS UP FOR UQ MINE REHABILITATION TECHNOLOGYA breakthrough technology which could potentially allow for the re-vegetation of barren mine sites has been developed by a multidisciplinary research team at UQ.

    The new technology that promotes plant growth at mine sites previously unable to support any vegetation due to heavy soil contamination is being trialled at UQ with financial support from Xstrata Technology.

    UniQuest, UQs main commercialisation company established start-up venture company, MetalloTek Pty Ltd, to manage further development and commercialisation of the technology in partnership with industry stakeholders.

    Xstrata Technology CEO, Joe Pease, said the research showed the potential to deliver smart and sustainable ways of dealing with metal contamination in soils a critical concern for mining companies committed to sustainable rehabilitation.

    The technology recently received the Excellence in Environmental Management Award at the 8th Australian Mining Prospect Awards dinner presentation in Sydney on 7 September 2011.

    QUEENSLAND IS A GLOBAL HUB FORgeothermal energy researchUQ and the Sunshine State are leading the field in Geothermal Energy research.

    Through the development of the Queensland Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence (QGECE) at UQ, we are establishing ourselves as the global hub for geothermal energy research, technology development and job creation.

    The Queensland Governments investment of $15 million in the QGECE represents the largest investment in geothermal energy research in Australia.

    Geothermal has a bright future in Queensland because it has the potential to produce more base-load energy than any other renewable energy source, Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said.

    The QGECE is undertaking research and development to progress large-scale electricity generation from subterranean hot rocks and hot sedimentary aquifers. This important work is helping position Queensland as a leading technology provider in the growing international geothermal energy sector, he said.

    4 INGENUITY ISSUE 1, 2011

  • Researcher teaches robots TO INVENT THEIR OWN LANGUAGEEver wondered what robots would say if they could talk? Wonder no more...

    Postdoctoral research fellow Dr Ruth Schulz and her colleagues have created a pair of mobile robots known as Lingodroids which are able to communicate by developing their own words for places, and relationships between places based on distance and direction.

    The language sounds like a sequence of phone tones, which are easy for the robots to produce and hear in a noisy office environment, before being translated into syllables to make it easy for humans to recognise them.

    Dr Schulz said that the robots start by playing where-are-we games.

    If they encounter an area that has not yet been named, one will invent a word, such as kuzo, choosing a random combination of syllables, which it is then able to communicate to other robots it meets, thus defining the name of the place, she said.

    The resulting language consists of location, distance and direction words, enabling the robots to refer to new places based on their relationship to known locations.

    After having played hundreds of games to develop their language, the robots agreed upon concepts for toponyms within 0.65 metres, directions within 10 degrees and distances within 0.375 metres.

    New vaccine delivery company STARTS WITH AUD15 MILLION INVESTMENTIf you are afraid of needles, or know of someone who is, then take note!

    $15 million has been invested in a start-up biotechnology company with the aim to develop a revolutionary new needle-free