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Articles categorized as ‘University of Queensland Engineering School’

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Record number of women graduating from engineering at UQ

The University of Queensland is celebrating the graduation of a record number of female engineering students last semester with women making up 35 per cent of all graduates—more than double the national average of 17 per cent.

Record number of women graduating from engineering at UQ

UQ female engineering graduates exceeded the national average of 17 per cent (Image credit: UQ)

UQ’s engineering cohort has seen significant growth in female graduate numbers since 2012, when they numbered 21 per cent, and the national average was 15 per cent.

Faculty of  Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology, (EAIT) Executive Dean, Professor Simon Biggs said the increase in female graduates highlights UQ’s leadership in shaping a more inclusive and equitable engineering industry, bolstered by the very successful Women in Engineering (WE) program which has been running for four years.

“The Women in Engineering program was established at UQ as a university-led, industry-funded initiative to address the gender disparity in engineering at both the tertiary and industry levels, and the results so far speak volumes for the value of the program.” said Professor Biggs.

“UQ also recently hosted the first joint university workshop to collaborate and share best practice for recruiting females into engineering.

More than 30 representatives from 18 universities across Australia, New Zealand and the US state of Colorado attended the event with the long-term objective to see female participation in engineering increase collectively across Australia.

“We don’t just want to see gender diversity improve in engineering at UQ, we want to see broad change across the industry in Australia and globally.”

Women currently account for less than 13 per cent of the engineering workforce in Australia, and industries that employ engineers are missing out on the benefits that diversity brings to technically-grounded problem solving.

EAIT faculty is leading from the top with a record increase in female academic appointments in engineering in 2016, especially in the area of chemical engineering. A popular area of study for female students, chemical engineering is an exemplar of female participation with women making up over 40 per cent of the graduating cohort this semester.

Second-year chemical and environmental engineering student Geethu George says young women need strong female role models when setting out in engineering careers.

“Being in contact with female academics in my field of study encourages me to keep moving forward with my decision to pursue engineering,” Ms George said.

“Having women in these senior positions and watching them achieve success is essential to increasing female participation in engineering.”


Want more information about engineering programs available at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Engineering Schools Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Monday, July 4th, 2016

UQ engineering team blitzes NASA competition

Designing and building rockets and sending them into space is one of the most expensive endeavours on earth, costing upwards of $500 million.

But a team of University of Queensland engineers has come up with a cheap 3D-printable solution, earning them first place in the NASA Brisbane International Space Apps Challenge and an invitation to the international competition.

UQ engineering team blitzes NASA competition

UQ Rocket3D team (Photo credit: UQ)

The Rocket3D team, made up of UQ tunnel engineer Sam Grieve, and Thomas Reddell and Jianyong Wang, PhD students at the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, were given a brief to design a rocket that could be built inside the Kennedy Space Center.

“We chose to design a 3D-printed rocket because the technology has many advantages and it’s much easier to create complex geometries” Mr Grieve said.

“One guy in the competition produced a fully functioning asteroid mining computer game, which was absolutely amazing! It was a huge honour to be selected over that.”

The UQ engineering Rocket3D team incorporated an unconventional features into their design—an Aerospike engine—which they said would potentially provide a 30 per cent increase in fuel efficiency.

“Usually these engines aren’t used as they have problems with cooling, but a 3D-printed version could incorporate complex cooling channels as well as mass air pockets to improve cooling,” Mr Grieve said.

The competition, which challenges teams to find solutions to complex problems within 48 hours, is run simultaneously at locations around the world.

Ideas are summarised into a 10-minute pitch to a judging panel that considers if projects could be turned into viable product.

“Having a background studying and working at UQ was certainly a great advantage, as I had the confidence to approach problems that were new and unusual,” Mr Grieve said.


Discover more about UQ engineering degrees! Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Engineering Schools Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

University of Queensland ranked among world’s best

The University of Queensland is number one in Australia in two subject areas and among the world’s top 20 in four, a global review published this week confirms.

The QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 places 11 UQ subject areas in the world’s top 30.

University of Queensland

University of Queensland ranked is among world’s best

UQ ranks at number one in Australia in Mineral Resources and Mining Engineering (10th globally) and Environmental Science (12th globally).

The university ranks 17th globally in Agriculture and Forestry and 18th in Education.

UQ’s other QS global top-30 subjects:

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said UQ’s top-ranked subjects deserved their national and international acclaim.

“It’s fitting that a leading university in a biodiverse and resource-rich nation is among the world’s best in mining and environmental subjects,” he said.

“Our globally strong performance in these subjects is a reflection of UQ’s hard work in areas where we can create change for industry and the environment.”

Professor Høj said it was gratifying that the University of Queensland had high-ranking QS subjects across the wide span of the university’s endeavour.

“UQ’s quality teaching and research takes place across a comprehensive range of top-rated disciplines, with an enviable breadth not enjoyed by all universities,” he said.

“This interdisciplinary strength is a great asset to UQ researchers and students.”

Professor Høj said the QS subject data reflected UQ’s position among the world’s top 50 universities, as ranked in the QS World University Rankings and the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities, and within the top 100 in another five key independent rankings.

QS assessed 42 subject areas in 2016, with 37 UQ subject areas featuring in the top 100.

The QS World University Rankings by Subject, published annually since 2011, highlights the world’s leading institutions in individual subject areas.

This year QS evaluated 4,226 universities in more than 60 countries.

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Innovation leader is new head of UQ Dow Centre

The University of Queensland has appointed Professor Chris Greig as chair of its multi-million-dollar Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation.

The centre works globally to drive technological advancement, frontier research and world-class education programs to find solutions to the core sustainability issues of the 21st Century.

UQ Engineering School

Chris Greig (Photo: University of Queensland)

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said Professor Greig’s leadership would play a vital role in the university’s response to global sustainability challenges.

“His impressive record of contributions to the university and to the energy sector mean he is well-equipped to ensure the Dow Centre fosters innovations that create real change around the globe,” Professor Høj said.

“His extensive experience tackling challenges in sustainability will help ensure the Dow Centre contributes to delivering a sustainable future for the planet.”

Professor Greig, a UQ alumnus who also leads the UQ Energy Initiative, said the appointment would allow him to build even stronger international collaborative partnerships across academia and industry, to build on UQ’s work to provide knowledge leadership for a better world.

“I hope to increase the impact of our research by aligning the focus to real world challenges,” he said.

The Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation is a collaboration between UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the UQ Global Change Institute and the UQ School of Chemical Engineering.

Professor Greig founded and led a successful process innovation company for 15 years before working in senior executive roles in the construction and resources sector.

Before joining UQ he was Project Director and CEO of ZeroGen, which conducted one of the world’s most comprehensive studies on the potential of a large scale, low-emissions coal-fired power project incorporating carbon capture and storage.

“I see partnerships between universities and global industrial companies like Dow Chemical as critical if we are to play a serious role in enabling a more sustainable future in which economic growth can occur without compromising the well-being of future generations,” Professor Greig said.

Professor Høj said inaugural Dow Centre Director Professor Eric McFarland had left a long-lasting and positive legacy for the centre.


Find out more about studying sustainability and engineering at UQ. Contact OzTREKK Australian Engineering Schools Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston for more information at shannon@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

UQ engineering student named Young Australian of the Year

Selfless work creating change for homeless people has propelled a University of Queensland student to be named Young Australian of the Year

Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Commerce student Lucas Patchett and business partner Nic Marchesi established Orange Sky Laundry, a free mobile clothes-washing service for the homeless.

The pair jointly won the prestigious national award at the Australian of the Year Awards in Canberra on Jan. 25, where winners were announced in four categories.

UQ Engineering School

Lucas Patchett (left) and Nic Marchesi converted an old van into a mobile laundromat and now washing 200 loads a week (Photo: University of Queensland)

Mr Patchett and Mr Marchesi were announced as the Queensland Young Australians of the Year in November. At that time, Mr Patchett said he was shocked to receive the state awards.

“I’ve been blown away by the support we’ve been getting and seeing how generous people are,” Mr Patchett said.

Orange Sky Laundry began in September 2014 when the two best mates converted an old van into a mobile laundromat which they drove around Brisbane.

Last year they took their mobile laundry to North Queensland to wash clothes in cyclone-ravaged communities.

“We’re now washing more than 200 loads each week,” Mr Patchett said. “We also have to say thank you to our 250-plus volunteers, who are fantastic.”

The UQ engineering student said his work with Mr Marchesi was about more than just washing clothes.

“One of the first guys we helped actually studied engineering like me,” Mr Patchett said. “But after some bad luck in life he ended up on the street, and that really opened our eyes to the massive issue of how easily homelessness can happen.

“We really want to start a national conversation.”

In just over a year, services have expanded rapidly, with four vans now running in Brisbane as well as the Gold Coast and in Victoria.

The pair plans to expand across Australia and to introduce a training and employment model.

Another UQ student, Tasman Bain, was a finalist in the Queensland Young Australian of the Year awards.

Mr Bain has founded a youth-led women’s rights initiative in Papua New Guinea, served as a UNICEF youth ambassador and volunteered for many charitable organisations.


Want more information about engineering programs available at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Engineering Schools Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Friday, October 30th, 2015

UQ PhD student receives top honours for sustainable energy solutions

A University of Queensland PhD student who is investigating sustainable energy solutions for developing communities has secured a prestigious fellowship from the American Australian Association.

Matthew Herington from UQ’s Energy Initiative will collaborate with researchers at Washington University in St Louis (WUSTL) to look at ways of overcoming energy poverty.

UQ Environmental Sciences

Matthew Herington (Photo credit: UQ)

Mr Herington said 1.1 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity and a further 2.9 billion people continue to use traditional fuels for light, and heating and cooking such as wood, animal dung, coal and crop residue.

“Using these traditional means to attain the most basic of human needs results in a number of significant problems—contributing to four million premature deaths each year, lifelong disabilities, deforestation, gender inequality and income poverty,” he said.

“Furthermore, time spent gathering wood for fuel means less time is available for more productive activities such as education or income generation, particularly for women who typically carry this burden.

“The benefits of achieving universal access to the energy services that sustain modern life are broad and transformational.”

Mr Herington said despite global efforts, progress to provide communities in developing countries with modern energy services has been slow, with many projects failing to deliver sustained and meaningful outcomes.

“Reasons for such failures are often investigated, with projects and initiatives reviewed to ask why these have seemingly failed, but very few explore the motivations and the behaviours of individuals who succeed in making a sustainable shift in their energy choices,” he said.

About the UQ Energy Initiative

The UQ Energy Initiative was established in 2011 to integrate UQ’s strengths and diversity in energy research, and is under the directorship of Professor Chris Greig. With many government and industry partners, UQ is uniquely placed to understand and address the challenges ahead. UQ’s breadth of experience ranges from engineering, material sciences and mining research, to social policy, economics, and environment. This aligns with the specific challenges facing Australia with its abundant and cost competitive coal and gas resources and an economy that is heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

A key focus of the UQ Energy Initiative is to facilitate engagement between the university’s best researchers and leaders in industry and government. The priorities of industry and policy makers need to inform and drive UQ energy research programs to make them as effective as possible.


Learn more about environmental science programs available at the University of Queensland. Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Rachel Brady for more information: rachel@oztrekk.com or 1-866-698-7355.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

It’s 2015, so where’s my flying car?

Today, October 21, 2015, marks the day Marty McFly and Doc Brown arrive in the fictional future of the iconic film Back to the Future II.

While we aren’t expecting the time-travelling duo, played by Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, to arrive from the past—what about the film’s other predictions of the year 2015?

According to UQ researchers, it seems the filmmakers were both spot on and way off.


According to University of Queensland mechatronics lecturer Dr Paul Pounds flying cars do in fact exist and have been around for almost 100 years.

“The first flying car, the Curtis Autoplane, was actually built and patented in 1917,” said Dr Pounds.“But unfortunately it was both a bad car and bad plane.

“The problem with flying cars is they need enormous amounts of energy to fly, particularly if they have a vertical take-off and landing feature like in the film.”

While there are currently flying cars on the market, Dr Pounds said these are more or less just small planes which can “taxi a bit faster.”

Can I travel through time?

According to UQ experts, the short answer is yes and no. Einstein’s theory of general relativity suggests the possibility of travelling backward through time using an Einstein-Rosen bridge, also known as a wormhole.

UQ physics researcher, Martin Ringbauer, has used single particles of light to simulate the behaviour of quantum particles when travelling through time.

He said this possibility in Einstein’s equations has puzzled researchers for decades, as it creates paradoxes in the classical world like the “grandfather paradox.”

“This paradox is the exact problem Marty encounters in the movie when he almost prevents his parents from meeting,” Mr Ringbauer said. “As he starts changing the past, he begins disappearing.

“By changing the past in this way he would erase his own existence and could have never set out for the time travel in the first place.”

There has been various examples of functioning hover boards on the internet, as well as a range of hoax videos of full flying examples; however, according to UQ theoretical physicist Professor Ben Powell, a device which has the capabilities and control of Marty McFly’s retro ride is still a way off.

“The working hover boards you may have seen on the internet levitate by using superconductors and magnets, similar to the way a maglev train works” Professor Powell said.

“While this is great technology, these board require a superconducting surface to levitate above and they don’t have the abilities to change directions or accelerate and brake in mid air.

“So to have hover boards like those in the film, we would need superconductors that work at room temperature, rather than the very cold temperatures that currently known superconductors work at.”

Today’s technology

While we might not be able to visit last week, fly our car to the beach or gently hover down to the shops, other predictions of 2015 the film made were spot on. For example

  • Google glass
  • Tablet computers
  • Wall mounted flat-screen televisions
  • Video conferencing
  • Virtual reality headsets
  • Voice and finger print control technology
  • Even dog walking drones


Find out more about studying engineering at UQ. Contact OzTREKK Australian Engineering Schools Admissions Officer Rachel Brady for more information at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

UQ helps launch Australia into space

Launching satellites into space could soon be easier and cheaper than ever before, thanks to research at the University of Queensland.

UQ Engineering School

UQ’s Centre for Hypersonics is planning a three-stage transformational space project called SPARTAN (Photo credit: University of Queensland)

UQ’s Centre for Hypersonics is planning a three-stage transformational space project called SPARTAN, designed to deliver satellites weighing up to 500kg into orbit and allowing them to be monitored nationally or internationally.

Chair of Hypersonic Propulsion Professor Michael Smart said the program aimed to take advantage of dramatic growth in the small satellite market.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Australia’s hypersonic industry to join the space community,” Professor Smart said.

“Currently, there are about 1265 satellites orbiting in space, but the cost to launch a single satellite is astronomical.

“Our project aim is to reduce this cost and make it more economically viable for smaller nations and organisations to launch their own satellites and monitor their own space activity through the development of a reusable space launch system.”

Stage one of the system consists of an Austral Launch Vehicle (ALV), a reusable rocket booster that lifts the upper stages of the rocket to scramjet take-over speed of Mach five, before flying back to base using wings and propellers.

The second stage SPARTAN scramjet will fly like a plane up to Mach 10, releasing the final rocket/satellite that stays in space, before it too returns to base.

The combination of the ALV and SPARTAN allows 95 per cent of the system to be reusable.

“If successful, SPARTAN has the potential to change the current paradigm of tossing away spacecraft after each launch,” Professor Smart said.

Partnering with Australian-based company Heliaq Advanced Engineering, the team is developing sub-scale versions of the ALV and SPARTAN as technology demonstrators.

It is expected that a subscale demonstrator (ALV-0) with a three-metre wingspan will be flown by the end of 2015.

“It will take off like a normal aircraft, stow the wings and then redeploy them,” Professor Smart said.

“This test flight will focus on the slow speed handling to prove that this prototype can actually work.

“We are trying to concentrate on the new things, not the classic rocketry things that have been done before.”

A follow-on rocket-powered demonstrator is also planned, but is still in the funding stages.

About the UQ Centre for Hypersonics

The Centre for Hypersonics at the University of Queensland is internationally renowned for excellence and innovation in hypersonic aerodynamics research.

In November 1997, UQ’s Centre for Hypersonics was formally established jointly between the departments of Mechanical Engineering (now the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering) and Physics (now the School of Mathematics and Physics). It has since become widely recognised as one of the leading university-based research groups in the field of Hypersonics and has active collaborations with international universities and research groups including those in France, Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, United States, Japan, India and China.


Find out more about studying engineering at the University of Queensland. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Engineering Schools Admissions Officer Rachel Brady for more information at rachel@oztrekk.com or 1-866-698-7355.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

UQ works on mobile health app

The cough is the single most common reason for a trip to the doctor, placing enormous strain on Australia’s healthcare system, but a new mobile health tool being developed by the University of Queensland could ease pressure on doctors and lower consumers’ health bills.

UQ Engineering School

UQ Associate Professor Udantha Abeyratne (Photo credit: UQ)

UQ School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering’s Associate Professor Udantha Abeyratne said the mobile application was based on an automated algorithm that could use sound alone to diagnose respiratory conditions such as pneumonia and asthma, without the need for additional hardware.

“The technology is based on the premise that cough and breathing sounds carry vital information on the state of the respiratory tract,” Dr Abeyrante said.

Recently commercialised by spin-off company ResApp, the new diagnostic tool will allow doctors to diagnose and monitor respiratory diseases via a smartphone application.

ResApp has already secured more than $4 million to develop the technology and launch it into the marketplace.

“I initially started developing this technology with the assistance of funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2009,” Dr Abeyratne said.

“So it’s incredibly pleasing to see it go beyond the initial conception stage, right through to UQ signing commercialisation agreements with external companies.”

Launched on the Australian Stock Exchange this month, ResApp is one of only a handful of UQ companies to be publicly listed.

Licensed with the assistance of UQ commercialisation arm UniQuest, ResApp is expected to lead to cost savings for consumers, insurers and governments through shorter consultation times, the ability to use telehealth solutions and a reduced use of antibiotics.

With the capability to function over multiple platforms such as smartphones, web, wearable and medical devices, potential markets for this technology range from smartphone users to telehealth providers and organisations such as the World Health Organisation.

ResApp CEO Tony Keating said the application was expected to be available in 2016.

“ResApp is excited to be working closely with Associate Professor Abeyratne’s team at the University of Queensland to commercialise technology that brings the power of a true medical diagnostic tool to everybody who owns a smartphone,” Mr Keating said.

Dr Abeyratne said he would like to see the technology clinically verified and FDA approved.

“My aim is for it to be implemented on mobile phones and other ubiquitous computing devices, empowering and enhancing patient participation in managing respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, asthma and whooping cough,” Dr Aberyratne said.

“Pneumonia alone kills about one million children every year, largely in remote resource-poor regions of the world.”


About the UQ School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering

Located within the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology, the School of ITEE is at the forefront of research, teaching and learning across the Information & Communications Technology (ICT) and Engineering disciplines.

The School of ITEE offers a multifaceted suite of teaching programs, at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level, in Information Technology, Engineering Hardware, Software and Information Management, Human-Computer Interaction and Multimedia Design.


Would you like more information about IT and engineering programs available at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK’s Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

UQ a top incubator of influential engineers

The University of Queensland is the second-highest ranked university in Engineers Australia’s 2015 list of Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers.

The list aims to highlight the impacts of outstanding engineers in all aspects of society.

UQ Engineering School

Professor Zhiguo Yuan and Professor Stuart Crozier (Photo credit: UQ)

UQ researchers Professor Stuart Crozier, Professor Zhiguo Yuan and Professor Mark Kendall are among the top 100.

Professor Crozier was listed by Engineers Australia for the first time in 2015, for his significant impact on the biomedical field. About 70 per cent of the world’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging systems contain his patented technology.

Professor Kendall was recognised for his contribution to the fields of bioengineering and nanotechnology, as the inventor of the needle-free vaccination method, the Nanopatch.

Professor Yuan was also listed for the first time in 2015. He was among the panel’s pick for his influence, and for inspiring others who work in the wastewater management field.

Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology  Executive Dean Professor Simon Biggs said each of the researchers had contributed greatly to their respective fields, and all were internationally renowned for pioneering ground-breaking technologies.

Nine UQ engineering alumni also appear on the list:

  • Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Founder and President, Youth Without Borders
  • Lizzie Brown, CEO, Engineers Without Borders
  • Kathryn Fagg, Board Member, Reserve Bank of Australia
  • Kathy Hirschfeld, Director, InterOil Corporation, Transfield Services, ASC, Toxfree Solutions
  • Andrew Liveris, Chair and CEO, The Dow Chemical Engineering Company
  • Rob Sindel, Managing Director, CSR
  • Ross Taylor, Managing Director and CEO, UGL Limited
  • Gordon Wyeth, Executive Dean, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology
  • Merryn York, Chief Executive, Powerlink Queensland

“This is an outstanding tribute to UQ engineering, now and in the past,” Professor Biggs said.

“It’s pleasing to see such a high proportion of UQ-educated engineers having significant impact on our state, our nation and across the world.”

Engineers Australia listed the engineers’ influence in any field as the main criterion for selection to the list.


Want more information about engineering programs available at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Engineering Schools Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355.