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Chemistry, physics and mechanical engineering


Our research focuses on innovations in health, the environment, and sustainable resources, in areas ranging from the development of new medical treatments and devices to the identification and assessment of pollutants and air quality.

Research disciplines

Our research strengths include biomedical engineering, and materials science and engineering. We aim to ensure national wealth and develop frontier technologies which will transform the construction, communications, transport, energy, power generation, agriculture, and medical fields.

We achieve this through access to world-class infrastructure, including the Medical Engineering Research Facility (MERF), Central Analytical Research Facility (CARF), the Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant (MRBPP) and the high-tech laboratories at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI).

We have achieved significant outcomes across a broad range of engineering research areas, including:

  • advancements in energy
  • orthopaedics and trauma
  • tissue regeneration
  • understanding pollutant particulate formation
  • new materials fabrication and characterisation techniques.

Our researchers are also delivering capability into QUT's Institute for Future Environments (IFE) and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), as well as the Translational Research Institute (TRI). These multidisciplinary research institutes are focused on solutions to global challenges, and developed in partnership with industry and government, both nationally and globally.


Evidence of research quality

ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) 2015 scores:

  • 3 (at world standard)
    • Analytical Chemistry (FOR 0301)
    • Civil Engineering (FOR 0905)
    • Physical Sciences (FOR 02)
  • 4 (above world standard)
    • Biomedical Engineering (FOR 0903)
    • Chemical Sciences (FOR 03)
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering (FOR 0906)
    • Engineering (FOR 09)
    • Environmental Engineering (FOR 0907)
    • Mechanical Engineering (FOR 0913)
    • Physical Chemistry (FOR 0306)
    • Other Physical Sciences (FOR 0299)
    • Organic Chemistry (FOR 0305)
  • 5 (well above world standard)
    • Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry (FOR 0303)
    • Materials Engineering (FOR 0912)

ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) evaluates the quality of research undertaken in Australian universities against national and international benchmarks.

Publication output

Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) publication collections 2012-2014 (HERDC points)

  • B-Book Chapter: 18.591
  • C1-Journal Article: 715.004
  • E1-Conference Paper: 104.563

Research income

HERDC Category 1-4



Head of School

Biomedical engineering and medical physics

Energy and process engineering

Mechanical systems and asset management

Nanotechnology and molecular science


Grants and projects

(Category 1: Australian Competitive Grants only) 2009-2019

ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA)

  • Electronic structure on both sides of the Fermi level in molecular material
  • Development of novel photocatalysts for reducing carbon dioxide to useful products using solar energy
  • Purification of contaminated waste waters by modified Bayer layered double hydroxides

ARC Discovery Projects

  • Formation, photochemistry and fate of gas-phase peroxyl radicals
  • Two-dimensional graphitic carbon nitride heterostructures for solar hydrogen production
  • Dislocation motion and anelastic recovery in layered ceramic titanate
  • Modulation of air-conditioning settings to destroy respiratory viruses
  • Development of novel plasma-enabled processes for growth of high-quality graphene films for applications in touch screen devices
  • Driving chemical reactions by visible and ultraviolet light on supported noble metal nanoparticles
  • Development and validation of virtual epithelial cancer models using an integrated modelling and experimental three dimensional approach
  • Interplay between mechanical and biological microenvironments in chondrocyte function: towards an understanding of cartilage pathology
  • Detection, characteristics and dynamics of airborne engineered nanoparticles for human exposure assessment
  • Convergence of biomaterials and immunology: a technology platform for delayed burst release of vaccines
  • A fundamental study into the role of the organic fraction on the toxicity of combustion generated airborne particles
  • Hypoxia-mimicking bio-scaffold for skeleton regeneration
  • Nitroxide-containing scaffolds for controlling biofilm-related infections
  • An interdisciplinary approach to air pollution exposure monitoring using mobile phone technology
  • GBR as a significant source of climatically relevant aerosol particles
  • Characterization of mechanical behaviour of TiO2 nanotube thin films
  • Developing photocatalysis of supported metal nanoparticles to drive various chemical synthesis reactions at moderate temperatures using sunlight

ARC Future Fellowships

  • Innovative multiscale modelling to explore mechanical properties of single living cells
  • Quantum dot-sensitised solar cells: can efficiency beyond the Shockley-Queisser limit be achieved
  • Fighting slime with free radicals - new surface coatings for biofilm remediation
  • Designing and synthesising co-crystals that will influence design of new smart, solid-state materials with potential for use in future high-technology applications

ARC Linkage Projects

  • Establishing advanced networks for air quality sensing and analyses
  • A new generation high crash energy absorbing barrier for improved road safety
  • Bone tissue engineering using innovative tubular dual-layered nanofiber meshes
  • Quantification of airborne engineered nanoparticles: developing a scientific framework to inform their regulation and control
  • Modelling and characterisation of radiation beams used in radiotherapy
  • Optimising gaseous and particulate emissions from diesel engines
  • Investigation of the biology of insulin-like growth factor 1 and its derivatives for the development of new therapeutics
  • Electricity demand side management: models, optimisation and customer engagement
  • From innovators to mainstream market: a toolkit for transforming Australian housing and maximising sustainability outcomes for stakeholders
  • SmartMatrix™ approaches towards neo vascularisation in bone repair
  • A novel electrospraying technology platform for controlled and targeted growth factor delivery
  • Customer responsive risk-managed network planning
  • Monitoring intuitive expertise in the context of airport security screening
  • Improving productivity and efficiency of Australian airports: a real time analytics and statistical approach

Additional Category 1 projects

  • Cementogenesis and new periodontal attachment formation using cell sheets
  • Diesel PM risk factors
  • DPM risk factors extension: effect of cooled exhaust and scrubber on toxic particulate formation
  • Characterisation of the elemental composition of sea spray particles collected during the Surface Ocean Aerosol Production (SOAP) 2012 voyage
  • Collaboration with three leading Chinese groups to develop a comprehensive platform for in-depth understanding of nanomaterial behaviours based on theoretical, numerical and experimental studies


Research collaboration network


  • Bondor
  • Curtin University of Technology
  • Department of Treasury and Finance Western Australia
  • Finlay Homes
  • Griffith University
  • James Cook University
  • Monash University
  • Peak3
  • Queensland Institute of Medical Research
  • RMIT University
  • Stockland
  • Surgical Research Australia
  • Sydney South West Area Health Service
  • Synthes Australia
  • The University of Adelaide
  • The University of Melbourne
  • The University of Queensland
  • The University of Sydney
  • The University of Western Australia
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • University of Western Sydney
  • University of Wollongong
  • Woolcock Institute of Medical Research


  • AO Research Institute Switzerland
  • ETH Zurich
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Harvard University
  • Hiroshima University
  • Imperial College London
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Max-Planck Institut
  • Nagoya University
  • National University of Singapore
  • Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • Tsinghua University
  • University of Antwerp
  • University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Hong Kong
  • University of Karlsruhe
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Utrecht
  • Wuerzburg University Hospital

Key research and engagement vehicles

  • Australia-China Centre for Air Quality Science and Management
  • Australia-China Centre for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
  • AutoCRC
  • Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities
  • CRC for Polymers
  • Defence Materials Technology Centre
  • FP7 Activity
  • Institute for Future Environments
  • Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
  • International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health
  • Mater Hospital
  • Prince Charles Hospital
  • Princess Alexandra Hospital
  • The Wesley Hospital
  • Translational Research Institute
  • Wound Management Innovation CRC


Awards and recognition

  • Professor Christopher Barner-Kowollik has been recognised with an ARC Australian Laurete Fellowship valued at $3.276 million to fund his project: Light-induced chemical modularity: a new frontier in macromolecular design.
  • Associate Professor Tim Dargaville's $800k ARC Future Fellowship grant is supporting research on sophisticated bio-inks to supply nutrients and remove waste products from 3D-printed replacement body organs. Tim and his team are also investigating new materials to support nerve regeneration in 3D-printed organs.
  • Dr Azharul Karim was awarded an Advance Queensland Research Fellowship in 2016 for his research into intelligent microwave assisted convective dryers for agricultural products.
  • Professor Lidia Morawska and team were awarded an ARC linkage scheme grant of $445,000 to develop innovative, cost-effective, high resolution air quality networks, partnering with government and Beijing's Tsinghua University.
  • Professor Mark Pearcy is a past recipient of the Engineers Australia - College of Biomedical Engineers David Dewhurst Award for outstanding contribution to the profession of Biomedical Engineering.


School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

  • Level 7, O Block, Room 703
    Gardens Point

Research degree enquiries

Science and Engineering research office

  • Level Level 4, O Block
    Gardens Point

Partnership enquiries

Research and Innovation

Contact for research partnership opportunities with our Science and Engineering Faculty.