The Steel Research Hub hosted its 3rd Annual Symposium on the 29-30 November 2017.

The Symposium provided a unique opportunity to bring all hub members together – industry technologists, PhD candidates, research associates, early career researchers and academics – allowing them to meet, share information and collaborate.

Over 75 people attended the Symposium, including members from our Industry Partners: Australian Steel Institute, Cox Architecture, Bisalloy and BlueScope.

The two-day Program included challenging presentations from two keynote speakers, Dr John Burgess (Director, Niche Tasks) and Mr Greg Albert (Managing Director and CEO, Bisalloy), as well as selected highlights from each of the three Programs and their teams.

Dr Burgess, a former BHP Vice President Safety, Environment and Technology, presented a talk on “Australia’s Energy: What’s going on?”, provided thought-provoking insights on how the current and future supply situations may impact on both residential energy supply, and business profitability and certainty.  Mr Albert spoke about how Bisalloy’s innovative and strategic activities are changing the future business prospects of this Australian small to medium enterprise (SME), particularly as it operates in a competitive global (steel) manufacturing sector.

On the first day, an interactive Strategic Planning session was run by Nathan Wright (Hub Manager). As the Steel Research Hub moves past its halfway point, there is a strong emphasis and focus on ensuring delivery of research products, as well as realisation of their impact in various steel industry contexts (market-focussed product development, coatings processes and technologies, and sustainable steel manufacturing). This session also allowed time to communicate to Hub members the strategy and current planning for the future positioning of the Steel Research Hub.

An enjoyable dinner concluded the first day – this was held at Wollongong Golf Club.

The second day included Program breakout sessions involving industry and academic partners.  The breakout sessions providing opportunities for detailed discussions, review of activities and a focus on future research outcomes for the coming year.  Each Program reported back to the general assembly in the afternoon.

During this day, PhD candidates were given the opportunity to present their research highlights. Each candidate was allowed 4 minutes presentation time, followed by one minute question time.  Later, PhD candidates who had submitted posters on their work, were able to discuss these over lunch. The quality of the presentations and posters was quite outstanding.

To conclude the Symposium, a number of awards were made.  Congratulations are extended to the following recipients:

  • Dan Yang – Best Poster “Probing Water Structure of Silica Nanoparticle-Based Antifouling Coatings”
  • Emma Heffernan, Scott Beazley, Albert Escribano, Aziz Ahmed – Best Highlights Presentation “Cold Formed Steel Mid-Rise Residential Buildings”
  • Ms Brianna Knowles– Best PhD Presentation “Preparing Hydrophilic Antifouling Coatings from Functional Silica Nanoparticles”

A new prize category, the Future Challenges Awards, was introduced in 2017.  Prior to the Symposium, all members of the Hub, especially researchers from both universities and industry partners, were invited to submit a considered response to two questions, describing their ideas around the impact of current projects, as well as identifying potential future projects (both within the current Hub and possible future Hub proposals).  The quality of the responses was excellent.  Each submission was recognised – congratulations are extended to the following inaugural recipients:

  • 1st prize – Thomas Jurak (PhD candidate)
  • 2nd Prize – Shane McLaughlin (Industry technologist)
  • 3rd Prize – Aziz Ahmed (Research Associate)
Overall, the Symposium was a highlight event for 2017 – we will move forward with a number of new ideas from our feedback survey.

Thank you to all those who participated in the Symposium and especially to those in the background, who helped make it another great success.

Best Poster Prize Dan Yang (PhD Candidate)

Best Highlights Presentation Award

Best PhD Presentation Brianna Knowles (PhD Candidate)

Future Challenges Award Thomas Jurak
(PhD candidate)

Steel Research Hub PhD’s Candidates