As we move towards the end of the year, we reflect on what has been a remarkable period in the life of the School.
The year was inevitably dominated by the School’s relocation into its new building in this first half of 2015. This was, at once, exciting and tumultuous, yet inevitably disruptive. At the time of writing, there yet remain a couple of outstanding issues to be resolved, but beyond this there is no question that staff and student alike are enjoying their new home. As always, there has been no slackening in the pace of activities. Early in 2016 the School will take delivery of a range of new equipment including a suite of three 3D printers, two confocal microscopes, a scanning tunneling microscope and a new rolling mill. All of these will support and further build the research capability of the School.
It is a pleasure to announce a number of promotions and awards at year’s end. Both Dr John Daniels and Dr Jianqiang Zhang were very deservedly promoted to Associate Professor, effective January 2016. Dr Pramod Koshy was a recipient of this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in the Early Career category. Remarkably, Koshy is now the sixth person in the School to receive this award; a very strong testament to the overall high standard of teaching across the School. Professor Veena Sahajwalla was announced as one of Australia’s top 10 Women of Influence, winning the Innovation category, and was made a 2015 Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Engineers, the highest award bestowed by the Institute of Engineers. Congratulations also to Professor Michael Ferry whose group generated two papers in the Nature stable of journals in the past few months – one study led by Dr Kevin Laws and one led by Dr Martin Xu. Both are ground breaking studies that will resonate through the global materials community for some time to come. Finally, warmest congratulations to Juanita Vargas, our marketing and outreach officer, on the birth of her second son, Oliver, in October. We look forward to Oliver joining the School in the 2034 first year intake!
The School also commenced teaching a new program in second session this year - the Masters by Coursework in Materials Technology. This is a dedicated two-year program in postgraduate study aimed at students with first degrees in other science and engineering disciplines, who would like to earn a qualification in materials. Twenty students enrolled in the degree in July as the degree’s initial cohort. We expect this number will grow to around 80 over the next year or so.
Finally, may I wish everyone a merry festive season and a prosperous 2016.
Professor Paul Munroe, Head of School, School of Materials Science and Engineering.