Showcasing Early Career Researchers 2014

Showcasing Early Career Researchers celebrates good research, communicated well.

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Entrants were asked to submit a 30-second video demonstrating that they could convey the aim of their research clearly and effectively. Forty-eight video entries were received and from those, five finalists were chosen to attend the CRC Association conference in Perth from 20-21 May and give a five-minute oral presentation about their research. The judges were looking for entrants who demonstrated excellent oral presentation skills. Mr Luigi Vandi was selected as the overall winner by an audience vote at the conference.

See the five finalists

Entries received

Mr Mohammad (Mo) Amanzadeh

CRC Mining

Investigation of All-fibre Methane Sensors for Underground Coal Mines

Approximately 80 per cent of total mining fatalities happened in underground coal mining operations were caused by gas ignition explosions. Distributed, reliable, real-time, safe and accurate gas measurement systems with reasonable response time needs to be developed to minimise the risk of explosions. This research investigates potential all-optical fibre gas spectroscopy sensor heads in a laboratory environment for underground coal mines.

Dr Ehsan Azizi

CRC for Greenhouse Gas Technologies

CO2 injectivity and storage capacity estimation in geological formations

In order to tackle climate change, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) will need to provide nearly 20% of CO2 emission reduction required by 2050. Mathematical models are developed to estimate the amount of CO2 that can be injected and safely stored in underground geological formations. The models are verified, fast and simple to use; therefore, during the preliminary and uncertainty analyses of the formations, they can be used as alternatives to expensive and time-consuming numerical simulations.

Mr Mezbaul Bahar

CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CARE)

Development of a cost-effective bioremediation technology for arsenic-contaminated water

Millions of people worldwide suffer arsenic poisoning via contaminated food and water. Conventional treatment methods are costly and can produce harmful by-products. Bioremediation – using algae and bacteria to clean up pollution – may be a safe and cost-effective alternative. Some algae and bacteria can convert arsenic to a less toxic form that is easily removed from water to make it safe for consumption and irrigation. Such bioremediation may also be used to treat industrial wastewater.

Dr Jannah Baker

CRC for Spatial Information

Identifying Areas Requiring Additional Diabetes Resources

With the catastrophic rise in type 2 diabetes in Australia and worldwide, many parts of the world are close to a crisis in service provision. By identifying areas in Queensland most in need of additional resources and targeting regional risk factors, we can reverse and prevent long-term consequences, and reduce the future costs of diabetes to our community.

Dr Grant Ballantyne

CRC for Optimising Resource Extraction

Beneficiation Energy Efficiency

My work involves quantifying the impact of preconcentration strategies on the energy footprint and productivity of mining activities. Comminution can account for 36% of mining energy and 45% of operating costs. Preconcentration strategies to reduce the material requiring grinding can help us move to more sustainable mining practices. My methodology for assessing the unit efficiency of comminution processes will be extended to create a toolbox to assess whole-of-mine impact.

Ms Savitha Balu

Energy Pipelines CRC

Organisational Design

This project looks at one particular aspect of organisational design: the organisational salience of company safety and technical integrity specialists. That is, how high are they in the organisation? What are their reporting lines? Are they advisors or do they have real decision making power? The a key goal of the project is to identify a number of different patterns among Australian energy pipeline companies and to correlate this with the safety performance of the companies.

Mr Florian Berner

Advanced Manufacturing CRC

Novel high-density cultivation systems for microalgae

New sustainable bio-resources are emerging as alternative to traditional, petroleum based production. Microalgae are among the most attractive of these bio-resources, with potential applications in biofuels, nutrition and green chemistry. In my research, I’m developing and testing new, high-density production systems for more efficient production of microalgal biomass. This will help to reduce production costs and will influence the next generation of microalgal cultivation systems.

Ms Sally Bradford

Young and Well CRC

Integrating technology into mental health services to effectively engage and assess young people: the e-HEADSSS application

12-25 year olds are at a higher risk of mental disorders than any other age group; however, many do not receive the most appropriate treatment in a timely manner as they are not comfortable disclosing the necessary, but highly personal, information to a health professional. Our extensive research indicates that a self-administered electronic psychosocial assessment tool can help with their initial disclosures. We are in the process of refining and testing such an e-tool for use in health care.

Mr Cristian Carrasco

CRC for Optimising Resource Extraction

Development of novel grade engineering concepts to increase unit metal productivity for large scale open-pit cu-au mining operations

My research will improve the efficiency of energy usage, and increase productivity through the early rejection of waste. Early results show that a mining operation can increase their total profit through this process, also considering operational and practical constraints on the mine site. The outcome of my research will radically change the culture of the Australian mining industry from production to productivity driven, sustaining the life of mining operations.

Ms Pratishtha Chatterjee

CRC for Mental Health

Investigating blood and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease could result in better outcomes for patients. Current diagnostic methods are either uneconomical or invasive. My research compares blood protein fingerprints between healthy people and those who carry mutations for developing Alzheimer’s. The differences in blood proteins I’ve found between the two groups match current ‘gold standard’ diagnostic means, and so could contribute towards the development of an early diagnostic blood test for Alzheimer’s disease.

Ms Laura Chekli

CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CARE)

Development of methods for characterisation of zero-valent iron nanoparticles and their complex environmental interactions

Large quantities of manufactured nanomaterials are used to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater. However, little is known about what happens to nanomaterials once they enter the environment, or about their potential to cause human or environmental harm. Furthermore, Australia lacks regulations for these substances. I am developing methods to predict how nanomaterials behave. This knowledge will help ensure the safe design and manufacture of nano-products.

Mr Sergei Chichin

Smart Services CRC

An Open Market for Trading Cloud Services

Cloud computing services rapidly gain popularity. The businesses actively migrate to the cloud, and new cloud providers emerge. In such situation, it is essential but very challenging to provision the cloud resources efficiently. Therefore, we design computational market mechanisms to allocate cloud services efficiently. The proposed mechanisms improve the revenue and resource utilization of the cloud providers, and allow procuring the cloud services in a cost-effective way.

Mr Andrew Clayphan

Smart Services CRC

Structuring Activities at the Tabletop

Overview: How to use interactive multi-touch tabletops to support education and learning. Problem: How to design software that takes into account difficulties that may prevent effective collaboration. Solution: Exploration of creativity tools, which can serve multiple functions, from discussion, to small group meetings, to construction of a joint artefacts. Goal: To get these devices deployed in schoolrooms around the country to provide richer and more interactive methods for learning.

Mr Malay Dave

Low Carbon Living CRC

Towards a Framework for Whole Systems Design for Sustainable Affordable Housing: Investigating the case for prefabrication

Environmental sustainability and economic affordability in housing have been traditionally seen as mutually exclusive. The question is can prefabricated systems of production coupled with innovative systems design approaches in housing lead to concurrent excellence in sustainability and affordability? The aim is to develop a framework that offers capabilities of multi-level decision making for high performance sustainable affordable prefabricated housing.

Mr Mehdi Ebrahimi

CRC for Rail Innovation

A National Coaching Framework for Rail

Coaching is a distinct process and practice related to human resource management. It focuses on career and succession planning,leadership development,performance management,workplace learning,talent management and retention. Effective coaching practices can increase workforce capacity and renewal, identify workplace learning and improve competencies to benefit employers and employees alike. This project utilizes a Mixed Methods Research approach to create a national coaching framework for Rail.

Miss Bianca Foggiatto

CRC for Optimising Resource Extraction

Simulation of Flexible Mineral Processing Circuits

The methods for flowsheet selection are mostly based on experience of design engineers, essentially adapting existing plant layouts to fit a new application. The incorporation of innovation in circuit design will contribute to minimise processing costs and improve the use of resources. Improving simulation capabilities for engineering solutions that incorporate changes in ore characteristics and improve downstream unit performance in the design of processing circuits is the focus of my research.

Mr Pandian Govindarasu

CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CARE)

Illicit drugs in the environment: toxicity and remedial options

Illicit drugs and their metabolites enter the environment via human excretion, and through illegal dumping or deliberate disposal from clandestine drug laboratories. Exposure to these chemicals has the potential to harm people and other organisms. We have insufficient knowledge of what happens to illicit drugs in the environment, so I am investigating this, as well as their impact on organisms that are exposed to them.

Dr Michael Heitzmann

CRC for Advanced Composite Structures

In-mould priming of fibre reinforced plastic helicopter components using thermoplastic polymers

Conventional aerospace coatings for fibre reinforced plastics consist of up to 65% solvent. The project aim was to remove the solvents from the coating process. An in-mould coating process (a process where the coating is applied before the laminate is placed into the mould), was developed. The coating is applied via powder-coating and is based on a thermoplastic polymer. This new method is completely solvent free and drastically reduces labour associated with post-mould surface preparation.

Ms Paola Incerti


Prescription Procedures for Hybrid Devices

My PhD is focused on developing and validating a standardised fitting procedure for devices using a combination of acoustic (hearing aid) and electric stimulation (cochlear implant) technologies to manage hearing loss. Such devices, like the hybrid cochlear implant, are becoming increasingly popular, and as yet there are no formal fitting procedures for hearing health professionals to follow. These procedures will ensure device technologies are selected appropriately for the individual.

Mr Muhammad Awais Javed


Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) of Carbon Steel

Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) refers to corrosion due to the presence and activity of micro-organisms e.g. bacteria, algae and fungi. These microorganisms are very small and present everywhere, in rivers, lakes, oceans and affect the number of industries including maritime, nuclear power and oil and gas field etc. My PhD thesis is about the understanding of how these microorganisms are involved in the destruction of metallic materials and how it can be prevented.

Miss Zhongnan Jia

Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC

Diet and energy budget of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) – Relationship between Krill and Winter Sea Ice

Antarctic krill is the keystone species linking phytoplankton and most of the high trophic level animals. By looking into the diet of Antarctic krill, my research will explain how krill survive in the winter and how they interact with other lower trophic level animals. This information is fundamental for our understanding of the entire Southern Ocean ecosystem. It will also help predict how the ecosystem will respond to changes due to human activity.

Miss Larisa Karklins

Young and Well CRC

An investigation into the relationship between cyberbullying, coping and help seeking among young adolescents

The topics of cyberbullying, help seeking, and coping have received inconsistent findings in research. My research will examine these topics through the use of online surveys and interviews, with high school students in South Australia. I will address the topics of internet use, cyberbullying, help seeking intentions, coping mechanisms and mental health and wellbeing. Implications include aiding teachers, parents, and health care professions around improving the wellbeing of young people.

Miss Angelica Legras

CRC for Advanced Composite Structures

Short Fibre Biocomposites

Biocomposites emerged as a viable alternative to glass reinforced plastics, thanks to the considerable mechanical properties of natural fibres combined with their attractive price and increased sustainability. Composite processing by extrusion may considerably change the fibre properties. The influence of the processing parameters on biocomposite properties is not yet clearly understood.This research mainly focuses on the optimisation of extrusion process to develop competitive products.

Dr Brenda Mackie

CRC for Bushfire

Warning Fatigue: Insights from the Australian Bushfire Context

My research examined warning fatigue & the role it plays in decision-making for people in bushfire-prone areas. It’s the first reported empirical examination of warning fatigue in the context of prolonged lead-time disasters. I established that warning fatigue is a real issue & it is why warnings can be dismissed & bushfire risk underestimated. My work will allow emergency managers to understand why communities may be warning fatigued, & how to create warning messages that mitigate this effect.

Ms Franziska Mey

Low Carbon Living CRC

Opportunities and challenges for the development and implementation of community-scale renewable energy projects

The project will investigate how community-based, medium-scale, renewable energy projects can be developed, with particular attention to the roles of cooperatives and not-for-profit organisations. The focus will be on institutional structures, governance processes and sources of finance. The project will recommend supportive policy options needed from governments, economy and other stakeholders to build partnerships.

Mr Vincent Moug

CRC for Rail Innovation

CRC for Rail Innovation – Project No. R1.134 Station Design

Current research investigates design solutions for persons with reduced mobility in the context of existing rail station design, focusing on the wider accessibility and safety issues of mobility impaired users particularly at legacy stations on a metropolitan rail network. Carriage to platform cross-gap accessibility is a key component in the compliancy measures for station infrastructure under the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (2002) towards a 2022 milestone.

Miss Charity Mundava

CRC for Spatial Information

Assisting Outback Australian Rangeland Managers with their Livestock

Pastoralists have an obligation to ensure a viable number of stock while sustainably managing the land. Accurate estimates of available pasture can improve livestock management. Satellite images can be used as an aid in assessing and mapping available pasture. In this context, the project aims to focus on developing tools for pasture assessment using satellite data to enable optimised stocking rates on a paddock or land-system basis for rangeland stations in Northern Western Australia.

Mr Nicolas Neveux

Advanced Manufacturing CRC

Turning waste into black gold

Algal biomass is an innovative and abundant resource for the production of renewable liquid fuels, owing its tremendous potential to its fast growth rates, ability to grow using nutrient waste streams and attractive profile for conversion to biofuels. My research focuses on optimizing the cultivation of algal biomass in wastewater in relation to its conversion to bio-crude oil, through a process called hydrothermal liquefaction.

Mrs Christina Parker

Wound Management Innovation CRC

Development and validation of risk assessment tools to guide management and prevention of venous leg ulcers

70% of chronic leg ulcers are caused by venous disease and studies have shown that up to 50% of leg ulcers do not heal within six months, many remain unhealed for years or decades. Even after healing, up to 70% recur. This ground breaking research has developed an innovative multidisciplinary risk assessment tools to assist clinicians to rapidly detect leg ulcers at-risk of delayed healing or recurrence in order to guide timely and appropriate wound management and prevention decisions.

Mr Ebadat Parmehr

CRC for Spatial Information

Merging Imagery into a 3D Dataset

Satellite sensors provide information for many applications such as environmental monitoring and mapping. But converting these data sets into usable information for decision making takes significant time and effort. My research uses an automated procedure to create 3D models from multiple data sources through the seamless alignment of 2D imagery with 3D datasets. The use of information from different sensors gives access to a suite of new analysis techniques for more intelligent decision making.

Ms Kim Petersen

CRC for Remote Economic Participation

Sustainability of remote Aboriginal art centres in Australian desert communities

This research investigates the business practices that underpin the performance and sustainability of remote desert Aboriginal Art Centres. Aboriginal people are Australia’s most disadvantaged population group, with disadvantage being more severe in remote communities. As the sale of art provides one of the few means for remote communities to engage with the mainstream economy, there is an imperative to analyse business practices in order to positively impact on the sustainability of Art Centre.

Mr Stuart Robertson

CRC for Remote Economic Participation

Mine Lifecycle Planning Generating Enduring Value for Remote Communities

I will be examining the level of interaction and dependence of communities surrounding 2 mines in Australia. The thesis assess how communities interface with mines, the corporations that operate them; will have a strong focus on the social and economic effects of the mining operations on Aboriginal communities and populations in the areas near the mines and provide research evidence to support the theory that mine lifecycle planning is required to generate enduring value from mining.

Ms Jan Rose

CRC for Rail Innovation

The effects of new technology on the train driving task

To prevent accidents and ensure that the full benefits of new technologies in rail are realised, we must understand the task, consider the impact of new technologies on awareness, and understand operators’ attitudes to technology. I have compiled a task analysis of long-haul train driving, developed a new measure of situation awareness that experiments have shown to be more suitable for the rail industry than existing measures, and investigated causes of train drivers’ resistance to technology.

Mr Mojibul Sajjad

CRC for Rail Innovation

Friction Management and Top of Rail Lubrication

This research project seeks a holistic understanding of top of rail lubrication and management of wheel/rail friction in the Australian context. A systematic approach for experimentation and analysis of several friction modifiers was developed in this study. The approach utilised an engineering analysis based on experimental results publications and a numerical study for three dimensional analysis. Vehicle system dynamics and wheel/rail operating conditions were then modelled through GENSYS simulation to understand variations in wheel/rail wear index with respect to friction conditions resulting from application of friction modifier. In addition to curve lubrication, rail top friction management with application of friction modifier sometimes presented as a better remedial strategy for managing wheel-rail interface.

Ms Mandy Salomon

Smart Services CRC

Applying virtual environments to dementia care

In a nut shell, my aim is to have fun and engaging software in the lap of every person with dementia. My solution is interactive virtual worlds on touch screen tablets. These worlds are built around psychological theories on ‘identity’ and ‘selfhood’ and I am collaborating with people with moderate to advanced stages in order to develop them. I have some beautiful footage of people working with these worlds at early stage development. Alzheimer’s Australia is my industry partner.

Ms Kylie Sandy-Hodgetts

Wound Management Innovation CRC

What predisposes a patient to surgical wound dehiscence and is a risk assessment tool able to detect those at risk?

More than 2,000 wounds, of all types, were admitted to a community nursing service in the Perth metropolitan area in 2010. More than 11% of these were dehisced (separation of the layers of a surgical wound) following hospital discharge. WMI CRC’s project will identify the pre, peri and post-operative patient characteristics and care interventions that may predispose a patient to surgical wound dehiscence and develop a Surgical Wound Dehiscence Tool (SWDRT) for clinical settings.

Mr Alexander Stretton

Young and Well CRC

What’s Normal? An Exploration of Youth Perceptions of Mental Health and Help Seeking

Extensive research and resources go towards supporting mental health issues in Australian youth every year. Of those aged 16 to 24, one in four individuals will experience a mental health disorder (Reavley & Jorm, 2011), yet many youth fail to reach out for help. My research aims to investigate whether young people normalise mental health symptoms to the detriment of seeking help, with the goal of informing new and innovative technologies to facilitate the help seeking process.

Mr Nuddin Tengku

CRC for Spatial Information

Creating Standards (Benchmarking) for Global Positioning Devices

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) users are increasingly recognising the need for appropriate quality control measures and procedures that answers the question ‘how can I trust where my GNSS receiver says I am’. The research aims to quantify the performance of a system, thereby providing a mechanism for validation and certification. This is especially important as GNSS derived data has gone beyond personal navigation, and is now a matter of national security and a major economic asset.

Mr Giles Thomson

Low Carbon Living CRC

A review of national and international policy initiatives and programs for low carbon precincts

Urban environments are slow to change, therefore the neighbourhoods we build today, must meet our future social and environmental needs. The dual demands of rapid population growth and decarbonisation will disrupt the liveability of Australian cities unless we plan to address these issues now. My research investigates how neighbourhood (or precinct) scale development with shared ecoinfrastructure could help accelerate change through the delivery of affordable, livable and sustainable communities.

Ms Dani Tomlin


What does it mean to have an Auditory Processing Disorder?

My research examines the real-life impact of Auditory Processing Disorder, by demonstrating the link between this disorder and the academic (especially literacy) and listening abilities of children. The influence of cognition on these results is also highlighted.
The results guide current clinical practice, determining the inclusions to, and interpretation of, the clinical test set that best identifies and addresses the needs of children with real-life listening and learning difficulties.

Mr Philip Townsend

CRC for Remote Economic Participation

Remote Indigenous Student Teacher Global Digital Nomads

The aim of this research is to examine how the innovative use of mobile devices – such as laptops, tablets or mobile phones – might enhance the professional learning of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pre-service teachers in remote communities. Sometimes their study is interrupted and they are unable to attend their local learning centres. The research is significant as it may empower these student teachers to personalise their learning at times and in places they find most convenient.

Ms YouYou Wu

Energy Pipelines CRC

AS2885.1 Standards Toughness Review

This project takes complex data from various sources to examine the effects of specimen and wall thickness on absorbed energy during testings. The results are used the review the approach taken to the Australian standard AS2885.1, which sets guidelines for pipeline fracture control. The study is important as it provides the industry with the necessary tools to cost effectively prevent pipeline rupture in current and future pipelines without compromising the safety of the community.