Available PhD projects - engineering, architecture & planning, & IT

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Chief Investigator

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Associate Professor Mary Fletcher

mary.fletcher@uq.edu.au

Modelling the controlled release of toxins from biopolymer composites in a model rumen environment

The controlled release of bioactives from degradable polymer matrices is a well-established route for the delivery of functional compounds over a sustained period. It is a powerful tool for managing the health and wellbeing of our cattle. However, the release rates and degradation profiles of biopolymers in cattle rumen is poorly understood or modelled. This project will address those gaps, using both practical and theoretical modelling approaches.

The principal advisor for this project will be Dr Bronwyn Laycock, b.laycock@uq.edu.au and students will enrol through the School of Chemical Engineering.

Preferred B Eng (four year, 1st class honours) or B.Sc. (Hons 1 or 2A) or equivalent.

Associate Professor Yan Liu

yan.liu@uq.edu.au

New approaches to modelling human-environment interactions for sustainable coastal city development

This project aims to model sustainable development options of low-lying coastal cities under rapid population growth, climate change and intensive human activity. Using Brisbane (Australia) and Ningbo (China) as case studies, the project will empirically test and understand how cities grow as complex systems built out of the interactions between humans and their living environment at the individual scale and in a cross-jurisdictional context. The project expects to offer a spatially explicit understanding of the development of coastal cities and science-based decision tools to improve policy-making.

PhD project 1: Modelling human-environment interactions: Testing irregular CA and 3D urban models. This PhD project will develop and test an irregular CA model to align with land cadastre boundaries, and a 3D CA model structure to account for the vertical growth of cities.

PhD project 2: Modelling human-environment interactions: A cross-cultural comparison. The project will focus on developing applications of the CA-ABM in a coastal city in China, and comparing the modelling approach, performance, and outcomes under different cultural, policy and institutional settings.

Students will enrol through the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences.

GIS; Human geography; Urban studies/planning; Geoinfomatics; or other relevant field.

Professor Jonathan Corcoran

jj.corcoran@uq.edu.au

Reclaiming lost ground: Transitions of mobility and parking

Car mobility and immobility (i.e. parking) are persistent urban problems. Considering new transitions and trends in land-use and transport, including car-sharing and automated vehicles, and the revival of urban living, important questions arise concerning the redesign and reuse of urban space. Policy-makers need a new evidence base and toolkit to determine how best to repurpose the space currently dedicated to accommodating private motor vehicles to make cities more attractive, efficient and liveable places. This project’s overall aim is to understand the role of parking in mobility, urban consolidation, and transit-oriented development. Does parking supply affect travel demand, car ownership, and ultimately the quality of urban life?

Students will enrol through the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences.

A background in urban planning or human geography, preferably with some training in spatial data and analysis.

Dr Joel Carpenter

j.carpenter@uq.edu.au

Control of light in space and time in multimode optical fibres

Controlling the way light propagates in space and time using digital holography.

Enabling applications such imaging deep into ‘opaque’ objects such as human skin or brain, high-power lasers for material processing and manufacturing, optical telecommunications, and quantum computation. Project includes industry collaboration with Nokia (Bell Labs) and Finisar, as well as University of Southampton.

Students will enrol through the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering.

Honours/Masters in Physics, Electrical Engineering or similar discipline. Strong programming skills desirable.

Dr Ruifeng Yan

ruifeng@itee.uq.edu.au

Enabling high photovoltaic penetration in power distribution networks

The rapid uptake of residential solar systems has resulted in extensive voltage management issues for power distribution grids. This project aims to develop a novel hybrid control method for network voltage regulation with high photovoltaic penetration. Without such technology, the further integration of solar photovoltaic into the power grid will become increasingly difficult. The outcome of this project will enable power utilities to cost-effectively regulate network voltage and ultimately remove barriers for future photovoltaic deployment. This will deliver significant economic benefits for both the wider community and utility providers, along with substantial environmental outcomes through increased use of sustainable energy sources.

Students will enrol through the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering.

First class honours (or equivalent) /Masters in power system or control Engineering or Math. Strong programming and math skills desirable
Dr Vincent Wheatley

v.wheatley@uq.edu.au
Acoustic loads on hypersonic vehicles

This project aims to understand how acoustic loads are generated in supersonic combustion ramjets (scramjets) to control sonic fatigue in reusable hypersonic vehicles. This knowledge promises to revolutionise flight by making space access more affordable than it is today. In this project an innovative methodology has been devised, using advanced experimental, theoretical and numerical techniques, to measure acoustic waves in scramjets for the first time. The intended outcomes include a new predictive simulation model that will enable the design of flight-weight reusable hypersonic vehicles. Benefits include reduced cost for access to space and the ability to design and develop advanced aerospace technology.

Students will enrol through the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering.

Mechanical and/or Aerospace Engineering

Professor Matt Dargusch

m.dargusch@uq.edu.au

ARC Research Hub for Advanced Manufacturing of Medical Devices

Understanding the behaviour of medical devices in endovascular environments – modelling and experiment.

Students will enrol through the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering.

Mechanical and/or Aerospace Engineering. Physics degree may be highly beneficial.
ARC Research Hub for Advanced Manufacturing of Medical Devices

Developing the smart-enough factory learning environment.

Students will enrol through the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering.

Mechanical and/or Aerospace Engineering. Physics degree may be highly beneficial.
ARC Research Hub for Advanced Manufacturing of Medical Devices

A spacecraft returning to Earth from deep space will reach higher velocities than any re-entry vehicle before it (up to 14 km/s for Mars return). A conventional descent at this speed will see tremendous radiative and convective heating; the mass of the vehicle’s thermal protection system (TPS), could become prohibitively heavy based on current Earth-return technology. This project aims to experimentally evaluate magnetohydrodynamic flow control as a new technology to reduce vehicle heat loading. This concept involves applying a magnetic field to the hot ionized gases which form around the spacecraft during re-entry, which can provide a path for dissipating kinetic energy and reducing surface heating.

Students will enrol through the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering.

Mechanical and/or Aerospace Engineering. Physics degree may be highly beneficial.

Dr David Gildfind

d.gildfind@uq.edu.au

Magnetohydrodynamic Flow Control for Earth Re-entry from Deep Space

A spacecraft returning to Earth from deep space will reach higher velocities than any re-entry vehicle before it (up to 14 km/s for Mars return). A conventional descent at this speed will see tremendous radiative and convective heating; the mass of the vehicle’s thermal protection system (TPS), could become prohibitively heavy based on current Earth-return technology. This project aims to experimentally evaluate magnetohydrodynamic flow control as a new technology to reduce vehicle heat loading. This concept involves applying a magnetic field to the hot ionized gases which form around the spacecraft during re-entry, which can provide a path for dissipating kinetic energy and reducing surface heating.

Students will enrol through the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering.

Mechanical and/or Aerospace Engineering. Physics degree may be highly beneficial.

Dr Philip Gillingham

p.gillingham@uq.edu.au

The use of digital technology in social welfare agencies

Digital technology, such as information systems, have been implemented in social welfare agencies with detrimental effects on frontline service delivery. New designs and ways of using digital technology are required to develop tools that will support front line practice. This may include predictive risk modelling, decision support systems, big data approaches and information system design.

Students will enrol through the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work.

Sociology, Computer science, Business, Social psychology, Social work

Associate Professor Adrian Cherney

a.cherney@uq.edu.au

Optimising illicit dark net marketplace interventions

UQ PhD scholarship in illicit dark net marketplace interventions ($26,288 per year). This ARC Linkage project is a collaboration between the University of the Sunshine Coast, the University of Queensland, the University of Southampton and a range of industry partners that includes the Queensland Police, iDcare, Australia Post, Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection, and the Australian Crime Commission. The project draws on systems based analysis to assess illicit dark net forums and identify how personal information is stolen, bought and sold on the dark net. Outcomes include developing and testing a series of interventions designed to disrupt identify theft activities.  The project brings together researchers, practitioners, theories and methods from human factors, sociotechnical systems, criminology, and cyber security. One aim of this PhD is to examine the semantic and organisational structure of illicit dark net forums. The project is led by the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in partnership with iDcare (https://www.idcare.org/) and it is expected the PhD student will need to spend at least 2 days week at USC working with the project team. 

Students will enrol through the School of Social Science.

Background in criminology and cyber security /information technology