Faculty of
Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

Professor Vicki Chen
Professor Vicki Chen, Executive Dean

I hope you and your families are safe and well as Covid-19 continues to have widespread impact on our alumni, students, staff and friends throughout the world.

As we all continue to adapt to the ever-evolving circumstances, I am delighted to share some positive news and achievements that have occurred since my last update in July.

Following our transition to online teaching delivery for semester one, semester two has presented additional challenges as we implemented a mixed-mode of teaching delivery. With extensive COVID-Safe plans in place, we welcomed students who are able to do so, back to campus, whilst continuing to offer online delivery for those students unable to join us in person. I’m continuously inspired by the resilience, dedication and adaptability of not only our teaching and support staff, but all of our staff who continue to implement innovative ways to pursue our goals during these challenging times.

In August we were delighted to welcome our new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deborah Terry who joined us after more than six years as Vice-Chancellor and President of Curtin University in Western Australia. Professor Terry is well known to the UQ community having worked here for 24 years before moving to Curtin in 2014. We’re looking forward to working closely with our new Vice-Chancellor to strengthen our position as one of the world’s top 50 universities.

We are looking forward to welcoming the first cohort in 2021 into our new Bachelor of Design. This program is a major step in the Faculty’s ambition to recognise design as a future area of growth and focus across UQ. I encourage you to view a video we developed which is a brilliant introduction to the degree featuring staff from across UQ who will teach into the program, as well as alumni and members of our Design Industry Advisory Board who collectively shape what our aspirations for the program are.

I am always proud to hear about our inspirational alumni and celebrate their achievements. Congratulations to three alumni from the Faculty of EAIT who were amongst UQ’s esteemed alumni community recognised in the 2020 UQ Alumni Awards recently, including mechanical engineers Rob Caslick (Bachelor of Engineering 1998) and Dr John Maunder (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery 2016 Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) 2012), as well as production designer and Emmy award winning art director Deborah Riley (Bachelor of Design Studies 1993).

Congratulations also to former Brisbane Lions AFL player and final year UQ student Justin Clarke who is bound for Oxford University after being named Queensland’s 2021 Rhodes Scholar. Justin will graduate in December from a dual program with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) and a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics).

There have also been many significant research achievements and projects taking place across the Faculty. Recently, five of the world’s finest tissue engineering experts, including our own Head of our School of Chemical Engineering Professor Justin Cooper-White, came together to present the latest research from their field in the prestigious scientific journal, Nature. Along with Professor Cooper-White, researchers from Stanford University, Harvard University and University of Pennsylvania have reviewed the work investigating how the viscoelasticity of our extracellular matrix, the mixture of proteins and sugar-like molecules that surround the cells (and stem cells) in our tissues, impacts on cell behaviours.

Geotechnical researchers from our School of Civil Engineering received an impressive $4-million cash injection from industry that marked the beginning of the next phase of research for a large-scale geotechnical project headed up by UQ experts. Professor David Williams and Dr Mehdi Serati have managed the Large Open Pit Project from UQ’s civil engineering home base, since 2017, and recently secured the management of further funding to begin phase three of the project, which will run until 2022.

Finally, on Wednesday 21 October for UQ Giving Day, we celebrated and thanked our incredible community of donors for making a significant difference to empowering students to succeed, and for supporting our researchers to advance knowledge and develop solutions that tackle some of the global challenges facing our society. Watch this inspiring video showcasing just a few of the many examples of the extraordinary impact philanthropy is having on our students and researchers.

I encourage you to view our latest stories and news in this issue of Insight. Thank you for your ongoing engagement and support. 

Yours sincerely,

Vicki