Faculty of
Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

Professor Vicki Chen
Professor Vicki Chen, Executive Dean

2020 is certainly going to be a year we will all remember and much has changed since my last message in March.

As you would all be well aware, the higher education sector is currently under significant pressure due to the impacts of COVID-19. I would also like to acknowledge that many of our students, alumni, friends and organisations that we work closely with have been heavily impacted and potentially will continue to be for some time. These are challenging times for everyone.

However, amidst the unprecedented global challenges we are all facing, our work at The University of Queensland plays a significant role in building a better, healthier, smarter and more prosperous future for us all. We continue to be strengthened by the support of our extensive community of staff, alumni, donors, industry partners and friends who help us in so many meaningful ways to achieve our goals, and for this I thank you dearly.

I am delighted that the impacts of COVID-19 have not stopped us from delivering on some innovative initiatives, taking challenges in our stride and achieving some great outcomes in research, and teaching and learning that I am pleased to share with you.

Over the past few months, our incredible staff across the Faculty and the university have worked tirelessly to transition all teaching online. I am proud to see our community continue to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances and implement innovative ways to ensure our students and researchers have the knowledge, skills and support to succeed. 

In April, a mission to design ventilators that could serve COVID-19 patients brought together more than 200 engineers and UQ students as part of a ventilator design hackathon that aimed to design a variety of open-source ventilator components in an effort to respond to COVID-19 related shortages. This initiative exposed our students to real-world challenges and emphasised the importance of effective communication and teamwork. It was a fantastic opportunity for them to work alongside industry professionals to make a lasting impact on the community.

You will be pleased to hear that the new Andrew N. Liveris Building is well and truly coming to life, as we see the services being installed, steel works and stairs installed on levels 4, 6 and 7, concrete pouring and formwork of the additional levels and service cores well under way. Before the end of July, the final concrete structure will be poured, in building terms “topping out the building” which is very exciting news.

In semester two we will welcome the first cohorts of students to our new Master of Urban Development and Design and Master of Cyber Security. Our new transdisciplinary Master of Urban Development and Design, the first of its kind in Queensland, will aim to meet the global trend of urbanisation by developing professionals who are both highly technically skilled and highly creative; designers and thinkers who relish a challenge and who are ready to reimagine not just Australia’s cities but cities across the globe. Our new Master of Cyber Security - the most comprehensive program of its kind in Australia - will be led by some of Asia-Pacific’s brightest minds across software engineering, computer science, artificial intelligence, business, criminology and law and ethics, addressing the interdisciplinary nature of the field, while meeting the need for deep technical specialisation.

Among many other important projects taking place in the research space, we are delighted to partner with the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre who recently announced a number of important projects that will underpin the next 10 years of industry and research collaborations, and will include a number of our researchers from UQ. The $329 million CRC projects will bring together aquaculture and renewable energy sectors to address the challenges of offshore food and energy production. Looking forward, we will be focusing more on new and emerging areas of discovery including Biomedical Engineering, Energy Transition, Design and Infrastructure, Circular Economy and Resource Engineering, strengthening our position and improving our reputation as global research leaders and a university in the world’s top 50.

I encourage you to keep up to date with our other news and upcoming events. Stay safe and I look forward to seeing everyone again soon.

Yours sincerely,

Vicki