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Current Opportunities (click to show/hide)
modelling PFAS fate and transport in wastewater treatment plant
Description: Per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of organic compounds of widespread presence in the environment. They are recalcitrant, ubiquitous, prompt to bioaccumulation, and potentially ca...
Per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of organic compounds of widespread presence in the environment. They are recalcitrant, ubiquitous, prompt to bioaccumulation, and potentially carcinogenic. Effluent for Wastewater treatment plant (WWTPs) constitute a major source of PFAS into water bodies and their presence should be closely monitored, especially considering the increasing applications of potable and non-potable reuse of treated wastewater worldwide. Modelling PFASs’ fate and distribution in WWTPs is a valuable tool to overcome the complexity and cost of monitoring and quantifying PFAS. In this project, the PhD candidate will build a mechanistic model to evaluate the fate of PFAS in both water and sludge lines of a local WWTP.
PFAS, PFOS, PFOA, modelling, wastewater
Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Kamrun Nahar
Other Supervisors: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
School-based mentoring practices
Description: Research led by Nicole Green, Vicki Christopher and Michelle Turner explores centre- and school-based mentoring programs. Caring for young children and youth more collectively in communities requires...
Research led by Nicole Green, Vicki Christopher and Michelle Turner explores centre- and school-based mentoring programs. Caring for young children and youth more collectively in communities requires many and varied interlocking initiatives (Ellis, Small-McGinley & De Fabrizio, 2001). Research on school-based mentoring programs suggests that an active partnership with early education contexts provides an opportunity to: recruit greater numbers of volunteers, address the needs of children and youth who are most at risk, serve greater numbers of children and youth, and reduce program costs. Developing and sustaining an effective mentoring program, which follows internationally credible effective practices, costs money. However, it is cheaper and more successful than the cost per capita of supervising young people in detention, juvenile delinquents, young offenders, etc. (Winston Churchill Report, 2006). Mentorship literature emphasises the emotional closeness between a child and mentor is the catalyst for improvement of other than academic outcomes, e.g., better attendance, improved classroom behaviour, improved communication or life skills. Research in Australia and internationally highlights further research is needed to: - Critically inquire and gain diverse insights in the development, implementation and experience of sustainable centre- and school-based mentoring programs in regional and rural Australia, and the important relationships between mentors and children. The supervisory team invites postgraduate students interested in mentoring practices. Research projects will benefit from utilising diverse research methodologies and conceptual frameworks so as to offer insightful evidence-based contributions to scholarly conversations and policy initiatives. International collaborations are welcomed.
mentoring, school, early childhood
Education Systems
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Dr Nicole Green
Other Supervisors: Dr Michelle Turner
Development of High-performance Topological Insulators for high speed chips
Description: Topological Insulators (TIs) are a class of quantum materials that exhibit topological surface states. These materials are usually small band gap semiconductors where the bulk of the material is in...
Topological Insulators (TIs) are a class of quantum materials that exhibit topological surface states. These materials are usually small band gap semiconductors where the bulk of the material is insulating, but they exhibit special surface states that are conducting and topologically protected. The materials are usually made of heavy atoms that give rise to strong spin-orbit coupling and this leads to the formation of surface states that are not destroyed by scattering or impurities. TIs are proving to be ideal materials for study in condensed matter physics, as the physics of these materials is novel and they offer huge scope for developing new theories and for the discovery of new materials. In this proposal, we describe the methodology to be adopted to obtain high quality materials, for the different experiments proposed. We propose to synthesize a range of materials, some of which are already known to be Topological Insulators and other new materials such as Dirac semimetals and Wyles semimetals.

Chemical Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials
Principal Supervisor: Professor Zhigang Chen
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang
AI-powered Automated Condition Assessment of Civil Infrastructure
Description: The detection of cracks is a crucial task in monitoring structural health and ensuring structural safety. The manual process of crack detection is painstakingly time-consuming and suffers from subjec...
The detection of cracks is a crucial task in monitoring structural health and ensuring structural safety. The manual process of crack detection is painstakingly time-consuming and suffers from subjective judgments of inspectors. This project develops an innovative and practical condition assessment approach for in-situ evaluation of cracks as soon as they appear in civil infrastructure using cutting-edge computer vision, image enrichment, AI deep learning and micro-computing technologies. The research outcome will facilitate cost-effective, quick and reliable ways of assessing and maintaining key civil infrastructure.
Structural health monitoring, computer vision, image enrichment, micro computing
Civil Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Andy Nguyen
Other Supervisors: Dr Jason Brown
Multivariat Student-T and Elliptical Models
Description: The customary use of the normal model is seriously questioned when the population distribution is symmetric but have heavier tails than the normal distribution. Also, the normal model fails to incorp...
The customary use of the normal model is seriously questioned when the population distribution is symmetric but have heavier tails than the normal distribution. Also, the normal model fails to incorporate dependent but uncorrelated responses. In such cases the multivariate Student-t distribution provides an appropriate model for the population. Such a model can be viewed as a mixture of normal and inverted gamma distributions. Using this result we have obtained the maximum likelihood estimators of the mean and scale parameters of multivariate Student-t distribution. The model has been used to find appropriate test statistic to test the mean vector. The non-null distribution of the test statistic has been derived. The distribution of the sum of squares and product matrix for the multivariate Student-t model as well as the predictive distribution of future model have been proposed. Similar results for the matrix T and elliptical models are also obtained. This project will extend this work.
multivariate Student-t distribution, Elliptical Models, statistic
Other Medical and Health Sciences,Statistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Shahjahan Khan
Other Supervisors:
A Multi-Criterion Simulation-Optimization Approach for Irrigation Water Resources With Regard to Climate Change
Description: Irrigation water resources are currently facing a number of stressors due to climate change/variability and new environmental demands. Optimal operation of limited irrigation water resources under un...
Irrigation water resources are currently facing a number of stressors due to climate change/variability and new environmental demands. Optimal operation of limited irrigation water resources under uncertainty of climate and the requirement for environmental preservation is an international concern. There is an urgent need to develop a reliable management framework which could help facilitating decisions of not only water resources planners but also farmers. The developed management framework would allow satisfying the requirements of sustainable development by not only achieving the conventional objective of maximum economic benefit but many other objectives relating to environmental, social and ecological factors; and constraints will be considered. Such a multi-objective irrigation water resources optimal allocation would be achieved by a combination of advanced simulation and optimisation techniques with uncertainty handling capability. This research topic is directly related to the Drought and Climate Adaptation Program funded by Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) to USQ (Project code: DCAP USQ).
Irrigation, water resources management, climate change, optimisation, drought, sustainable development
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Applied Mathematics,Civil Engineering,Econometrics,Environmental Science and Management,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Shahbaz Mushtaq
Other Supervisors: Dr Duc-Anh An-Vo
Academic Numeracy
Description: Academic numeracy is an underdeveloped area of research. Students interested in this topic may investigate contexts such as Nursing, Business, Engineering, Education or Health; or concentrate on syst...
Academic numeracy is an underdeveloped area of research. Students interested in this topic may investigate contexts such as Nursing, Business, Engineering, Education or Health; or concentrate on systems within universities such as the support of underprepared students, Enabling programs; or approaches to identify academic numeracy issues such as testing; or they may be interested in the adult learner and how adults learn mathematics looking using particular developmental frameworks (e.g. Valsiner's Human Development Theory)
Academic numeracy, mathematics, enabling programs, Adult learning
Curriculum and Pedagogy,Education Systems
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Linda Galligan
Other Supervisors: Dr Sue Worsley
Analysing Multi-variable Signals Using Wavelet Based Independent Component Analysis
Description: This project aims to develop an Independent Component Analysis (ICA) method to analyse multi-variable signals, especially agricultural and environmental signals, and brain signals from a specific bra...
This project aims to develop an Independent Component Analysis (ICA) method to analyse multi-variable signals, especially agricultural and environmental signals, and brain signals from a specific brain disorder disease (such as epilepsy and dementia etc) from EEG recordings. ICA becomes one of the exciting topics both in the fields of signal processing and artificial intelligence. An interested student will join a strong research group with cross-discipline knowledge. Some financial support is possible for a student with a good academic record and interested in further postgraduate studies.
Multi-variable Signals, Independent Component Analysis, Aritficial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Yan Li
Other Supervisors: Dr Enamul Kabir
Critical thinking within a community of inquiry
Description: Knowledge is growing exponentially, with information and experiences being exchanged rapidly. This mass increase in information requires a range of purposeful intellectual activities to action the k...
Knowledge is growing exponentially, with information and experiences being exchanged rapidly. This mass increase in information requires a range of purposeful intellectual activities to action the knowledge. The community of inquiry framework provides one example of how critical thinking and reflective processes might be actioned within a learning environment be it face to face, blended or online. A range of subtopics that is related to critical thinking in community would be relevant within this study.
critical thinking, thinking, community, community of inquiry, social presence, teaching presence, cognitive presence, practical inquiry, reflection
Communications Technologies,Curriculum and Pedagogy,Education Systems,Other Education
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Petrea Redmond
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Linda Galligan
Renewable Energy Resource Forecasting with Cloud Cover Bias Correction in Numerical Weather Models
Description: By 2040 the requirement for global electricity generation is expected to rise by 45%: renewable energies will play a key role to satisfy the energy demand. This project aims to develop deep learning ...
By 2040 the requirement for global electricity generation is expected to rise by 45%: renewable energies will play a key role to satisfy the energy demand. This project aims to develop deep learning models correcting the bias in NWP forecasts to support smart energy systems by using multivariate time series, sky images and atmospheric parameters to build an xAI model. Variable Renewable Energy (VRE) e.g., photovoltaics and wind are the fastest growing resources with contributory shares expected to rise to 15% by 2040 and more than half arising from wind. Yet, renewable energy resources must be explored for their feasibility in meeting the constant supply requirement in order to eliminate any imbalance between supply and demand that can disproportionately increase financial risks to energy utilities and the supply risk to consumers. Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models use forecasts and availability of wind and solar energies in the future (e.g. inter-daily scales) or monitor very short-term supply (e.g. hourly scales) ensuring that the energy utilities can maintain their businesses while the consumers remain satisfied. However, NWP models have significant uncertainties in their global climate model parametrisations that can also cause major errors in the meteorological variables fed into solar and energy prediction systems. Incorrectly predicted solar and wind energy causes power outrage, reducing the confidence in meeting energy demand and security. The project will develop advanced analytics with big data and deep learning to operate the whole energy fleet sustainably, based on demand, supply and price the forecasting of energy resources in a robust informatics platform. Here, Optimal = Reliable + Economical + Sustainable. Integration of VREs represented by frontiers offer the highest return for a defined level of risk or lowest risk for a given return. Deep learning will use its capability to establish patterns, trends and fluctuations in NWP variables in respect to a demand load, producing pareto optimal solution. The project will use machine learning to build xAI models for bias correction in NWP variables, that can increase confidence in solar and wind energy forecasts. The student will learn industry-standard Python, r or MATLAB programming, extensive data analysis and explainable AI modelling tool. The project suits students with interest in renewable energy, mathematics, atmospheric science, computing and environmental science. The research project is strongly centred on AI and Renewable Energy Technologies. The project may be undertaken with Queensland-based energy company and an industry mentor. This project is suitable for PhD, Research or Coursework Masters Thesis. It provides opportunity to publish in high quality Q1 journals. The research student will be part of the Advanced Data Analytics Research Group under Prof Ravinesh Deo. For more details see https://eportfolio.usq.edu.au/view/view.php?id=1
energy; renewable energy; artificial intelligence; data science; atmospheric science; mathematics; physics
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Atmospheric Sciences
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors: Dr Nathan Downs, Professor Jeffrey Soar
Simulation and Manufacturing of Carbon Nanotube Based Nano Composites
Description: Important nano-materials can range from molecules to complex mixtures and composites. Understanding and simulating their bulk properties remain as a major challenge in the efforts to integrate them i...
Important nano-materials can range from molecules to complex mixtures and composites. Understanding and simulating their bulk properties remain as a major challenge in the efforts to integrate them in various mechanical and electrical systems. A powerful enabling simulation technology based on coarsed grain method will be developed and empolyed by the project. Newly obtained knowledge will contribute to better understanding of the structure of complex materials, especially the CNT/graphene based materials.
Nanomaterials, carbon nanotube, multiscale simulation, coarse grain method
Materials Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Canh-Dung Tran
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang
Energy and Productivity Benefits of Controlled Traffic Farming and Conservation Agriculture Systems
Description: Soil compaction affects agricultural lands throughout the world. It leads to reduced water and air entry into soils. It also increases machinery fuel use and results in reduced root growth and crop y...
Soil compaction affects agricultural lands throughout the world. It leads to reduced water and air entry into soils. It also increases machinery fuel use and results in reduced root growth and crop yields. This project will demonstrate and assess the ability of CTF to improve the productivity and sustainability of conservation farming by avoiding the waste of energy, soil damage and delayed operation caused by the uncontrolled wheel traffic in mechanised agriculture.
Soil compaction, agriculture
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Guangnan Chen
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Troy Jensen
Critical reflection in early childhood contexts
Description: This topic invites students interested in pursuing a PhD (or Masters) in any topic related to: reflection, the value of reflection, critical reflection and building professional capacity and the capa...
This topic invites students interested in pursuing a PhD (or Masters) in any topic related to: reflection, the value of reflection, critical reflection and building professional capacity and the capacity of other through critical reflection, within the context of early childhood and early childhood education.
early childhood, reflection, critical reflection, professional capacity building
Curriculum and Pedagogy,Education Systems,Other Education
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Dr Alice Brown
Other Supervisors: Dr Deborah North
Applied economics and policy issues
Description: The broad objective of this project is to engage PhD students in research on the consequences of contemporary economic problems and issues facing individuals, households, firms, businesses, communiti...
The broad objective of this project is to engage PhD students in research on the consequences of contemporary economic problems and issues facing individuals, households, firms, businesses, communities and governments. We are interested in both theoretical, empirical and applied research with an emphasis on policy issues within local, regional, national and international contexts. Research proposals are invited across a broad range of applied economic issues concerned with innovation, productivity, competitiveness, growth, and health, agriculture, environmental and energy economics. The scope of research is open to a variety of methodological approaches ranging from case studies to econometric exercises with sound theoretical modelling and empirical evidence in both longitudinal and cross-sectional settings. The research can employ quantitative and/or qualitative methods using both primary and secondary sources of data and information. The thesis can be written in either traditional format or in PhD by publication. The following is a list of indicative, but not exhaustive, broad topic areas on which PhD research proposals are invited: * Agricultural, environmental and resource economics * Sustainable agriculture and development * Small and medium enterprises * Business economics * Economics of energy, water, climate and natural resources * Resource pricing and the valuation of environmental goods; * Cost-benefit and cost effectiveness analysis * Economic development * Digital economy, technological change and growth * Broadband internet and socio-economic impacts * Health economics and public Policy * Economics of innovation, productivity and growth
Applied economics, Economics, Environmental economics
Applied Economics,Communications Technologies,Demography,Ecological Applications,Economic Theory,Environmental Science and Management,Other Economics
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Professor Khorshed Alam
Other Supervisors:
Airborne and Terrestrial Laser Scanning For Forest Structure Measurement: Focus on Forest Biomass Estimation and Carbon Accounting
Description: Forests play an important role in the global carbon balance and make a significant contribution to mitigation of climate change. Australia has some of the most carbon-dense forests in the world, with...
Forests play an important role in the global carbon balance and make a significant contribution to mitigation of climate change. Australia has some of the most carbon-dense forests in the world, with the potential to sequester carbon equivalent to 25% of our current annual emissions. In recent years, policies have been developed to increasing the carbon sequestration role of Australian forests. Accurate description of forest structure is essential for estimation of biomass and carbon accounting. Remote sensing technologies have been used for estimation of above ground forest biomass. However, three-dimensional information on forest structure for estimating biomass cannot be directly obtained from passive remote sensing data. Fortunately, it has been shown that active remote sensing technologies via airborne and terrestrial laser scanning offer the capability for detailed description of the forest structure in three-dimensions. This project aims to use both airborne and terrestrial laser scanning to measure 3D forest structure for biomass estimation and carbon accounting.
LiDAR, Laser scanning, GIS, Remote sensing, Spatial science, Surveying, Geography, Forest, Carbon, Environment, Agriculture
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Environmental Science and Management,Forestry Sciences,Geomatic Engineering
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zhenyu Zhang
Other Supervisors: Dr Xiaoye Liu
Behaviour of Structural Rehabilitation Using External Post-Tensioning
Description: Strengthening of existing structures such as bridges, buildings and other infrastructure has become an important issue for the civil and structural engineers. External post-tensioning is considered a...
Strengthening of existing structures such as bridges, buildings and other infrastructure has become an important issue for the civil and structural engineers. External post-tensioning is considered as one of the most appropriate techniques for strengthening and rehabilitation of the existing structures. It is important to understand the behaviour of structural rehabilitation using external post-tensioning, so that the rehabilitation could be optimised and cost could be reduced. This research project will include experimental and analytical investigation of structures strengthened by external post tensioning. A comparison of existing design models and prediction equations will also be made. The outcome of this study can enhance the understanding of the behaviour of externally post-tensioned structures and develop appropriate design methodology for structural rehabilitation.
Infrastructure; post-tension; prestress concrete; rehabilitation; structures; materials engineering; structural design
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Materials Engineering
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Thiru Aravinthan
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Weena Lokuge
Reducing Spray Drift of Herbicides with Controlled Droplet Application
Description: Spray drift from aircraft applying pesticides is still a concern in many rural areas. In particular, herbicide spray drift can travel large distances downwind of the sprayed paddock. This can cause s...
Spray drift from aircraft applying pesticides is still a concern in many rural areas. In particular, herbicide spray drift can travel large distances downwind of the sprayed paddock. This can cause significant damage to crops, in addition to being an environmental nuisance. Several improvements in atomiser design took place in the 1990s, but a review is required to see if any further developments have taken place around the world since then. Herbicide spray drift damage continues to be the subject of regular legal action, wastes significant time and money, and is something which could be eliminated with more effective atomiser (spray nozzle) design. The most effective nozzle designs, which produce droplets mainly within the 100 to 300 micron size range, are those of the rotary atomiser type, which feature well defined fluid issuing points or teeth. Collaboration with UQ Gatton Campus is envisaged, with laser droplet sizing of nozzle prototypes at the wind tunnel laboratory based there.

Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ian Craig
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
Computational and Experimental Study of Flow Separation on 3D Model of Wind Turbine Blades
Description: Flow separation has a significant impact on the performance of wind turbine blades. These blades have variable cross-sectional area and angle of attack, and the blade linear speed varies with the le...
Flow separation has a significant impact on the performance of wind turbine blades. These blades have variable cross-sectional area and angle of attack, and the blade linear speed varies with the length of the blade. These variables make it a challenge to enhance blade performance, and a thorough investigation of flow characteristics is needed. Coupling both computational and experimental available tools will enhance the knowledge of the three-dimensional separation mechanism.
flow separation, Computational, wind turbine blade
Aerospace Engineering,Civil Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Khalid Saleh
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Andrew Wandel
Cultural Legal Studies in the 21st Century
Description: This project will explore the methods, strategies, and key texts of cultural legal studies in Australia and internationally to elucidate how legal and literary education can benefit insights into con...
This project will explore the methods, strategies, and key texts of cultural legal studies in Australia and internationally to elucidate how legal and literary education can benefit insights into contemporary media and cultural politics.
cultural legal studies; law and humanities; law and literature; jurisprudence; literary theory; literary criticism; comparative literature
Cultural Studies,Law,Literary Studies,Other Law and Legal Studies,Philosophy
School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Dr Daniel Hourigan
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Kelly McWilliam
Examination of the transferability of crash modification factors developed from observational data and simulation
Description: Road safety has become an intensively studied topic with an overarching aim of better understanding of why road crashes occur. Crash occurrences can be viewed as a result of the interaction of severa...
Road safety has become an intensively studied topic with an overarching aim of better understanding of why road crashes occur. Crash occurrences can be viewed as a result of the interaction of several variables such as road geometry, vehicle and operational conditions (which includes speed, traffic volume, and environment). Traditionally statistical models have been used to identify the factors contributing to road crashes using available data. Over the last decade, the data collection system has improved, and it can now accommodate information needed to allow experts to develop more advanced models to investigate and establish evidence-driven countermeasures to improve road safety. This study will use observational data to build safety performance functions, identify selected countermeasures and estimate of crash modification factors (CMFs). Using micro-simulation in road safety investigation is a new area. Therefore, this study will then test whether the micro-simulation models help to estimates CMFs for selected countermeasures in consideration of before and after scenarios. Thus it would allow the researchers to see how micro-simulation methods can be used to quantify safety outcome from modifying road geometric conditions.
Highway, Transport, Road, Road Safety, Road Crashes, Crash Prediction, Black Spots
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Soma Somasundaraswaran
Other Supervisors: Professor Ron Ayers
Use of Porous Material To Contain Combustions
Description: Previous studies indicate the significant impact of porous material in improving combustion efficiency, reducing heat waste, and containing particles generated during combustion. This study aims to a...
Previous studies indicate the significant impact of porous material in improving combustion efficiency, reducing heat waste, and containing particles generated during combustion. This study aims to assess some specific applications of porous material using an empirical approach.
combustion efficiency, reducing heat waste,
Chemical Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ahmad Sharifian-Barforoush
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Andrew Wandel
Towards Climate Smart Landscapes
Description: Adoption of climate smart farming practices (climate smart agriculture or CSA) has been widely promoted, globally, as a mechanism for increasing the resilience of agricultural production systems to c...
Adoption of climate smart farming practices (climate smart agriculture or CSA) has been widely promoted, globally, as a mechanism for increasing the resilience of agricultural production systems to climate variability/change at the local scale (Girvetz et al., 2017), but its efficacy has recently been questioned (Clay and Zimmerer, 2020) and tradeoffs associated with scaling up to larger scales recognised (Schaafsma et al., 2018). The concept of climate smart landscapes (Scherr et al., 2012) offers a framework for integrating CSA to enhance socio-ecological resilience at the larger systems scale; however, implementing such a framework faces a number of technical, socio-economic and policy challenges (e.g. Torquebiau et al., 2015; McCall, 2016; Gichenje & Godhino, 2019; . Potential research students interested in developing a project proposal in this field are invited to contact us to discuss their ideas.
climate risk; food security; socio-ecological resilience; climate smart landscapes; decision-making; governance; well-being
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Environmental Science and Management
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Kathryn Reardon-Smith
Other Supervisors: Dr Jarrod Kath
Investigating the Security of Cloud Computing by Using Software Defined Networks
Description: Cloud computing is an innovative technology of computing and communication by leveraging the distributed servers over the globe. The security of cloud computing has increasingly gained concerns in re...
Cloud computing is an innovative technology of computing and communication by leveraging the distributed servers over the globe. The security of cloud computing has increasingly gained concerns in recent years. This project aims to investigate the strategies of mitigating the security issues by using the Software Defined Networks (SDN) technology.
Cloud Computing, Securty, SDN
Communications Technologies
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zhongwei Zhang
Other Supervisors: Dr Zhaohui Tang
Ultra-high Performance Concretes Reinforced by Carbon Nanotubes/Graphene
Description: Ultra-high performance concretes (UHPC) exhibit exceptional mechanical and durability properties. It is a cementitious material consisting of cement, sand, silica fume or silica flour, admixture, wat...
Ultra-high performance concretes (UHPC) exhibit exceptional mechanical and durability properties. It is a cementitious material consisting of cement, sand, silica fume or silica flour, admixture, water with a low water-cement ratio, and may include steel fibres or polymer fibres. It is almost self-placing, has a compressive strength of 150-200 MPa and a flexural strength of 30-40 MPa. The new material revolutionises the traditional concrete. The dense microstructure in UHPC enables the materials to be further engineered with nano additives. Promising results have already shown with the incoporation of Carbon nanotube and graphene. The aim of this project is to develop advanced models and simulation schemes that can provide an improved understanding of the role of CNTs in UHPC and thire reinforcement mechanism.
Ultra-high performance concrete, Nanomaterials, Carbon Nano Tube, mesoscale, multiscale simulation methods
Materials Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Centre for Future Materials,Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Canh-Dung Tran
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang
Food and Culture: Consuming Migrant Culture
Description: Australian food is a blend of culinary traditions enriched by waves of successive migrant groups from different parts of the world. For migrants food traditions are a link to country of origin, home ...
Australian food is a blend of culinary traditions enriched by waves of successive migrant groups from different parts of the world. For migrants food traditions are a link to country of origin, home and family, and for ‘local communities, food may superficially become a means for cultural understanding and acceptance. This project explores the role of food in the resilience of migrant groups in regional Australia, both as a means of maintaining cultural practice and identity, and as an agent of acceptance and assimilation.
food, culture, migration, identity, integration, community
Anthropology,Cultural Studies,Historical Studies
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Celmara Pocock
Other Supervisors: Dr Jess Carniel, Dr Robert Mason, Dr Jayne Persian
Improving Student Fundamental Understanding of Mathematics
Description: There are three strands to this research: First, is investigating the impact of digital technologies that enhance mathematical understanding. These technologies allow the user to write (and perhaps r...
There are three strands to this research: First, is investigating the impact of digital technologies that enhance mathematical understanding. These technologies allow the user to write (and perhaps record) on a screen. Questions to consider: How does tablet technology assist in the learning and/or teaching of mathematics? Do student produced screencasts improve mathematical understanding? What is the impact of the flipped classroom on student engagement in mathematics? (see research publications to date Galligan, L & Hobohm, C, 2013) Second, is investigating how effective self-testing is in the demonstration of students’ reflective practice and personal numeracy skills and understanding (see research publication to date Galligan, L 2011). Third is to improve teacher knowledge by linking pre-service teachers with the university’s applied mathematicians and specialist educators to develop pre-service teachers’ understanding of mathematics through the context of everyday life in the local region. Initial publication (Galligan & Woolcott 2015) in “Conversations on knowledge for teaching” University of Tasmania: Launceston. (http://conversationsonkft.weebly.com/uploads/1/9/4/1/19412239/l._galligan_engaging_university__community.pdf )
Mathematics education, tablet technology, screencasts, flipped classroom, self-testing, pre-service teachers
Curriculum and Pedagogy,Specialist Studies in Education
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Linda Galligan
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Oleksiy Yevdokimov
Industrial Application of Naturally Induced Swirling Flows
Description: Previous study show that a stationary split channel can generate swirling flow. The swirling flow have many applications in food, painting, and automotive industries. This project aims to optimize t...
Previous study show that a stationary split channel can generate swirling flow. The swirling flow have many applications in food, painting, and automotive industries. This project aims to optimize the naturally induced swirling flow for different applications using a combined computational (CFD) and empirical approach.
Swirling Flows, wind energy, waste heat
Mechanical Engineering
School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ahmad Sharifian-Barforoush
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Andrew Wandel
Respiratory Limitations to Exercise in Endurance Trained Older Adults
Description: The number of adults aged over 60 years will double in the next half century and unfortunately, even with life-long health, there is a progressive decline in respiratory function with ageing. The res...
The number of adults aged over 60 years will double in the next half century and unfortunately, even with life-long health, there is a progressive decline in respiratory function with ageing. The respiratory muscles become weaker, airways narrower, chest wall stiffer, and the lungs lose their elasticity. These changes result in breathlessness and exercise limitation. The respiratory system is classically suggested to be “overbuilt” and exceeds the demands placed upon it. However, this situation may not apply during high-intensity exercise where the demands may exceed its capacity. In many young and trained athletes, the respiratory system is “underbuilt” and can limit exercise performance. Whether the respiratory system limits exercise tolerance in endurance trained older adults is unknown. Accordingly, this project will investigate respiratory limitations to exercise in endurance trained older adults. Ultimately, this project will lead to the development of more effective therapies to improve respiratory function and exercise tolerance in older adults, reducing the incidence of functional disability and chronic diseases. The candidate will join a successful team of multi-disciplinary scientists from several institutions, and will work in state-of-the-art laboratories with exceptional core facilities. For informal discussion regarding the project, please contact: dean.mills@usq.edu.au
Ageing; Respiratory; Exercise
Human Movement and Sports Science,Medical Physiology,Physiology
Centre for Health Sciences Research,School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Dean Mills
Other Supervisors: Dr Ben Hoffman
Enhancing outcomes through mentoring
Description: Research projects related to improving outcomes through mentoring are available. Depending on student interest and context, a range of issues would be relevant if there is a potential to add to the b...
Research projects related to improving outcomes through mentoring are available. Depending on student interest and context, a range of issues would be relevant if there is a potential to add to the body of knowledge. Contexts might include Online mentoring, STEM mentoring, Gender mentoring, Mentoring for enhanced leadership, Mentoring for marginal students, Intergenerational mentoring, Mentoring to support rural and remote learners.
Mentoring, development, online, gender, education, STEM, leadership, rural and remote, marginalised
Communications Technologies,Education Systems,Other Education,Other Technology,Specialist Studies in Education
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Petrea Redmond
Other Supervisors: Professor Peter Albion
Applying Social Ecological Approaches to Water Markets
Description: Water trading systems provide an economic framework for the transfer of quantities of water—private ownership of which is endowed by statutory water rights legislation—to enhance/ensure highest value...
Water trading systems provide an economic framework for the transfer of quantities of water—private ownership of which is endowed by statutory water rights legislation—to enhance/ensure highest value end use (i.e. optimisation) of scarce water resources. In this way, water markets commoditise water within an economic production-focused framework. However, water resources have significant value beyond their function in short-term economic activity. In reality, there are many competing demands for water resources and ensuring and allocating sufficient water of acceptable quality for different uses and users is a highly complex task, often subject to value conflicts. Despite this, the environmental and social impacts of water markets are relatively unknown. The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment espoused an ecosystem services framework for investigating the wider socio-ecological values associated with biodiversity and natural systems which has since gained acceptance as a guiding principle in environmental policy making. This research applies an ecosystem services valuation approach to contemporary water markets operating in the Murray Darling Basin, Australia, to better understand the socio-economic-ecological trade-offs and synergies associated with this form of water resource governance. It will investigate the broader socio-ecological values related to water trading to develop an integrated water benefits model of the total transaction system. It will also explore techniques to link bio-physical and socio-economic values, as well how these values change over different spatial, temporal and social organisational scales. Finally, it will critically analyse a range of policy settings (including a range of instruments and interventions) and provide a foundation for improved water resource decision-making and management.
economic framework; water markets; water trade; optimisation of scarce water resources; trade-offs and synergies; socio-economic analysis; ecosystem services
Environmental Science and Management
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Shahbaz Mushtaq
Other Supervisors: Dr Kathryn Reardon-Smith
EEG Based Brain Activity Decoding For Clinical Instrumentation and Neurological Disorder Early Detection
Description: This proposal focuses on the analysis of several types of EEG signals (such as anaesthetised, sleep and epileptic EEGs), using multi-disciplinary approaches from Computational Intelligence, Brain Mod...
This proposal focuses on the analysis of several types of EEG signals (such as anaesthetised, sleep and epileptic EEGs), using multi-disciplinary approaches from Computational Intelligence, Brain Modelling and Biomedical Research areas. This research will lead to • an intelligent device that can help clinicians administer the appropriate dosages of anaesthetic drugs in real time. • a software tool that can identify sleep stages and patterns of people who have sleep disorders • an effective real-time diagnostic method to predict epilepsy seizures. This proposal tackles important issues in human health. The outcomes of the research will assist the diagnoses and treatment of neurological disorders and diseases, and better clinical practice. It will benefit the community by reducing medical costs and improving the quality of people’s lives.
Electroencephalography (EEG), Artificial Intelligence, Pattern Recognition
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Yan Li
Other Supervisors:
Practical Applications of Machine Vision and Control Theory
Description: Through the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture there are opportunities to identify projects that have practical applications – and the possibility of external funding. An attractive area...
Through the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture there are opportunities to identify projects that have practical applications – and the possibility of external funding. An attractive area is the concept of small autonomous robots, performing tasks such as weeding or planting with the aid of low cost machine vision, exploiting computing platforms such as the Android. Other areas can include mobile applications, perhaps legged, such as the ‘Turtle’ proposed for marine inspection. A technique has recently developed for a fast-model predictive controller, simple enough that it can be embodied in a microcontroller for near-optimal operation. This can be taken further in theory or in a practical application.
Mechatronics, Control theory, computer vision, actuation, applications, software strategies, sensing.
Electrical and Electronic Engineering,Mathematical Physics,Mechanical Engineering,Other Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor John Billingsley
Other Supervisors: Dr Tobias Low, Dr Cheryl McCarthy, Professor Paul Wen
Manufacturing and Properties of Ground Macadamia Nutshell Filled Particulate Composites
Description: Macadamia nut shells can be used in the production of environment-friendly composite materials. The shells can be ground into a fine powder, then mixed with a polymeric resin to create particulate co...
Macadamia nut shells can be used in the production of environment-friendly composite materials. The shells can be ground into a fine powder, then mixed with a polymeric resin to create particulate composites. Green composites from these high strength macadamia nut shells are a relatively new innovation and are mostly used for handmade crafts at present. However, macadamia nutshell filled polymeric composites can be engineered through research and development for the uses as various structural components including sandwich composites and in areas where low weight to strength ratio is required. Their potential applications include products in building, aerospace and automotive industries. A wide variety of polymeric resins can be used for fabricating macadamia nutshell composites. The ground filler can also be of various size ranges depending on the potential applications. Thus, a wide range of different types of composites can be made by selecting different materials and consolidating techniques for different resins and filler sizes. Various types of sandwich composites can also be made by selecting different constituent materials for skins and these particulate composite cores. For the selection of constituent materials, factors such as properties and cost may be considered. Main objectives of these projects are to (a) develop novel green composites using ground macadamia nutshell fillers and suitable polymeric resins, (b) investigate relationships between various manufacturing parameters, (c) investigate mixing behaviour of fillers and resins, (d) characterise mechanical behaviour of the developed particulate composites, and (e) develop and investigate properties of novel sandwich composites made of developed composite cores and suitable skins.
Macadamia nut shells, polymeric resins, composites, fabrication, characterisation.
Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Mainul Islam
Other Supervisors: Professor Thiru Aravinthan, Dr Nateque Mahmood
Teacher’s use of data in early childhood contexts
Description: This topic invites students interested in pursuing a Doctorate (or Masters) in the research area related to: data, data collection, teacher’s use of date in early childhood contexts, teacher’s use of...
This topic invites students interested in pursuing a Doctorate (or Masters) in the research area related to: data, data collection, teacher’s use of date in early childhood contexts, teacher’s use of data to write transition statements, leadership in ways of building professional capacity in the use of data in early childhood contexts, or any other associated theme.
early childhood, data collection, documentation, transition statements, professional capacity
Agricultural Biotechnology,Curriculum and Pedagogy,Other Education,Specialist Studies in Education
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Dr Alice Brown
Other Supervisors: Dr Deborah North
Automated broadacre crop and irrigation assessment using machine vision
Description: This project will develop automated agricultural technology aligned with USQ's Centre for Agricultural Engineering's industry-funded research. These aim to improve productivity through development an...
This project will develop automated agricultural technology aligned with USQ's Centre for Agricultural Engineering's industry-funded research. These aim to improve productivity through development and implementation of sensors and data analytics on farm machinery and equipment. These typically involve development of electronics and interfacing with sensor (e.g. camera) and logger hardware with control systems for irrigation, fertiliser, insecticide and herbicide application. Example existing research priorities are: 1. Automating insect and fruit counting using smartphone Apps and machine vision 2. Crop damage hot spot detection from insects using remote sensing imagery (UAVs and satellites) 3. Low-cost flow rate sensing for surface irrigation systems using fixed cameras and machine vision
robotics, mechatronics, electronics, automation, image analysis
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Dr Alison McCarthy
Other Supervisors: Dr Cheryl McCarthy
Advanced Turbulent Combustion Modelling
Description: Society needs more efficient engines that produce less pollution, which requires the combustion to operate in regimes where flame stability is marginal. Because of the limitations of modern computer...
Society needs more efficient engines that produce less pollution, which requires the combustion to operate in regimes where flame stability is marginal. Because of the limitations of modern computers to simulate real combustion phenomena, models must be developed. The student will conduct theoretical and numerical investigations to develop and test turbulent combustion models which are better able to predict these marginal flame stability regimes.
Turbulent combustion modelling; Simulations
Automotive Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Andrew Wandel
Other Supervisors: Dr Khalid Saleh
Improved Use of Seasonal Climate Forecast for Agricultural Production Assessment and Farmer Decision Support
Description: Agricultural production responses to climate variability require salient information to support decisions. If farmers are to benefit from seasonal climate forecasts, the information must be presented...
Agricultural production responses to climate variability require salient information to support decisions. If farmers are to benefit from seasonal climate forecasts, the information must be presented in terms of production outcomes at a scale relevant to their decisions. Agricultural outcomes of decisions are more relevant to stakeholders than raw climate information: a farmer is more interested in receiving likely distributions of crop yields or economic returns than a seasonal precipitation forecast. Unfortunately, still there is a gap between the information routinely produced by climate prediction centres and regional climate outlook forums, and the need of farmers and other agricultural decision-makers. A greater capacity is needed to convert raw climate information into distributions of relevant outcomes for agricultural risk assessment and management. An integrated assessment will be developed which couples a stochastic weather generator with a crop simulation model to assess yields and economic returns relevant to crop productions in selected case studies. The weather generator can produce climate scenarios in space and time scales being suitable for crop simulation models, based on historical climatology and modified climatology conditioned on the seasonal forecast. Analysed results of the linked models will provide assessment of likely outcomes and production risks for seasonal forecasts of different seasonal climate scenarios. Furthermore, farmer decisions e.g. cultivar, plating window and configuration, trading water, irrigation scheduling, deficit irrigation will be optimised in a dynamic decision-analytic model which can employ the seasonal climate forecast uncertainty. This research topic is directly related to the Drought and Climate Adaptation Program funded by Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) to USQ (Project code: DCAP USQ15).
Seasonal climate forecast, decision support, downscaling, crop modelling, economic modelling, stochastic programming, stochastic weather generators
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Applied Mathematics,Econometrics,Environmental Science and Management,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Shahbaz Mushtaq
Other Supervisors: Dr Duc-Anh An-Vo
Use of Advanced Materials By Small and Medium Enterprises (Smes)
Description: This topic will investigate and evaluate the extent to which advanced materials are used by the SME engineering sector. Such materials have to potential to contribute significantly to sustainable dev...
This topic will investigate and evaluate the extent to which advanced materials are used by the SME engineering sector. Such materials have to potential to contribute significantly to sustainable development and revolutionise activities like building and infrastructure construction. The research will enable improved understanding of how these materials are used or not used by industry, and evaluate those factors that aid and hinder their adoption. Such factors include perceptions by industry about these materials, experience with their use, availability of relevant standards and codes, design and construction methods and practices, risk factors, and how and where they might best be used in engineering projects.
Advanced materials, SME, building, infrastructure, sustainability
Interdisciplinary Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Mainul Islam
GIS, Remote Sensing and Applications
Description: The project aims to undertake high quality research in the following research areas: • GIS, Remote Sensing and image processing for natural resource, land use and land cover changes and environmenta...
The project aims to undertake high quality research in the following research areas: • GIS, Remote Sensing and image processing for natural resource, land use and land cover changes and environmental applications. • GIS for spatial analysis, modelling and environmental applications. • Time series of satellite imagery and machine learning for urban dynamics modelling. • High-quality digital terrain modelling from airborne LiDAR data for hydrologic modelling and flooding mapping. • Integration of LiDAR and satellite image data for forest fuel loads and burning severity modelling. • Airborne and terrestrial laser scanning for forest and environment applications. • Deep learning/machine learning for big spatial data analysis and applications. • Spatial-temporal analysis of high-resolution spatial data for forest disturbance and biomass dynamics modelling. • Terrestrial laser scanning for building information modelling (BIM) and applications. • Multi-source spatial data and CityEngine for 3D modelling and visualisation • Applications of UAV in mining, forest, natural resource and environment. Potential PhD or masters students interested in any of the above research issues/topics or and any topics in the above research areas are welcomed to contact Dr Xiaoye Liu (xiaoye.liu@usq.edu.au) for additional information.
GIS, Remote sensing, LiDAR, Laser scanning, Deep learning, Machine Learning, Spatial analysis, Satellite image, UAV, Forest, Object-based image analysis, Environment, Time series, Digital terrain modelling, DTM, Building information modelling, BIM
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Ecological Applications,Environmental Science and Management,Forestry Sciences,Geomatic Engineering,Other Information and Computing Sciences,Statistics,Urban and Regional Planning
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Xiaoye Liu
Other Supervisors: Dr Zhenyu Zhang
A Study of any Australian Composer Or Genre of the 20th Century
Description: My supervisory range is fairly widespread around a number of music history topics from 16th century music to concert music of the present. in particular I have expertise in 20th century Australian m...
My supervisory range is fairly widespread around a number of music history topics from 16th century music to concert music of the present. in particular I have expertise in 20th century Australian music and symphonic music from throughout the century.
20th century Australian music , symphonic music
Historical Studies
School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Professor Rhod McNeill
Other Supervisors:
Sustainable use of Engineering Materials
Description: Engineering materials are used in a wide range of applications. They include metals such as steel and aluminium, concrete, asphalt, fibre composites and plastics. The continued production of new mate...
Engineering materials are used in a wide range of applications. They include metals such as steel and aluminium, concrete, asphalt, fibre composites and plastics. The continued production of new materials is, however, contributing to ongoing greenhouse gas emissions, natural resource shortages, energy demand, use of toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process and waste. An option is to better use engineering materials. For example, a number of engineering materials, such as steel and concrete, can be successfully recycled or reused. There are many opportunities for research in the improved use and recycling of engineering materials, including smart design processes to more closely match material designs to the product life cycle, development of alternative materials, and the use of lean production and construction activities to improve the production process and reduce waste. Such research would be expected to make a positive impact on sustainable engineering practices.
Sustainability, engineering, materials, recycling, production, waste
Environmental Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
Other Supervisors: Dr Ian Craig
Mobile Robot Obstacle Avoidance Using Vision/Image Processing
Description: Traditionally, autonomous mobile robots utilise active-based sensors such as laser and sonar system for obstacle detection and avoidance. However, many mobile robots are incorporating vision systems ...
Traditionally, autonomous mobile robots utilise active-based sensors such as laser and sonar system for obstacle detection and avoidance. However, many mobile robots are incorporating vision systems for more complex tasks in image recognition and localisation. Visual information obtained from a camera image, and moreover multiple camera images can theoretically provide (under certain conditions) complete 3D structure of a scene. This ultimately makes active sensors redundant, an observation also evident in biological animals. This project looks to develop a visual-based technique for the task for autonomous robots. Students should have skills and interest in developing and implementing computer-vision algorithms, alongside developing control aspects of the mobile robot platform, such as a quadcopter, or ground-based mobile robot.
Obstacle Avoidance, Computer Vision, Image Processing, Mobile Robot, UAV.
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Tobias Low
Other Supervisors: Professor John Billingsley
Predictive Inference
Description: Prediction distribution is the basis for many predictive inferences. Unlike the common practice of estimating parameters of a model or performing tests of hypotheses regarding the parameters involved...
Prediction distribution is the basis for many predictive inferences. Unlike the common practice of estimating parameters of a model or performing tests of hypotheses regarding the parameters involved, often the aim of a researcher/practitioner is to predict the value of a (or a set of) future response(s) from a given model. The technique of prediction is used in many real world situations as it has common sense appeal and simple interpretation. The prediction distribution is the probability distribution of one or more future (unobserved) responses, conditional on a set of observed responses from the same model. The method is useful in both univariate and multivariate problems. Predictive inference is possible for models with independent as well as dependent and correlated responses. Bayesian and other approaches are adopted for the purpose of predictive inference. Available methods can handle the conventional normal model and non-normal robust models. Application of predictive inference includes problems in areas such as tolerance regions, model selection, process control, optimisation, perturbation and many others. The customary use of the normal model comes under serious question when the population distribution is symmetric but have heavier tails that the normal distribution. Also, the normal model fails to incorporate dependent but uncorrelated responses. In such cases the multivariate Student-t distribution provides an appropriate model for the population. For such models we can obtain the maximum likelihood estimators of the mean and scale parameters of multivariate Student-t distribution. The model has been used to find appropriate test statistic to test the mean vector. The distributions of the sum of squares and product matrix for the multivariate Student-t model as well as the predictive distribution of future model have been proposed. Similar results for the matrix T and elliptically contoured model are also obtained. Both classical and Bayesian approaches can be applied. Projects in this area will extend this previous work.
Prediction distribution, future response, conditional distribution, Bayesian prediction, tolerance region
Other Medical and Health Sciences,Statistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Shahjahan Khan
Other Supervisors: Dr Trevor Langlands
Mobile Robots in Agricultural Environments - Localisation and Navigation, Plant Identification, Picking.
Description: Agricultural environments are generally large and have unpredictable ground surfaces. As such, mobile robots have great difficulty in navigating and localising in such environments. However, these en...
Agricultural environments are generally large and have unpredictable ground surfaces. As such, mobile robots have great difficulty in navigating and localising in such environments. However, these environments also have many properties that are ideal for navigation, such as their uniformity and structure. This research attempts to trade off such advantages to create a robust mobile robot that can operate in agricultural environments. Students will require skills in field work robotics, sensor technologies, and computer algorithms.
Mobile robots, agriculture, navigation, localisation
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Tobias Low
Other Supervisors: Dr Cheryl McCarthy
Health Economics
Description: The key focus of this project is to investigate issues of resource allocation and scarcity in setting priorities to meet the growing metropolitan-rural inequality in health outcomes. This important r...
The key focus of this project is to investigate issues of resource allocation and scarcity in setting priorities to meet the growing metropolitan-rural inequality in health outcomes. This important research will focus on the measurement of health status and the demand for and/or supply of health care services and the costs and benefits of prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases in rural communities. The research can employ quantitative and/or qualitative methods using both primary and secondary sources of data and information. The thesis can be written in either traditional format or in PhD by publication. The following is a list of indicative, but not exhaustive, broad topic areas on which PhD research proposals are invited: * Issues of cost and benefit of non-communicable diseases * Estimating burden of diseases * Rural health and wellbeing, and demographic differentials * Economic evaluation of healthcare interventions and programs * Socio-economic determinants of health status * Economics of telehealth * Cost-effectiveness of rural health interventions * Public policy relating to health insurance, health financing and health status.
Health economics, applied economics, econometrics, public health and policy
Applied Economics,Econometrics,Economic Theory,Public Health and Health Services
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor:
Other Supervisors: Professor Khorshed Alam, Professor Khorshed Alam
Cultural Heritage Research: Critical Heritage Studies
Description: Critical heritage studies has emerged as a research area that offers many opportunities to explore and challenge conventional heritage management and museums studies. There are opportunities to engag...
Critical heritage studies has emerged as a research area that offers many opportunities to explore and challenge conventional heritage management and museums studies. There are opportunities to engage with significant theoretical issues and contribute to more equitable and representative models of heritage conservation and interpretation. This requires the development and application of new approaches and methods in heritage assessment, including ethnography and storytelling (e.g. Pocock et al 2014 and Pocock 2002); and more inclusive museums. A number of projects might be explored through considerations of social significance, intangible heritage, the interconnection of natural and cultural heritage, and the heritage values of the marginalized and underrepresented, including Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, the elderly, the homeless, the poor, women, migrants, LGBTQI communities. Interdisciplinary approaches including anthropology, history and literary studies create new opportunities.
heritage, history, identity, community, intangible, environment, storytelling, narratives
Anthropology,Curatorial and Related Studies,Historical Studies,Literary Studies,Other History and Archaeology
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Celmara Pocock
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Jessica Gildersleeve, Dr Robert Mason
Experiencing early years environments as a child who was born very preterm
Description: Research led by Elizabeth Curtis, Michelle Turner and Nicole Green focuses on the 35,000+ children within the Australian school system, who were born <32 weeks gestation (VP – very preterm) and whom ...
Research led by Elizabeth Curtis, Michelle Turner and Nicole Green focuses on the 35,000+ children within the Australian school system, who were born <32 weeks gestation (VP – very preterm) and whom are identified medically as ‘non-disabled’. 60-70% of children who are VP require additional educational supports during schooling. While research has demonstrated common characteristics of inattention, anxiety issues and poor social competence, according to Booth et al (2019), children’s conceptions of their own self-regulation skills have been under-researched, despite ongoing empirical research which has demonstrated self-regulation is crucial for school readiness and success through all aspects of later life.
early childhood, self-regulation, qualitative methods, children's participation
Education Systems
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Dr Elizabeth Curtis
Other Supervisors: Dr Nicole Green, Dr Michelle Turner
Mechanisms of Exercise Limitation in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
Description: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic restrictive lung disease that causes irreversible scarring of the tissue deep inside the lungs. The cause of the condition is not known and impacts approxim...
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic restrictive lung disease that causes irreversible scarring of the tissue deep inside the lungs. The cause of the condition is not known and impacts approximately 3 million people worldwide. The earliest clinical manifestations of these patients is a progressive and irreversible decline in lung function leading to exertional dyspnoea and exercise intolerance. Unfortunately, the mechanisms of exercise limitation in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis are poorly understood, as it is not feasible in patients to examine repeated exercise tests. In patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, however, the mechanisms of exercise limitation are well known. This is partly due to undertaking exercise testing in healthy individuals with applied resistive loads. These replicate airway obstruction and have demonstrated that resistive breathing increases the mechanical and energetic cost of breathing, reduces blood flow to the exercising limbs which exacerbates limb muscle fatigue, dyspnoea and ultimately leads to exercise limitation. Whether these mechanisms also partly explain exercise limitation in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is unknown. Chest wall strapping is an experimental intervention that restricts expansion of the thorax during breathing and can be used to simulate the effects of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in healthy research participants. While this is an imperfect model of the disease, chest wall strapping allows testing that is not feasible in clinical populations. Accordingly, this project will investigate the mechanisms of exercise limitation in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis using a model of chest wall strapping. We will test the hypothesis that chest wall strapping increases the mechanical and energetic cost of breathing, reduces blood flow to the exercising limbs which exacerbates limb muscle fatigue, dyspnoea and ultimately leads to exercise limitation. This will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms of exercise limitation in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and better treatments to improve exercise capacity. The candidate will join a successful team of multi-disciplinary scientists from several institutions, and will work in state-of-the-art laboratories with exceptional core facilities.
Exercise; respiratory; lung disease; muscle fatigue
Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology,Human Movement and Sports Science,Physiology
Centre for Health Sciences Research,School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Dean Mills
Other Supervisors: Dr Ben Hoffman
Nonlinear Dynamics in Bio-Chemical and Similar Active Systems
Description: A class of bio-chemical systems can be simulated by a system of coupled oscillators. Phase of oscillations satisfies an evolution partial differential equation which takes different forms depending o...
A class of bio-chemical systems can be simulated by a system of coupled oscillators. Phase of oscillations satisfies an evolution partial differential equation which takes different forms depending on the values of parameters. In the simplest case the equation is effectively a diffusion equation which is excitation-free. However, more complex forms are possible such as the Nikolaevskii equation and the Kuramoto-Sivashinsky equation incorporating linear excitation. We analyse a situation when the phase equation is based on nonlinear excitation. The nonlinear dynamics is explored numerically.

Applied Mathematics,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Dmitry Strunin
Other Supervisors: Professor Thanh Tran-Cong
Cloud Computing Security and Privacy
Description: This research will address the concerns when individuals and organisations use the cloud services.
This research will address the concerns when individuals and organisations use the cloud services.
Cloud Computing
Information Systems
School of Management and Enterprise
Principal Supervisor: Professor Jianming Yong
Other Supervisors:
Makerspaces as Learning Environments
Description: The maker movement is a growing community of individuals in different disciplines, different sectors, and different contexts. Makers are characterized by creativity, creation, tinkers, who use physi...
The maker movement is a growing community of individuals in different disciplines, different sectors, and different contexts. Makers are characterized by creativity, creation, tinkers, who use physical and digital tools and materials to make things. Any topic that looks at Making and Makerspaces would be relevant under this study. Examples of topics include Curriculum assessment in Makerspaces, Pedagogy in School Makerspaces, STEM curriculum integration in Makerspaces; Assessment of soft skills in Makerspaces, Collaboration in Makerspaces, Virtual making, Makerspaces for rural and remote learners, Mobile makerspaces.
Making, makerspaces, rural, mobile, STEM, curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, virtual, collaboration
Curriculum and Pedagogy,Education Systems,Other Education,Specialist Studies in Education
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Petrea Redmond
Other Supervisors: Dr Neil Martin
Effects of Nanoparticles on Anaerobic Digestion Trophic Groups
Description: Anaerobic digestion is a complex multi-stage bioprocess involving various types of bacteria and methanogens for the conversion of organics to methane gas which can be harvested for clean energy produ...
Anaerobic digestion is a complex multi-stage bioprocess involving various types of bacteria and methanogens for the conversion of organics to methane gas which can be harvested for clean energy production. Some recent evidence showed that the addition of some nanoparticles had positive impacts on some microbial communities which resulted in increased methane production during anaerobic digestion, but very little is known about how this happens and why. We have a gas chromatograph to analyze methane, HPLC to analyze various intermediates and a gas chromatograph coupled with mass spectrometry available in our laboratories to carry out this research.
Nanoparticles; Anaerobic digestion; wastewater; interspecies electron transfer; bioenergy; energy production; sustainability; biorefinery
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Ian Craig
Building statistical support tools for researchers that maximise their existing domain expertise, encourage statistical learning and continually improve reproducibility.
Description: Science relying on experiments are at risk of non-reproducible outcomes particularly associated with low power and estimated effects that are exaggerated in magnitude. The cost of designing and runni...
Science relying on experiments are at risk of non-reproducible outcomes particularly associated with low power and estimated effects that are exaggerated in magnitude. The cost of designing and running experiments can lead researchers to try and minimize the number of sampling units they use. Additionally, experiments may need approval from ethics committees who must assess the risk of over or under-use of subjects while achieving the desired outcomes through the implementation of well-powered experiments. This project aims to develop an online tool that improves reproducibility by providing scenario alternatives for researchers based on their initial parameter specifications, and educational support to help them choose the most effective form of analysis and reporting. This will improve the confidence and statistical understanding of researchers which will assist in managing the risks associated with conducting small experimental studies and enhance the experimental protocol formed prior to data collection. This app will promote sample size estimation as a range, rather than a single number point estimate, and will encompass a scenario-based decision process for the user. Potential research students interested in developing a project proposal in this field are invited to contact us to discuss their ideas.
statistics, reproducibility, statistical coding, python, visualisation
Statistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Rachel King
Other Supervisors: Dr Trevor Langlands
Multiscale Modelling of Soil used in Agriculture
Description: Recently the advances in particles based simulation methods as well as meso and nano scale measurements of material properties yield a new paradigm for understanding the multi-scale behaviour of comp...
Recently the advances in particles based simulation methods as well as meso and nano scale measurements of material properties yield a new paradigm for understanding the multi-scale behaviour of complex materials including soils, soft matters, nanomaterails . The main objective of this project is to use molecular models/coarsed grain models and High Performance Computing techniques to investigate the interactions between soil platelets to develop meso-scale models of soil aggregates. The research will then extend to analyse the distribution of particle sizes and different soil minerals. The goal is to use the bottom-up approach to improve macroscopic models of soil behaviour.
Molecular Dynamics, soil, multiscale, mesoscale modelling
Chemical Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Canh-Dung Tran
Other Supervisors: Professor Jochen Bundschuh
Development of Syntactic Foams and Foam Core Sandwich Composites
Description: Syntactic foams are in general ternary materials made of pre-formed hollow microspheres, binder and voids. Syntactic foams can be used as various structural components including sandwich composites a...
Syntactic foams are in general ternary materials made of pre-formed hollow microspheres, binder and voids. Syntactic foams can be used as various structural components including sandwich composites and in areas where low densities are required e.g. undersea/marine equipment for deep ocean current-metering, anti-submarine warfare and others. Their other uses include products in aerospace, automotive and building industries. However, the densities of syntactic foams in the past have been relatively high compared to the traditional expandable foams, limiting their applications. A wide variety of materials can be used for syntactic foams. The filler microspheres may be glass, polymeric, carbon, ceramic or metallic materials. Thus, a wide range of different types of syntactic foams can be made by selecting different materials and consolidating techniques for binder and hollow microspheres. Various types of sandwich composites can also be made by selecting different constituent materials for core and skins. For the selection of constituent materials, factors such as properties and cost may be considered. Main objectives of this project are to (a) develop novel syntactic foams using hollow microspheres and suitable binders, (b) investigate relationships between various manufacturing parameters, (c) investigate mixing behaviour of fillers and binders, (d) characterise mechanical behaviour of the developed syntactic foams, and (e) develop and investigate properties of novel sandwich composites made of developed syntactic foams and suitable skins.
Syntactic foam, microsphere, binder, sandwich, develop, properties.
Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Mainul Islam
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Jayantha Epaarachchi
Modelling and Optimisation of Wind Power with Artificial Intelligence Approaches
Description: Wind power is a promising renewable energy. Wind industry is the fastest growing renewable resource and is expected to continue to grow over 2030s although the production of real energy will rely on ...
Wind power is a promising renewable energy. Wind industry is the fastest growing renewable resource and is expected to continue to grow over 2030s although the production of real energy will rely on accurate simulation models of wind speed over hourly, daily and monthly periods. Wind prediction models can enable short-term (real-time) and long-term wind energy feasibility studies and future wind power investments. Australia and many parts of the world has excellent wind resources. Although research in onshore and offshore wind farms must be performed, reliable wind prediction models that can inform future sustainability of wind power are still lacking. Wind energy resources in potential wind farm sites require an integrated high-quality monitoring system forecasting the micro-scale model of wind flow incorporating the effects of topography and terrain. However, forecast models that provide reliable information on wind power sustainability, and address stochastic behaviour of wind regimes for more accurate predictions, can assist in economically-viable future investments, to solve wind energy utilization challenges. In this project, students will learn about the design of farms and optimisation of power using high-precision forecasting tools and geophysical, statistical and evolutionary methods. It will consider uncertainty and power-failure risks, effect of wakes with power production, atmospheric stability on performance and loading characteristics throughout a typical daily cycle, power production in extreme event and optimum placement of wind system. Students will apply machine learning (i.e., artificial intelligence) to predict wind speeds at topographical and geographic locations. Machine learning is unique as a fast and efficient data transformative tool, yet the applications in renewable energy remain very limited. The project will suit students in renewable energy, engineering, computing, climate, meteorology, mathematics, statistics, environmental science and atmospheric physics. Students have opportunity to engage constructively with supervisor to publish and further research. This project is suitable for PhD, Research or Coursework Masters Thesis. It provides opportunity to publish in high quality Q1 journals. The research student will be part of the Advanced Data Analytics Research Group under Prof Ravinesh Deo. For more details see https://eportfolio.usq.edu.au/view/view.php?id=116719.
Climate Risk; Renewable Energy; Environmental Models; Wind Energy; Machine Learning; Predictive Modelling
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Atmospheric Sciences,Mechanical Engineering
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors: Dr Nathan Downs, Dr Nawin Raj
Mungbean powdery mildew: Molecular profile, host range, and virulence patterns
Description: Powdery mildew fungi (Erysiphales) are one of the most conspicuous groups of plant pathogens. Important crops, including wheat, barley, grapevine, and a number of fruit and vegetable crops, as well ...
Powdery mildew fungi (Erysiphales) are one of the most conspicuous groups of plant pathogens. Important crops, including wheat, barley, grapevine, and a number of fruit and vegetable crops, as well as ornamentals, grown in the field and glasshouses, are amongst the major targets of powdery mildew fungi. Their control is mainly based on the use of resistant cultivars, repeated application of fungicides, and agro-technical methods. In spite of their economic importance, the precise identity, host range, life cycle, perennation, virulence patterns, and other characteristics of a number of powdery mildew fungi infecting diverse crop species have not been deciphered yet. For example, this is the case of the species causing disease in mungbean fields in Australia and elsewhere. The project will focus on the precise identification of the powdery mildew fungi infecting this crop, their host ranges, virulence profiles of diverse isolates, and quantification of the infection of different cultivars and breeding lines, based on field, glasshouse and laboratory experiments, as well as molecular studies including DNA genotyping, phylogenetic analyses, and qPCR methods.
Powdery mildew, crop disease, molecualr biology, plant disease control, DNA
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health
Principal Supervisor: Professor Levente Kiss
Other Supervisors: Professor Gavin Ash
Conceptual design of an trial hip prosthesis embedded with compression and torque sensors
Description: This project looks to identify opportunities to further improve on designing a trial hip prosthesis embedded with compression and torque sensors to provide increased levels of precision in hip operat...
This project looks to identify opportunities to further improve on designing a trial hip prosthesis embedded with compression and torque sensors to provide increased levels of precision in hip operation procedures performed by orthopedics surgeons. Currently, the process is performed with a static trial prosthesis that relies on the surgeon's feel and touch (tactile) which are highly dependent on surgical experience. This project will involve initial scoping, definition, and evaluation of current designs, sensors, and/or materials, identify any constraints and parameters, and finally proposes conceptual design options that may fulfil the design objectives.

Biomedical Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Steven Goh
Other Supervisors: Dr Zahra Faraji Rad
PFAS removal from drinking water using electrochemical cell
Description: Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are present in househould products and foam that were used in Australia for several decades. Several cases of contamination were recently reported in the n...
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are present in househould products and foam that were used in Australia for several decades. Several cases of contamination were recently reported in the news. Some firefighting foams contain two PFAS – perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – that improve the ability of the foam to smother fire. These chemicals will persist in the environment due to their non-biodegradability. This project will look at a novel electro-chemical process to oxidize and breakdown these compounds. Adsorption of PFAS will take place using graphite flakes and regeneration of graphite will take using low electrical current.
PFAS, PFOS, groundwater, electro-chemical cell, graphite
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Ian Craig
Methane and Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Sewage Sludge
Description: In contrast with other wastewater treatment plants where the sludge is treated anaerobically to produce methane and electricity, Wetalla reclamation plant in Toowoomba is applying aerobic digestion t...
In contrast with other wastewater treatment plants where the sludge is treated anaerobically to produce methane and electricity, Wetalla reclamation plant in Toowoomba is applying aerobic digestion to stabilize the sludge. Aerobic digestion is essentially a biological process where aerobic and facultative bacteria degrade further the organic matter in the final sludge to reduce the final volume and also obtain a mature humus-like compost that can be used as fertilizer in agriculture. It can also be used as soil cover or landfill cover depending on its quality. One way to measure its quality is to measure the CO2 emission rate. A high CO2 production will indicate an unstable product with high content of easily biodegradable material promoting bacterial growth. This could badly affect plant growth if the material was used as compost. It is therefore important to monitor the CO2 production rate to ensure that the aerobic digestion process is working properly. Typical residence times are 2-3 weeks and the biosolids should be overturned regularly to ensure good oxygen mass transfer. USQ has recently acquired an online CO2/CH4 analyzer to measure emission rate from soils. The monitoring of Wetalla’s biosolids is important for several reasons: - Gather data from the process and ensure that the design residence time is sufficient to obtain a stabilized final residue suitable for further applications - Estimate the volatile solids destruction in the process and the overall kinetic. - Fine-tune the overturning/mixing regime: if the CO2 emission rate from the final residue was found to be lower than the required standard, it would mean that fewer turnings could be applied which could save electricity. - Ensure that the aerobic process is operating properly by measuring methane emissions. If Methane was found it would mean that aeration is not sufficient and that anaerobic bacteria are growing. Methane emissions should be avoided as methane has a strong greenhouse gas potential. USQ researchers have already obtain some data from the process and need a student to analyze them and possibly go to the plant to obtain further data.
sludge, sustainability, Carbon dioxide, methane, respirometric activity tests, wastewater treatment plant, biosolids
Agricultural Biotechnology,Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Analytical Chemistry,Atmospheric Sciences,Biochemistry and Cell Biology,Chemical Engineering,Civil Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Ian Craig
Numerical Simulation of Arterial Blood Flow
Description: We analyse a model of the fluid flow between elastic walls simulating arteries actively interacting with the blood. The lubrication theory for the flow is coupled with the pressure and shear stress f...
We analyse a model of the fluid flow between elastic walls simulating arteries actively interacting with the blood. The lubrication theory for the flow is coupled with the pressure and shear stress from the walls. The resulting nonlinear partial differential equation describes the displacement of the walls as a function of the distance along the flow and time. The equation is solved numerically using the one-dimensional integrated radial basis function network (1D-IRBFN) method. Solutions in the form of self-sustained trains of pulses are explored. Numerical experiments demonstrate the process of formation of the pulses from randomly chosen initial conditions.

Applied Mathematics,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Dmitry Strunin
Other Supervisors: Professor Thanh Tran-Cong
Production of a High Nutritional Value Soybean Meal through Solid State Fermentation using Filamentous Fungi
Description: In this project we will explore the feasibility to ferment soybean meal using a filamentous fungus under solid state fermentation. The fungus will produce cellulolytic enzymes to digest the non-diges...
In this project we will explore the feasibility to ferment soybean meal using a filamentous fungus under solid state fermentation. The fungus will produce cellulolytic enzymes to digest the non-digestible carbohydrate in soybean meal, leaving a higher amino acid content and a higher nutritional value. We have all the equipments and resources to carry out this research including: autoclave, 5L Sartorius automated fermenter, GC for gas analysis and HPLC for analysis of chemicals in the fermentation broth.
fungal hydrolysis; soybean meal; nutritional value; enzymes; solid state fermentation
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Ian Craig
Issues in Applied Economics: Energy, Environment and Development Economics, Health Economics, International Trade and Business, Housing Economics.
Description: Students are being encouraged to conduct research on any important unexplored issues of the above mentioned fields that are contemporary and relevant for their own country or region. The research top...
Students are being encouraged to conduct research on any important unexplored issues of the above mentioned fields that are contemporary and relevant for their own country or region. The research topic may be related to Australia or other regions as well. Primary and secondary data and materials can be used, and quantitative or qualitative research method or the combination of both methods can be applied. The chosen topic should explore the causes of problems and provide solution strategies to benefit the people, society and economy.
Applied Economics; Development and Environmental Economics; International Trade and International Business
Applied Economics,Banking, Finance and Investment,Environmental Science and Management,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Mafiz Rahman
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Rasheda Khanam
Terrestrial Laser Scanning For Building Information Model (BIM) Development and Application
Description: Building information model (BIM) provides detailed information on building components, geometry, spatial relationships, and semantic properties in three-dimension (3D) space. BIM helps understand geo...
Building information model (BIM) provides detailed information on building components, geometry, spatial relationships, and semantic properties in three-dimension (3D) space. BIM helps understand geometric and semantic properties of buildings and provides the basis for a variety of functional analyses and applications such as facility management and maintenance, heritage (archaeology and architecture) protection, building deformation monitoring, town planning and decision support. The key aspect of building information modelling is to use an efficient way to obtain 3D building data for detailed description of building structure. Terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) offers the capability of collecting high-density and high-accuracy 3D point cloud. Recently, it has been realised that the TLS has the potential for building information modelling. However, the applications of TLS in BIM have not been extensively tested. Moreover, the efficient ways and algorithms for extracting effective building structure information from large volume of laser scanning data have not been developed. Therefore, this research project aims to develop new ways and algorithms to extract object-based building geometric/structural information from laser scanning point cloud data and test their applications in building information modellings.
Terrestrial laser scanning, Laser scanner, GIS, Remote sensing, 3D building modelling, Building information modelling, BIM, Building structure, Point cloud, 3D cadastre,
Geomatic Engineering,Other Built Environment and Design,Other Environmental Sciences
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zhenyu Zhang
Other Supervisors: Dr Xiaoye Liu
Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Business Cycle
Description: To further evaluate the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions – particularly carbon dioxide – and the phases of the business cycle. This study would be quantitative in nature requiring the ca...
To further evaluate the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions – particularly carbon dioxide – and the phases of the business cycle. This study would be quantitative in nature requiring the candidate to be well skilled in advanced econometric techniques – such as cointegration analysis and error correction modelling, as well as the technique of decomposition analysis – and would extend existing published work by the Principal Supervisor (see, for example, Applied Energy, 2015).
Greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide, business cycle phases, cointegration analysis, decomposition analysis, error correction modelling.
Applied Economics,Econometrics
School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Professor Allan Layton
Other Supervisors: Professor Khorshed Alam
Understanding landfalling tropical cyclones over Australia
Description: Tropical cyclones (TCs) are low-pressure systems with organized convection that form over the warm tropical oceans. TCs produce damaging winds, heavy rainfall and storm surges that can result in wide...
Tropical cyclones (TCs) are low-pressure systems with organized convection that form over the warm tropical oceans. TCs produce damaging winds, heavy rainfall and storm surges that can result in wide-spread flooding near the tropical coastal regions. On average, 11 TCs form in the Australian region during the TC season (November to April) of which 40% make landfall over Australia with the potential for huge socio-economic losses given the growth in coastal settlements and infrastructure developments. For example, severe TC Debbie in 2017 was one of the most destructive systems to make landfall in Australia that had a total economic loss of A$3.5 billion. A significant fraction of annual precipitation over tropical Australia has been attributed to TCs, providing 30-45% of the annual rainfall at some stations over north-west Australia. A recent study with limited datasets shows that Australia has witnessed considerable cases of inland TCs after the landfall since 1979 compared to other regions that maintained tropical characteristics over land for a few more days, enhancing the TC-related hazards. However, our present understanding of the trend of landfalling TCs is very limited, as is our knowledge of the driving mechanisms of changing characteristics after the landfall, and associated impacts on northern Australian rainfall variability. This project will investigate what contributes to the decay, re-intensification or sustenance of an inland TC after landfall over Australia and the contribution of TCs to rainfall variability using the latest available best-track datasets, high resolution reanalyses and surface observations. The outcomes from this project will consist of a comprehensive understanding of the landfalling TCs, including an updated database of inland TCs over Australia, which will aid in better handling the model uncertainties in future projections of such events. A self-motivated promising student with a background in meteorology and with prior data analysis experience (e.g. NCL, Python, Matlab etc.) would be preferable. Travel to Melbourne may be encouraged to carry out this research work with a possibility of paper publication(s) in high quality research journals.
convection, economic loss, precipitation benefits, hazards, climate and weather
Atmospheric Sciences
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Roger Stone
Other Supervisors: Mr David Cobon, Dr Timothy Cowan, Dr Sally Lavender, Dr Sharmila Sur
Understanding the Adaptive Capacity of the Cotton Industry Under Climate Variability and Water Policy
Description: Climate is one of the fundamental factors that determine where different types of agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture can be successfully pursued. For primary industries such as the cott...
Climate is one of the fundamental factors that determine where different types of agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture can be successfully pursued. For primary industries such as the cotton industry, climate conditions, including variability, determine annual production and actual profitability. Australia’s cotton production relies largely on irrigated areas: about 400,000 ha of irrigated cotton is grown (depending on water availability), compared to 5,000-120,000 ha for dry land cotton. Along with adequate nutrition, water availability is very important to achieving adequate yields (high quantity and god fibre quality) in cotton. In Australia, cotton is grown in a region with the highest levels of climate variability in the country which has required farmers to have a relatively high ability to diversify. Such growing conditions have led to significant levels of adaptive capacity and considerable adaptation have been achieved over the past decades. Although these characteristics will support ongoing effective responses to climate variability and change, any adaptation strategies need to be considered in the context of other environmental, social, and economic and political frameworks. They will be most effective if they can also integrate multiple risks from a range of interacting processes across spatial and temporal scales. The multifaceted biophysical impacts of climate variability on cotton production are complex, geographically varied, and encumbered with varying degrees of uncertainty. Experience in undertaking production system and transformational changes is also limited, and many transformational changes will involve unknown and unpredictable risks to the personal and financial well-being of the people and communities directly involved, and to investment in land development, and production infrastructure. Given primary industry responses to climate variability/change impacts move from adjusting current practices to changing production systems or transforming industries, the complexity, cost and risk of climate-driven enterprise changes will increase. There is therefore a need to actively engage in the research required to support incremental adaptations to climate, system and transformative changes in the future so as to ensure the cotton industry is able to continue adapting to climate change impacts in the longer term. This PhD will investigate adaptation pathways and water management systems (namely irrigation control systems) in Cotton industry. Outcomes from different scenarios will help to developing regionally-specific pathways and maintaining or increasing the profitability and sustainability of cotton production and related industry and communities.

Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Applied Economics,Atmospheric Sciences,Environmental Science and Management
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Professor Shahbaz Mushtaq
Other Supervisors: Dr Louis Kouadio
Material Development for Electrochemical Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Formic Acid
Description: This project aims to develop economical and scalable carbon dioxide electrochemical technologies to convert carbon dioxide in blast furnace flue gas to formic acid as a value-added product in steel-m...
This project aims to develop economical and scalable carbon dioxide electrochemical technologies to convert carbon dioxide in blast furnace flue gas to formic acid as a value-added product in steel-making plants. The project expects to develop new electrochemical catalysts, to optimise the structure of electrodes and ultimately improve carbon dioxide conversion efficiency and reaction selectivity towards formic acid. The expected outcomes of this project will provide an efficient and economically viable electrochemical technology to convert carbon dioxide to a valuable product such as formic acid or syngas, with the potential to significantly reduce the emission of carbon dioxide from steel-making processes and coal-fired power plants.
carbon dioxide, electrochemical conversion, catalysis
Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials
Principal Supervisor: Dr Lei Ge
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang
Great Barrier Reef Environmental Management Review
Description: There are several environmental pressures upon the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), one of Australia's greatest assets, which generates billions of dollars into the economy through tourism. The main stresso...
There are several environmental pressures upon the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), one of Australia's greatest assets, which generates billions of dollars into the economy through tourism. The main stressor is polluted runoff from the various industries located along Australia's north-eastern coastal fringe. Before an effective environmental management plan (EMP) can be put in place, under which various environmental engineering solutions could be envisaged, the nature of the various individual pollutants and the industry from which they emanate needs to be accurately quantified. Much of this work has been carried out, but information is widely dispersed across the white and grey literature. Via a literature review, the information needs to be pulled together in one comprehensive document. Potential funders/collaborators in this project would possibly be the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM), NCEA USQ, and Reef Rescue Phase II.

Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ian Craig
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
The Economics of Child Health and Wellbeing
Description: This project aims to undertake high quality and policy relevant research on the following issues (but not limited to): • Socio-economic determinants of child physical and mental health • Health ...
This project aims to undertake high quality and policy relevant research on the following issues (but not limited to): • Socio-economic determinants of child physical and mental health • Health care costs of child mental health, obesity, asthma • The economic consequence of child mental health • The economic impacts of people's environment on child physical and mental Health • The costs of mental illness, substance use, suicide and suicidal ideation • The costs of childhood bulling • The economics of teen-age suicide and suicidal ideation • Screen time and cognitive and non-cognitive development of children • Time allocation, child academic performance and health • The economic consequences of childhood and adolescent obesity Students interested in pursuing a PhD (or Masters) in any of the above topics or related topics are encouraged to contact Associate Professor Rasheda Khanam (rasheda.khanam@usq.edu.au) for further details. The potential students are expected to have: (1) an academic background in any of these fields: economics, health economics, econometrics, statistics and public health, AND, (2) research publications in relevant fields

Applied Economics,Public Health and Health Services
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Rasheda Khanam
Other Supervisors: Dr Enamul Kabir, Assoc Prof Mafiz Rahman
Dust Reduction From Livestock Buildings
Description: No doubt that one of the major source of pollution in poultry buildings is the bedding (Banhazi et al., 2008). Capturing/removing emission at the point of exit is still one of the most obvious ways ...
No doubt that one of the major source of pollution in poultry buildings is the bedding (Banhazi et al., 2008). Capturing/removing emission at the point of exit is still one of the most obvious ways of reducing airborne emission from both agricultural and industrial facilities. Although the principles of removing pollutants from air is well known, there are no commercially available tools developed for poultry farmers to harness air-cleaning technologies that have been proven in other industrial applications. Thus building on previous and successful studies (Banhazi, 2007); the development of an air-scraper specially designed for poultry buildings would deliver practical benefits for producers. in this project we will aim to improve the design of air-scrapers to enhance the pollutant removal capacity of the filtration device.

Animal Production
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor:
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Thomas Banhazi, Assoc Prof Thomas Banhazi
An analysis of current and future opportunities for biomethane production in Australia
Description: There are currently rapid changes in the Australian energy landscape, with increased use of wind and solar renewable energy. Renewable gas in the form of biomethane produced from organic wastes is la...
There are currently rapid changes in the Australian energy landscape, with increased use of wind and solar renewable energy. Renewable gas in the form of biomethane produced from organic wastes is largely an untapped renewable energy resource in Australia. In Europe and elsewhere, large amounts of biomethane are converted into vehicle fuel or injected into natural gas grids to supply industry and households with clean green energy. Australia is at a turning point. Major gas grid owners are asking for green biomethane solutions. The opportunities are great. Around 130,000 commercial businesses rely on gas, plus 44% of Australia’s household or more than 6.5 million homes. Unfortunately, there are currently no feasible technology concepts for Australia. This is an urgent research need. This project will draw on extensive industry connections via the International Energy Agency Bioenergy Task 37: Energy from Biogas to collaboratively research, explore, clarify and develop biogas to biomethane options for Australia. Industry collaboration is a great strength in this project, enhancing adoption readiness of research, industrial relevance and employability.
Biogas, biomethane, green gas, upgrading, agriculture, anaerobic digestion, organic waste, natural gas
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Chemical Engineering,Environmental Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Bernadette McCabe
Other Supervisors: Dr Stephan Tait
Mainstream Anaerobic Treatment of Municipal Wastewater Using a Hybrid Baffled Membrane Bioreactor
Description: This project aims to investigate the combination of the anaerobic baffled reactor and the submerged anaerobic membrane bioreactor to treat domestic wastewater. By combining both types of reactors and...
This project aims to investigate the combination of the anaerobic baffled reactor and the submerged anaerobic membrane bioreactor to treat domestic wastewater. By combining both types of reactors and their advantages it is expected that synergistic effects would result in better performance and concurrent energy production. The project aims to investigate and compare the use of microfiltration membrane and forward osmosis membrane.
Anaerobic digestion; wastewater; bioreactor; membrane; energy production; biofuels; biorefinery; green energy; sustainability
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Vasanthadevi Aravinthan
conversion of agrowaste to functional foods by fungal fermentation
Description: Fungi and yeasts have many applications in drug production, food processing, fermentation (beer, wine and bread), biological control agents, and enzyme technology. However, indigenous Australian fung...
Fungi and yeasts have many applications in drug production, food processing, fermentation (beer, wine and bread), biological control agents, and enzyme technology. However, indigenous Australian fungi have rarely been considered or applied to industrial and even medical applications. The aim of this project is to apply fungal fermentation to agrowaste to produce new functional foods. Fungal strains such as Aspergilus will be grown on sorghum by-products and the resulting amino acids will be identified, purified as functional foods, and tested for biomedical applications such as reduction of obesity using appropriate rat models.
fungus, fermentation, agrowaste, sorghum, functional foods, obesity, rat
Agricultural Biotechnology,Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Analytical Chemistry,Biomedical Engineering,Chemical Engineering,Complementary and Alternative Medicine,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management,Food Sciences,Medical Biotechnology,Microbiology,Nutrition and Dietetics,Public Health and Health Services
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors:
Privacy Preservation for digital identity federation
Description: this research will address the challenges over digital identity for its privacy preservation
this research will address the challenges over digital identity for its privacy preservation
Digital Identity Privacy
Information Systems
School of Management and Enterprise
Principal Supervisor: Professor Jianming Yong
Other Supervisors:
Footwear Sole Pressure for Crime Suspect Identification
Description: Pressure sensor arrays are used to capture plantar pressure pattern and produce a number of pressure parameters relating to loading phase of gait. Pressure pattern and pressure parameter can be utili...
Pressure sensor arrays are used to capture plantar pressure pattern and produce a number of pressure parameters relating to loading phase of gait. Pressure pattern and pressure parameter can be utilised to distinguish individual gait characteristics. Footwear sole pressure can be captured by similar sensor array. The research will require the determination of suitable parameters for the identification of individual in crime investigation.
footwear-sole, electronic pressure sensor, crime investigation, image processing
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Criminology,Electrical and Electronic Engineering,Human Movement and Sports Science
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Albert Kon-Fook Chong
Other Supervisors: Dr Zahra Faraji Rad
Explainable Artificial Intelligence Predictive Models of Solar Ultraviolet UV Radiation and Cloud Cover Effects for Skin and Eye Health Risk Evaluation
Description: Australians are at high risk of malignant keratinocyte cancers and eye disease due to solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Implementing sun-protection to mitigate health risk of erythemally-effective UV...
Australians are at high risk of malignant keratinocyte cancers and eye disease due to solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Implementing sun-protection to mitigate health risk of erythemally-effective UV is a strategic initiative of World Health Organisation. UV forecasting apps used as a skin health decision support system to predict UV Index can mitigate the risk of skin cancer and eye disease. Predictive models inform real-time sun-protection behaviour in humans and advocate for better public health risk reduction. In this project students learn about artificial intelligence (AI) models and learn to build explainable and interpretable AI systems (denoted as xAI models) that have the skill for real-time simulation of UV index. They will integrate innovative mathematical tools such as deep Taylor decomposition, layer wise relevance propagation (LRP), Local Interpretable Model-agnostic Explanations (LIME), sensitivity analysis and feature heat maps to analyse sky images. The xAI approach will offer the explanation of machine decisions and predictions to justify their reliability. The models will also provide greater interpretability, which often means we would better understand the mechanism underlying the algorithms when building an xAI model for UV forecasting. Some of the other well-known methods such as wavelet and Bayesian method will also be used using satellite data to yield high performance. Overall, this project will contribute to the mitigation of health-risk (e.g. skin cancer and eye disease minimisation efforts). The project aims to enhance the science of solar UV index while developing forecasting capabilities for real-time advice to mitigate risk of solar UV-exposure-related disease. It will suit students with some background in health, solar science, computing, climatology, meteorology, mathematics, statistics, environmental or atmospheric physics. Student will learn Python, r or MATLAB programming, extensive data analysis and explainable AI modelling tool. The research project is strongly centred on AI and Health Technologies. This project is suitable for PhD, Research or Coursework Masters Thesis. It provides opportunity to publish in high quality Q1 journals. The research student will be part of the Advanced Data Analytics Research Group under Prof Ravinesh Deo. For more details see https://eportfolio.usq.edu.au/view/view.php?id=116719.
skin cancer; solar radiation; artificial intelligence; machine learning; health risk; predictive modelling; applied mathematics; computing; climate; environment
Applied Mathematics,Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Atmospheric Sciences,Environmental Science and Management,Public Health and Health Services,Statistics
Centre for Health Sciences Research,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors: Dr Nathan Downs, Professor Alfio Parisi, Professor Jeffrey Soar
Piggery Wastewater Treatment in an Anaerobic Baffled Reactor
Description: In Australia, conventional treatment of piggery wastewater is carried out in anaerobic ponds occupying a large surface. Residence times are typically long (>100 days) and solids removals are low. Tow...
In Australia, conventional treatment of piggery wastewater is carried out in anaerobic ponds occupying a large surface. Residence times are typically long (>100 days) and solids removals are low. Towards the end of the design lifespan of the pond, sludge accumulation may encroach on the pond treatment volume, adversely affecting pond function. At this point in time, the pond effluent may become unsuitable for flushing sheds and irrigation onto agricultural land, due to higher total solids concentrations, while the large surface area may emit high levels of offensive odours as pond biological function becomes impeded. Producers are then faced with the major practical and financial problem of determining how to desludge a relatively large pond without interfering with the ongoing operation of the piggery. These issues and more will be addressed using an anaerobic baffled reactor.
anaerobic baffled reactor; piggery wastewater
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Ian Craig
Ecosystem Services and Resilient Farming Systems
Description: Natural ecosystems play a key role in supporting agricultural production systems through a range of ecosystem services, including carbon storage, soil health, hydrological function, biodiversity, and...
Natural ecosystems play a key role in supporting agricultural production systems through a range of ecosystem services, including carbon storage, soil health, hydrological function, biodiversity, and pest and pollination services. Research undertaken to date in cropping landscapes has increased our understanding of the contribution that natural ecosystems on and around farms make in providing these important services. It has identified and quantified individual services and investigated best management practises to enhance their value. However, rarely does this research focus on the flow of services (and dis-services) between agricultural and natural elements within landscapes or the increased resilience that ecological theory predicts will ensue from integrated management of agri-ecological landscapes. Decision making (from farm level to policy level) in the face of projected increases in climate variability and growing pressure on the natural resource base is also increasingly complex and subject to significant uncertainty (e.g. Brady et al., 2012, 2019). This research will investigate the interactions between natural environments and crop production systems in agricultural landscapes and develop an integrated systems framework to support decisions aimed at enhancing both environmental and agricultural productivity outcomes at a range of scales from property to landscape level under a range of probable climate and land use/land cover futures. Potential research students interested in developing a project proposal in this field are invited to contact us to discuss their ideas.
Ecosystem services; systems modelling; future climates; socio-ecological resilience; predictive modelling
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Ecological Applications,Ecology,Environmental Science and Management
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Kathryn Reardon-Smith
Other Supervisors: Dr Jarrod Kath
How do different mycorrhizal fungi affect plant defences against insect herbivores?
Description: Most plants on land associate with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi (subphylum: Glomeromycotina). These fungi can provide plants with access to important resources (i.e. phosphorus) while the plants...
Most plants on land associate with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi (subphylum: Glomeromycotina). These fungi can provide plants with access to important resources (i.e. phosphorus) while the plants provide the fungi with carbon. In both natural and managed ecosystems, plants are attacked by at least one, if not many, insect herbivores. For crop production, this can mean significant impacts on yield. The prophylactic application and reliance on many pesticides and fertilisers is unsustainable. As crop production must increase its sustainability the symbiosis between AM fungi and crop plants offers vast potential to increase plant growth, nutreint uptake and resistance to pests. This project will investigate how AM fungal community assemblage relates to plant defences against insect herbivores. This project will incorporate field-based (soil and root sampling), controlled-environment experimentation (glasshouse experiments) and lab-based analyses (amplicon sequencing) to disentangle how different AM fungi impact the defences of important Australian crop species.
arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, microbial ecology, plant defence, pest protection, plant defence
Crop and Pasture Production,Ecology,Plant Biology
Centre for Crop Health
Principal Supervisor: Dr Adam Frew
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Andy Le Brocque
Investigation into Alternative Fuels
Description: With the limitations on fossil fuel reserves, alternative fuels need to be developed. The student will perform simulations and experiments on alternative fuels to determine the feasibility of an alt...
With the limitations on fossil fuel reserves, alternative fuels need to be developed. The student will perform simulations and experiments on alternative fuels to determine the feasibility of an alternative fuel to produce the performance and emissions that are needed for the fuel to be used as a standard fuel.
Alternative fuels; Engines; Experiment; Simulation
Automotive Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Andrew Wandel
Other Supervisors: Dr Saddam Hussen Al-Lwayzy, Professor Talal Yusaf
Airborne LiDAR Data and High Resolution Imagery for Natural Resource and Environmental Management
Description: The rapid progress of remote sensing technologies provides scientists with new ways of solving conventional problems. Newly available high-resolution spatial data from various sensors such airborne L...
The rapid progress of remote sensing technologies provides scientists with new ways of solving conventional problems. Newly available high-resolution spatial data from various sensors such airborne LiDAR, WorldView-2 satellite, and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) offer capability of capturing and modelling spatial features in much more detail than ever before. Detailed description and modelling of natural and human phenomena is required for sustainable environmental management in adaption of climate changes. Advanced new remote sensing technologies and urgent requirement in reply with important environment problems inspire researchers to develop and test more reliable approaches to discover new knowledge for improvement of the applications of these new technologies in natural resource and environmental management. Candidate high degree research students can select topics which they are interested in from the following: • High quality DEM generation from LiDAR and high-resolution imagery for flood plain mapping and hydrological modelling; • Urban sprawl and land use/land cover change analysis; • Forest biophysical feature extraction and species identification; • Applications of UAV for mining industry or riparian ecosystem management; • Development of new algorithms and data processing methods for detection, interpretation, characterisation, and modelling of Earth surface features.
GIS, Remote Sensing, Spatial Science, LiDAR, Image Processing, UAV, Ecosystem, Agriculture, Forest, Land Use / Land Cover Change, Integration, Data Fusion.
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Environmental Science and Management,Geomatic Engineering
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Xiaoye Liu
Other Supervisors: Dr Zhenyu Zhang
Sentiment Analysis in Social Media
Description: Text mining technology is applied to analyse social media data to find public sentiment towards various social and personal issues such as election results prediction, cancer management etc.
Text mining technology is applied to analyse social media data to find public sentiment towards various social and personal issues such as election results prediction, cancer management etc.
text mining, data analysis, text mining
Information Systems
School of Management and Enterprise
Principal Supervisor: Dr Xujuan Zhou
Other Supervisors: Professor Raj Gururajan, Assoc Prof Abdul Hafeez-Baig
End effector design for fruit picking
Description: With increasing demand and decreasing availability of seasonal farm labour use of robotic fruit harvesting is increasing throughout the world. Fruits and agricultural produce in general are very sens...
With increasing demand and decreasing availability of seasonal farm labour use of robotic fruit harvesting is increasing throughout the world. Fruits and agricultural produce in general are very sensitive and susceptible for bruising while handling as well as harvesting and cause damage with automatic or robotic harvesting and handling methods. Very small research on robotic end effectors has been done for handling agricultural produce. This project aims for designing and evaluating the end effector for fruit handling.

Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Professor Craig Baillie
Other Supervisors: Dr Anand Pothula
Intracellular Mycoparasites as Trojan Horses in the Biological Control of Powdery Mildews: Enhancing the Biocontrol Potential of new Ampelomyces Strains
Description: Ampelomyces spp. are the best-known natural mycoparasites of powdery mildew fungi worldwide. Their hyphae and pycnidia commonly occur inside powdery mildew colonies in the field. Ampelomyces strains ...
Ampelomyces spp. are the best-known natural mycoparasites of powdery mildew fungi worldwide. Their hyphae and pycnidia commonly occur inside powdery mildew colonies in the field. Ampelomyces strains can be isolated from powdery mildew mycelia and maintained on artificial media. Some strains have already been commercialized to be used as biological control agents (BCAs) of powdery mildew infections of some crops in Europe, USA, India, Korea, and elsewhere. This project will focus on the isolation of new Ampelomyces spp. strains from diverse powdery mildew species in Australia, their genotyping based on already existing molecular markers, such as nrDNA ITS, ACT1, RPB1 and EukNR sequences and microsatellites, and selection of promising BCA candidates based on mycoparasitic activities of the newly isolated strains. Genomic tools and genetic transformation will be applied to study, and enhance, the biocontrol potential of the selected strains.
Biological control, fungi, parasites, crop diseases, powdery mildew
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health
Principal Supervisor: Professor Levente Kiss
Other Supervisors: Professor Gavin Ash
Stability and Instability in Seismic Waves
Description: This project is focused on numerical and analytical analysis of partial differential equations modelling seismic and elastic waves. A popular model of such waves is the Nikolaevskiy equation. So far,...
This project is focused on numerical and analytical analysis of partial differential equations modelling seismic and elastic waves. A popular model of such waves is the Nikolaevskiy equation. So far, interest to the equation was largely due to its capacity to generate self-excited structures, for example rolls. However, as was argued recently, solid matrix formed by rocks is an essentially passive system, therefore only decaying behaviour should have physical sense. We will thoroughly investigate this type of dynamics and also explore if the self-excited structures may still be formed provided the system is added up by external or internal energy-generating factors. This project has both theoretical and practical engineering aspects.

Applied Mathematics,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Dmitry Strunin
Other Supervisors: Professor Thanh Tran-Cong
Detection and Prediction of Abnormalities for Diagnosis of Brain Diseases from Brain Signal Data
Description: Detection and prediction of abnormalities from brain signal data is a significant research area in modern medical technology. ‘Brain signal data’ refers to electroencephalogram (EEG) signal data. Cur...
Detection and prediction of abnormalities from brain signal data is a significant research area in modern medical technology. ‘Brain signal data’ refers to electroencephalogram (EEG) signal data. Currently, EEG is the most frequently-used technique for studying the functional states of the brain. EEG is becoming increasingly important in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and brain neuro-degenerative diseases and abnormalities. The study of the brain electrical activity, through the EEG records, is one of the most important tools for the diagnoses of brain diseases, such as epilepsy, brain tumour, head injury, sleep disorder, dementia and monitoring depth of anaesthesia during surgery. It may also be recommended for the treatment of abnormalities, behavioural disturbances (e.g. Autism), attention disorders, learning problems, language delay etc. If a brain abnormality can be accurately identified, patients can be given timely treatment to slow progression or avoid sudden deterioration. Furthermore, if impending abnormalities can be predicted in their early stages, the treatments can significantly improve patient’s’ survival and quality of life. Vast amounts of multi-channel EEG signals are visually analysed by neurologists to identify and understand abnormalities within the brain and how they propagate. Visual inspection of EEG signals is not a satisfactory procedure because there are no standard criteria for the assessment and it is time-consuming, error-prone, and subject to fatigue. Therefore, there is an ever-increasing requirement for developing an automatic analysis system to ensure the proper evaluation and treatment of brain disorder diseases. The aim of this project is to develop reliable, robust and analysis techniques that will be able to detect abnormalities from EEG signal data discovering brain disease. This project also helps to predict future abnormalities based on EEG signals. This project will advance the existing techniques in medical applications to identify brain disorder diseases and also to provide appropriate early-warning indicative information to reduce health risks and enhance health monitoring.
Electroencephalogram (EEG), Epileosy, dementia, sleep disorder
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Biomedical Engineering,Medical Biotechnology
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Enamul Kabir
Other Supervisors: Professor Yan Li
Overload structural assessment using load-monitoring data and artificial intelligence
Description: This project develops an assessment approach for effectively evaluating road or railway bridges subject to overloads. This research project will be carried out within the School of Civil Engineering ...
This project develops an assessment approach for effectively evaluating road or railway bridges subject to overloads. This research project will be carried out within the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying and Centre for Future Materials with industry partner involvement. The School and Centre play a leading role in the research and development of innovative structure and material solutions for various civil infrastructure applications. This research will focus on experimental data analysis leveraging the power of real load-monitoring data and artificial intelligence techniques. The outcome of this study can enhance the understanding of the infrastructural behaviour and develop appropriate assessment methodology that would greatly benefit the civil engineering industry and wider community.
Overload, assessment, bridge, artificial intelligence
Civil Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Andy Nguyen
Other Supervisors: Dr Yang Yu
Proofs in Dynamic Geometry Environments
Description: A key issue in Mathematics Education is how students can be supported in making transition from ‘it seems to be right’ to convincing arguments which work in general. In learning geometry, dynamic sof...
A key issue in Mathematics Education is how students can be supported in making transition from ‘it seems to be right’ to convincing arguments which work in general. In learning geometry, dynamic software environment may be useful as it enables students to interact with geometrical theory. It is extremely important to investigate ways in which dynamic geometry environments improve students’ understanding of the nature of mathematical proof and their skills in proofs. We analyse three applications of dynamic geometry software – heuristics, exploration and visualisation – as valuable tools in teaching proofs in geometry.
Dynamic geometry environment, proof, heuristics, exploration, visualisation
Curriculum and Pedagogy
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Oleksiy Yevdokimov
Other Supervisors:
Engineered Bioreactors Technology to Produce Value-Added Products from Aquaculture Wastewater
Description: There is an interesting opportunity to work at USQ to solve issues faced by the Queensland prawn farming industry which is worth several millions. The project aims to improve on farm water remediatio...
There is an interesting opportunity to work at USQ to solve issues faced by the Queensland prawn farming industry which is worth several millions. The project aims to improve on farm water remediation processes and culture pond water quality. In response to incursion of an exotic virus that causes white spot disease, this multimillion dollar aquaculture industry is looking for more efficient ways to reduce reliance on seawater drawn from the environment by implementing novel engineered bioreactors technology to remediate effluent water containing elevated dissolved and particulate waste levels. A PhD candidate is expected to work on a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) to treat ammonia from waste effluent and convert it into bio-floc rich in bacterial nitrogen that could be harvested as new feedstock for growing prawns.
prawn, farming, wastewater, bioreactor, sustainable, remediation
Agricultural Biotechnology,Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering,Fisheries Sciences
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Professor Jochen Bundschuh
Big Data Analytics For Personalised Healthcare
Description: To succeed in transforming healthcare, many countries are moving toward targeted, personalised healthcare. As a part of healthcare transformation, medical risk assessment aims to prioritise patients ...
To succeed in transforming healthcare, many countries are moving toward targeted, personalised healthcare. As a part of healthcare transformation, medical risk assessment aims to prioritise patients on the basis of their medical status and treatments in order to optimise the deployment of medical resources; targeted monitoring aims to provide personalised monitoring medical services to individual patients. To achieve these tasks, evaluation of massive data in various types is essential in order to access individual patients' medical status and personal demands. However, the current accessibility to patients’ individual medical status and demands is still limited in IT-based healthcare systems. This study aims to breakthrough the problem by exploiting a medical domain ontology to model patients’ behaviour in order to provide decision support to medical doctors and health carers.
Data analytics, big data, health care, personalisation
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Information Systems,Public Health and Health Services
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Xiaohui Tao
Other Supervisors: Professor Ji Zhang
Biochar from agricultural waste for soil and environmental improvements
Description: Interest in biochar, a carbon-rich organic product, has increased greatly over the last decade. Biochar has multiple uses, ranging from soil amendment to water filtration. Currently, biochar is also ...
Interest in biochar, a carbon-rich organic product, has increased greatly over the last decade. Biochar has multiple uses, ranging from soil amendment to water filtration. Currently, biochar is also being incorporated into livestock feeds and compost operations. This project will develop new novel methodology for value-added utilization of low-value agricultural waste. Different agricultural waste materials will be tested to find out the optimal pyrolysis temperatures and methods to make biochar. Analytical and spectroscopic methods will be used to characterize the biochar. Then biochars will be mixed with fertilisers to evaluate their effect on soil quality and plant growth using greenhouse experiments. The results of this research will provide in-depth understanding on how to effectively make biochars and how biochars can be best used to improve soil and environmental quality.
Biochar, soil, crop, agriculture
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Guangnan Chen
Other Supervisors: Dr Les Bowtell
Screening of Indigenous Strains of Fungi and Yeasts for Industrial Applications
Description: Fungi and yeasts have many applications in drug production, food processing, fermentation (beer, wine and bread), biological control agents, and enzyme technology. However indigenous Australian fungi...
Fungi and yeasts have many applications in drug production, food processing, fermentation (beer, wine and bread), biological control agents, and enzyme technology. However indigenous Australian fungi have rarely been considered or applied to industrial applications. The aim of this project is to screen indigenous microorganisms available in culture collections for novel applications. Examples include screening (i) oleaginous yeasts indigenous to Australia for their capacity to accumulate intracellular lipids for biodiesel production, (ii) ethanol producing yeasts for their capacity to produce ethanol for the brewing industry, (iii) filamentous fungi for their capacity to produce enzymes such as glucoamylase for the saccharification of starches or cellulases/hemicellulases/ligninases for the hydrolysis of lignocellulosics materials for biofuels production. The experimental work will involve screening microorganisms on Petri dishes or fermentation flasks with analysis of relevant intermediates and products.
fungus, yeasts, screening, biofuel, fermentation, enzymes, biorefinery, brewing, ethanol, lipids, biodiesel
Biochemistry and Cell Biology,Ecological Applications,Ecology,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management,Evolutionary Biology,Fisheries Sciences,Food Sciences,Forestry Sciences,Genetics,Industrial Biotechnology,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Microbiology,Other Biological Sciences,Other Chemical Sciences,Other Engineering,Other Environmental Sciences
Centre for Crop Health,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Professor Roger Shivas
The Ficto-Critical in Speculative Fictions
Description: This project will explore speculative fiction's unique capacity for challenging cultural values such as gender, class, sexuality, and subjectivity through a critically informed discussion of key text...
This project will explore speculative fiction's unique capacity for challenging cultural values such as gender, class, sexuality, and subjectivity through a critically informed discussion of key texts and genres.
literature; speculative fiction; science fiction; weird fiction; horror; fantasist literature; contemporary literature; popular culture; literary theory; literary criticism
Literary Studies
School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Dr Daniel Hourigan
Other Supervisors: Dr Nike Sulway
Dietary Interventions to Reduce Exercise-induced Bronchoconstriction and Airway Inflammation.
Description: Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways that affects 235 million people worldwide (World Health Organisation). The disease is characterised by reversible airway narrowing, mucus hypersecreti...
Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways that affects 235 million people worldwide (World Health Organisation). The disease is characterised by reversible airway narrowing, mucus hypersecretion and the pro-inflammatory response of cytokines and chemokines that results in the respiratory symptoms of wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. This can have a detrimental effect upon quality life, leading to disability and in some cases death. Unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma and the treatments available to help manage the condition can lead to the user becoming tolerant and have several undesirable side effects. The care for individuals with asthma is also very costly. Accordingly, there is an urgent need to develop cheaper, more effective and less harmful treatments to manage and potentially cure asthma. Recent novel research suggests that nutritional interventions may represent a cost-saving, effective and safe method for reducing the incidence of asthmatic attacks. Several nutritional interventions have been shown to be effective at reducing a specific phenotype of asthma called exercise induced bronchoconstriction without any harmful side effects. This PhD will investigate further dietary interventions to reduce exercise induced bronchoconstriction and airway inflammation. The candidate will join a successful team of multi-disciplinary scientists from several institutions, and will work in state-of-the-art laboratories with exceptional core facilities.
Asthma; Exercise; Diet
Biochemistry and Cell Biology,Human Movement and Sports Science,Immunology,Medical Physiology,Nutrition and Dietetics,Physiology
Centre for Health Sciences Research,School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Dean Mills
Other Supervisors:
Water Energy Food Nexus
Description: The agri-food chain consumes about one third of the world’s energy production and 80-90% of total global freshwater use. The water energy food nexus is also well documented globally. Optimal water ef...
The agri-food chain consumes about one third of the world’s energy production and 80-90% of total global freshwater use. The water energy food nexus is also well documented globally. Optimal water efficiency in irrigation can only be achieved by piping irrigation networks. Operating such systems however involves far higher energy usage. This project will study and compare the different measures to optimise energy productivity and sustainability including the uses of renewable energy in agriculture.
Water, Energy, Food
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Guangnan Chen
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Troy Jensen
Airborne LiDAR Data for High Quality DEM Generation and Applications
Description: There is an increasing demand for national and regional scale elevation data for use in environmental modelling and spatial analysis to support environmental policy development and implementation. Di...
There is an increasing demand for national and regional scale elevation data for use in environmental modelling and spatial analysis to support environmental policy development and implementation. Digital elevation data and derived products such as digital elevation models (DEM) are important components in national and regional spatial data infrastructure. To support sustainable development and resource management at a catchment scale, the improvement and update of existing DEMs or, alternatively, the development of a new high-accuracy and high-resolution DEM has been identified as a priority by many catchment management authorities. Recently, it has been shown that the deployment of airborne LiDAR (light detection and ranging) systems offers a way to acquire high-density and high-accuracy terrain data. LiDAR data promise to become one of the major sources of digital terrain data, and may become the primary choice for the updating of catchment-scale DEMs. The DEM requirements at catchment scale are diverse and refer to many identified natural resource issues, including drainage systems, groundwater, lakes and wetlands, water quality, landslides, salinity, and biodiversity. The overall objective of this research is to investigate the ways of processing the airborne LiDAR data for high quality DEM generation in terms of both accuracy and efficiency and explore the applications of LiDAR data at catchment scale.
GIS, Remote Sencing, Spatial Science, LiDAR, Digital Elevation Model, DEM, Digital Terrain Model, DTM, Environmental Management, Natural Resources
Environmental Science and Management,Geomatic Engineering,Other Environmental Sciences
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Xiaoye Liu
Other Supervisors: Dr Zhenyu Zhang
Modelling transportation demand using EMME4: A case study of Toowoomba urban area
Description: Creating a livable urban environment and fostering more sustainable travel behaviours are on the top most agenda for councils. Obviously, there are many factors that could contribute in this creation...
Creating a livable urban environment and fostering more sustainable travel behaviours are on the top most agenda for councils. Obviously, there are many factors that could contribute in this creation including the interactions between urban form, human activities, and travel behavior, and failing to adequately address human needs and desire. In this process, microsimulation plays a vital role in reducing the risk of incompatible urban planning outcomes. The objective of this study is to develop a transport model for the Toowoomba city area using EMME4 and to evaluate the role of transport system management (TSM) strategies to be introduced for easing city’s traffic congestion. First, this study will to develop a transport model for the Toowoomba city area using EMME4. Recent data on urban activities, geographical details, and transport network will be used in modeling, and the predictability of the developed model will be checked against the observed data. The model will then be used to predict the expected outcomes from the application of various TSM strategies in near future for easing the city’s traffic-related issues.
Transport planning, Planning models, Travel demand forcasting, Reginal planning, Traffic simulation
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Urban and Regional Planning
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Soma Somasundaraswaran
Other Supervisors: Professor Ron Ayers
Dust Suppression Technology For Mining Areas in Queensland
Description: Suppression of dust generated by high traffic levels on dirt roads in mining areas is usually achieved via boom and nozzle application of substantial quantities of water from bowser trucks. This can ...
Suppression of dust generated by high traffic levels on dirt roads in mining areas is usually achieved via boom and nozzle application of substantial quantities of water from bowser trucks. This can be expensive in terms of fuel, water and labour requirements. A review needs to be carried out covering the reported efficacies of the current range of commercially available dust suppression adjuvants. Dust suppression adjuvants, which are mainly water based polymer emulsions, are claimed to reduce the frequency of water applications necessary for a required dust suppression level. To properly assess the efficacy of products on dirt roads in mining areas, experimental field trials are required which deploy Automatic Weather Stations, dust monitoring units and traffic activity recording units. AWS instrumentation would include atmospheric stability measurement capability. The field data obtained from a number of mining localities could also be compared to best available dispersion models

Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ian Craig
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
Families and young children
Description: Students interested in pursuing a PhD (or Masters) in any topic in the early childhood educational area of families and children are encouraged to contact us. The student’s proposed project may inclu...
Students interested in pursuing a PhD (or Masters) in any topic in the early childhood educational area of families and children are encouraged to contact us. The student’s proposed project may include: • extensions of Brown’s (2019) work about respectful research with families of young children; or • explorations in researching with and about ‘non-traditional’ families, broadly defined; or • innovative utilisation of Brown & Danaher’s (2019) CHE (Connectedness, Humanness, and Empathy) principles in family research; or • any topic that contributes to the current knowledge base about researching with families and young children and improves the equity of families as partners and not merely participants in research. The project should privilege the voices of children and their families and relate specifically to a topic of currency in the early years (birth to 8 years). Applicants are encouraged to utilise qualitative approaches and are expected to have: (1) a background in the field of education, AND, (2) previous research experience (Honours/Master’s level) References Brown, A. (2019). Respectful research with and about young families – Forging frontiers and methodological considerations. Palgrave Pivot. https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9783030027155#otherversion=9783030027162 Brown, A. & Danaher, P. A. (2019) CHE Principles: Facilitating authentic and dialogical semi-structured interviews in educational research, International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 42(1), 76-90, doi: 10.1080/1743727X.2017.1379987
families, young children, early childhood, research, methodology
Other Education,Specialist Studies in Education
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Dr Alice Brown
Other Supervisors: Dr Eseta Tualaulelei
Big Data Security Mechanism
Description: The research project will lead to new security mechanisms for big data over cloud environments
The research project will lead to new security mechanisms for big data over cloud environments
Big Data
Information Systems
School of Management and Enterprise
Principal Supervisor: Professor Jianming Yong
Other Supervisors:
The Economics of Child and Maternal Health in Developing Countries
Description: This project aims to undertake high quality and policy relevant research on the following issues (but not limited to): • Healthcare financing and use of maternal and child health services • Cost...
This project aims to undertake high quality and policy relevant research on the following issues (but not limited to): • Healthcare financing and use of maternal and child health services • Cost efficient postnatal care for mothers and children in developing countries • Cost benefit analysis of (1) childhood illness and treatment (2) vaccination of children • Inequality in child and maternal mortality in developing countries. • Social determinants of childhood (newborn death, neonatal mortality, still birth) mortality • Socio-economic inequalities in women and children nutrition • Women’s empowerment and health seeking behaviour • Women empowerment and fertility preferences and regulation • Impacts of women empowerment on child health in developing countries Students interested in pursuing a PhD (or Masters) in any of the above topics or related topics are encouraged to contact Associate Professor Rasheda Khanam (rasheda.khanam@usq.edu.au) for further details. The potential students are expected to have: (1) an academic background in any of these fields: economics, health economics, development economics, econometrics, statistics and public health, AND, (2) research publications in relevant fields

Applied Economics,Public Health and Health Services
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Rasheda Khanam
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Mafiz Rahman
Issues in Development Economics
Description: This project aims to undertake high quality and policy relevant research on the following issues (but not limited to): • Poverty and welfare issues in developing countries • Health, nutrition, fert...
This project aims to undertake high quality and policy relevant research on the following issues (but not limited to): • Poverty and welfare issues in developing countries • Health, nutrition, fertility and mortality issues in developing countries • Food security and health outcomes • Intra-household resource allocation and its impacts on children and women • Microfinance • The economics child labour and education • Child labour and its impact on health • Women empowerment and its impact on child health and education • Issues of development economics in south and southeast Asia • Social policy issues Students interested in pursuing a PhD (or Masters) in any of the above topics or related topics are encouraged to contact Associate Professor Rasheda Khanam (rasheda.khanam@usq.edu.au) for further details. The potential students are expected to have: (1) an academic background in any of these fields: economics, health economics, development economics, econometrics, statistics and public health, AND, (2) research publications in relevant fields

Applied Economics,Public Health and Health Services
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Rasheda Khanam
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Mafiz Rahman
Family Income and Child Cognitive, Behavioural and Health Outcomes: the Possible Pathways
Description: Understanding the origin of health and development deficits of low-income children is not only important for the scholarship of knowledge, but it is also vital for informing cost efficient policies t...
Understanding the origin of health and development deficits of low-income children is not only important for the scholarship of knowledge, but it is also vital for informing cost efficient policies to improve outcomes for these children. There is a clear policy debate whether we should target direct income transfers to the family or whether we should instead target the factors that may mediate the relationship between income and child outcome. The broad aim of this project is to provide new policy-relevant research focussing on the role of income in determining children’s cognitive, behavioural and health outcomes and empirically investigating the routes through which income affects child outcomes. This project will examine this association both in cross section approach and in longitudinal dimension using fixed effects and random effects approach to account the potential endogeneity of income. This project can be conducted using either Australian data or overseas data. Students interested in pursuing a PhD (or Masters) in any of the above topics or related topics are encouraged to contact Associate Professor Rasheda Khanam (rasheda.khanam@usq.edu.au) for further details. The potential students are expected to have: (1) an academic background in any of these fields: economics, health economics, econometrics, statistics and public health, AND, (2) research publications in relevant fields
Family income, Child cognitive and non-cognitive development, Health inequalities, Panel data
Applied Economics,Public Health and Health Services
Institute for Resilient Regions
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Rasheda Khanam
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Mafiz Rahman
Mesoscopic Simulation of Nutrients in Porous Media
Description: The transport of nutrients in porous media can be considered as a mesoscopic mechanics problem. Micromechanics can thus be applied to investigate the behaviour of such a multiphase system. On meso le...
The transport of nutrients in porous media can be considered as a mesoscopic mechanics problem. Micromechanics can thus be applied to investigate the behaviour of such a multiphase system. On meso length scale (microns), effective numerical simulation methods include Dissipative Particle Dynamics (DPD), Smoothed Dissipative Particle Dynamics and Lattice Boltzmann methods. in DPD, the method to be considered here, DPD particles are regarded as groups of molecules and thus the DPD simulations can be conducted on time and length scales that are far beyond those of molecular simulations. We propose using freely-movable DPD particles to model the fluid (water) and spring-connected DPD particles to represent the nutrients and soil grains. Through the interactions of three types of particles, the movement of nutrients in porous media can be tracked in a direct manner. Furthermore, force fields (e.g. magnetic) can be easily accommodated in the DPD system by applying appropriate potentials. This direct (natural) simulation approach is expected to lead to a significant improvement in accuracy over continuous-medium-based approaches.
Nutrient transport, porous media, particle method, mesoscopic simulation, macroscopic property
Interdisciplinary Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics,Soil Sciences
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Nam Mai-Duy
Other Supervisors:
Too Old to Breathe? Respiratory Limitations to Exercise in Healthy Ageing
Description: The number of adults aged over 60 years will double in the next half century and unfortunately, even with life-long health, there is a progressive decline in respiratory function with ageing. The res...
The number of adults aged over 60 years will double in the next half century and unfortunately, even with life-long health, there is a progressive decline in respiratory function with ageing. The respiratory muscles become weaker, airways narrower, chest wall stiffer, and the lungs lose their elasticity. These age-related changes may result in an increased incidence on exercise induce laryngeal obstruction (narrowing of the larynx) and exercise induced bronchoconstriction (asthma during exercise). It is also likely these contributes to the increased breathlessness that is observed in older adults and will limit their exercise tolerance. Lifelong exercise is essential for preserving or delaying the onset of functional disability and chronic diseases. Accordingly, this project will investigate respiratory limitations to exercise in healthy ageing. Ultimately, this project will lead to the development of more effective therapies to improve respiratory function and exercise tolerance in older adults, reducing the incidence of functional disability and chronic diseases. The candidate will join a successful team of multi-disciplinary scientists from several institutions, and will work in state-of-the-art laboratories with exceptional core facilities. For informal discussion regarding the project, please contact: dean.mills@usq.edu.au
Ageing; Respiratory; Exercise
Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology,Human Movement and Sports Science
School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Dean Mills
Other Supervisors: Dr Ben Hoffman
Automatic plant monitoring system for vertical farming
Description: Aeronauts mostly survive their stay in space for years on packed foods. Fresh vegetables grown with no soil, which reduce the weight and eliminates other issues carrying soil in space, in controlled ...
Aeronauts mostly survive their stay in space for years on packed foods. Fresh vegetables grown with no soil, which reduce the weight and eliminates other issues carrying soil in space, in controlled atmosphere (aquaponics and hydroponics) is the requirement for Space agriculture. An automatic system with a suite of sensors automatically monitoring and assisting the plant growth will be developed in this project.

Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Dr Cheryl McCarthy
Other Supervisors: Dr Anand Pothula
Investigation of Atmospheric Pollution Caused by Fire Retardants
Description: Scientific evidence regarding the environmental impact of fire retardants is increasing. Commonly used in furniture foam and electronic goods, these chemicals tend to be highly persistent, and biocon...
Scientific evidence regarding the environmental impact of fire retardants is increasing. Commonly used in furniture foam and electronic goods, these chemicals tend to be highly persistent, and bioconcentrate/biomagnify in the environment. Transport of these chemicals can be over long distances, as several of the compounds are now being detected in the fatty tissues of wildlife present in Arctic and Antarctic regions. A review needs to take place of the range of chemicals used, and their potential impacts to atmosphere, soil, water and wildlife.

Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ian Craig
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
Engagement in Online and Blended Learning
Description: As the number of students who are learning in online and blended learning environments increases so does the need to have an in-depth understanding of how to best promote online engagement. Engagemen...
As the number of students who are learning in online and blended learning environments increases so does the need to have an in-depth understanding of how to best promote online engagement. Engagement in online and blended learning environments is an extensive topic and could be investigated under one or more of the following research questions. How do students and teachers conceive of online engagement? Are there differences between student and teachers expectations of online engagement? Are there differences in expected levels and types of engagement according across disciplines? How does assessment impact online engagement? Are there gender or age differences in the expectations of online engagement?
Engagement, online learning, blended learning, teachers, students
Communications Technologies,Education Systems,Other Education
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Petrea Redmond
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Linda Galligan
Childhood Obesity and Socio-economic Status: Evidence from Australia
Description: This thesis aims to identify the factors that are associated with the increased presence of obesity among Australian children. In particular, this thesis will examine the factors that cause differenc...
This thesis aims to identify the factors that are associated with the increased presence of obesity among Australian children. In particular, this thesis will examine the factors that cause difference in the incidence of childhood obesity between families from high and low socio-economic status. Results from this research will contribute to policy implications that can result in the reduction of the obesity rate among Australian children and improve the equity of children regarding access to health care and nutritional practice. This project can be conducted using quantitative data from either Australia or from other countries. Students interested in pursuing a PhD (or Masters) in any of the above topics or related topics are encouraged to contact Associate Professor Rasheda Khanam (rasheda.khanam@usq.edu.au) for further details. The potential students are expected to have: (1) an academic background in any of these fields: economics, health economics, econometrics, statistics and public health, AND, (2) research publications in relevant fields
Childhood obesity; Socio-economic status; Australia
Applied Economics,Public Health and Health Services
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Centre for Health Sciences Research,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Rasheda Khanam
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Mafiz Rahman
Collection, Identification and Classification of Novel Australian Fungi and Yeasts
Description: Fungi and yeasts have many applications in drug production, food processing, fermentation (beer, wine and bread), biological control agents, and enzyme technology. However indigenous Australian fungi...
Fungi and yeasts have many applications in drug production, food processing, fermentation (beer, wine and bread), biological control agents, and enzyme technology. However indigenous Australian fungi have rarely been considered or applied to industrial applications. The aim of this project is to collect, identify and classify Australian fungi and yeasts that may be screened for their potential use in novel industrial applications. The number of known species of yeasts worldwide has doubled in the past decade as gene sequences now allow the easy and rapid identification of species. Yeasts will be isolated from leaf surfaces from a range of locations and plant species. These isolates will be grown in pure culture and identified using phylogenetic analysis of gene sequences. Novel species will be formally described in the scientific literature.
fungus, yeast, molecular biology, gene sequence, phylogenetic analysis
Biochemistry and Cell Biology,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering,Evolutionary Biology,Genetics,Industrial Biotechnology,Microbiology
Centre for Crop Health,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Professor Roger Shivas
Modelling of Wind-Generated Waves
Description: Maintaining a reliable water supply will continue to be a problem that faces society. One of the obstacles that needs to be addressed is the evaporation from water storages. A number of phenomena i...
Maintaining a reliable water supply will continue to be a problem that faces society. One of the obstacles that needs to be addressed is the evaporation from water storages. A number of phenomena influence the evaporation rate; this project will focus on the generation of waves due to wind. This process accelerates evaporation by increasing the surface area of the water as well as mixing the surface layer of water with deeper water. This project will involve very accurate simulation of the water’s surface under wind conditions to measure the behaviour.
Evaporation; Simulations
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Civil Engineering,Environmental Engineering,Mechanical Engineering,Other Engineering
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Andrew Wandel
Other Supervisors: Dr Khalid Saleh
Critical Editions of a Number of Pre-1960 Australian or British Symphonic Works
Description: My supervisory range is fairly widespread around a number of music history topics from 16th century music to concert music of the present. in particular I have expertise in 20th century Australian m...
My supervisory range is fairly widespread around a number of music history topics from 16th century music to concert music of the present. in particular I have expertise in 20th century Australian music and symphonic music from throughout the century.
music history, Pre-1960 Australian works, British Symphonic Works
Historical Studies
School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Professor Rhod McNeill
Other Supervisors:
Numerical Investigation of Spray Phenomena
Description: Society needs more efficient engines that produce less pollution, which requires the combustion to operate in regimes where flame stability is marginal. Because of the limitations of modern computer...
Society needs more efficient engines that produce less pollution, which requires the combustion to operate in regimes where flame stability is marginal. Because of the limitations of modern computers to simulate real combustion phenomena, models must be developed. The student will perform very accurate simulations of the evaporation and subsequent combustion of droplets in a combustion chamber. These simulations will be used to improve the physical understanding of the behaviour of these systems and also to develop models which can be used in full-scale simulations.

Automotive Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Andrew Wandel
Other Supervisors: Dr Khalid Saleh
Fuzzy-Neural Network Based Flow Prediction and Optimized Operation For River Murray System
Description: The river/catchment flow models of River Murray System are highly complex hydrological models with many uncertain environmental conditions, and the River Murray Operations are very complex functions ...
The river/catchment flow models of River Murray System are highly complex hydrological models with many uncertain environmental conditions, and the River Murray Operations are very complex functions to direct water releases from storages and control the diversions of water from the River Murray for irrigation and agricultural use, and for consumers in urban areas. Both hydrological modelling and water operation are the key functions of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), which manages the River Murray System in close cooperation with state authorities to ensure reliable water supplies for all users. The existing river/catchment models used in MDBA have been continuously developed for decades. They fit into the River Murray Operations requirements. The River Murray Operations decisions are made by running a series of river/catchment models sequentially from upstream to downstream, and by taking in a range of technical considerations. The operation by using existing models, however, doesn’t contain any automatic optimization scheme. For example, the existing models used for flow prediction are based on historic data without considering rainfall forecasts, which would impact on the predictive accuracy. A lot of decisions depend upon how an operator responds to the model run results and understands of technical considerations. The objectives of this study are: • to investigate alternative ways of flow prediction modelling. • to develop practical optimization methods for River Murray Operations. • to develop a user-friendly software tool implementing flow prediction modelling and optimizing operation for River Murray System.
River Flow Modelling, Big Data, Data Mining
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Yan Li
Other Supervisors: Professor Ravinesh Deo
Modelling Tropical Cyclones for Disaster Risk Management with Deep Learning Approaches
Description: Tropical cyclones are natural disasters whose tracks or intensity are challenging to predict. Physical and dynamical models are gold standards in such predictions, but a lack of reliable forecast mod...
Tropical cyclones are natural disasters whose tracks or intensity are challenging to predict. Physical and dynamical models are gold standards in such predictions, but a lack of reliable forecast models can have a devastating impact on people’s lives and infrastructure. Data-driven approaches can help in the design of cyclone forecasting models to complement physical methods and help in disaster risk management. This project aims to adopt deep learning artificial intelligence methods to develop reliable forecast models, to predict the formation, tracks and intensity of tropical cyclones. Deep learning refers to machine learning (or computational) algorithms that can identify antecedent (past) features in covariate data to model the future property of a target variable (e.g. a cyclone path, intensity, etc). Deep learning has been extensively used in climate and weather forecasting due to its capability to model nonlinear and relatively complex relationship of many atmospheric variables. The project will develop data-driven approaches to forecast tropical cyclones, provide a higher accuracy and reliability advantages, adequate lead times and more certain characteristic features that can lead to user confidence and improved disaster mitigation. Such methods can lead to innovations in cyclone modelling and thus, save lives and minimise infrastructural damage. The project will build deep learning models with high resolution weather prediction data, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), National Centre for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), Global Forecast System (GFS), UKMET (UKMON), Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF), Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System-Tropical Cyclone (COAMPS-TC) and other statistical-dynamical methods. Students will validate model data, arrange cyclone data into categories, basins of formation, recurving and straight-moving, intensity at model initialisation for analysis. The project will build models for 6 hourly interval predictions, hybrid forecasts using deep learning and copula-statistical methods for probabilistic conditional forecasts upon given variables to account for uncertainties in tracks or intensity and sensitivity to atmospheric conditions. The study will use artificial intelligence to make positive outcomes for natural disaster risk management. The project is strongly centred on disaster risk mitigation and will suit students with a background in meteorology, atmopsheric sciences, physics, mathematics, computing or climate science. The project is suitable for MSC but is also scalable to a PhD level. It provides opportunity to publish in high quality Q1 journals. The student will be part of Advanced Data Analytics Research Group under Professor Ravinesh Deo. See https://eportfolio.usq.edu.au/view/view.php?id=116719

Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Atmospheric Sciences
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors: Dr Nathan Downs
Modelling Problem Posing Activities in Teacher Education
Description: Problem solving is one of the most widely used classroom activities in teaching mathematics. At the same time, problem posing activities are quite often neglected and even excluded from teachers’ con...
Problem solving is one of the most widely used classroom activities in teaching mathematics. At the same time, problem posing activities are quite often neglected and even excluded from teachers’ consideration. Moreover, there is a significant mismatch between students’ problem solving and problem posing activities while studying mathematics on any level. In particular, secondary mathematics. One of the reasons is teachers’ problem posing skills are underdeveloped. We analyse problem posing as a theoretical issue in Teacher Education and investigate the factors that encourage teachers to use problem posing activities as part of any learning process in mathematics. We also focus on developing educational materials in a constructivist framework which can contribute to the professional development of mathematics teachers.
Problem solving, problem posing, constructivist framework
Curriculum and Pedagogy,Specialist Studies in Education
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Oleksiy Yevdokimov
Other Supervisors:
Evaluation of Sustainable Infrastructure
Description: This research will investigate the design and development of sustainable infrastructure, with a view to developing a methodology for assessing the main factors in its development and management. Such...
This research will investigate the design and development of sustainable infrastructure, with a view to developing a methodology for assessing the main factors in its development and management. Such factors might include environmentally sensitive design, use of advanced and sustainable materials, resilience to natural disasters, water sensitive urban design, energy efficient use, and environmentally responsible project management and development. The methodology developed should be capable of forming the basis of a computer model for use by planners and designers to select the best development and life cycle management option that balances the requirements of sustainability and those of major stakeholders
Sustainability, infrastructure, development, management, life cycle, energy
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
Other Supervisors: Dr Nateque Mahmood
Toxic and Odorous Gas Abatement System Combining Slurry Sorption and Electrochemical Regeneration
Description: The removal of malodorous organics from gas streams presents a challenge as often the odorous components are of low concentration but have a strong negative hedonic value even at these low concentrat...
The removal of malodorous organics from gas streams presents a challenge as often the odorous components are of low concentration but have a strong negative hedonic value even at these low concentrations. Example of such pollutants include: hydrogen sulfide and thiols, amines, aldehydes and ketones released from manufacturing facilities. This project will look at a novel electro-chemical process to oxidize and breakdown these compounds.
Volatile organic compounds, odour, adsorption, gas treatment
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Analytical Chemistry,Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Ian Craig
Consequences of Maintaining Long Term Acceptable Weight: Evidence from Longitudinal Study
Description: The adverse effect of weight gain on health and wellbeing is well documented. Many research studies have investigated the effects of overweight and obesity on numerous chronic conditions, but maintai...
The adverse effect of weight gain on health and wellbeing is well documented. Many research studies have investigated the effects of overweight and obesity on numerous chronic conditions, but maintaining long term acceptable weight is yet to be investigated. A person is identified as an acceptable weight if his/her body mass index (BMI) is less than 25 (kh/m^2). This project will examine the effect of maintaining long-term acceptable weight on health and wellbeing. Secondary data will be collected from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) involving three age cohorts (young, middle-aged and older women). This project will also compare the outcome with those who don’t maintain acceptable weight for a long time. This data will also be compared with the available data sources from developing countries. Depending on the time and cost, this project also aims to collect some primary data from Australian university students and the results will be compared with those of both developed and developing countries. Understanding the characteristics of people who do remain in the acceptable weight range may shed light on potential strategies for the prevention of weight gain.
Overweight, acceptable weight, chronic conditions
Demography,Public Health and Health Services,Statistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences,School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Enamul Kabir
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Rachel King
Molecular Identification and Host Range of Powdery Mildew Fungi Infecting Horticultural Crops
Description: Powdery mildew fungi (Erysiphales) are one of the most conspicuous groups of plant pathogens. Important crops, including wheat, barley, grapevine, and a number of fruit and vegetable crops, as well ...
Powdery mildew fungi (Erysiphales) are one of the most conspicuous groups of plant pathogens. Important crops, including wheat, barley, grapevine, and a number of fruit and vegetable crops, as well as ornamentals, grown in the field and glasshouses, are amongst the major targets of powdery mildew fungi. Their control is mainly based on the use of resistant cultivars, repeated application of fungicides, and agro-technical methods. In spite of their economic importance, the precise identity, host range, life cycle, perennation, virulence patterns, and other characteristics of a number of powdery mildew fungi infecting diverse crop species have not been deciphered yet. The project will focus on these aspects of powdery mildew fungi causing disease in horticultural crops in Queensland and elsewhere, based on field, glasshouse and laboratory experiments, as well as molecular studies including DNA genotyping, phylogenetic analyses, and qPCR methods.
mycology, plant disease, plant biosecurity, crop protection, horticulture
Crop and Pasture Production
Centre for Crop Health
Principal Supervisor: Professor Levente Kiss
Other Supervisors: Professor Roger Shivas
Design inexpensive, abundant, low-toxic and high-efficiency thermoelectric nanomaterials
Description: Thermoelectric materials directly convert thermal energy into electrical energy, offering a green and sustainable solution for the global energy dilemma. This project aims to develop inexpensive, abu...
Thermoelectric materials directly convert thermal energy into electrical energy, offering a green and sustainable solution for the global energy dilemma. This project aims to develop inexpensive, abundant, and low-toxic metal selenide nanomaterials for high-efficiency energy conversion using novel industry-level approach, coupled with nanostructure and band engineering strategies. The key breakthrough is to design high performance thermoelectric nanomaterials with engineered chemistry and unique morphology for new generation thermoelectrics. The expected outcomes of this project will lead to an innovative technology for harvesting electricity from waste heat or sun light, which will place Australia at the forefront of energy technologies.
Thermoelectric; power generations; nanostructure and band engineering strategies
Environmental Engineering,Materials Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Centre for Future Materials
Principal Supervisor: Professor Zhigang Chen
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang
Bushfire Attenuation Fence
Description: This research is to design a wire mesh fence to withstand bushfire conditions and retard bushfire progress, and determine necessary structural requirements based upon detailed design simulations.
This research is to design a wire mesh fence to withstand bushfire conditions and retard bushfire progress, and determine necessary structural requirements based upon detailed design simulations.
Bushfire, wildfire, firebrand attack, thermal stress
Biomedical Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ahmad Sharifian-Barforoush
Other Supervisors: Professor John Billingsley
Hydrogen production from sugarcane bagasse using gasification
Description: The Australian sugar industry leads the world in terms of productivity per hectare, but despite this advantage, it continues to struggle with profitability. Margins are under constant pressure, and i...
The Australian sugar industry leads the world in terms of productivity per hectare, but despite this advantage, it continues to struggle with profitability. Margins are under constant pressure, and it appears that continuing to direct most future efforts to on-farm, logistics and milling productivity improvements will deliver only incremental gains to what is an already efficient production system. Fortunately, the industry also finds itself now approaching a period of opportunity emerging through the increasing global momentum of the bio-based economy. This represents an opportunity to break away from the current dependence on the global sugar price, a commodity whose production is subsidised and/or protected in many countries and whose consumption has plateaued or dropped in many markets. In the current context, the sugarcane industry is extraordinarily well-placed to become a significant contributor in this emerging bio-based economy. New opportunities for diversification and value-adding exist throughout the supply chain, including new options for feedstock production, biomass processing, and both intermediate and end-product manufacture. Following an on-going market and technology watch exercise, hydrogen was identified as a potentially attractive diversification opportunity for the sugar industry. The PhD candidate will carry out experiments on the production of hydrogen from sugarcane bagasse using USQ in-house gasification unit.
hydrogen, biofuel, syngas, gasification, bagasse
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Guangnan Chen
Youth Suicide Peer-to-Peer Support
Description: This project area focuses on how children and young people engage in, and constitute, peer-to-peer mental health support in online spaces. Research suggests that children and young people frequently...
This project area focuses on how children and young people engage in, and constitute, peer-to-peer mental health support in online spaces. Research suggests that children and young people frequently seek mental health support and advice from the world wide web. The anonymity that most online mental health programs and mental health support websites offer are thought to be a key factor in the increased uptake of such services and sites by children and adolescents. However little research has focused on the actual peer-to-peer mental health support that is provided by online mental health programs or on the more informal peer-to-peer mental health support that is found on the ever growing number of self-help mental health websites. This means that little is known about how such support is constituted, how such support is utilised, and what actually constitutes this as support.
Conversation analysis; Online therapy; Peer Support; Internet forums; Computers; Adolescents; Children; Discursive Psychology,Interpretative phenomenological analysis, Psychobiography
Clinical Sciences,Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine,Public Health and Health Services
Centre for Health Sciences Research,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Psychology and Counselling
Principal Supervisor: Professor Andrea Lamont-Mills
Other Supervisors: Dr Carol du Plessis, Dr Raquel Peel
Effect of Early-diagnosed Dementia on Normal Gait COP Path
Description: In this research the effect of early-diagnosed dementia subjected will be tested to determine whether this chronic illness affect both low-limbs. The COP path of early-diagnosed dementia subjects wi...
In this research the effect of early-diagnosed dementia subjected will be tested to determine whether this chronic illness affect both low-limbs. The COP path of early-diagnosed dementia subjects will be tested on level surface and short access ramp upslope and downslope walking. Plantar pressure will be acquired during gait on these surfaces. A newly developed COP path analysis technique will be utilised to determine the effect on both low-limbs gait characteristics. COP path and plantar pressure distribution will be compared to the data of adults and older adults to determine the incidence of COP path anomalies.
Plantar pressure, gait, dementia, COP path, older adult
Human Movement and Sports Science
Centre for Health Sciences Research
Principal Supervisor: Dr Albert Kon-Fook Chong
Other Supervisors:
Auto-Reconstruction of Realistic Head Modelling of EEG
Description: The objective of this project is to reconstruct a geometry model (3D) of the head from Magnetic Resonance Images (MRI) or other brain images. This work is a part of a wide research program that aims ...
The objective of this project is to reconstruct a geometry model (3D) of the head from Magnetic Resonance Images (MRI) or other brain images. This work is a part of a wide research program that aims to develop better diagnostic tools for predicting the electroencephalograph (EEG) signal at any point on the scalp as a function of the source locations and blood flow within the cortex. It is envisioned that this will help to achieve a better understanding of the structure and function of the brain.
Head Modelling, Electroencephalograph (EEG)
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Yan Li
Other Supervisors: Professor Paul Wen
Energy Demand and Price Forecasting with Artificial Intelligence Models for Consumer Energy Predictability
Description: Accurate and reliable predictive models for short and long-term electricity demand and energy price are critical in engineering and science applications as these models can assist in decisions made b...
Accurate and reliable predictive models for short and long-term electricity demand and energy price are critical in engineering and science applications as these models can assist in decisions made by renewable and conventional energy engineers, electricity providers, end-users, and government entities to address energy sustainability challenges to support National Electricity Market (NEM). The energy demand knowledge also assists in the expansion of energy distribution networks, energy pricing, and energy policy development. The energy price and demand are often inter-related and covary so a model representing their changes is essential to model future demand and price. In this research project, students will design artificial intelligence models to forecast energy load and energy price over minute-scale, hourly, daily or seasonal scales. They will build joint distribution (i.e. multivariate) models based on copula and deep learning for a knowledge-based expert system. As a major contribution to energy modelling research, students will develop models based on other significant predictors, particularly in geographically diverse locations where climatic factors affect the electricity load. The study will therefore use climatic factors (e.g. temperature) in the prediction of electrical energy demand and energy pricing. The project will suit students with background in electrical engineering, mathematics, computing and renewable energy. Students will explore and apply deep learning models for improved design of data-intelligent models. This project is suitable for PhD, Research or Coursework Masters Thesis. It provides opportunity to publish in high quality Q1 journals. The research student will be part of the Advanced Data Analytics Research Group under Prof Ravinesh Deo. For more details see https://eportfolio.usq.edu.au/view/view.php?id=116719.
electrical energy; demand & energy load; machine learning; big data analytics; energy pricing; energy policy
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Atmospheric Sciences,Computer Software,Electrical and Electronic Engineering,Information Systems,Mathematical Physics,Numerical and Computational Mathematics,Other Engineering,Other Information and Computing Sciences
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors: Dr Nathan Downs, Professor Alfio Parisi, Professor Jeffrey Soar
Enzymes Cocktail Production from Food Waste and its Application in the Waste Industry
Description: In this project, we will investigate the production of enzymes from organic waste such as food waste using a filamentous fungi. Tests will involve the fermentation in liquid or solid state cultures i...
In this project, we will investigate the production of enzymes from organic waste such as food waste using a filamentous fungi. Tests will involve the fermentation in liquid or solid state cultures in our laboratory. The mixture of enzymes will be evaluated for their efficiency to hydrolyze organic waste and sludge which will improve current processes. We have all the equipments and resources to carry out this research including: autoclave, 5L Sartorius automated fermenter, GC for gas analysis and HPLC for analysis of chemicals in the fermentation broth.
solid state fermentation; food waste; sustainability; organic waste; enzymes; sludge hydrolysis
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Vasanthadevi Aravinthan
Functional Significance of Inspiratory Muscle Training to the Respiratory Response to Exercise
Description: The respiratory system is classically suggested to be “overbuilt” and exceeds the demands placed upon it. However, this situation may not apply during high-intensity exercise where the demands may ex...
The respiratory system is classically suggested to be “overbuilt” and exceeds the demands placed upon it. However, this situation may not apply during high-intensity exercise where the demands may exceed its capacity. In many trained athletes, the respiratory system is “underbuilt” and can limit exercise performance. One approach to overcome this limitation is to undertake inspiratory muscle training (IMT). This would improve the fatigue resistance and efficiency of the respiratory muscles. The value of IMT is, however, still under debate. While IMT always results in significant improvements in inspiratory muscle function at rest, the significance of these adaptations to the exercise response have yet to be defined. Accordingly, this project aims to investigate the functional significance of IMT to the respiratory response to exercise. Recommendations on the use of IMT in athletes in international guidelines are ambiguous. The outcome of this study will, therefore, have an impact on athlete practices as the results will clarify whether IMT leads to improvements in the respiratory response to exercise. The candidate will join a successful team of multi-disciplinary scientists from several institutions, and will work in state-of-the-art laboratories with exceptional core facilities.
respiratory; muscle; exercise; fatigue
Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology,Human Movement and Sports Science
School of Health and Wellbeing
Principal Supervisor: Dr Dean Mills
Other Supervisors: Dr Ben Hoffman
Investigations in the Theory of Procepts
Description: The theory of procepts was developed by Gray and Tall. The name ‘procept’ has its origin from the dual role as process and concept most mathematical symbols have. For example, a symbol such as 3+2 ca...
The theory of procepts was developed by Gray and Tall. The name ‘procept’ has its origin from the dual role as process and concept most mathematical symbols have. For example, a symbol such as 3+2 can be seen both as a process of addition and a concept of sum. The notion of procept is present throughout mathematics. Gray and Tall noted the peculiar case of the concept of Limit where the potentially infinite process of computing a limit may not have a finite algorithm at all. In this case a procept may exist which has both a process (tending to a limit value) and a concept (of limit), yet there is no procedure to compute the desired result. Many concepts of mathematics still need further investigations in the framework of the theory of procepts and they will be in the focus of our consideration.
Procept, process, concept, mathematical symbols
Curriculum and Pedagogy
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Oleksiy Yevdokimov
Other Supervisors:
The Impact of Language on the Learning of Mathematics
Description: Language plays an important role in the understanding of mathematics. Students whose first language is not English, but are learning mathematics in English can feel the impact. Possible questions of ...
Language plays an important role in the understanding of mathematics. Students whose first language is not English, but are learning mathematics in English can feel the impact. Possible questions of interest: What is the role of language-switching in bilingual students’ processing of mathematics? What are the Effects of Language Differences on Processing of Mathematical Text?
Mathematics, language, language-switching, bi-lingual
Curriculum and Pedagogy,Linguistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Linda Galligan
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Ann Dashwood
Machine Learning Techniques for Wireless Communications and Biomedical Signal Classification
Description: This PhD project aims to conduct research in artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) algorithms towards developing a prototype for human-to-machine interfacing and brain-to-brain communi...
This PhD project aims to conduct research in artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) algorithms towards developing a prototype for human-to-machine interfacing and brain-to-brain communication. The candidate will conduct research on developing novel artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) based strategies for wireless communication and biomedical signal classification. The project will involve developing AI/ML algorithms in an experimental test-bed to demonstrate key concepts of the project. This project will identify and address many challenges associated with vicarious transmission of information from people to people without using known human sensory channels or physical interactions. Key focus areas include developing a test-bed for capturing, training and testing brain signals for communication; designing and implementing suitable online/off-line training methods to interpret brain signals to human-readable languages. The project will suit a Master of Research, or a PhD student interested in AI and machine learning. A student with a background in AI, machine learning, electrical engineering, physics, computing or data science is highly sought. The project is highly innovative and will feed into ongoing research within our team. It may have opportunities to collaborate with industry organisations and a strong emphasis on publications. Our research team (Advanced Data Analytics) has a strong track record and industry collaborations in the application of machine learning for telecommunications, health, agriculture, solar radiation, air quality, etc.
machine learning; artificial intelligence; telecommunications engineering; data science; brain communications; communication systems
Artificial Intelligence,Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Communications Engineering,Communications Technologies,Computer Vision And Multimedia Computation,Electrical Engineering
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors: Professor Jeffrey Soar
Authorisation Management of Medical and Healthcare Networks in Cloud Computing
Description: Granting or restricting access to medical and healthcare networks in Cloud compouting has long been account for to be a problem of Web service security. Role based access control model is a recent p...
Granting or restricting access to medical and healthcare networks in Cloud compouting has long been account for to be a problem of Web service security. Role based access control model is a recent paradigm that can use the X.509 Attribute Certificates to do authorisation and/or privileges management. This project adopts the art-of the state Cloud computing technology to develop secure medicial and Healthcare web applications.
Eletronic Health Record, XACML, Public Key Cryptography, Web service security
Distributed Computing,Public Health and Health Services
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zhongwei Zhang
Other Supervisors: Dr David Lai
Duality and Common Features Between Mathematics and Mathematics Education
Description: Actual mathematical research and learning inquiry activities in a classroom have many common features. We investigate inquiry activities from the educational point of view and analyse how they can be...
Actual mathematical research and learning inquiry activities in a classroom have many common features. We investigate inquiry activities from the educational point of view and analyse how they can be constructed similarly to the process of mathematical research, and how this mode of teaching can contribute to the development of students’ mathematical thinking. For example, Hanna and de Villiers noted that in actual mathematical research mathematicians have to convince themselves first that a mathematical statement is true and then move to a formal proof. This and other similar features are the subject of investigation. One of the most important questions within the research topic is to find out how natural for students is a process of learning mathematical discovery and, more broadly, inquiry activities in a classroom from a psychological point of view.
Mathematical discovery, inquiry activities, proofs
Curriculum and Pedagogy
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Oleksiy Yevdokimov
Other Supervisors:
Coffee Crop Production Model Integrated with Advanced Seasonal Climate Forecast System and Agronomic Practices
Description: Coffee is one of the most important commodity in the international agricultural trade, playing a crucial role in the economy of several Asian, African, and American countries. The total world product...
Coffee is one of the most important commodity in the international agricultural trade, playing a crucial role in the economy of several Asian, African, and American countries. The total world production was estimated to more than 143 million 60-kg bags of green coffee beans in 2014/2015, of which 80% were exported. The coffee industry is significantly influenced by seasonal climate variations, water shortages, and extreme climatic events, especially drought. Cropping systems and management practices (e.g., high input monocultures, natural agroforestry associations, soil conservation practices, irrigation, etc.) also affect the year-to-year variation of coffee production. Moreover, biotic stresses induced by pest and diseases can alter the productivity over several growing seasons. Indeed, some parasites can adapt more quickly to climate change than the perennial host plants and spread into new habitats, causing noticeable yield losses in years of outbreaks if not controlled. Given the expected increase in global coffee demand and the potential adverse effects of projected climate variability, the success of coffee industry depends heavily on minimising the risks along the supply chain and capitalising on potential opportunities. Advances in seasonal climate forecasts, when integrated with crop production systems, can greatly improve industry preparedness and productivity. Current and expected impacts on Robusta production in vulnerable producing countries need to be assessed and available climate change data and scenarios need to be analysed in order to develop impact scenarios for the coffee sector and support adaptation strategies to changing climate conditions. A prototype integrated modelling approach for Robusta coffee yield forecasting based on a biophysical coffee growth model has been developed by the International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (ICACS), USQ, with promising preliminary results. This research will investigate further improvement of the prototype integrated modelling approach through the embedding of crop management modules under various climate scenarios. The reliability and robustness of the integrated model across different regions in Vietnam and Indonesia also will be assessed for its operationality in changing climate conditions. Hence, it will provide a foundation and add to the knowledge for improved climate risks management in coffee industry.

Crop and Pasture Production
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Shahbaz Mushtaq
Other Supervisors: Dr Louis Kouadio, Professor Roger Stone
Parent-School Engagement
Description: Professor Sue Saltmarsh oversees a program of research concerned with the ways in which parent-school engagement can best be understood, facilitated and enhanced through everyday educational practice...
Professor Sue Saltmarsh oversees a program of research concerned with the ways in which parent-school engagement can best be understood, facilitated and enhanced through everyday educational practices. Parent engagement is crucial to children’s educational success and has been embraced as a policy and educational ideal in many nations around the world. However, many teachers and principals feel under-prepared for this important aspect of their work, and parents from all schooling sectors report similar experiences of both challenging and positive encounters with their child's school. Research in Australia and internationally highlights a number of areas that merit in-depth investigation. These include: - Factors within school cultures that build bridges or create barriers between home and school - Initial teacher education and teacher professional development that enhances the capacity of the teaching workforce for working effectively with parents - Teacher, principal and school administrative staff experiences of engaging with parents, and how these are shaped by factors such as professional cultures, school leadership, workplace demands and community expectations - Parent perspectives and experiences of engaging with children’s schooling, and how these are shaped by contextual factors such as geographical location, socioeconomic and cultural background, family histories and aspirations, etc - Parent engagement in education policy, and the ways that policy makers, advocacy groups and professional bodies drive cultural, social and educational change with respect to parent-school engagement This program of research can accommodate postgraduate students interested in exploring any of the above topics, or other related topics in consultation with Professor Saltmarsh. The research team has expertise in social, cultural and educational theory, and draws on qualitative research methodologies including ethnography, discourse analysis, social semiotics and case study, and quantitative methods including surveys, questionnaires and statistical analysis.
education, schooling, parents, families, partnerships, teachers, school leadership
Specialist Studies in Education
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor:
Other Supervisors: Dr Sayan Chakrabarty
Compact Local Approximations, Based on Integrated Radial Basis Functions, For Solving Mechanics Problems
Description: The behaviour of mechanics problems can be modelled by differential equations (DEs). in solving DEs, one needs to express the field variables as linear combinations of nodal function values. Compact ...
The behaviour of mechanics problems can be modelled by differential equations (DEs). in solving DEs, one needs to express the field variables as linear combinations of nodal function values. Compact local approximations, where nodal values of DEs are also included, allow the achievement of high levels of accuracy of the solution and sparseness of the system matrix together. This project is concerned with the use of compact local approximations, based on integrated radial basis functions, to represent the field variables in DEs to enhance the efficiency of numerical solution procedures.
Partial differential equation, radial basis function, mechanics, numerical method, compact local approximation
Applied Mathematics,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Nam Mai-Duy
Other Supervisors:
Development of Depth of Anaesthesia Monitoring Techniques
Description: The use of clinical signs for assessing depth of anaesthesia (DoA), although universally employed, is notoriously unreliable. Changes in middle latency auditory evoked potentials have been shown to r...
The use of clinical signs for assessing depth of anaesthesia (DoA), although universally employed, is notoriously unreliable. Changes in middle latency auditory evoked potentials have been shown to reflect reliably the level of anaesthesia with a wide range of anaesthesia drugs and to detect awareness. This study is to develop a reliable method to evaluate the depth of anaesthesia to minimize the change of awareness and overdosing.
Depth of Anaesthesia, Graph Theory
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Yan Li
Other Supervisors: Professor Paul Wen
Data Mining From Big Data Sources
Description: We are now in the big data era and there are huge amounts of data available from where we can discover useful patterns and knowledge to support critical actions and decision-making processes using a...
We are now in the big data era and there are huge amounts of data available from where we can discover useful patterns and knowledge to support critical actions and decision-making processes using advanced data analytics and mining techniques. This project provides a abundance of research opportunities in many possible topics within data mining such as outlier detection, clustering, high-dimensional data analysis and data privacy, etc. Students will acquire useful skills and capacities that are in high demand from academia and industry.

Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Data Format
Centre for Crop Health,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Ji Zhang
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Xiaohui Tao
The Degradation of Alkali-activated Cements and the Implication to Concrete Durability
Description: Alkali-activated cements (AACs) are manufactured from industrial waste materials, such as coal combustion ash (fly ash) and slag. They possess the lower CO2 emissions, lower energy consumption than c...
Alkali-activated cements (AACs) are manufactured from industrial waste materials, such as coal combustion ash (fly ash) and slag. They possess the lower CO2 emissions, lower energy consumption than conventional Portland cement but equivalent mechanical properties that can satisfy for construction purposes. One of the biggest challenges to scale-up the industry application of this type of sustainable materials is the uncertainty of durability. Are these materials durable over time, for decades, even longer? This project aims to investigate to the molecular structure and microstructure of AACs with three levels of Ca/Si ratio and understand their degradation under simulated but accelerated service conditions, for example, the marine conditions, the sewage conditions, and the ambient conditions. The degradation of the AACs due to concentrated salt (sulphates) attract, biochemical attack and accelerated carbonation and efflorescence impacts will be revealed and related to the durability of AAC concretes. This project will present world-leading knowledge and transformable skills of green cement development and manufacturing.
Concrete; Cement; Durability; Geopolymer; Fly ash; Sustaibility; Alkali-activation; Carbonation
Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zuhua Zhang
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang
Dispersion of Contaminants in Turbulent Flows: Theory and Applications
Description: Centre manifold method is an accurate approach for analytically constructing an advection-diffusion equation (and even more accurate equations involving higher-order derivatives) for the depth-averag...
Centre manifold method is an accurate approach for analytically constructing an advection-diffusion equation (and even more accurate equations involving higher-order derivatives) for the depth-averaged concentration of substances in channels. This project is focused on a direct numerical verification of this method with examples of the dispersion in laminar and turbulent flows in open channels. The one-dimensional integrated radial basis function network (1D-IRBFN) method is used as a numerical approach to obtain a numerical solution for the original two-dimensional (2-D) advection-diffusion equation. The 2-D solution is depth-averaged and compared with the solution of the 1-D equation derived using the centre manifolds.
Contaminants, turbulent flows, modelling
Applied Mathematics,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Dmitry Strunin
Other Supervisors: Professor Thanh Tran-Cong
Swarm of UAVs for broad acre farming
Description: Unmanned aerial vehicles have been widely used in agricultural research for various machine vision applications. For larger farms use of multiple UAVs as a group that works together has greater advan...
Unmanned aerial vehicles have been widely used in agricultural research for various machine vision applications. For larger farms use of multiple UAVs as a group that works together has greater advantages in terms of coverage area, time etc. This project aims at autonomous control of fleet of UAVs using ROS, where every drone has a specific task and coverage and each UAV communicate with each other to avoid collisions and optimize the path.

Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Dr Cheryl McCarthy
Other Supervisors: Dr Anand Pothula
Addressing early childhood teacher attributes for working in rural settings
Description: The research program is led by Nicole Green, Michelle Turner, Michele Wright and Vicki Christopher, and is underpinned by the finding that, while a plethora of research exists about the nature of qua...
The research program is led by Nicole Green, Michelle Turner, Michele Wright and Vicki Christopher, and is underpinned by the finding that, while a plethora of research exists about the nature of quality early childhood services, there is sparse research about the specific experiences of early childhood teachers in remote locations. The research program will also address the gap in relation to teaching in rural Australia which up until now focuses on primary and secondary education. New frameworks that move away from a deficit model and negative perceptions of rural and remote communities, challenge teacher education to consider a more contemporary view of remote teaching and learning, and assist in rethinking implications for education and training. In addition, universities around the world are increasingly concerned with ensuring that their students develop attributes which will better equip them for the world of work, and as members of society. Graduate attributes have been defined in the higher education sector as generic skill components, attitudes, values and dispositions, yet research has reported that generic attributes continue to lack a clear theoretical or conceptual base. Research has also indicated that, while universities internationally have sought to articulate the nature of the education they offer to students through a description of the generic qualities and skills their graduates possess, efforts to foster the development of generic attributes has been unsuccessful. Research in Australia and internationally highlights further research is needed to: - build an understanding of the attributes required to be an effective early childhood teacher in remote settings in Australia by exploring the perspectives of those working, training and recruiting in these areas. - examine university courses offering initial and graduate early childhood teacher education – map these attributes across early childhood programs and courses across Australia to develop a national picture of how these attributes are addressed by collating examples of how these are enacted - develop a model that will be used as a tool for identifying exemplary university curricula which comprehensively and effectively prepares graduate ECEC teachers with the relevant skill components, attitudes, values and dispositions for living and working in rural settings.
early childhood, teacher education, graduate, attributes, rural
Education Systems
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Dr Nicole Green
Other Supervisors: Dr Michelle Turner
Development of Novel Gasification Technology for the Grain Industry
Description: Gasification is a distributed technology which converts biomass (eg, grain waste) into bioenergy as well as biochar under the influence of temperature with limited oxygen. The purpose of this project...
Gasification is a distributed technology which converts biomass (eg, grain waste) into bioenergy as well as biochar under the influence of temperature with limited oxygen. The purpose of this project is to evaluate and further develop this technology for agricultural applications in Australia. Small-scale lab experiments will be carried out to characterize the properties of the feedstock. Numerical methods will also be applied to understand how the design and operating factors influence the performance of the energy systems being considered. The technology developed in this project has the potential to offer major value-adding opportunities for the grain industry in Australia.
Grain, energy, bio-energy
Applied Economics
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Guangnan Chen
Other Supervisors: Dr Les Bowtell
Novel Forward Osmosis Concentration Technology for Anaerobic Sewage Treatment
Description: We propose to develop a novel forward osmosis (FO) concentration technology to enable effective anaerobic treatment of sewage. Anaerobic biological processes have many advantages including energy re...
We propose to develop a novel forward osmosis (FO) concentration technology to enable effective anaerobic treatment of sewage. Anaerobic biological processes have many advantages including energy recovery through methane production and low sludge production. While they have been widely used to treat medium to high strength wastewaters, their applications for raw sewage treatment have been limited due to the dilute nature (400 mg COD/L). The successful implementation of anaerobic treatment of dilute wastewater calls for an effective and energy-efficient wastewater concentration technology. This can be achieved by incorporating an FO pre-concentration process before anaerobic treatment. In the proposed FO process, seawater or brine will be used as a draw solution to concentrate raw sewage by a factor of 10 times or greater (4,000 mg COD/L) at nearly zero energy input. The pre-concentrated sewage will then be treated anaerobically for significant energy recovery.
Forward Osmosis; Anaerobic digestion; wastewater; bioreactor; membrane; biofuel; biorefinery; green energy; sustainability
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Professor Jochen Bundschuh
Developing an Integrated Climate and Sweet Potato Production Model for PNG and Queensland (a Coffee Model is Also Possible)
Description: The predominance of subsistence agriculture in Papua New Guinea (PNG) highlights the importance of food security. Small holders have generally learnt to manage the localised shortages of food that oc...
The predominance of subsistence agriculture in Papua New Guinea (PNG) highlights the importance of food security. Small holders have generally learnt to manage the localised shortages of food that occur regularly through the use of families and friends and purchasing food from the sale of cash crops such as coffee and potatoes. It is the large scale shortages of food that occur irregularly that threaten human health and survival such as during the 1997 El Nino. Extreme events (droughts and floods) have significant impacts on agricultural production and natural resource management. On a national scale droughts are associated with El Niño's and wet events are associated with La Niña's. There are local and regional differences that are important to understand. During extreme events that cause widespread food shortages the PNG government has relied upon food aid (national and international) and more recently on small holders’ self-reliance to purchase imported food. It is the more remote and isolated rural communities that are most vulnerable because of their poor access to food distribution points and markets to sell produce from cash crops. Sweet potato is the dominant staple food and is therefore the most important crop in PNG. Over 60% of the rural population depend on it as their main food source. About 75% of annual sweet potato production is grown in the highlands. Climatic extremes, particularly high soil moisture, droughts and frosts are among the main constraints to production. Although sweet potato is relatively drought tolerant, excessive wet periods during tuber initiation followed by drought during tuber development significantly reduce tuber production, and the low yields may not be discovered until harvest. Repeated frost also significantly reduces tuber yield. Being a crop grown below ground, the yields of sweet potato are not known until harvest time. A climate integrated sweet potato production model can help predict yields some months in advance which will help with management of the impacts from these extreme events. Smallholders produce about 85% of the coffee grown in PNG making it a valuable cash crop for many villages. It is grown mainly for export and represents ~40% of all agricultural exports. The production of coffee is triggered by natural cycles of dry and wet conditions however extreme wet periods in poorly drained soils have as large a negative impact on production as drought, particularly during cherry ripening and development when large quantities of nutrients and water are required for high yields. A climate integrated model for Robusta coffee in Vietnam has been developed, but there is nothing for Arabica coffee which is the main species grown in PNG. This project will use the potato model in APSIM as the framework and data from Qld and PNG to parameterise a climate driven sweet potato model. Another aspect could be to develop an Arabica coffee model using PNG coffee data.
smallholder agriculture production, food security, managing extreme climate events, modelling
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Atmospheric Sciences
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Roger Stone
Other Supervisors: Mr David Cobon
Hydrogen production from agricultural waste using anaerobic digestion with selective inhibition of hydrogenotrophs in an anaerobic baffle reactor
Description: The project will look at hydrogen production from waste in an anaerobic bioreactor. Anaerobic conditions promote the growth of methanogens which consume hydrogen and CO2 to produce methane gas. We wi...
The project will look at hydrogen production from waste in an anaerobic bioreactor. Anaerobic conditions promote the growth of methanogens which consume hydrogen and CO2 to produce methane gas. We will be looking at ways to inhibit hydrogenotrophic methanogens to optimize hydrogen production.
anaerobic, hydrogen
Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Guangnan Chen
Soil moisture feedbacks on rainfall variations over northern Australia
Description: Australia has witnessed many severe multiyear droughts and extended pluvial periods that resulted in severe stress in agriculture, ecosystems, and community welfare and huge economic losses. Understa...
Australia has witnessed many severe multiyear droughts and extended pluvial periods that resulted in severe stress in agriculture, ecosystems, and community welfare and huge economic losses. Understanding the causes and predictability of such hydrological extremes is thus of great societal importance. Recent studies indicate that the rainfall over northern Australia varies strongly at multiyear timescales, with land-atmosphere coupling and soil moisture feedbacks appearing to have dominant roles in the west and remote forcing from tropical ocean temperatures affecting the east. There is still a knowledge gap for understanding the effects of land–atmosphere coupling and potential soil moisture memory for promoting multiyear rainfall variations over northern Australia. The project will focus on improving our knowledge of the mechanisms of soil moisture memory and land-surface feedback, and the implications for dynamical prediction and changing climate. The goal is to better inform and prepare key agricultural sectors to better manage hydroclimate related impacts. The study will use a combination of observational and reanalysis datasets, historical coupled climate model simulations, and targeted numerical model experiments. A self-motivated student with a background in meteorology, prior programming and data analysis experience (e.g. NCL, Python, GrADS etc.) would be desirable. Travel to Melbourne will be encouraged to carry out this research.
Agriculture impacts, climate, land-atmosphere coupling, prediction
Atmospheric Sciences
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Kathryn Reardon-Smith
Other Supervisors: Mr David Cobon, Dr Timothy Cowan, Dr Sharmila Sur
Climatology of flash drought over Australia
Description: Flash drought is a term and concept used to describe a drought that has undergone rapid intensification. Due to its rapid intensification, the impacts of flash droughts will likely occur too quickly ...
Flash drought is a term and concept used to describe a drought that has undergone rapid intensification. Due to its rapid intensification, the impacts of flash droughts will likely occur too quickly for many of the usual drought-coping mechanisms to be deployed especially for agricultural flash drought events. Another challenge of the rapid intensification feature is that flash droughts are difficult to monitor and forecast. Understanding how flash droughts develop is crucial to improve their predictability. A systematic flash drought detection framework over the historical period based on high-resolution observation-based flash drought index (Evaporative stress index: ESI) will be built to analyse its climatology and their link with climate drivers. To ensure the success of flash drought detection, verification work will be carried out by collecting field data on flash drought occurrence and impacts felt by farmers in collaboration with the coordinator of regional climate advisers (Climate Mates). The observed flash drought climatology will be then used as a reference to assess the Bureau's forecast model ACCESS-S2’s ability to accurately reproduce flash drought. Potentially a flash drought forecast product from ACCESS-S2 ensemble forecasts could be developed along with the flash drought monitoring product to inform the relevant agriculture industries. Flash drought projection can also be implemented using the Bureau's high-resolution land surface model (AWRA-L) in collaboration with the hydro-projection project.
evaporative stress index, ACCESS S, monitoring, prediction, on-ground validation
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Atmospheric Sciences
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Roger Stone
Other Supervisors: Mr David Cobon, Dr Chelsea Jarvis
Animal Monitoring Via Noise Recognition
Description: The objective of this study is to correlate the vocal communication of livestock with their state of welfare. Outcomes of the proposed research: An automatic system for monitoring of livestock to fac...
The objective of this study is to correlate the vocal communication of livestock with their state of welfare. Outcomes of the proposed research: An automatic system for monitoring of livestock to facilitate increased frequency of surveillance while minimizing human labour inputs, with the goal of improving animal welfare. Animal calls have partly evolved as communication signals to indicate some types of “need” and they are relatively easy to record. Hence, it seems to be reasonable to regard vocalizations as easy indicators of an animal’s state of welfare. The dependence of animal vocalizations on wellbeing makes voice recognition a potentially useful tool for judging stress levels in animals. The proposed project seeks to develop an automated noise recognition and analysis system for automatic monitoring of health and welfare of livestock.

Animal Production
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Thomas Banhazi
Other Supervisors: Dr Les Bowtell
Monitoring of Recalcitrant Compounds from a Wastewater Reclamation Plant by Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry
Description: Wetalla reclamation plant is a Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) process treating municipal wastewater from Toowoomba region. The plant includes membranes such as reverse osmosis to reclaim water for...
Wetalla reclamation plant is a Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) process treating municipal wastewater from Toowoomba region. The plant includes membranes such as reverse osmosis to reclaim water for the local industries. This project will sample the water at every stage of the process and monitor the non-biodegradable compounds by Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry in order to shed more light on the recalcitrant and soluble microbial products produced by bacteria during the process. It will also reveal the organic compounds causing fouling of the membranes.
Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), recalcitrant, soluble microbial products
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Analytical Chemistry,Chemical Engineering,Civil Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Vasanthadevi Aravinthan
Light Activated Shape Memory Polymers for Aerospace/Space Applications
Description: Shape memory polymers (SMPs) and their composites (SMPCs) can hold a programmed temporary shape and recover to their original shape once exposed to a particular external stimulus. This project intend...
Shape memory polymers (SMPs) and their composites (SMPCs) can hold a programmed temporary shape and recover to their original shape once exposed to a particular external stimulus. This project intends to investigate SMP/SMPC stimulated by near infrared (NIR) light. The project will study the use of rare earth materials in SMP to increase the photo-thermal effect. Further the project will perform in-depth investigations of thermo-mechanical properties and shape memory effects of the developed SMP/SMPC.
shape memory polymer, shape memory polymer composites, NIR, optical fires, Light activation, Smart Materals, Functional Materials
Aerospace Engineering,Engineering Design,Materials Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Centre for Future Materials
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Jayantha Epaarachchi
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Mainul Islam
Relational Learning, Social Competence and Emotional Maturity In Early Childhood
Description: This program of research is concerned with early childhood vulnerability. The interdisciplinary project team led by Professor Sue Saltmarsh aims to understand how children’s relational learning - tha...
This program of research is concerned with early childhood vulnerability. The interdisciplinary project team led by Professor Sue Saltmarsh aims to understand how children’s relational learning - that is, learning within and through relationships, relational contexts and communities – might be supported in early childhood education. Informed by Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) data, the research has identified geographic areas within Australia shown to have particularly high percentages of childhood developmental vulnerability in categories of social competence and emotional maturity. Queensland, for example, has Australia’s second highest percentage of developmentally vulnerable children in these two categories, with some Ipswich suburbs more than twice the national average. Our research looks in greater depth at factors contributing to these childhood vulnerabilities, through multi-sited ethnographic case studies in kindergartens in suburbs of high vulnerability. The study focuses on documenting contextual and kindergarten-specific factors that present challenges to children's relational learning. We will work with early childhood educators to identify strategies for enhancing children's relational learning, and to identify relevant professional development needs of early childhood educators. The research explores effective pedagogic approaches to relational learning, benefiting early childhood educators in communities of high vulnerability, and contributing to relational learning that improves children's social, emotional and learning outcomes This research aims to address the following research questions: - How can kindergarten children's relational learning be supported to build social competence and emotional maturity? - What contextual and kindergarten-specific factors present challenges to children's relational learning? - How do escalating vulnerabilities in the areas of social competence and emotional maturity affect children's relational learning in kindergarten? - Are there effective intervention strategies that early childhood educators can make use of in order to enhance children's relational learning in vulnerable communities? - What professional development is needed for early childhood educators in order to enhance children's relational learning in vulnerable communities? This program of research can accommodate postgraduate students interested in exploring any of the above topics, or other related topics in consultation with Professor Saltmarsh. While the initial project has been initially devised for Queensland contexts, doctoral proposals that extend the reach of the research to other parts of Australia are welcomed. The research team has expertise in social, cultural and educational theory, and draws on qualitative methodologies including ethnography, discourse analysis and case study, and quantitative methods including surveys, questionnaires and statistical analysis.
Education, early childhood education, vulnerability, disadvantage, learning, wellbeing
Specialist Studies in Education
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor:
Other Supervisors: Professor Georgina Barton, Dr Sayan Chakrabarty
Tractor automation – infield human interaction
Description: Automated tractors are the near future and related technologies have been wide researched for the last few years. Machine vision based navigation is an emerging research filed especially for tractors...
Automated tractors are the near future and related technologies have been wide researched for the last few years. Machine vision based navigation is an emerging research filed especially for tractors in agriculture farms where unexpected obstacles (humans, animals etc.) are very common. This project mainly focus on using LiDAR, depth camera and other vison based sensing techniques for developing and optimising algorithms for automated navigation of tractors in the field for expected and unexpected obstacles.

Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Professor Craig Baillie
Other Supervisors: Dr Anand Pothula
The Grammar of Judicial Bias: A comparative analysis of the lexical qualification of Judicial Impartiality in the Australian Judicial Systems .
Description: The concept of judicial objectivity is a cornerstone of modern legal systems. This project will follow existing studies into the qualification of the concept of objectivity in cases that review ...
The concept of judicial objectivity is a cornerstone of modern legal systems. This project will follow existing studies into the qualification of the concept of objectivity in cases that review the judicial impartiality of the court. The candidate will analyze data retrieved from a large sample of cases (over one hundred) taken from Australian state jurisdictions , the ACT , and the Northern Territory. The analysis of a large sample of cases aims at describing how judges in different jurisdictions lexically qualify allegations of bias. The questions the project will attempt to answer are, whether allegations of bias generate a cluster of judicial responses in different states, and whether the cluster of responses shows an indication of convergence or divergence of judicial decisions. This study focuses on textual references – retrieved by using Langacker’s studies on grammar – to the concept of judicial objectivity.
Law, Objectvity, Bias, Comparative Law
Language Studies,Law,Philosophy
School of Law and Justice
Principal Supervisor: Dr Vito Breda
Other Supervisors: Professor Reid Mortensen
Economics of agriculture and the environment
Description: This project aims to cover the economics of agriculture in its broadest sense, from farm productivity and innovation to land use and the environment to climate adaptation and vulnerability assessment...
This project aims to cover the economics of agriculture in its broadest sense, from farm productivity and innovation to land use and the environment to climate adaptation and vulnerability assessment, at every scale of analysis from households to markets and the macroeconomic impacts. The research can employ quantitative and/or qualitative methods using both primary and secondary sources of data and information. The thesis can be written in either traditional format or in PhD by publication. The following is a list of indicative, but not exhaustive, broad topic areas on which PhD research proposals are invited: * Agriculture economics and policy * Farm productivity and innovation * Rural entrepreneurship * Environmental issues * Climate adaptation * Effectiveness of recent drought responses in Australia * Food policies across different stages of development, across different regions, and across different units of aggregation (micro, macro) * Non-market valuation * Potential to develop markets to sustain the provision of services that have non-market values * Applied economic and policy issues

Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Applied Economics,Econometrics,Environmental Science and Management
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Professor Khorshed Alam
Other Supervisors:
Evaluation of traffic flow characteristics under mixed traffic condition
Description: The effective usage of arterial networks in urban areas is of great importance in our daily life as it influences travel delays, times, costs, and environmental concerns. In recent years, the increas...
The effective usage of arterial networks in urban areas is of great importance in our daily life as it influences travel delays, times, costs, and environmental concerns. In recent years, the increasing amount of vehicular traffic has led to frequent traffic jams in urban arterials. Several control strategies have been implemented to increase the efficiency of the existing road networks such as use of dynamic traffic management, use of navigation systems, and application of corporative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS). Most of these control strategies are based on traffic stream models both at a macroscopic and microscopic level, specially traffic stream description models and travel time estimation models. However, all these models are sensitive to the degree of mixed flow condition (i.e., the presence of autonomous vehicles, vehicles with connected devices, heavy vehicles, and other user groups) within the traffic stream. Therefore there is a need to investigate the traffic stream for identifying areas where mixed traffic flow conditions bring a qualitative jump in the level of service. This study will use real time observational data and micro-simulation techniques (e.g., VISSIM) to examine the effect of mixed traffic to understand changes to traffic flow characteristics. Results from this study will help to develop more efficient traffic operational decisions in mixed flow conditions on urban road networks.
Traffic flow characteristics, Traffic modelling, Road network, Traffic simulation
Civil Engineering,Other Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Soma Somasundaraswaran
Other Supervisors: Professor Ron Ayers
Development of Novel Combustors
Description: Different technologies are being developed that have the potential to be more efficient and less polluting than current engine and furnace designs. The student will conduct experiments or simulation...
Different technologies are being developed that have the potential to be more efficient and less polluting than current engine and furnace designs. The student will conduct experiments or simulations to test how these novel designs can be improved and become standard.
Engines; Furnaces; Experiment; Simulation
Automotive Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Andrew Wandel
Other Supervisors: Professor Talal Yusaf
Disaster Risk Early Warning System: Flood Forecasting with Copula Models and Deep Learning Algorithms
Description: In a changing climate, nations suffer from extreme and catastrophic floods. Flood monitoring and forecasting provides advanced warnings to mitigate the impacts of floods. These are mainly achieved by...
In a changing climate, nations suffer from extreme and catastrophic floods. Flood monitoring and forecasting provides advanced warnings to mitigate the impacts of floods. These are mainly achieved by an estimation of river height, streamflow, time of rainfall and peak flow at a specified point in time resulting from changes in rainfall. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, in partnership with national agencies provides river water level forecasts. Despite their effectiveness, the traditional flood forecasting methods can be somewhat time-consuming, expensive and relatively complex to implement especially in geographically diverse locations. In this exciting project, research students learn about joint distribution (i.e. multivariate) models based on copulas and deep learning algorithms to predict hourly and daily flood events. Such forecasts can be used in flood mitigation design system. The study will adopt flood indices based on daily effective precipitation to monitor and forecast the events considering a weighted sum of current and antecedent rainfall, and a time-dependent reduction formula applied on the recent (vs. older) rainfall to account for water accumulation due to hydrological factors. Hourly & daily data will be used to develop flood model considering rainfall accumulation redistributed by an objective formula factored viz a time-dependent function and applying machine learning models to predict flood events in advance. The research project is strongly centred on natural disaster risk mitigation theme. It will suit students with good background in engineering, hydrology, mathematics, computing, climate or water resources. Students will explore deep learning to enhance the performance accuracy of flood prediction system. This project is suitable for PhD, Research or Coursework Masters Thesis. It provides opportunity to publish in high quality Q1 journals. The research student will be part of the Advanced Data Analytics Research Group under Prof Ravinesh Deo. For more details see https://eportfolio.usq.edu.au/view/view.php?id=116719.
Flood Risk; Artificial Intelligence; Mathematical Modelling; Disaster Management; Predictive Modelling; Hydrology; Water Resources
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Atmospheric Sciences,Environmental Science and Management
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Ravinesh Deo
Other Supervisors: Dr Afshin Ghahramani, Dr Nawin Raj
Developing a generic framework for implementing a circular economy in an Australian regional centre
Description: This project aims to develop a generic framework for implementing a circular economy for organic waste in an Australian regional context. Key research questions addressed include i) how does a circul...
This project aims to develop a generic framework for implementing a circular economy for organic waste in an Australian regional context. Key research questions addressed include i) how does a circular economy apply to an Australian regional context; ii) what are the enabling elements and iii) what approach is required to maximise success. The specific objectives of this research include: • To identify key components, drivers and policies of a circular economy that can be implemented in regional Australian centres • To identify regional feedstocks and evaluate options through feedstock analysis • To identify infrastructure and technology requirements and feasibility • To identify the value add, business and regional partnership opportunities • To illustrate example/s of a Circular Economy applied to the Toowoomba Region
Organic waste, anaerobic digestion, biogas, biofertiliser, circular economy, regional centres
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Environmental Engineering,Industrial Biotechnology,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Urban and Regional Planning
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Bernadette McCabe
Other Supervisors: Dr Stephan Tait
Ontology-based User Concept Modelling for Personalised Information Gathering in Big Data Era
Description: User concept models are formal description and specification of user background knowledge. In their brains, users implicitly possess a concept model, which is generated from their background knowledg...
User concept models are formal description and specification of user background knowledge. In their brains, users implicitly possess a concept model, which is generated from their background knowledge. While this concept model cannot be proven in laboratories, many knowledge engineers have observed it in user behaviour. When users read through a document, they can easily determine whether or not it is of their interest, on the basis of a judgement that arises from their implicit concept models. Therefore, there exists a hypothesis if a user’s concept model can be simulated, we can understand how a decision (e.g., whether a document is interesting) is made, and thus, we can infer user information needs by analysing the existing concepts in simulated user concept model. This study focuses on user concept models in the personalised information gathering considering challenges presented in Big Data era. The thesis project will make potential theoretical contributions to knowledge advancement in knowledge engineering and cognitive science, as well methodological contributions to text mining, information retrieval, and data format to help deal with Big Data challenges.
User modelling, Ontology, Personalisation, Big Data
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Cognitive Sciences,Data Format,Information Systems
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Xiaohui Tao
Other Supervisors: Professor Ji Zhang
Platform Chemical Production Using Novel Biorefinery
Description: Food waste is a problem worldwide due to the volume generated by rich countries and the environmental threat that it represents. Food waste has a strong potential to be transformed into valuable by-p...
Food waste is a problem worldwide due to the volume generated by rich countries and the environmental threat that it represents. Food waste has a strong potential to be transformed into valuable by-products. This research will investigate the hydrolysis of food waste to generate a novel fermentation medium containing sugars, amino acids and essential minerals. Sugars can then be converted by fermentation to biofuels (bioethanol, biodiesel or biogas) or platform chemicals (succinic acid, lactic acid and many others). We have all the equipments and resources to carry out this research including: autoclave, 5L Sartorius automated fermenter, GC for gas analysis and HPLC for analysis of chemicals in the fermentation broth.
Biorefinery, platform chemicals, food waste, biofuels, hydrolysis, saccharification
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Dr Ian Craig
Modelling the Relationship Between Broiler’s Body Weight with some Nutrient in Diets
Description: Chicken meats are increasely favored as healthy and delicious dishes on dinning table by Australian families. Phosphorus (P) and Calcium (Ca) are essential nutrient in broiler’s body growth. However,...
Chicken meats are increasely favored as healthy and delicious dishes on dinning table by Australian families. Phosphorus (P) and Calcium (Ca) are essential nutrient in broiler’s body growth. However, the effect of these two and others on chicks body and bone tissus is intrincated, and consequently too difficult to analyse. This project aims at assisting the pualtry industry, in particular in broiler farming, reduce the production cost while minimising the P residural in the excreta by formulating the most effective and nutriential diets. We approach this by Logit regression and machine learning technology.
Broiler growing, nutrient in poultry diets, statistical analysis, machine learning
Animal Production,Statistics
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zhongwei Zhang
Other Supervisors: Dr David Lai
Dissipative Particle Dynamics Modelling of Highly Dispersed Suspensions
Description: Suspensions, which are formed by rigid particles, droplets or gaseous bubbles suspended in a liquid, occur widely in nature and man-made products. Typical examples include foodstuffs, paints, blood, ...
Suspensions, which are formed by rigid particles, droplets or gaseous bubbles suspended in a liquid, occur widely in nature and man-made products. Typical examples include foodstuffs, paints, blood, fluidised beds and bubble columns. The project aims to explore new aspects of the rheology of particulate suspensions by means of an advanced mesoscale coarse-grained emulation technique, known as Dissipative Particle Dynamics (DPD). The resultant DPD computer code and new insights into the fluid mechanics of particulate suspensions allow one to effectively design and control industrial particulate-flow processes.
Particle method, suspension, complex fluid, multiphase flow
Chemical Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Numerical and Computational Mathematics
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre,Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Nam Mai-Duy
Other Supervisors:
Cultural Heritage Research: Heritage and Wellbeing
Description: The importance of heritage sites and practices has long been linked to cultural identity and is a common rationale for conserving heritage. Underpinning this rationale are claims of a connection betw...
The importance of heritage sites and practices has long been linked to cultural identity and is a common rationale for conserving heritage. Underpinning this rationale are claims of a connection between the conservation of heritage and community wellbeing. There is a growing interest in exploring these connections more methodically to understand the links between heritage, identity and wellbeing. This includes identity work with marginalized communities, including Australian Indigenous communities, people who are institutionalized including the elderly, mentally ill and frail, and those who have suffered life trauma, including returning military personnel. In this growing area of research there is scope for a number of research projects.
heritage, history, identity, wellbeing, health, community
Anthropology,Archaeology,Cultural Studies,Curatorial and Related Studies,Historical Studies,Other History and Archaeology,Other Studies in Human Society,Psychology
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Celmara Pocock
Other Supervisors: Professor Lorelle Burton, Professor David Collett
Prefabricated Modular Housing (Building Manufacturing) Research Projects
Description: These projects involve critically evaluating and benchmarking housing designs and manufacturing systems that are widely disseminated within the residential building and architecture industry both in ...
These projects involve critically evaluating and benchmarking housing designs and manufacturing systems that are widely disseminated within the residential building and architecture industry both in Australia and overseas. Limited engineering approach to the design of structures, functionality and purpose, embodied and servicing energies, water and waste management etc., has resulted in that most modular houses being perceived as second class or viewed as cheap "fibro". These projects aim to provide a comprehensive overview of modular housing designs and manufacturing systems, and recommend (and test) a systematic approach to industrialising the manufacturing of housing solutions.
Housing designs; Manufacturing systems; Industrial engineering.
Engineering Design
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Centre for Future Materials,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Steven Goh
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
Global Childhoods: Lifeworlds and Educational Success in Australia and Asia
Description: This thesis topic will be undertaken as part of an ARC Discovery project that investigates how everyday lifeworlds of Year 4 (9-10 year of age) students in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore shape ch...
This thesis topic will be undertaken as part of an ARC Discovery project that investigates how everyday lifeworlds of Year 4 (9-10 year of age) students in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore shape children’s orientations to educational success. Situated in the global cities of Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore, the ARC Discovery project explores connections between policy contexts, school experiences and everyday activities of children growing up in the Asian Century. This exciting ARC Discovery project is a partnership between Flinders University, The University of Southern Queensland, The University of Newcastle, the National Institute of Education in Singapore and the Education University of Hong Kong. The ARC project has two funded PhD scholarships, one of which will be based at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) with Prof Sue Saltmarsh as the Principal Supervisor. Associate supervision will be provided by the other members of the research team located within Australia (Professor Nicola Yelland, Flinders; and Dr I-Fang Lee, University of Newcastle), with Dr Sayan Chakrabarty as the USQ-based Associate Supervisor. The USQ PhD scholarship candidate will focus on the intersection of policy and culture, with suggested topics including: - The ways in which policy discourse shapes and is shaped by everyday practices of teachers, families and students - How the articulation of testing and student outcomes within policy discourse is implicated in producing context-specific educational and cultural practices - How local responses and resistances to policy discourse, policy effects and policy cultures compare to responses and resistances in the broader global context In addition to the ARC scholarship, this program of research can accommodate additional postgraduate students interested in exploring aspects of the above topics, or other related topics in consultation with Professor Saltmarsh. The research team has expertise in social, cultural, educational and economic theory, and draws on qualitative research methodologies including ethnography, visual ethnography, discourse analysis, social semiotics and policy studies, and quantitative methods including surveys, questionnaires and statistical analysis.
education, education policy, childhood studies, culture
Specialist Studies in Education
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor:
Other Supervisors: Dr Sayan Chakrabarty
Multi-sensor based on-the-go automatic N fertilizer application
Description: Site specific fertilizer application not only reduces the harmful effects to the environment but also have economic benefits to the farmers by optimising the amount of fertilizer applied. This projec...
Site specific fertilizer application not only reduces the harmful effects to the environment but also have economic benefits to the farmers by optimising the amount of fertilizer applied. This project focus on tractor automation with multi sensor hardware and attached sprayer for the development of on the go fertilizer application. Optimization techniques for real-time cloud storage and processing of sensor data for developing the precision map will be evaluated. ROS based CAN bus communication with the tractor and spraying system will be developed and evaluated for the real time fertilizer application.

Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Professor Craig Baillie
Other Supervisors: Dr Anand Pothula
Industrial Gas Sensing
Description: The detection of gases such as methane (for fuels) and ethylene (for fruit ripening) is important in many industrial and commercial contexts. Existing sensors exhibit many problems in practice. This ...
The detection of gases such as methane (for fuels) and ethylene (for fruit ripening) is important in many industrial and commercial contexts. Existing sensors exhibit many problems in practice. This research program is currently developing new sensors based on semiconductor infrared sources including LEDs and lasers. A particular focus is on the signal processing aspects of the sensors, so as to provide useful gas concentration measurements in the presence of background noise, utilizing with low-cost sensors. The group has published internationally in prestigious journals and is seeking high-calibre students with a background in digital signal processing, electronics, fibre optics, lasers, and acoustics.
gas sensors, digital signal processing, optics, lasers, fiber optics
Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre
Principal Supervisor: Professor John Leis
Other Supervisors: Professor David Buttsworth
Monitoring of Livestock Buildings Using Integrated Instrumentation
Description: An environmental monitoring module will be designed and built to monitor/record and communicate environmental data from livestock farms to a central web-server using wireless communication techniques...
An environmental monitoring module will be designed and built to monitor/record and communicate environmental data from livestock farms to a central web-server using wireless communication techniques potentially. The variables to be monitored will include air temperature, humidity, ammonia, carbon dioxide and potentially methane concentrations. The monitoring module will be minimised and encased so it can be installed permanently in a livestock buildings.

Animal Production
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Thomas Banhazi
Other Supervisors:
Evaluation of the Resilience of Physical Infrastructure Systems
Description: This research will develop a methodology for evaluating resilience in physical infrastructure systems. Resilience in this context refers to the ability of infrastructure systems to be robust, and ret...
This research will develop a methodology for evaluating resilience in physical infrastructure systems. Resilience in this context refers to the ability of infrastructure systems to be robust, and retain their basic function and structure following disturbances and shocks. Achieving life cycle infrastructure resilience requires an understanding of the natural environment, sustainability, systems analysis approaches, risk management, minimisation of the impact of natural disasters, disaster resistant design, consideration of stakeholder requirements, use of suitable materials and related areas of expertise. The methodology developed from this research would be used by planners and designers to develop and implement infrastructure systems that would be resistant to the impact of disasters.
Resilience, sustainability, infrastructure, planning, design
Interdisciplinary Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
Other Supervisors: Dr Nateque Mahmood
Machine Learning Based Statistical Methods For Object-Based Imagery and Lidar Data Analysis and Classification
Description: Recently, rapid developments in remote sensing technologies have provided new ways of solving conventional problems. Advanced new remote sensing technologies and an urgent need to respond to some imp...
Recently, rapid developments in remote sensing technologies have provided new ways of solving conventional problems. Advanced new remote sensing technologies and an urgent need to respond to some important environment problems have inspired researchers to develop and test more reliable approaches and to discover new knowledge for improvement of the applications of these new technologies. Traditional methods for forest classification were based either on the interpretation of aerial photographs or field work. These methods are labour intensive and time consuming. In past decades, remotely sensed data have been a valuable source of information in forest characterisation and classification. For example, high spatial resolution satellite imagery can be used to capture data relating to horizontal forest structure. However, it is unable to directly describe vertical forest structure. LiDAR, on the other hand, is able to describe the forest structure in three dimensions. This project aims to integrate the LiDAR data and satellite imagery data, along with the usage of object-based image analysis (OBIA) and machine learning based classifiers such as decision trees, random forests and support vector machines (SVMs) to improve the characterisation and classification of forest communities.
LiDAR, Laser scanning, GIS, Remote sensing, Spatial science, Object-based image analysis, Image classification, Statistics, Machine learning, Support vector machines, Environment, Forest
Environmental Science and Management,Geomatic Engineering,Statistics
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zhenyu Zhang
Other Supervisors: Dr Xiaoye Liu
Development of Low-CO2 Durable Concrete Using Geopolymer and Related Chemically-Activated Cements
Description: Concrete is the largest manmade material people use in this world, and also causes heavy environmental footprint due to the use of Portland cement, a energy and recourse intensive product. This proje...
Concrete is the largest manmade material people use in this world, and also causes heavy environmental footprint due to the use of Portland cement, a energy and recourse intensive product. This project aims to develop low-CO2 concrete by using alkali-activated aluminosilicate materials, including locally available coal combustion ash (fly ash), slag, and heated clays, such as metakaolin. By avoiding using Portland cement, the concrete will significantly reduce environment footprint, in terms of CO2 emissions and energy consumption. This project will combine experimental research and data analysis into life cycle analysis (LCA) to evaluate the real reduction in CO2 emissions and other environmental impacts. A candidate can not only learn fundamental knowledge about chemical activation technique and materials characterization but also the approach of LCA.

Civil Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Zuhua Zhang
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang
Studies in 20th Century Symphonic Music
Description: My supervisory range is fairly widespread around a number of music history topics from 16th century music to concert music of the present. in particular I have expertise in 20th century Australian m...
My supervisory range is fairly widespread around a number of music history topics from 16th century music to concert music of the present. in particular I have expertise in 20th century Australian music and symphonic music from throughout the century.
20th Century Symphonic Music
Historical Studies
School of Arts & Communication
Principal Supervisor: Professor Rhod McNeill
Other Supervisors:
The Role of Microcredit in Enhancing Health Knowledge, Health-Seeking Behaviour and Health Services
Description: Achieving universal health coverage is still a long way to go. Worldwide 400 million people lack access to one or more essential health services (WHO 2015). Poverty is the main reason for this poor h...
Achieving universal health coverage is still a long way to go. Worldwide 400 million people lack access to one or more essential health services (WHO 2015). Poverty is the main reason for this poor health coverage. The government alone cannot solve all these problems due to lack of fund in social welfare programs. The wide spread emergence of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in developing countries can play a significant role in this regard. A part from loan delivery, providing social services, especially health related services to this poor people should also be the ultimate mission of these MFIs. They can operate the following health-related programs: health- related education (including nutrition and sanitation), health care financing such as health loans, training community health workers, direct delivery of clinical services and health insurance. The main questions will be addressed in this project are: 1. Can microcredit play any role in increasing health seeking behavior? How? 2.What role microfinance can play in enhancing health knowledge of the poor? 3.How can health services be delivered to the poor with microcredit? Are these services effective to improve health status of the poor especially women and children?. This project can be conducted by using primary or secondary data from other developing countries. Students interested in pursuing a PhD (or Masters) in any of the above topics or related topics are encouraged to contact Associate Professor Rasheda Khanam (rasheda.khanam@usq.edu.au) for further details. The potential students are expected to have: (1) an academic background in any of these fields: economics, health economics, development economics, econometrics, statistics and public health, AND, (2) research publications in relevant fields
Microcredit, Health Knowledge, Health-Seeking Behaviour, Health Services Delivery
Agricultural Biotechnology
Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development,Centre for Health Sciences Research,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Rasheda Khanam
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Mafiz Rahman
Development of Precision Livestock Farming Tools
Description: This project aims to develop a number of subsystems as part of a Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) system being developed to improve production efficiency. Principal components of precision farming a...
This project aims to develop a number of subsystems as part of a Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) system being developed to improve production efficiency. Principal components of precision farming are the accurate real time yield/performance monitoring and control systems. The emergence and on-going research/development into new real-time sensing technologies and data acquisition systems are primarily focused on improving the accuracy and reliability of these systems. However, considering the diverse range of on-farm environmental variables requiring monitoring and control, their integration and a sound decision making process based on all these variables still remains a challenge. This project will enable students to develop a number of subsystems in the areas of real-time data acquisition, analysis, decision making, environmental and other on-farm control systems. This project area presents opportunities to work in cross-disciplinary application areas of mechatronic engineering and electrical, electronic and computer engineering. The specific focus of project/s undertaken will be determined by negotiation as appropriate to each student’s major and interests.

Animal Production
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Thomas Banhazi
Other Supervisors:
Develop a Separation Method of Lignocellulosic Materials into their Components (Lignin, Cellulose and Hemicellulose) Using Nanotechnology, Catalytic Reactions and Separation Techniques
Description: The purpose of this research is to develop efficient and economically sound method for separating the three components of any lignocellulosic material. The research will examine particle size reducti...
The purpose of this research is to develop efficient and economically sound method for separating the three components of any lignocellulosic material. The research will examine particle size reduction of biomass to Nano scale using mechanical and electrical methods. Also, chemicals will be used to dissolve and separate these components without losing or degrading the original materials. A commercial technique will be developed for easy and complete separation of the three main components of any lignocellulosic materials. The project will also investigate the potential of using the separated cellulose for ethanol production.
Nano-particles: Bioethanol; Bioenergy: Lignocellulose
Chemical Engineering,Electrical and Electronic Engineering,Environmental Engineering
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Professor Saman Seneweera
Other Supervisors:
Health Economics and Policy
Description: This project aims to undertake high quality and policy relevant research on the following issues (but not limited to): • Health care financing and expenditures • Production of health and health beh...
This project aims to undertake high quality and policy relevant research on the following issues (but not limited to): • Health care financing and expenditures • Production of health and health behaviours • Demand for health and health care • Demand and supply of health service • Inequality in health and access to health service • Socio-economic inequalities child and maternal health • Health, socioeconomic status and lifestyle factors • Economic evaluation of health and health care • Impact of health on labour market outcome • Health care costs of non-communicable diseases Students interested in pursuing a PhD (or Masters) in any of the above topics or related topics are encouraged to contact Associate Professor Rasheda Khanam (rasheda.khanam@usq.edu.au) for further details. The potential students are expected to have: (1) an academic background in any of these fields: economics, health economics, labour economics, econometrics, statistics and public health, AND, (2) research publications in relevant fields.

Applied Economics
Centre for Health Sciences Research,School of Commerce
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Rasheda Khanam
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Mafiz Rahman
Applying Social Ecological Approaches to Water Markets
Description: Water trading systems provide an economic framework for the transfer of quantities of water—private ownership of which is endowed by statutory water rights legislation—to enhance/ensure highest value...
Water trading systems provide an economic framework for the transfer of quantities of water—private ownership of which is endowed by statutory water rights legislation—to enhance/ensure highest value end use (i.e. optimisation) of scarce water resources. In this way, water markets commoditise water within an economic production-focused framework. However, water resources have significant value beyond their function in short-term economic activity. In reality, there are many competing demands for water resources and ensuring and allocating sufficient water of acceptable quality for different uses and users is a highly complex task, often subject to value conflicts. Despite this, the environmental and social impacts of water markets are relatively unknown. The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment espoused an ecosystem services framework for investigating the wider socio-ecological values associated with biodiversity and natural systems which has since gained acceptance as a guiding principle in environmental policy making. This research applies an ecosystem services valuation approach to contemporary water markets operating in the Murray Darling Basin, Australia, to better understand the socio-economic-ecological trade-offs and synergies associated with this form of water resource governance. It will investigate the broader socio-ecological values related to water trading to develop an integrated water benefits model of the total transaction system. It will also explore techniques to link bio-physical and socio-economic values, as well how these values change over different spatial, temporal and social organisational scales. Finally, it will critically analyse a range of policy settings (including a range of instruments and interventions) and provide a foundation for improved water resource decision-making and management.

Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Applied Economics,Environmental Science and Management
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Shahbaz Mushtaq
Other Supervisors: Dr Kathryn Reardon-Smith
Keeping Seriously Sick Kids Connected to School Through Technology
Description: Approximately 30% or ~1,170,000 K-12 students around the country are diagnosed with mental or chronic illness. This is a significant large-scale issue and the resulting regular short and long-time ab...
Approximately 30% or ~1,170,000 K-12 students around the country are diagnosed with mental or chronic illness. This is a significant large-scale issue and the resulting regular short and long-time absences from school impacts on the students’ social, cognitive, physical and mental wellbeing. Adverse outcomes of these absences include academic underachievement, developmental delays, increased learning difficulties, low self-esteem, reduced social support and the disruption of friendships. This topic could explore: • Teachers self-efficacy and pedagogical practices when teaching seriously sick students through technology • Student wellbeing • Learning community
seriously ill students, sick kids, technology, teachers, self-efficacy, pedagogical practices
Communications Technologies,Education Systems,Specialist Studies in Education
Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Petrea Redmond
Other Supervisors: Dr Chris Dann
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for Sustainable Development of Agriculture
Description: The environmental impacts and the sustainable development of agricultural activities have been identified as a significant issue. At present, the greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector ...
The environmental impacts and the sustainable development of agricultural activities have been identified as a significant issue. At present, the greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector (excluding land-clearing) represents 16% of Australia’s total national emissions. There are growing pressures from the community to significantly improve the management practices and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and water uses from the farming sector. This project will use life cycle assessment (LCA) method to analyse and quantify the environmental impacts of agriculture, thus contributing to a more sustainable future.
Grain, energy, bio-energy
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Guangnan Chen
Other Supervisors: Professor Tek Maraseni
Valorisation of municipal food waste in the production of energy
Description: Industry problem / challenge to be addressed: Around 4 million tonnes of food reaches landfill in Australia each year and forms part of Australia’s organic waste, the country’s largest unrecovered s...
Industry problem / challenge to be addressed: Around 4 million tonnes of food reaches landfill in Australia each year and forms part of Australia’s organic waste, the country’s largest unrecovered stream of waste that goes into landfill. Waste management in Australia has hit a road block as it faces more waste with less landfill capacity and increasing disposal and energy costs. New technologies in composting, waste to energy (combustion) and anaerobic digestion (AD) present feasible approaches to divert organics to landfill. Of the three technologies, AD of source separated food waste represents the most beneficial use of this wet organic fraction as it produces renewable natural gas for heat, electricity and vehicle fuel in addition to biosolids for commercial or agricultural use. However, the use of source segregated food waste is not established in Australia because of the technical challenges associated with collection, sorting, processing, and the beneficial use of recovered material. Project description: The key concept of the research is to valorise the energy from food waste by anaerobic digestion (AD), with a full evaluation of the overall life cycle energy balances associated with this process. The research comprises a number of closely interrelated components with a common underlying goal: to evaluate and where possible improve the energy production process from the perspective of the overall net energy gain achieved within defined system boundaries that include collection, sorting, processing, and beneficial use of recovered material. Key activities: • Assess the amount of food waste that is produced, as a fraction in a given region. • Determine the composition and characterisation of food wastes and evaluate the efficiency and yield of source segregated food waste collection schemes from domestic properties, restaurant and catering facilities, food markets and food manufacturers in a specified region. • Determine the energy and carbon footprints of the food waste to energy process in the specified region including collection, transport, treatment and final product use, considering both direct and indirect inputs. • Optimise digestion processes using interventions to improve the chemical and microbiological factors affecting potential energy gain from the food waste substrate. Expected industry outputs • Provision of best practice guidelines for collection systems for the separation of food waste to be treated by AD. • Development of decision support tools to assess anaerobic digestion technologies forof food waste across Australia, based on project activities carried out in a given region. • Development of institutional framework at all levels of government (state and federal) to guide sustainable and cost effective of conversion of food waste to energy.
Renewable energy; Waste management; Food Waste; Biogas: Anaerobic digestion; Waste to energy
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Chemical Engineering,Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management,Industrial Biotechnology,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences,Other Chemical Sciences,Other Engineering
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Professor Bernadette McCabe
Other Supervisors: Dr Stephan Tait
Evaluation of Sustainable Infrastructure
Description: This research will investigate the design and development of sustainable infrastructure, with a view to developing a methodology for assessing the main factors in its development and management. Such...
This research will investigate the design and development of sustainable infrastructure, with a view to developing a methodology for assessing the main factors in its development and management. Such factors might include environmentally sensitive design, use of advanced and sustainable materials, resilience to natural disasters, water sensitive urban design, energy efficient use, and environmentally responsible project management and development. The methodology developed should be capable of forming the basis of a computer model for use by planners and designers to select the best development and life cycle management option that balances the requirements of sustainability and those of major stakeholders
Sustainability, infrastructure, development, management, life cycle, energy
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof David Thorpe
Other Supervisors: Dr Nateque Mahmood
Harvest and Drying Strategies for Grain Crops
Description: In Australia, water is a scare resource. With climate change, there is an increasing need of relocating crop production to the high rainfall area of tropical and coastal region. This project will dev...
In Australia, water is a scare resource. With climate change, there is an increasing need of relocating crop production to the high rainfall area of tropical and coastal region. This project will develop methods to improve the overall performance of current farming systems, in particular the drying and harvesting systems so that they can adapt to the new coast wet environment.
Harvesting, Drying, Grain
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Guangnan Chen
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Troy Jensen
Solar Desalination System
Description: Solar distillation technique has been used for thousands of years. The technique was utilized by Greek mariners and Persian alchemists to produce freshwater or pharmaceutical extracts. Dominant proce...
Solar distillation technique has been used for thousands of years. The technique was utilized by Greek mariners and Persian alchemists to produce freshwater or pharmaceutical extracts. Dominant procedures of desalination are energy intensive and rely on fossil fuels. Nowadays, solar desalination techniques contribute to less than 1% of desalination process. This project aims to improve the efficiency of existing solar desalination techniques using both empirical and computational (CFD) approaches.
Solar energy, desalination, wind energy
Environmental Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Dr Ahmad Sharifian-Barforoush
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Andrew Wandel
Developing capabilities for learning and life: Self-management at school and beyond into the workforce
Description: During the unprecedented times of COVID-19, there are greater expectations for self-management of time, resources and motivation. Larger demands on individuals to manage themselves are evident in wo...
During the unprecedented times of COVID-19, there are greater expectations for self-management of time, resources and motivation. Larger demands on individuals to manage themselves are evident in workplaces and in schools, where people have been asked to develop strategies that enable them to work effectively from home. More than ever, this has highlighted and extended the opportunities for workers and students to make choices and take responsibility for the choices that potentially shape their lives. Topics related to developing self-regulatory capabilities for learning and life could include: learning habits for school and work; learning with the purpose in mind; creating opportunities to be responsible at school and in the workplace; skills to develop for a successful transition from school to work; children and parents as a learning community; learning begins with desire, commitment and engagement, connecting learning at school to what's real, stepping stones that facilitate effective learning, actual engagement through the need to know and do, affordances and barriers to developing self-regulatory learning capacity, self-management through self-awareness; and knowing when and how to become informed.
capabilities for learning and life, motivation, responsibility, self-management, self-regulation, self-regulated learning
Other Education
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor: Professor Patrick Danaher
Other Supervisors: Dr Karen Peel
Suicide Talk: Client, Clinician, Bereaved by Suicide, and Online Interactions
Description: More Australians die from suicide than road deaths every year. Lifeline estimates that for each person who completes suicide at least 30 people have attempted suicide, and a further 2000 people a da...
More Australians die from suicide than road deaths every year. Lifeline estimates that for each person who completes suicide at least 30 people have attempted suicide, and a further 2000 people a day think about ending their life. Predicting with certainty who will attempt suicide is difficult. What we know is that those who attempt suicide are more likely to have a pre-existing mental health problem than not. Organisations such as Beyond Blue, R U Ok, and Lifeline outline suicide prevention strategies that revolve around talking about suicide with the person you are worried about. However little empirical research has focused on how suicide is actually talked about between clinicians and clients, those bereaved by suicide, or in online spaces. There are suggestions for what to ask but little guidance on how to ask about what are delicate matters. The aim of this project is to explore how suicide talk is constituted. Depending on the student’s interest this may be between clinicians and clients, those bereaved by suicide, or in online suicide support forums.
Conversation analysis; Suicide; Online therapy; Internet; Online peer support; Discursive Psychology, Therapy, Interpretative phenomenological analysis, Psychobiography
Clinical Sciences,Other Medical and Health Sciences,Public Health and Health Services
Centre for Health Sciences Research,School of Psychology and Counselling
Principal Supervisor: Professor Andrea Lamont-Mills
Other Supervisors: Dr Carol du Plessis, Dr Raquel Peel
Enhancing the Properties of FRP Tubes to be Used as Columns
Description: The use of Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) tubes in structural applications such as columns and beams dates back to decades. USQ was engaged in investigating the behaviour of pultruded FRP beams and t...
The use of Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) tubes in structural applications such as columns and beams dates back to decades. USQ was engaged in investigating the behaviour of pultruded FRP beams and this research came into practice when Queensland Transport MainRoads starts using FRP composite girders to rehabilitate the deteriorated timber bridge girders. On the other hand, FRP confinement is predominantly used in columns to improve the properties of concrete such as ductility and strength and it is very well researched and documented. This research aims to investigate the use of FRP tubes especially in slender column applications and the possibility of using them to replace the timber piles in aging timber bridges in Queensland.
FRP tubes; columns; timber bridges; rehabilitation; structures; materials engineering
Civil Engineering,Interdisciplinary Engineering,Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,Institute for Resilient Regions,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Thiru Aravinthan
Other Supervisors: Assoc Prof Weena Lokuge
Development of Bio-Composites Using Renewable Agricultural Biomass
Description: Bio-composites are composite materials that are created by adding two or more dissimilar materials such as a natural fibre and a synthetic/bio-based polymer, both of which contribute to the strength ...
Bio-composites are composite materials that are created by adding two or more dissimilar materials such as a natural fibre and a synthetic/bio-based polymer, both of which contribute to the strength while retaining the structural integrity of the final product. Natural fibres such as flax, alpaca, hemp, jute and wood fibres are bio-degradable in nature, used in reinforcement of composites by adding into different thermoplastic matrices. The benefit of bio-composite materials over other conventional material with a view to their higher specific strength, stiffness and fatigue characteristics, which permits structural design to be more adaptable. Moreover, bio-composites offer bio-degradability; higher tensile strength, low specific gravity, recyclability, and renewability. Therefore, bio-composite materials are being used to manufacture medical instruments and also other new areas, because these materials are not physically dangerous. Different types of fibre materials are used in bio-composites like as flax, alpaca, hemp, jute and wood fibres and researcher are trying to use new materials for bio-composites. This new dimension of the research will help to develop new area of bio-composite research and also help to develop agricultural sector through utilising diversified agricultural biomass for economic development.
Bio-composite, natural fibres, polymer, agricultural biomass.
Materials Engineering
Centre for Future Materials,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Mainul Islam
Other Supervisors: Professor Hao Wang
Sentiment Analysis for Detection of Depressive Users on Social Networks
Description: Many people are suffering from depression without knowledge of it. As a result, they are unable to access to appropriate helps. Finding and helping such depressive people have motivated us in the wor...
Many people are suffering from depression without knowledge of it. As a result, they are unable to access to appropriate helps. Finding and helping such depressive people have motivated us in the work proposed in this thesis project, which will evaluate users' expressions on social networks and alert potential depression adopting the techniques in natural language processing, text mining and sentiment analysis. With the outcome of the work, social workers can find depressive people and deliver help to them efficiently; guardians like parents can have an eye on their children's psychological conditions closely; people suffering from minor depression can monitor their psychological conditions easily, so that they could pull back at early stage and avoid falling into more severe circumstances if anything wrong is happening. The proposed thesis will make potential theoretical contributions to understandings of depression on social networks, as well methodological contributions to text mining and sentiment analysis.
Sentiment analysis, opinion mining, social networks, depression
Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing,Information Systems,Other Psychology and Cognitive Sciences,Public Health and Health Services
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Assoc Prof Xiaohui Tao
Other Supervisors: Professor Ji Zhang
Assessment of waste aggregation and codigestion for increased adoption of biogas opportunities for Australian agriculture
Description: On-farm, intensive feed and processing sectors from red meat, dairy and pork industries produce significant quantities of waste. Understanding key information gaps on waste composition and quantities...
On-farm, intensive feed and processing sectors from red meat, dairy and pork industries produce significant quantities of waste. Understanding key information gaps on waste composition and quantities in these industries is a fundamental step to fully realising the opportunities in unlocking new revenue streams to produce energy products, fertilisers, feeds and chemicals for use in agriculture. This project will assess waste aggregation opportunities across these industries in combination with waste from municipal water treatment and explore options to integrate novel conversion technologies that increase the conversion of organic waste to energy using co-digestion.
Organic waste, codigestion, anaerobic digestion, biogas, agriculture, red meat processing, pork, dairy, waste water treatment
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Chemical Engineering,Environmental Engineering,Environmental Science and Management,Industrial Biotechnology,Interdisciplinary Engineering
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment,National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture,School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Principal Supervisor: Professor Bernadette McCabe
Other Supervisors: Dr Stephan Tait
Interaction of the Indian and Australian summer monsoons
Description: The onset of the Australian summer monsoon (ASM) is marked by a sudden transition from a dry to a wet regime over northern Australia. Knowing the approximate timing of this transition is of great imp...
The onset of the Australian summer monsoon (ASM) is marked by a sudden transition from a dry to a wet regime over northern Australia. Knowing the approximate timing of this transition is of great importance for primary producers. In 2019, there was a delay in the transitional rainfall onset by about 20 days compared to the long-term average, contributing to the driest Nov-Dec period on record for northern Australia. Prior to this, the 2019 Indian summer monsoon (ISM, June to September) withdrew more than a month later than usual. This, along with the delayed ASM onset was linked to cooler-than normal eastern Indian Ocean temperatures extending beyond December. The main challenge moving forward is to better understand what drives the seasonal variations in the ISM and ASM, with the strong focus on improving predictability at longer (seasonal) lead times. This project will delve into the ISM-ASM relationship, in terms of the large-scale drivers that are associated with variations in ASM onset and amplitude, and its connection to the ISM using a variety of observations, reanalyses and climate model simulations. The project will employ the Bureau of Meteorology's latest seasonal climate forecast system (ACCESS-S) and evaluate the ISM-ASM relationship in a seasonal hindcast predictability framework. A possible project extension may include using the recently available CMIP6 model archive to study the ISM-ASM relationship, both from a historical decadal perspective and in future projections. The outcomes from this project will include a comprehensive understanding of the role of oceanic variability in driving monsoon variability and its potential predictability, which will aid the development of more skilful seasonal predictions of the ASM. Potential research students interested in developing a project proposal in this field are invited to contact us to discuss their ideas. Prior computational knowledge not essential but is desirable.
rainfall onset, seasonal variation, ACCESS S, predictability
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management,Atmospheric Sciences,Oceanography
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Principal Supervisor: Professor Roger Stone
Other Supervisors: Mr David Cobon, Dr Timothy Cowan, Dr Chelsea Jarvis, Dr Sharmila Sur
3D GIS and Applications
Description: 3D GIS offers new insights into spatial data for 3D modelling and visualisation and has attracted increasing interest in a wide range of applications. Technologies for high quality terrain and other ...
3D GIS offers new insights into spatial data for 3D modelling and visualisation and has attracted increasing interest in a wide range of applications. Technologies for high quality terrain and other 3D object data acquisition are advancing rapidly. Recently, it has been shown that airborne and terrestrial laser scanning systems provide efficient way to acquire high-quality 3D data. Innovation in 3D modelling technologies and software such as 3D visualisation environment of ArcScene and ArcGlobe in ArcGIS, KML (Keyhole Markup Language) in support of presentation of GIS data in Google Earth, CityGML and newly available Esri CityEngine for 3D city modelling, make it possible to efficient 3D visualisation and modelling. Potential master and PhD students can select 3D GIS topics they are interested in: • Multi-source 3D data integration for 3D modelling • 3D modelling and geodatabase integration • 3D city modelling and applications • Integration of 3D GIS and Building Information Modeling (BIM) • 3D technologies for urban and regional planning • 3D GIS for natural resources and environmental management • 3D utility management • 3D cadastre.
GIS, 3D GIS, Remote Sensing, Spatial Science, 3D Modelling, 3D Visualization, 3D Cadastre, 3D City Modelling, 3D Urban and Regional Planning, Building Information Modelling, BIM
Environmental Science and Management,Geomatic Engineering
International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences,School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Xiaoye Liu
Other Supervisors: Dr Zhenyu Zhang
Growing Up in Growing Cities
Description: Professor Sue Saltmarsh and other members of the supervisory team are leading a new, multi-disciplinary program of research concerned with factors that shape the everyday lives, aspirations, opportun...
Professor Sue Saltmarsh and other members of the supervisory team are leading a new, multi-disciplinary program of research concerned with factors that shape the everyday lives, aspirations, opportunities and perceived futures of children and families living in rapid growth areas of metropolitan and regional cities. An estimated 54.5 per cent of the world's population currently live in urban settlements, a number that is expected to increase to 60 per cent by 2030. This program of research focuses specifically on the ways that families navigate the opportunities, challenges and demands of everyday life in growing metropolitan and regional cities, enabling better understandings about how policy, planning and infrastructure, provision of public and private services, and community building can best facilitate positive outcomes for children growing up in growing cities. The proposed project takes three domains of everyday life as foci of inquiry: 1) health, safety and wellbeing; 2) early childhood education & care, schooling, and other educational opportunities; and 3) recreational, cultural and community activities. Research in Australia and internationally highlights a number of areas within these foci of inquiry that merit in-depth investigation. These include: - Ways in which living in rapid growth areas impacts on the everyday lives, aspirations and perceived future prospects of children and families, with respect to one of the three foci of inquiry: either 1) health, safety & wellbeing; 2) early childhood education & care, schooling and other educational opportunities; or 3) recreational, cultural and community activities - Factors that influence the decisions of families to live in or relocate to rapid population growth areas of metropolitan or regional cities - Experiences of families from specific cultural groups relocating to or living in rapid growth areas of metropolitan or regional cities - Challenges and opportunities associated with availability of and access to local infrastructure and service provision perceived as impacting on the quality of life for children and families - Effects of rapid growth on at-risk groups living in or displaced by local development - Representational and cultural practices that are typically encountered in everyday life in growing cities - Everyday spatial practices of place, and the ways that these are implicated in subjectivities and social relations This program of research can accommodate postgraduate students interested in exploring any of the above topics, or other related topics in consultation with Professor Saltmarsh. The research team has expertise in social, cultural, educational and economic theory, and draws on qualitative research methodologies including ethnography, visual ethnography, discourse analysis, social semiotics and case study, and quantitative methods including surveys, questionnaires and statistical analysis.
education, early childhood education, schools, children’s health, safety, wellbeing, regional cities, metropolitan cities, families, communities, culture
Specialist Studies in Education
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Principal Supervisor:
Other Supervisors: Dr Sayan Chakrabarty
Forward Osmosis Technology for Resource Recovery
Description: Typical supernatant from anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge and primary sludge contains 100-200 mg/L COD, 300-400 mg/L ammonia and 80-100 mg/L phosphorus. After dewatering, this supernatan...
Typical supernatant from anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge and primary sludge contains 100-200 mg/L COD, 300-400 mg/L ammonia and 80-100 mg/L phosphorus. After dewatering, this supernatant is normally recycled to the head of the wastewater treatment plant which puts an additional load on the waste activated sludge process. An alternative to this is to concentrate the supernatant using forward osmosis membrane which is a natural process requiring no energy input. An increase in concentration of soluble ammonia and phosphorus by a factor of 10 will facilitate without any doubts their recovery via precipitation as struvite or apatite. Recovery of nitrogen and phosphorus as solid fertilizer is a great concern worldwide as these elements are highly valuable in agriculture
Forward osmosis; resource recovery (nitrogen and phosphorus); Anaerobic digestion; wastewater; bioreactor; membrane; biorefinery; sustainability
Chemical Engineering,Environmental Biotechnology,Environmental Engineering
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Principal Supervisor: Dr Antoine Trzcinski
Other Supervisors: Professor Jochen Bundschuh