Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering welcomes new Monash Fellows

Monash researchers are among 25 new Fellows elected to the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering for 2019. Professor Ranjith Pathegama Gamage FTSE, Professor Huanting Wang FTSE and Adjunct Professor Nicolas Voelcker FTSE have been recognised for their significant contributions to engineering and applied scientific research, and have been welcomed into the Academy today.

Professor Ranjith Pathegama Gamage FTSE

A professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and an expert in geomechanics, Professor Gamage leads a multidisciplinary research team dedicated to the responsible production of energy and minerals from deep in the earth, through rigorous science and effective technologies, while meeting the sustainability requirements of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The primary objective of his research is to develop and understand critical aspects of resource recovery, with the longer-term goal of promoting technological innovation for environmental protection and safe practical recovery of resources from deep earth. Through a series of projects funded by the ARC and industry, he is working on micro- and macro-scale studies of reservoir rocks. His team’s new compound (patent pending) offers a revolutionary way to fracture rock for controlled release of minerals – promising to replace current practices in both open-cut and underground mines.

Professor Gamage is delighted to become a Fellow of the Academy, and is grateful for Monash University for being a great supporter of his work. “This incredible recognition shows that our work deep underground – out of sight, out of mind – has significant interest, value, and impact for society, “ he said. “ “I look forward to supporting the Academy's aims by putting significant effort into developing technological solutions to enhance sustainability for recovery of minerals, fossil fuels, and renewable energy, all in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals of Affordable and Clean Energy, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, and Climate Action.”

Professor Huanting Wang FTSE

A professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and the faculty’s Associate Dean (International) Professor Wang is internationally recognised for his achievements in the development of advanced membranes for clean water and sustainable separation technologies. He has been a highly successful leader in building university-industry linkages and translating research discoveries into industry practice, with his separation membranes commercialised and deployed in the water, mining and manufacturing industries. He is also the Director of the Monash Centre for Membrane Innovation.

Originally qualified in material science and engineering at the University of Science and Technology of China, he completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology and University of California Riverside.

Professor Wang was awarded an ARC QEII Fellowship in 2004, an ARC Future Fellowship in 2010, and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute R.K. Murphy Medal in 2019. He was a member of the ARC Future Fellowship selection advisory committee in 2011, and a member of the ARC College of Experts in 2012-2015, and a Board Member of the Membrane Society of Australasia (2014-2017). He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Chemistry, a Fellow of The American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and a Council Member of the Aseanian Membrane Society.

“I’m very happy to be elected as a Fellow of the Academy,” said Professor Wang. “It’s a wonderful recognition of my team and collaborators and the research work we've undertaken together. I'd like to particularly thank Monash University and the Faculty of Engineering for their strong support of my research. I'm honoured to be recognised, and looking forward to contributing to the important mission of the Academy.”

Professor Nico Voelcker FTSE

An adjunct professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Professor Nico Voelcker FTSE is a world-leading materials scientist at the interface of university research and industry. As Director of the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication, central facility of the Victorian Node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility, he has grown the number of users and industry engagement, building the nanotech industry in the Monash Technology Precinct and creating a Victoria-wide collaboration of all universities and CSIRO.

A professor of the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and CSIRO Science Leader, he leads a team of 50 researchers currently making a major international impact in bio-nanotechnology through the translation of patented research into spin-off enterprises.

Professor Voelcker has authored more than 390 peer-reviewed journal articles with more than 9500 citations, and has received fellowships from the German Research Foundation (DFG), CSIRO and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He is also a recipient of the Tall Poppy Science Award, and was a finalist for the 2015 South Australian Scientist of the Year and the Australian Innovation Challenge. He has served on the College of Experts of the Australian Research Council.

Professor Voelkcer is thrilled about the recognition, and is thankful to many people who have supported his research, in particular Emeritus Professor Chris Fell AM who nominated him for the Fellowship. “I look forward to making a contribution to solving the Academy’s technology challenges, particularly in the health field," he said. "I’m interested in developing disruptive technologies that cut across the pillars of the health systems, including innovative cell therapies, and technologies that will connect to Big Data and the internet of things, such as wearable biosensors for continuous monitoring.”

Academy President, Professor Hugh Bradlow, welcomed the new Fellows. “We bring together Australia’s leading experts in applied science, technology and engineering to provide impartial, practical and evidence-based advice to enable Australia to maintain its position as a leading technology economy,” he said. “The 2019 cohort of new Fellows comprises a remarkable and talented group, who will contribute to helping the Academy fulfil its mission.”

Dean of Engineering Professor Elizabeth Croft congratulated the new Fellows on their election. “Our warmest congratulations to Professor Ranjith Pathegama Gamage, Professor Huanting Wang and Professor Nico Voelcker on their election to the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, a wonderful recognition of their significant contributions to technological innovation in their respective fields. Australia’s industry and economy benefits from the talent, expertise and commitment of engineers, who develop the products and systems underpinning our way of life, and create jobs and industries of the future. Our new Fellows will strengthen the Academy’s mission to achieve sustainable technological solutions and advance our national prosperity.”

The new Fellows will be formally welcomed into the Academy at its Annual General Meeting in Melbourne on 29 November.

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