Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

From the Director - December

Wednesday, 06 December 2017
  • Director Zhiguo Yuan

As we begin to wrap up work on 2017, I wanted to take a look back at what has been an exciting and also a challenging year for the Centre.

Research wise the Centre has continued to perform strongly. We have successfully completed several significant projects which delivered technologies that are ready or nearly ready for practical applications. In the meantime, we have started several new pilot-scale demonstration projects which are geared towards outcomes that will influence the water management practices. Our publication performance remained very strong, with over 76 journal papers published in 2017 thus far. Our PhD cohort has continued to grow, welcoming 16 new students after graduating 9.

This year has also witnessed some very significant funding successes. The Centre won four ARC grants, including one Discovery Project awarded to Dr Phil Bond and Dr Shihu Hu, one Future Fellowship Project to Dr Jianhua Guo, an Industry Linkage Project to Dr Paul Jensen and Prof Damien Batstone (in collaboration with Melbourne University), and one Laureate Fellowship Project to myself. AWMC researchers, led by Dr Paul Jensen, will also play a lead role in delivering a major waste-to-profit program awarded through MLA and the Rural R&D for profit scheme. This program is a major collaboration involving 20 national and international partners aiming to convert agricultural wastes into renewable value-add products.

Our researchers have also won several national, regional and University awards, including the 2017 AWA National Research Innovation Award (Dr Shihu Hu and team), the 2017 AWA Queensland Research Innovation Award (Prof Damien Batstone and Dr Tim Huelsen), the 2017 AWA Young Water Professional of the Year Award (Dr Katrin Doederer), the Australian Pork Limited Award at the Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry  (Dr Stephan Tait), the UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award (Dr Jianua Guo), and a Highly Commended for the UQ Award for Excellence in Leadership (Dr Sandra Hall). Congratulations to all!

Our collaboration with the industry has continued to be productive and fruitful. Industry partners are, more than ever before, playing active roles in our research programs. I’d like to thank all of our industry partnerships for their generous support. The Innovation Centre jointly established and operated by Queensland Urban Utilities and the AWMC has become a test bed for many new technologies. The team has had the privilege to receive a UQ Partners Research Excellence Award. 

This year we made the strategic decision to develop a Master of Engineering in Urban Water Engineering program, which will be launched in early 2019. This is in response to the increased demand for urban water engineers both nationally and internationally. This initiative will also help us to provide a more sustainable career pathway to our young academics, particularly our mid-career researchers. We will surely work hard next year to ensure its successful launch.

Looking forward to 2018, we will have a busy year ahead. We will be running a record number of projects, training a record number of PhD students and developing a new teaching program. With the commitments and calibre of our team and your kind support, I am confident that we will meet all of our targets.  We will also host the UQ Water Forum in June, and the International Water Association’s Nutrient Removal and Recovery Conference in November. I look forward to seeing you at these events, or hosting your visit to the Centre.

Lastly, I want to thank you again for your continued support of the AWMC, as it is only with your support that we can continue to perform.

I wish you all the best in 2018.