School of Accountancy
Philanthropy (defined here as structured giving through organisations such as foundations) is growing strongly and expected to benefit significantly from the intergenerational transfer of wealth in the coming decades. The accountability of philanthropy is a vital discussion, as criticism grows internationally of the lack of transparency, particularly for wealthy philanthropists who use their retained influence over donated and taxpayer-subsided funds to pursue their individual interests and influence public policy. There are current calls for a national blueprint or strategy for Australian philanthropy in the next 20 years, however there is a critical shortage of research underpinning such plans. This project will build the evidence base for future accountability.
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Mitigating Vehicular Crashes into Building Using New Materials Technology and Advanced Modelling Techniques
Vehicular crashes into buildings in on-going and increasing with time due to population increases in cities and the consequent increase in the number of vehicles, buildings close to road edges due to land scarcity and at times due to weather and terrorist activities. These crashes cost dearly in terms of property damage and harm to occupants of the building and the vehicle. We are trialing an innovative auxetic composite render for the vulnerable walls of building in order to mitigate the adverse effects of vehicular crashes. Preliminary work has been encouraging.
Transport tunnels play an important role in the transport system of a city and they include tunnels for both bus and car travel as well as those for train travel. As these tunnels are locations of high density of people, they can become the target of terrorist attacks such as bomb explosions. This project aims to mitigate the adverse effects of bomb explosions through the use of new materials technology.
Expansive soil has wide application in industry and research. An example includes compacted bentonite which can be used in landfill cover and as a buffer barrier in nuclear deep geological deposition. If these materials undergo desiccation, it can experience a significant volume decrease. This compromises the integrity and function of these geostructures, threatening their safety and reliability. In this project, we'll study molecular dynamics to investigate the underlying mechanism of bentonite's behaviour during drying and provide guidance for material improvement.
School of Chemistry and Physics
Macromolecular Barcoding for Tracing Plastic Materials for the Circular Economy - A Game Changer for Recycling
Plastic waste reduction and management is perhaps the most critical challenge facing modern economies, and plastic pollution cannot be resolved by generic approaches to research or to problem-solving. QUT's Soft Matter Materials Team aims to resolve the anonymity and ubiquity of plastics by pioneering a simple optical readout system that can identify the uniquely coded information in macromolecules that have been embedded in plastics. You will be part of this dynamic team led by ARC Laureate Fellow, Christopher Barner-Kowollik, from QUT’s Centre for Materials Science and School of Chemistry and Physics.
Plasma nanoscience and nanotechnology is a rapidly emerging multidisciplinary research topic focusing on physical, chemical, and biological effects of low-temperature plasmas. Our research focuses on the unique plasma-specific effects which lead to the unusual structure, properties, and performance of the materials that are newly created or modified using precise, economic, and environment-friendly plasma technologies.
Plasmonic metal nanoparticles (NP) can intensely absorb visible light due to the localised surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) effect. This is where the conduction electrons gain the energy of the incident light through LSPR effect. Furthermore, the oscillating electric dipole generates intense electromagnetic field in close proximity to the NP. The application of photo-excited energetic electrons in direct photocatalysis of metal NPs is well established by our previous studies. However, the plasmonic field enhancement property has not yet been widely used in important chemical synthesis due to the challenge of designing a feasible catalyst-reaction system directly applying the field enhancement. On the plasmonic metal nanoparticle surface, light irradiation can change the molecule adsorption on the surface. This adsorption selectivity change is due to the enhanced electromagnetic field of the plasmonic metal. Different wavelengths contribute to tune this selectivity more accurately in a molecular level. We have only been able to observe this phenomenon from the concentration change of bulk solution in our previous study. We haven't been able to see directly from the surface. Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF SIMS) is a surface-sensitive analytical method that uses a pulsed ion beam to identify molecules from the very outermost surface of the sample. This is a helpful characterisation tool for visualising the adsorption process.
Developing 'light-controllable product selectivity switches' is of great interest in cross-coupling reactions-based chemical synthesis. Nanoparticles (NPs) of plasmonic metals can intensely absorb visible light due to the localised surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) effect. This is the conduction electrons gain the energy of the incident light through LSPR effect. Furthermore, the oscillating electric dipole generates intense electromagnetic field in close proximity to the NP. The application of photo-excited energetic electrons in direct photocatalysis of metal NPs is well established by our previous studies. However, the plasmonic field enhancement property hasn't been widely used in important chemical synthesis due to the challenge of designing a feasible catalyst-reaction system directly applying the field enhancement. In this project, we aim to develop a one pot synthesis of macrocycles using the wavelength to tune Sonogashira or Glaser coupling, with controllable cyclisation selectivity under diluted conditions.
The future of electronics and optoelectronics is expected to be flexible, in order to be applied to various applications that we can bend, flex, wrap and wear: flexible pressure sensors, flexible photodetectors, flexible solar cells, flexible gas sensors, flexible ion batteries and electronic skins. In this project, we use the state-of-the-art in situ Transmission Electron Microscopy to study mechanical, electrical and optoelectronic properties of functional semiconductors at the nanometre scale, and finally fabricate a flexible device application in one of the best laboratories in Australia.
This project aims to synthesis novel materials and multimodal (optical/electrochemical, laser-based) sensors for the point of care and in-field rapid and non-invasive screening of various compounds such as disease biomarkers, environmental toxins and concealed energetic substances. The project also aims to develop new nano formulations for enhanced drug delivery of drugs and nanosensor for the therapeutic monitoring of drugs.
Metal ion batteries (such as lithium, potassium, and sodium) where alkali metal ions shuttles between positive and negative electrodes, have been extensively studied due to their high energy density and long cycle life. However, the flammable electrolytes such as carbonate limits their practical applications. For instance, failure of lithium-ion batteries has led to public safety concerns in recent years. Thus, exploring green and safe electrolytes with excellent electrochemical performance is vital for the development of sustainable batteries. This project aims to develop green and safe ionic liquid based electrolytes for metal-ion batteries.
In nature, biological species have evolved optimal structures for millions of years with amazing characteristics and swift stimulus-responsive capabilities to suit their living environment, which give inspirations for designing smart functional materials. Many of these smart materials have surfaces that dynamically alter their physicochemical properties in response to changes in their environmental conditions and to triggered control of interfacial properties. In this project, novel bio-inspired interfaces and surfaces with switchable wettability will be developed based on the understanding of the relationships among the composition, structures, and properties of biological surfaces by the means of combinations of modern analytical technologies and tools.
The beginning of the 21st century has witnessed enormous advancements in Li-ion battery (LIB) technologies due to the increased usage of portable devices (mobile phones, laptops, cameras, etc.), and large-scale energy-storage systems (electric vehicles and renewable sources). As LIBs continue to electrify our world, it will generate large amounts of scrap (estimated to be over 11 million tonnes of spent LIBs until 2030), which is going to be the serious environmental thread as LIBs contains toxic electrolytes and heavy metals. With State bans on batteries in landfill, and limited recycling-infrastructure, which currently uses toxic chemicals, an immediate problem is clear. This project aims to recycle the materials from used Li-ion batteries such as graphite, metal oxides, separators etc. and transform them into usable products, thus closing the recycling loop.
School of Economics and Finance
Recent changes to Commonwealth legislation require fisheries management decisions to explicitly take into consideration recreational and indigenous users of the resource. Similar requirements are also in place in most State fisheries. This is primarily a social and economic issue, and is primarily to involve allocation of the resource between the different sectors, either as a share of a total allowable catch or a spatial allocation of where different groups may operate (net free zones, customary fishing only areas for example.).
School of Electrical Engineering and Robotics
School of Justice
Associate Professor Kelly Richards is interested in talking to students who wish to undertake research on the topics of youth justice and sexual offending.
School of Psychology and Counselling
The aim of this project is to combine Indigenous art and storytelling traditions to provide rich insights into Indigenous perspectives on travelling safely in country. The long-term objective is to translate the findings into road safety education resources. Access to safe travel for work, study, visiting family and friends and for daily needs and essential services, including health services, underlies our ability to stay safe and well. While many of us can take this for granted, many people lack their own means of travel or funds for public transport or other travel needs. Safe travel is often compromised in Indigenous communities, including in cities as well as regional and remote areas of Australia. Risk of being fatally injured as a driver is 2.5 times higher than non-Indigenous travellers, 4.6 higher as a pedestrian and 4.8 times higher as a passenger. The findings from this project will be used in efforts to extend the reach of road safety education initiatives to Indigenous communities and advocate for improved access to driver licensing services and other supports.
Centres and Cross-Faculty
QUT’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) envisions a safer world in which injury-related harm is uncommon and unacceptable. We aim to make an international impact on transport, occupation, and community safety by conducting high-quality research, education, and advocacy. New technologies, such as cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS), advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS), and automated vehicles (AV) can help to achieve this goal. It covers a broad range of disciplines, from behavioural sciences to engineering.
CARRS-Q is a partner of leading Australian projects to drive innovation in transport, owns unique facilities that include a full-size driving simulator and an automated vehicle (Zoe2, funded by the Cooperative and Highly Automated Driving safety study, an iMOVE Australia project funded by iMOVE, the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads and the Queensland University of Technology), and has access to several large database gathering real-life driving situations. For both facilities, CARRS-Q has access to all signal that the systems can generate. The automated vehicle has been demonstrated on public road, with real traffic condition, in Shailer Park and in Ipswich.
Current research areas of interest includes: using innovative technologies to investigate data gathered in the largest Australian Field Operational Test on C-ITS and estimate the risk exposure, the evolution of driving performance with regard to C-ITS driving assistances; developing new methods and algorithms to improve the road safety by deploying safe AV, such as monitoring sensors’ and algorithms’ performance in Australian environment, defining new decision-making processes and path planning approaches that provide safety benefit; exploring sensors’ database to create new surrogate safety metrics and to describe the completion of the database regarding road safety scenarios; using augmented and virtual reality to prototype, evaluate and understand the use of such technologies informed by real scenarios; developing the framework to predict future uses of C-ITS and Automated Transport technologies, and their impact at a societal level depending on market penetration and policies.
QUT’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland and Jamieson Trauma Institute share a common focus on the prevention of injury and trauma as a result of road crashes. We work with people and data to address current and emerging issues and trends, with a focus on policy and practice relevant research. This spans multiple disciplines, particularly including epidemiology, engineering, and behavioural and health sciences and services.
Our research with people crosses university, hospital and community settings, spanning all road users (drivers, riders, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians) and vehicle types (e.g., cars, motorcycles, heavy vehicles and rideables) across the age spectrum. Routinely collected data informing our research endeavours include police-recorded crashes, vehicle operator licence status and offences, emergency medical services responses, emergency department presentations, hospital admissions, autopsy reports, coroner records, and compulsory third party (CTP) insurance and WorkCover claims. Research strengths include data linkage and analysis, including complex modelling, machine learning, observation and qualitative methods.
Current project areas of interest for joint supervision include: exploring intersections between clinical and epidemiological data, such as the role of social determinants of health, particularly rurality, Indigeneity, socio-economic status and mental health; better understanding the biomechanics of injury, trauma and survivability outcomes from the point of crash, including the roles of vehicles, geographical locations, first responder/emergency responses and/or treatment options; understanding barriers and facilitators to access and use of CTP insurance and subsequent outcomes; exploring potential innovations in prevention and emergency responses offered by advances in cooperative and automated vehicles; and exploring current shifts in data trends in the context of COVID-19, including in relation to seasonal patterns and people movements.
We are interested in co-supervising research on First Nation mobility that is relevant for both Health and Law. First Nation mobility is not just about preventing road injuries but is a fundamental expression of First Nation sovereignty. To move freely across country, to connect with family, to meet cultural obligations and access education, health and employment opportunities, is foundational for the wellbeing and strengthening of First Nation people, cultures and communities. Law and the justice system are often in conflict with First Nation mobility. Approaches to road policing and licensing and vehicle requirements restrict First Nation people's freedom of movement with significant consequences for the health and wellbeing of First Nation people, cultures and communities. Further these laws and policies directly contribute to the overrepresentation of First Nation people within the criminal justice system. Projects that explore the importance of First Nation mobility for First Nation sovereignty and projects that look at how law reform, policy change or proactive programs can support First Nation mobility are strongly welcomed.
We seek postgraduate students who are interested in working at the nexus between Indigenous ways and knowledge and the humanities. Our team collaborates internationally on a project intended to amplify the marginalised voices of Indigenous people in Australia and Canada by using personal narratives to expose and examine experiences when travelling by road. We believe that arts and humanities offer different ways of thinking about human history, culture, behaviour and experience which can be used to dissect, critique and influence practices and policies, such as addressing legal inequities that impact on health and mobilities. We are available to supervise interdisciplinary projects that look at topics such as trauma writing, storytelling, road safety, language and culture preservation, policy, decision making and justice, and the overlaps between these areas.