The Steel Research Hub hosted its fourth and possibly final Annual Symposium on 20-21 February 2019. Over 70 hub members attended the two-day symposium.

Once again, the symposium provided a unique opportunity to bring all hub members together – industry technologists, PhD candidates, research associates, early career researchers and academics from various universities across Australia – allowing them to meet, share information and hear of the significant outcomes from other steel-related research program areas.


Nick Birbilis from ANU (Deputy Dean of Engineering and Computer Science) and Michael Sharpe from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (Director – East) were excellent keynote speakers on Day 1 and Day 2, respectively.


On the day before the symposium, four separate Hub teams consisting of 4-5 PhD candidates, research associates and early career researchers made Pitch Presentations to a “Shark Tank”-type audience.  These teams had previously participated in a four day Intra/Entrepreneurship and Innovation Workshop at the Sydney Business School from the 13-16 August 2018 ( The workshop was run by Tillman Böhme (UOW, Faculty of Business) was aimed at teaching future technology leaders how to become more influential especially to senior management.

Day 1

Day 1 was filled out with the Selected Highlights Program where significant research outcomes and achievements were presented by multidisciplinary teams.  Given confidentiality constraints, there were still many industrial and scientific findings discussed.  In the afternoon, Nathan Wright and Paul Zulli presented and discussed the new steel research hub proposal submitted to the ARC in December 2018. With significant funding and support committed by industry, the proposed new hub involves 7 industry partners and 10 Australian universities.

Day 1 concluded with a dinner organised at North Beach Pavilion, which provided an opportunity for guests to mingle and network in a casual setting.

Day 2

Day 2 included Team Breakout Sessions involving industry and academic partners, across the three programs. Being the final year of the Hub, these sessions focused on capturing the impact on industry that has been achieved over the duration of the Hub. These sessions provided valuable opportunity for all team members to come together to discuss and review what has been achieved. The program leaders reported back to the general assembly in the afternoon.

Day 2 also included PhD presentations and poster sessions, which were combined into a new format that worked exceptionally well. Using a full-wall sized screen in the foyer of the SMART Building, PhD candidates were required to produce a single slide poster which was then projected behind them as they presented in front to their audience.

Though confronting for the PhD candidate, the format provided an engaging and dynamic format that required them to focus on what they were saying rather than relying on slides of information. Despite varying degrees of presenting experience among the candidates, everyone did extremely well and the judging panel was very impressed by the high standard exhibited.

Awards Presentation

There were three categories for the awards presentations this year.

  • Best Team Presentation: Program C team – Abdul Kaliq, Dongdong Qu, Andrew Johnstone and Sina Jamali
  • Best PhD Presentation: Dan Yang and Steve Beltrame (joint first)
  • Certificate of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Pitch Award:

Intrapreneurship Team – Abdul Khaliq, Ray Longbottom, Yinxuan Qiu and Muhammad Rizwan

Entrepreneurship Team – Aziz Ahmed, Steve Beltrame, Refat Bhuiyan, Syed Islam and Navjeet Singh

Congratulations to the winners and to everyone who was involved in presenting. The quality of all the presentations greatly impressed management and program leaders.


Overall, the Symposium was a great success and a wonderful way to bring together the work that has been done by all the individuals who have contributed to the achievements of the Hub over the past 4 years.

A big thank you to all those who attended and participated.