Aberdeen Curtin Alliance 2019 PhD Student Profiles

Alicia Terrero Gonzalez

Project: New Techniques/Technology/Devices for Wave Energy Extraction

My PhD research project intends to investigate the dynamics and create the theoretical foundations for a new generation of wave energy converters (WEC). Based on the parametrically excited pendulum principle excited by random sea waves, a novel concept of extracting energy will be developed in this project. From the conversion of three-dimensional oscillatory motion of a non-linear pendulum into a rotatory motion, the generator will produce electrical energy.
This research is under the supervision of Professor Marian Wiercigroch, Centre for Applied Dynamics Research-School of Engineering at the University of Aberdeen expert in Nonlinear Dynamics and energy harvesting; Professor Ian Howard School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at Curtin University expert in vibration condition monitoring and vibration power harvesting; Dr Peter Dunning, School of Engineering lecturer at the University of Aberdeen and experienced in engineering optimisation; Dr Andrew King, School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at Curtin University and experienced in fluid mechanics and computational fluid dynamics. The Alliance between The University of Aberdeen and Curtin University is the perfect frame where the project will be developed due to their highly qualified group and their innovative equipment.
I hold a MSc in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Aberdeen and I did my BEng in Mining Engineering at the University of Oviedo (Spain). The Alliance provided me the opportunity of develop this energy harvesting project and continue doing studies in the energy sector.

Bernard Yeboah-Asiamah Asare

Project title: Exploring health issues associated with FIFO/rotation work by employing intensive longitudinal assessment methods.

Project summary:
Fly-in, fly-out (FIFO), characterized by spending extended hours at work and staying away from the family more often, heavy labour and/or physically demanding work and also sedentary work, and well paid, has in present years turned out to be more frequent employment arrangements in Australia and other parts of the world. FIFO employment arrangement is however associated with health issues including high rate of depression, anxiety and/or stress symptoms, sleep disorders and increased levels of mental health problems with workers, and risky behaviours such as excessive alcohol drinking, and smoking among workers and their close relatives. The study is aimed at exploring the negative short- and long-term health issues among the FIFO/rotation workforce, and their close relatives by conducting first a systematic literature review on health issues related to rotation work; followed by an Ecological Momentary Assessment study of offshore workers in Aberdeen, UK and FIFO workers in Perth, Australia to assess health predictors and outcomes relating to varying work patterns among off-shore and FIFO workers; and then Ecological Momentary Assessment dyadic study to assess the social and economic impacts of presence and absence of off-shore and FIFO workers on the health indicators of their relatives. The findings of this study could lead stakeholders to consider developing informed strategies and policies including providing institutional support to improve and/or mitigate any potential health challenges associated with FIFO lifestyles, and changes and/or adjustment to FIFO work patterns/arrangements to improve the health predictors and outcomes among FIFO/rotation workers, and their close relatives.
Bernard will spend the 2019/20 academic year at the Curtin University to prepare for his formal PhD candidacy by taking courses and participating in faculty-directed research projects.

Bernard Yeboah-Asiamah Asare holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of Ghana, and BSc Herbal Medicine from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana. His research interest lies in a wide range of areas including issues of public health, cardiovascular diseases, Maternal and child health, Adolescent health and epidemiology.

David Flood Chavez

The tittle of my research is Green economy transitions in sustainable tourism in the Margaret River region (WA, Australia). The research is focused on the Margaret River Region in West Australia which is a famous destination known for its warm summers and a variety of attractions such as wineries, beaches, aboriginal heritage, locally-grown produce, national parks, and various other natural attractions. Given that the region is pursuing cleaner and greener tourism, and that it is also facing various risks caused by a warning climate that endangers regional economic activities, Margaret River is an important example of green economy transitions in tourism at the regional level. In that sense, the aim of the research is to determine the potential of tourism to contribute to green economy transitions and to address the challenges of climate change in that region.

The research will be grounded in economic and tourism geographies being the key concepts drawn from Evolutionary Economic Geography (EEG) and the Multi-level Perspective (MLP). EEG is a paradigm that is concerned with how the economic landscape is transformed over time and how novelty and technological innovations can foster regional transitions and economic growth. MLP is a framework for analysing the role of multi-scalar institutional and socio-technical systems in fostering GE transition.

The methodology will be mainly qualitative using interviews as the main method reinforced with secondary source documents. Hence, the findings aim to answer three main questions: 1) How sustainable is the tourism industry in the Margaret River region, and how advanced is the region’s transition to greener forms of tourism in the context of the state and regional environmental policies? 2) How path-dependent is the green economy transition in tourism in the Margaret River region, and how is it linked to different historical, political, economic, social, and institutional factors? 3) What developmental (path-shaping) potential, in economic and social terms, is the transition to greener forms of tourism in the region generating?

I have a bachelor in Forest Engineering from La Molina Agrarian University in Peru and a master’s degree with distinction in Environmental Partnership Management from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. I have experience working on several projects related to sustainable cities and social-environmental conflict management in Peru. Although my background is engineer-related my interest for the relation society-environment has always been pivotal on my professional and academic performance.

I feel deeply fortunate to have been awarded with a scholarship that allows to delve more into the understanding of the relationship between society, environment and economy. The Curtin-Aberdeen program is a great opportunity for me to obtain valuable research experience on two important universities as well as to get to know two different countries. The benefits from this kind of scholarships are invaluable and will contribute strongly to my future career as a researcher on human geography.

Edwin Avella Fernandez

The aim of this PhD project is to assemble Z-scheme systems at the interface between two immiscible electrolytes solutions (ITIES) to photocatalyse three target reactions: a) water splitting, b) the reaction between CO2 and water to generate hydrocarbons and O2, and c) the reaction between N2 and water to generate NH3 and O2.

Heterogenous photocatalysis has proven to be efficient in several reactions of environmental and energy importance, such as: degradation of pollutants in water, carbon dioxide reduction, water splitting, and nitrogen reduction.
Although heterogeneous photocatalysis is a promissory technology, process efficiency is severely reduced by the high recombination rate of photogenerated electron–hole pairs. Conventional Z-scheme photocatalytic systems have demonstrated to improve separation of electron–hole pairs. However, Z-schemes could still be enhanced by the deposition of photocatalyst in ITIES, this would enable separation of photogenerated electron-hole by transferring them to the correspondent electron acceptor/donor in different liquid phases.
The guidance of my supervisors, Dr Cuesta Angel Cuesta Ciscar (University of Aberdeen) in electrochemistry, Dr Abbie McLaughlin (University of Aberdeen) in solid state materials, and Dr Chi Phan (Curtin University) in surface processes, are essential to successfully achieve the aim of this project.

I hold a bachelor’s degree (Hons) in Chemical Engineering and a Master´s degree in Environmental Engineering from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). The collaborative PhD program will provide me the opportunity of joining different research groups. The expertise and knowledge of these groups will be beneficial for the PhD project and particularly for my future career as a researcher.

George Yeboah

My PhD research is focused on examining the changing trends of corporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting among large extractive corporations in the UK and Australia (two countries with relatively varying business climate, regulatory regimes, reporting standards and stakeholder expectations regarding natural resource exploration). It is a qualitative and comparative exploration of how contemporary sustainability ideals are driving change in corporate governance, business sustainability, CSR and reporting in both countries. The project proposes to focus on large (oil and gas, mining) corporations within the extractive sector in both countries because, the activities of these have direct connections with the bio-physical environment and the socio-economic factors of society, and often attract greater expectations of corporate social responsibility, accountability and transparency audits vis-a-vis contemporary global sustainability campaign, sustainability ideals and the SDGs. Again, natural resource extraction and governance generally imposes a moral and legal obligation on extractive corporations to be socially responsible and adhere to strict biophysical environmental standards.
My work is ably supervised by Mark Whittington with the University of Aberdeen Business School and Professors Fran Ackermann and Glenda Scully, both of the Curtin University Business School. I endeavour to be inspired and to take advantage of their immense stock of knowledge and research experience in the field to complete my project.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Ghana and an MSC degree in Corporate Social Responsibility and Energy from the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen-Scotland. Until the start of my PhD, I was enrolled in a second graduate programme in Sustainable Energy from the Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and had previously also worked with ENI Ghana, a subsidiary of Italian Oi land Gas giant, ENI SPA. These academic and career experiences over the years have made me develop a passion and research interest in the Social and ethical dimensions of resource extraction and environmental change; environmental responsibility and accountability; corporate governance, sustainability and doing responsible business, CSR and Reporting.

The Aberdeen- Curtin alliance for me, is a great initiative and an opportunity to gain cross-continental research experience that will enable me build invaluable personal and world-class research capacity and to contribute ultimately towards ‘making the world a better place’. Having tasted education in Africa, Europe and North America, I am excited and look forward to travelling to Australia in April 2020 to spend a year in Curtin University.

Joe Patterson

My PhD project will involve the production of a book-length autobiographical travel narrative. The proposed journey will detail the Scottish-Australian connection, primarily through the physical exploration of my hometown’s areas that have a strong connection to Scotland (The City of Elizabeth on the Northern fringes of Adelaide). The text will simultaneously explore my own Scottish heritage, creating a unique blend of physical and emotional journey.

The contextualising exegesis will analyse the way in which auto-biographical travel narratives present a nuanced and unique vessel for self-exploration and the forming of cultural identity.

After completing my Honours thesis in 2017, which explored travel writing’s capability in a post-war setting, I then became a freelance journalist. Writing for VICE, Independent Australia, InDaily, AWOL and Right Now Magazine, I developed an interest in telling true stories in a long format.

The Aberdeen Curtin Alliance program will allow me to utilise my time in Scotland to explore the origins of both my own family and the areas in which the Scottish migrants of the 50s and 60s originated from. The autoethnographic approach to my research will involve immersing myself in the respective places, to analyse, compare an interpret these varied, yet connected areas on either side of the world. Using reflective moments and a personalised theme, it is my hope that my research will showcase the power that this sub-genre of travel writing has to help influence our understanding of the world around us.

My research will be conducted under the supervision of Dr Rachel Robertson, Dr Deborah Hunn & Professor Alison Lumsden. The first and third years of the project, I will be based in Adelaide, while still utilising the resources from Curtin University. The second-year will take place in Aberdeen.

Marcos Exequiel Argüello

A better understanding of multiphase flow and reaction in porous media is critical as it underpins several essential subjects such as hydrology, energy storage, carbon sequestration, mineral processing, material manufacture, and renewable energy. It is an extremely challenging problem as it involves processes such as diffusion, chemical reaction, and advection occurring over multiple time and length scales. Evolution of pore geometry and properties due to reactions results in changes in hydrological properties, which further complicates the problem.

The main objective of my PhD research project is to develop computational models and experimental methods to understand the multi‐scale physics and (surface) chemistry of the flow of complex fluids in porous media with applications in enhanced oil recovery, energy storage, renewable energy, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), improved battery design, and clean fossil fuels. The project is an interdisciplinary research effort combining mathematical modelling with experimental work. Detailed meso‐scale computational models using direct numerical simulations will be developed based on the fundamental theories of Navier‐Stokes and the governing partial differential equations. The models will be modified to include heat transfer, mass transfer, reactions and other effects. The chemical reactions and mass transfer will lead to topological changes at the pore level, which feeds back to fluid flow. Representative experiments will be designed to aid the model validation process.

For this research project, I will be supervised by Dr Ranjeet Utikar (Associate Professor at Curtin University), Dr Monica Gumulya (Research Associate at Curtin University), Prof Víctor Calo (John Curtin Distinguished Professor – Applied Geology Department of the WA School of Mines in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Curtin University) and Prof Jos Derksen (University of Aberdeen – School of Engineering).

I have graduated as Aeronautical Engineer and I got my engineering degree form a five-year undergrad degree, in one of the leading universities in Argentina, the University of Córdoba. Then I pursued an Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the same school. This MSc included the writing of a thesis report about the use of commercial finite elements analysis for the structural model of a small composite material aircraft. I have also worked as Assistant Professor in the area of Mechanical and Aeronautical Structural Design at the same school.

Being part of Aberdeen-Curtin Alliance scholarship program is a great opportunity for me to work in both Aberdeen and Curtin University. My plan for 2019/2020 is spending one year in Australia at Curtin University and then I will travel to University of Aberdeen – Scotland. I believe there is a strong potential for the translation of the research results into commercial projects and I am glad to be part of this innovative research.

Melanie Antunes – More information to follow

Nijmeh Marouf

My PhD project is about hydrokinetic energy extraction devices and their performance in rivers and other open channel flows. An up-and-coming renewable energy resource, these devices face complex challenges in their design and operation, and my project aims to improve understanding of factors which affect their performance, and their feasibility as a significant energy resource.

This degree follows a Masters of Mechanical Engineering completed at the University of Edinburgh, which included a Masters project in renewable energy. That degree prepared me for both the intense theoretical aspect of this project, including advanced hydraulic engineering concepts and calculations, and the practical skills required for the design of experimental prototypes.

My supervisors at Aberdeen are Prof. Vladimir Nikora and Dr. Stuart Cameron from the Mechanics of Fluids, Soils and Structures Research Group at the School of Engineering. My supervisor at Curtin is Prof. Vishnu Pareek from the Western Australian School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering.

I began my Aberdeen-Curtin Alliance PhD in May 2019 at the University of Aberdeen, and aim to journey to Curtin for May 2020.

Stewart Ennis

My research project at The University of Aberdeen and Curtin University, Australia, will be a novel – working title, ‘ilk’ – exploring the themes of emigration and immigration between Scotland and Australia (both ways), the diaspora experience and my own take on the Australian / Scottish convict narrative frequently found in Australian literature. Both the novel and the exegesis will draw on my experience of working as a Creative writing tutor in a maximum-security prison and also my experience of working as a theatre practitioner over the last 30 years.

I have an ongoing relationship with Shotts Prison in Scotland (I’ve recently edited ‘Visiting Time’ a soon to be published anthology of prison writing) and hope to continue this relationship throughout my PhD, both here and in Australia. The ethics of the relationship between prisoner and teacher / writer and editor will also be an area of exploration. As well as reviewing appropriate – published or peer reviewed – literary and historical texts I will also look at a broad range of literature written by prisoners and published in a variety of prison magazines in Scotland and Australia.

There will be a dual narrative aspect to the novel, which will be set between Scotland/Australia in the 1840s and Scotland /Australia in the here and now. My research project /novel will therefore benefit enormously from being in Australia and experiencing the country and its culture first hand. I am therefore delighted to have been awarded this Aberdeen-Curtin Alliance scholarship and the unique research opportunity that it offers. My research project will take place under the supervision of Professor Alison Lumsden at The University of Aberdeen and Dr David Whish-Wilson at Curtin University, Perth Australia.