During 4 and 5 May, Hub Director Oscar Gregory and Manager, Julie Matarczyk visited four Victorian Universities to meet with Steel Research Hub members and promote the Hub’s research. Commencing at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus meetings were held with Professor Lee Astheimer, DVC(R), Professor Matthew Barnett, Chair in Metallurgy, and Dr Daniel Fabijanic, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Frontier Materials’ Corrosion Research Centre.

Whilst Deakin is not a Hub Partner, Professor Peter Hodgson, PVC (Strategic Partnerships), is a member of the Hub’s Advisory Council and has a long history in steel research. The visit was an opportunity to hear more about Deakin’s strength in corrosion research and explore future collaborative possibilities.

Next was RMIT to touch base with Professor Irene Yarovsky and meet Dr Matthew Penna who has just commenced a Hub funded Post-doctoral Fellowship to work with Irene in the coatings area. Matthew has a PhD in Chemical Engineering, supported by an APA Scholarship, from the University of Adelaide and has completed undergraduate degrees in both Engineering and Law. Matthew is a great addition to the growing Hub team.

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Professor Ma Qian then provided a tour of RMIT’s impressive Advanced Manufacturing Precinct, with Professor Milan Brandt, Technical Director of the facility. Sprawling over two floors, and an impressive foot print for inner city Melbourne, the Precinct offers state-of-the-art equipment and teaching facilities. A multitude of 3D printers, working with both polymers and metal, are available to researchers and students, as well as industrial partners.

The following morning commenced at Monash University, which is a new partner to the Hub, to meet with Chief Investigator, Dr Zongyan Zhou, and members of the Lab for Simulation and Modelling of Particulate Systems (SIMPAS) where he is located. Professor Aibing Yu, PVC and President, Monash University-Southeast University Joint Research Institute, who has a very long collaborative history with BlueScope, was available to share some of his experience working with industry.

Finally meetings were held with Professor Matthew Bailes, DVC (Research and Development) and Professor Emad Gad, Chair of Department of Civil and Construction Engineering at Swinburne University of Technology. Professor Gad has previously worked closely with Dr Peter Key from the Australian Steel Institute, which is a Hub partner, and has an interest in steel in buildings, including modularisation. This research interest has potential synergy with Hub projects in Program B, working with Cox Architecture and BlueScope to encourage the use of steel in mid-rise residential buildings.

Overall this was a productive series of visits, which served to highlight the seemingly endless possibilities for collaborative research in steel. Insight into the facilities available to Hub researchers served to highlight the benefits of a collaborative approach. In addition to RMIT’s Advanced Manufacturing Precinct mentioned above the CAVE2 data visualisation domain at Monash University may be of interest to researchers in Program D where we have projects in data mining and analysis. Some of the discussions held, particularly with those who aren’t part of the current Hub, raised the possibility of future collaborative funding bids. Certainly the ARC’s Industrial Transformations Training Centres Scheme is on the radar as an option to compliment and broaden the Hub’s scope, an approach which is encouraged by the ARC. Any Hub researchers who would like further information or who would like to be introduced to any of the researchers mentioned above should contact Julie for further details.