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

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Chief Investigator

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Dr Tushar Kumeria

t.kumeria@uq.edu.au

Bioresponsive Porous Silicon for Site Specific Oral Delivery of Antibodies for the Treatment of
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
 

This proposal aims to develop an oral antibody delivery system for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects 75000 Australians. The system will be based on porous silicon nanoparticles acting as container to protect the antibodies, and bioresponsive coatings acting as gates to enable site specific protein delivery at the inflamed site of GI tract. The project not only holds promise for protein delivery for the treatment of IBD but other diseases like diabetes. 

Students will enrol through the School of Pharmacy.

Materials engineering, porous nanomaterials, drug delivery, protein/biologics delivery. 

*This project is available until June 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Shazia Sadiq
shazia@itee.uq.eud.au

Dr Gianluca Demartini
g.demartini@uq.edu.au

Professor Marta Indulska
m.indulska@uq.edu.au

Crowd-sourced data curation processes

The capacity to effectively utilize the increasing number of datasets available to organisations for timely decision making, is diminishing due to onerous data preparation and curation tasks that have to be performed before the data can be consumed by analytics platforms. This project aims to tackle the growing problem of data curation, especially for repurposed datasets, by tapping into crowd intelligence. The project will be a first attempt at using a novel process-oriented approach in micro-task crowdsourcing, and will create new knowledge to harness the full potential of crowd sourced data curation.

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

  • Degree in Computer Science or related disciplines;
  • Strong programming skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills
  • Knowledge of formal research process including writing and presenting results/findings

*This project is available until August 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Julius Motuzas

j.motuzas@uq.edu.au

Inorganic membrane percrystallisation in hydrometallurgy

This project aims to develop a completely novel concept of using engineered inorganic membranes for the percrystallisation of strategic metal compounds in hydrometallurgical processes. The key research topics are precise tailoring of carbon structured membranes and the effect of membrane structure on crystal formation, separation and growth. These research topics will underpin the creation of novel engineered membranes that deliver high flux and crystallisation rates and provide the desired product qualities in hydrometallurgical applications.

Students will enrol through the School of Chemical Engineering.

The candidate(s) must have a master’s degree or 1st Class Honours degree or equivalent in chemical engineering or materials science.

*This project is available until June 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Hongzhi Yin

h.yin1@uq.edu.au

Meeting Challenges of Big Data for Cost-Effective, Scalable, Robust and Real-time Recommender Systems

This project aims to systematically study how to meet emerging challenges from “4Vs (Volume, Veracity, Variety, Velocity)” of big data and develop a scalable, robust and real-time recommender system framework in a cost-effective and end-to-end manner.

Specifically, our goal consists of subtasks: (1) developing a discrete latent factor model for scalable recommendation; (2) developing an anti-shilling model for robust recommendation; (3) developing a heterogeneous feature embedding and fusion framework to enhance the robustness for cold-start recommendation; (4) developing a reservoir sampling-based online learning scheme to support streaming recommendation.

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

1. Having a Master or Honours Degree in Computer Science, Data Science or Mathematics in Australia; or having Bachelor Degree obtained from other countries in equivalent academic areas.

2. Having the research background in Machine Learning, Recommender Systems, Data Mining, Information Retrieval and Natural Language Processing.

3. Being good at programming with deep learning packages, e.g., Tensorflow, Pytorch, etc.

*This project is available until June 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Ian Hayes

ian.hayes@uq.edu.au

Design and verification
of concurrent systems

This project aims to provide methods for the design and verification of correct, secure and efficient concurrent software that are scalable and mechanised. Computers with multiple processors are now the norm and are used in a wide range of safety, security and mission critical software applications such as transport, health and infrastructure. These multi-core architectures have the potential to lead to important efficiency gains, but can introduce complex and errorprone behaviours that cannot be managed using traditional software development approaches. This project will produce better, scalable and mechanised methods for the design and verification of such software which is expected to reduce the prevalence of failures in efficient, modern software.

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

Honours degree in software
engineering or computer science with a strong aptitude for mathematics.

*This project is available until June 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Xiaodan Huang

x.huang@uq.edu.au

 

High capacity and low cost rechargeable multivalent metal ion batteries

This project aims to develop advanced rechargeable multivalent metal ion batteries for renewable energy storage. Battery technologies are critical for the clean energy transformation in Queensland. Aluminium and zinc ion batteries are promising new energy storage systems, due to the natural abundance, high capacity and safety profile of aluminium and zinc. This project, in collaboration with FLEW Solutions - a Brisbane-based advanced manufacturing company, will develop new techniques to develop aluminium/zinc ion batteries.

Students will enrol through the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.

Materials science or Chemistry, a knowledge/ background in energy storage research would also be advantageous

*This project is available until August 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Associate Professor Guy Wallis

gwallis@uq.edu.au

The role of non-visual cues in regulating perception and skilled movement

This project aims to investigate the impact of non-visual sensory information on what we see and how we control movement.

Students will enrol through the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences.

Experimental psychology, Computer science and engineering, cognitive neuroscience.

*This project is available until August 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Principal advisor: Dr William Harrison

w.harrison@uq.edu.au

Associate advisor: Professor Jason Mattingley

j.mattingley@uq.edu.au

The influence of naturalistic context on visual perception and memory

Human perceptual systems evolved and continue to develop in highly complex environments. The aim of this project is to understand how complex naturalistic context may influence neural processing of visual information. To address this question, the student will be trained to use a variety of methods, such as psychophysics, computational image processing, and statistical models. The student will use these tools to investigate how low-level (e.g. image statistics) and high-level (e.g. semantic content) image features influence the fundamental neural computations involved in visual processing.

Students will enrol through the Queensland Brain Institute.

This project is suited to anyone who wants to understand human cognition and perception, and who has an Honours or Masters degree in a field related to the following:  Cognitive Science, Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Engineering, Maths. 

Although prior experience is not required, the project may appeal particularly to those interested in psychophysics, computational modelling, and programming in languages such as R and MATLAB.

*This project is available until June 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Yusuke Yamauchi

y.yamauchi@uq.edu.au

Nanoarchitectured Multifunctional Porous Superparamagnetic Nanoparticles

The project will develop a method for the direct detection of biomarkers based on a new class of highly porous superparamagnetic nanoparticle.

Students will enrol through the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.

- Chemistry
- Chemical Engineering
- Materials Engineering

*This project is available until July 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Yang Bai

y.bai@uq.edu.au

Designing new perovskite quantum dots for efficient solar energy conversion

This project aims to rationally design new perovskite quantum dots featuring prominent phase and thermal stability in humid air and remarkable optoelectronic properties, which will be crucial for the development of next-generation flexible, lightweight solar energy conversion devices.

Students will enrol through the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.

Physical chemistry,

Materials science,

Applied physics or chemistry

*This project is available until July 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor John Zhu

z.zhu@uq.edu.au

Composites for Thermal Expansion Matched Oxygen Electrodes of Solid Oxide Cells

This project aims to develop high performance composite oxygen electrodes by using both negative thermal expansion materials and electrolyte materials to tailor the thermal expansivities and activities of the perovskite based electrodes for reduced temperature solid oxide cells . Such composite electrodes will show highly matched thermal expansion with  lectrolyte without sacrificing the high activity at reduced temperatures. This project thus addresses an important practical issue - thermal expansion compatibility, and is of great significance to the solid oxide cells industries. 

Students will enrol through the School of Chemical Engineering.

Chemical Engineering, Materials Engineering, solid oxide fuel cells, molecular simulations

*This project is available until July 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Michael Taylor

m.taylor@sbs.uq.edu.au

Brillouin microscopy to study cell biomechanics

A Brillouin microscope measures sample stiffness and viscosity using only light, and thereby allows detailed mechanical studies with high resolution in inaccessible regions such as the cell interior. This project implements new techniques and data analysis in Brillouin microscopy to improve sensitivity and speed, for use in cellular biomechanics.

Students will enrol through the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN).

Physics or Engineering. Experience and interest in optics, signal processing, or biomechanics is an advantage

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Associate Professor Steven Pratt

s.pratt@uq.edu.au

Tough bio-derived and biodegradable  wood plastic composites

High performance and cost-effective wood bioplastic composites: reinforcement with nanocellulose for a step-change in toughness.

Students will enrol through the School of Chemical Engineering.

Expertise in biotechnology, with experience in material processing and characterisation.

*This project is available until February 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Victor Rudolph

v.rudolph@uq.edu.au

A skid-based transportable plant for PFAS contaminated site remediation

This Research activity aims to develop a self contained skid-based transportable process for onsite destruction of toxins at contaminated sites. The process will permit remediation of these sites by completely converting all toxins in to safe products: mainly carbon dioxide and harmless salts.

Students will enrol through the School of Chemical Engineering.

Chemical engineering, membrane based water purification (RO, nanofiltration)

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Nadeeka Dissanayaka

n.dissanayaka@uq.edu.au

Virtual Reality in Residential Aged Care

Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging field within residential aged care for the management of behavioural and psychological symptoms in residents. This project will develop and test a suit of VR applications in RAC facilities.

Students will enrol through the Faculty of Medicine.

A background in Psychology, design and virtual reality applications is desirable.

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Firuz Zare

f.zare@uq.edu.au

Electromagnetic Interference Analysis and Modelling in Power Electronics Systems

The main objectives of this project are to model a three-phase diode rectifier in Simplorer with a DC choke inductor in Maxwell (3-D model in ANSYS) and analyse saturation effects under different load conditions. A correlation between high frequency noise source and high frequency model of an AC motor will be investigated based on 2-D model of an AC motor using Maxwell simulation (ANSYS). It is expected that the research team will build a prototype and perform some tests and measurements to compare with simulation results.

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

A three (up to four) year full-time PhD scholarship is available at the University of Queensland which is open to all Australian and international students. Applicants should have a Master degree in Electrical Engineering with very good knowledge in Power Electronics. A preference is given to those applicants with experiences in 1) Finite Element simulation, 2) EMI modelling and knowledge and/or 3) Power Electronics design.

*This project is available until August 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Fred Roosta-Khorasani

fred.roosta@uq.edu.au

Efficient second-order optimisation algorithms for learning from big data

This project aims to apply a diverse range of scientific computing techniques to design and implement new, second-order methods that can surpass first-order alternatives in the next generation of optimisation methods for large-scale machine learning.

Students will enrol through the School of Mathematics and Physics.

MSc/MPhil degree with a mathematical component. Familiarity with optimisation algorithms. Good programming skills in Python.

*This project is available until June 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Jason Stokes

jason.stokes@uq.edu.au

Multiscale Viscoelastic Lubrication of Soft Matter Systems

The project aims to develop new principles of viscoelastic lubrication in soft contacts. New insights into friction behaviour arising from complex fluid-substrate interactions are expected to be generated using techniques and interdisciplinary approaches that bridge rheology, tribology and surface science.  Outcomes from the research should provide significant benefits to diverse fields including advanced materials and complex fluids, engineering tribology, biolubrication and food structure design.

Students will enrol through the School of Chemical Engineering.

Chemical Engineering. 
Mechanical Engineering. 
Physics. 

*This project is available until December 2018 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Jung Ho Yun

j.yun1@uq.edu.au

Perovskite-based Electronic devices for sensing application

This PhD research project focuses on developing halide perovskite-based electronic devices for sensing application. More specifically, the candidate will work on the design, fabrication, and characterisation of the perovskite-based electronic devices that are applicable for optical/electrical/chemical sensors.

Students will enrol through the School of Chemical Engineering.

Applicants should have a degree in Chemical Engineering or a related discipline such as Physics or Chemistry with a strong interest in halide perovskite materials synthesis, optoelectronic devices fabrication, or electrochemistry.  It would be better if the applicants have MPhil or equivalent degree.

*This project is available until December 2018 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Han Huang

han.huang@uq.edu.au

Removal mechanisms and innovative technologies for machining gallium oxide wafers

The deformation and removal mechanisms of single crystal β-Ga2O3 are not well understood. The lack of such understanding has hindered the development of the cost-effective machining processes for it and thus, more widespread application of the β-Ga2O3 based electronic devices. To overcome this ‘bottleneck’ problem, a comprehensive and systematic study of the deformation and removal mechanisms under mechanical loading needs to be carried out in order to develop cost-competitive technologies for machining single crystal β-Ga2O3 wafers.

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

Applicant should have a research background in mechanical engineering. It would be better if the applicant has got a MPhil or equivalent

Professor Damien Batstone

d.batstone@awmc.uq.edu.au

Modelling solids behaviour in wastewater systems

This is a PhD project within a larger ARC-Linkage project “Biosolid flow, separation and activity in anaerobic lagoons” in partnership with a U. Melbourne, RMIT, and Melbourne Water. The project focuses on multidimensional modelling of solids behaviour, using data acquired from partners, including field and laboratory data (e.g., rheological testing), configuration information, and targeted trials. The project will focus on representation of solids as a scalar in a multidimensional model, which will include fluid dynamics and advection/diffusion of the scalar. UQ has access to a number of modelling platforms, including Comsol, Ansys, and Matlab, but it is anticipated that the majority of the work will be done in Openfoam.

Students will enrol through the School of Chemical Engineering.

  • Engineering graduate in the field of Chemical or Mechanical engineering
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) experience, or multi-dimensional modelling experience.
  • Multi-phase (liquid-solid or liquid-gas) or wastewater experience

Professor Mingxing Zhang

mingxing.zhang@uq.edu.au

 

Professor Xue Li

xueli@itee.uq.edu.au

Design of New Generation High Performance Aluminium Alloys using Big Data Analytics 

This project aims to address a long-term problem to effectively discover new alloys and processes using big data analytics. It expects to develop a few new and high-performance aluminium alloys through interdisciplinary research and to generate new knowledge in the area of materials science from investigation of the strengthening and toughening mechanisms.  The intended outcomes also include a validated a big data analytic model for new alloy development, which further enhances the interdisciplinary collaboration.  The high performance aluminium alloys should provide significant benefits to automotive and aerospace industries as these sectors target at improving fuel efficiency through weight reduction at lower cost.

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

Engineering, IT

Professor Amin Abbosh

a.abbosh@uq.edu.au

Engineering the next generation of portable microwave scanners

This project will engineer a disruptive technology based on microwave hybrid imaging for biomedical applications. It will deliver superfine resolution images using   near-field microwave irradiation. The project will explore novel microwave antennas design combined with novel processing techniques for diagnostic applications. This project will introduce the first portable microwave scanner that can be used for the early detection of skin cancer.

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

Electrical Engineering or Biomedical Engineering with a preference to candidates with strong background in Electromagnetics or Microwave Engineering

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

Professor Matt Dargusch

m.dargusch@uq.edu.au

Advanced Functional Materials

This project is focussed on developing new functional materials.

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

Chemical, Materials or Mechanical Engineering
New Generation Biocompatible Materials

This project is focussed on the development of New Manufacturing Processes and Materials for biomedical applications.

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

Biomedical, Chemical, Materials or Mechanical Engineering
Machine Learning in Manufacturing

Defect Detection in Medical Devices using Machine Learning Strategies.

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

Mechanical, Mechatronics/Electrical Engineering or similar
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

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 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.

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.

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.

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.