Director's Report December 2019

6 Dec 2019

In February, we had the first intake of students on our Master of Engineering (Urban Water Engineering), AWMC’s first specialist Master program. 

Thanks to Dr Gilda Carvalho, who coordinated the program and kept the course leaders highly motivated, the feedback from students on the first year was strongly positive.  

We wouldn’t have had such a successful start without the help of our Industry Advisory Panel, particularly TRILITY, Aquatech Maxcon, Seqwater and Urban Utilities for their invaluable contributions, ideas, support and offers of student placements. 

We have also aligned with nine universities to create 3+2 pathways to ensure a steady stream of students becoming qualified Urban Water Engineers.

Another expansion of our teaching portfolio happened at the end of August, where AWMC officially took over the IWES Continuing Professional Development brand.

IWES has long been established as the largest provider of high-quality short course training for environment and water industry professionals in Australia, and will be a fantastic opportunity for AWMC to deliver the most advanced knowledge and cutting-edge technologies directly to the water industry. 

In 2019, AWMC has also been involved in the development of a MOOC on ‘Sustainable Resource Recovery from Used Water’, collaboration between UQ and Tsinghua University, China. This course will be launched on platforms such as EdEx, and Coursera in 2020.

Professor Damien Batstone was the winner of Fonterra Award at CHEMECA2019. This award recognises outstanding contributions in the industrial application of novel technology in the bioprocessing field. PhD student Rhys Pirie (jointly with School of Agriculture and Food Sciences) won Young Innovator of the Year at the world’s premier conference for research and innovation, Falling Walls Berlin, for a process that could turn waste glass into every day products.

PhD student Ji Lu won the Australian Water Association QLD Student Water Prize for his research into the impact of common bathroom products on antibiotic resistance. The MULFE project also took home the AWA QLD Research Innovation award for the use of iron salts in wastewater processing, which will reduce the amount of chemicals required in urban water management.

In the recent Faculty Awards, Dr Gilda Carvalho was awarded a Faculty Award in the Leadership category for her role in setting up the Master of Urban Water Engineering program and Dr Tim Huelsen received the Runner-Up award for early career researchers for his translational research work on purple phototrophic bacteria. On January 26, I was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia – a great honour for me. Congratulations all!

AWMC research also contributed to the first update of the IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Guideline in 13 years.  This is the result of a decade of research on greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater systems, in collaboration with utility partners.

In terms of research impact, AWMC’s Nature Index Fractional Count is 16.95 between 1st September 2018 and 31st August 2019, which would rank the 508th in the world if it were a university. Over 30% of our publications are among the 10% most-cited.

And our most recent announcement, our SeweX model has been licensed to Envirosuite. This fantastic partnership opportunity has been in the works for some time and it was a great honour to be able to publically announce it at last.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and safe holidays.