Research Awards recipients 2013


Vice-Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award

Dougal McCulloch

Professor Dougal McCulloch

College of Science, Engineering and Health, School of Applied Sciences

Professor Dougal McCulloch completed his PhD in 1994 at RMIT University. Since then, he has published more than 150 refereed research papers and been awarded over $3M in competitive grants in the fields of microscopy & microanalysis and advanced coating materials. He is the Discipline Head of Physics in the School of Applied Sciences and the Director of the RMIT Microscopy & Microanalysis Facility (RMMF).

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Vice-Chancellor’s Research Supervision Excellence Award

Margaret Lech

Dr Margaret Lech

College of Science, Engineering and Health, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr Margaret Lech has a Masters degree in Physics and Biomedical Engineering and a PhD in Electrical Engineering. Her interdisciplinary research collaboration has led to the development of speech-based diagnosis of clinical depression, as well as an efficient modelling methodology allowing the understanding of emotional interaction patterns in parent-child conversations.

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Vice-Chancellor’s Research Excellence - Early Career Researcher Award

Rosalea Monacella

Associate Professor Rosalea Monacella

College of Design and Social Context, School of Architecture and Design

Dr Rosalea Monacella is an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Design, and Co-Director of the research laboratory OUTR: Office of Urban Transformations. The focus of her research is the adaptation and transformation of the city at the nexus of the urban and natural environments that explores the infrastructural, economic, environmental and social complex systems that constitute the city.

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Vice-Chancellor’s Doctoral Research Excellence Prize

Jing Zhou

Dr Jing Zhou

College of Business, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing

Thesis Title: Investor protection and agency problems in family firms: Evidence from China

Dr Jing Zhou’s thesis investigates how China’s family companies make choices on corporate governance mechanisms to minimize agency costs with uneven legal investor protection. It produces new perspective and evidence on the governance of the increasingly important family businesses, challenging some conventional findings with implications for succession strategy and executive development.

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Vice-Chancellor’s Higher Degree by Research Publication Excellence Prize

Sivacarendran Balendhran

Mr Sivacarendran Balendhran

College of Science, Engineering and Health, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sivacarendran Balendhran's research involved developing electronic devices based on two dimensional (2D) semiconducting materials such as molybdenum trioxide (MoO3). He developed field effect transistors (FETs) based on 2D MoO3 with enhanced carrier mobilities, with operational characteristics that exceed any other 2D FETs to date. He has also proven the biosensing capabilities of 2D MoO3.

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RMIT University Research Excellence Award

Kefei Zhang

Professor Kefei Zhang

College of Science, Engineering and Health, SPACE Research Centre, School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences

Professor Kefei Zhang has made significant contribution to the fields of satellite positioning and geodesy. Kefei holds a number of international patents and has published widely. He is the recipient of the prestigious Australian Space Research Program platform technology project and an Australian pioneer in satellite technology for weather, climate and environmental studies.






Gavin Wood

Professor Gavin A. Wood

College of Design and Social Context, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies

Professor Gavin Wood’s main research interests are in urban economics, housing finance and labour economics. He has published widely and is currently on the International Editorial Advisory Boards of the academic journals Urban Studies and Housing Studies. Current research interests include the project “The Edges of Home Ownership” that involves researchers from Cambridge University, Curtin University as well as RMIT University.





Prem Chhetri

Professor Prem Chhetri

College of Business, School of Business IT and Logistics

Professor Prem Chhetri is internationally known for research in developing spatially-integrated business solutions. Prem's recent research focused on urban modelling, tourism analysis, emergency management, and application of Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) in transport, infrastructure and logistics planning. Prem has been a Chief Investigator on seven Category one Grants, including three ARC grants in the last five years.

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RMIT University Doctoral Research Excellence Prize

Rajesh Ramanthan

Dr Rajesh Ramanathan

College of Science, Engineering and Health, School of Applied Sciences

Thesis title: Towards understanding the influence of physico-chemical environment on biological synthesis of inorganic materials

Dr Rajesh Ramanathan’s research involved training bacteria as tiny nanofactories for the fabrication of different nanomaterials. In particular, he investigated the fundamental role of the physico-chemical environment in controlling the mineral morphologies at the nanoscale during biological and biomimetic synthesis of nano-biomaterials.





Chui Ha Ng

Dr Chui Ha Ng

College of Design and Social Context, School of Property, Construction and Project Management

Thesis title: Exploring Contingent Employment Policy in IT - Impacts upon IT Project Management Capabilities Enhancement in Large Hong Kong Organisations

Dr Chui Ha Ng’s thesis investigated the question of how organisations can accumulate knowledge when most project team members are contingently employed. Chui studied three cases in Hong Kong and suggested reference models of enhancing IT project management capabilities under contingent employment context.




Trinh Phuong Thao

Dr Trinh Phuong Thao

College of Business, School of Business, Information Technology and Logistics

Thesis title: Enterprise Systems and Organisational Agility: Developing and Exploring a Casual Model

Organisational agility refers to the organisation’s ability to compete and thrive in unstable business environment by quickly detecting and seizing opportunities and tackling threats. Dr Trinh Thao’s research set out to investigate the role of enterprise systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning, Customer Relationship Management and Supply Chain Management in organisational agility and to explore the underlying mechanisms of how enterprise systems impact on organisational agility.

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RMIT University Higher Degree by Research Publication Excellence Prize

Michael Taylor

Dr Michael Taylor

College of Science, Engineering and Health, School of Applied Sciences

In the past few years, Dr Michael Taylor has published over 30 journal papers and book chapters, and over 70 international conference presentations, directly impacting scientific practice in national laboratories, universities and hospitals around the world. His findings include methods for halving the risk of secondary cancer in children.








Amit Jadhav

Mr Amit A. Jadhav

College of Design and Social Context, School of Fashion and Textiles

Amit Jadhav is a recipient of an Australian Government Endeavour Doctoral Scholarship. His research is based on electro-spraying technology which involves functionalising textiles by coating polymer solutions. Amit has designed and developed novel equipment which has capability of producing bicomponent polymer coating at Nano/micro level for a Protective, Medical and Technical textiles applications.







Ashkan Khalili

Mr Ashkan Khalili

College of Business, School of Management

Ashkan Khalili is a Doctoral candidate in the School of Management. He has published a number of papers on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in high quality journals. Ashkan’s broad research interests include human resource management, organisational behaviour and entrepreneurship.

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RMIT University Research Development - Leadership Award

Felicity Roddick

Professor Felicity Roddick

College of Science, Engineering and Health, School of Civil, Environmental and Chemical Engineering

Professor Felicity Roddick’s research over the recent years has focused on the treatment of water, initially drinking water and latterly wastewater with a view to reuse. Felicity’s work has concentrated on the characterisation and removal of organic matter by various physico-chemical and biological means to improve its quality and thus safety and aesthetics for the consumer, reuse applications and the receiving environment.


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RMIT University Research Supervision Excellence - Early Career Researcher Award

Pia Ednie-Brown

Associate Professor Pia Ednie-Brown

College of Design and Social Context, School of Architecture and Design

Pia Ednie-Brown is an Associate Professor and HDR Director in the School of Architecture and Design. She is currently engaged in a large cross-institutional research project enquiring into various aspects of creative practice research, in which many of her PhD candidates are involved. Her academic writing has been published internationally.


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RMIT University Invention Disclosure Award

Franz Konstantin Fuss

Professor Franz Konstantin (Tino) Fuss

College of Science, Engineering and Health, School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering

With background in medicine and engineering, Professor Franz Konstantin Fuss is specialised in Sports Technology Innovation, specifically in the development of smart and intelligent products equipped with sensors or sensor-less sensing systems for optimisation of training, improvement of performance and prevention of injuries.

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RMIT University Research Excellence - Team Award

Felicity Roddick

The Water: Effective Technologies and Tools (WETT) Centre

Core Member- Professor Felicity Roddick

The Water: Effective Tools and Technology (WETT) Centre draws on researchers in SCECE, SAS and SAMME to combine engineering and scientific principles to provide a multidisciplinary approach to solving water-related problems. WETT researchers engage with the community, government and industry to develop technologies and methodologies for managing the quality and quantity of water.

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Ian Permezel Memorial Award

Margaret Heffernan

Dr. Margaret Heffernan, O.A.M.

College of Business, School of Management

Dr. Margaret Heffernan, O.A.M. focuses her socio-ecological research on the assimilation of complex public health interventions and equity dynamics for culturally and linguistically diverse population groups. Her work on the implementation of HPV vaccination has resulted in cross-cultural collaborations and resource improvements.

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Malcolm Moore Industry Research Award

Madhu Bhaskaran

Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran

College of Science, Engineering, and Health, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Project title: High performance piezoelectric thin films for haptics applications

Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran is an ARC Fellow, who jointly leads a research group in Functional Materials and Microsystems. She has published 90 peer-reviewed publications, including 55 journal articles. This research will establish a collaboration with STMicroelectronics on the use of piezoelectric thin films for haptics applications.





Judith Burnside-Lawry

Dr. Judith Burnside-Lawry

College of Design and Social Context, School of Media and Communication

Project Title: Increasing local level engagement to build resilient communities: Stakeholder perspectives of conditions that enable local action to reduce disaster risk

In partnership with United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and Plan International Australia, Judy's project is an exploratory study of factors that enhance local level engagement to build disaster resilience in two Asia Pacific communities - Nuku'alofa, Tonga and San Francisco, Cebu, The Philippines.

» About the Malcolm Moore Industry Research Award


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