Leading students bolster best research

Professor Colin Raston, left, and Mr Thaar Alharbi with the Vortex Fluidic Device.

Flinders University’s most innovative research is being greatly assisted by the input of leading students undertaking Higher Degrees by Research – helping to further the application of such internationally recognised inventions as the Vortex Fluidic Device.

Thaar Alharbi is working under the direction of Professor Colin Raston on further research of Clean Technology innovations regarding the precise cutting of super-strength carbon nanotubes using the Vortex Fluidic Device.

Mr Alharbi’s resulting paper – “Controlled slicing of single walled carbon nanotubes under continuous flow” – was published in the journal Carbon in December 2018, and has received one of Flinders University’s Higher Degree by Research Best Student Publication Awards for 2018.

Issued by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), these annual awards are bestowed on students selected by each college at Flinders University for having outstanding research published in the previous year.

Mr Alharbi, who came to Flinders University from Saudi Arabia specifically to study the Vortex Fluidic Device under Professor Raston, says his research shows that many more possibilities exist to explore uses of this extraordinary device.

“The number of possible applications for the device is huge, and only through continued focused research will we understand the full potential,” says Mr Alharbi.

Professor Raston is delighted with the strength of papers published by the university’s leading Higher Degrees by Research students.

“This is a lovely outcome for what I consider my priority of research training,” says Professor Raston. “Once these students graduate, their currency is the quality of their publications, so these awards help shine a light on the very best examples.”

A second Higher Degree by Research student paper focused on the Vortex Fluidic Device has resulted in a Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) award for Eko Kornelius Sitepu from the College of Medicine and Public Health, for the published article “Vortex fluidic mediated direct transesterification of wet microalgae biomass to biodiesel” (supervised by Professor Wei Zhang and Professor Raston).

Professor Raston says these works build on the body of about 60 papers that his research group has published about the Vortex Fluidic Device, “and we have only scratched the surface about what is possible for this device” he explains.

Mr Alharbi was one of two Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) award recipients from the College of Science and Engineering for 2018 (due to the higher proportion of HDR students in this college). Yanting Yin was awarded for the article “Dipole Formation at the MoO3/Conjugated Polymer Interface” (supervised by Professor Gunther Andersson).

Other awards went to Shevaugn Johnson, from the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work, for her published article “A systematic review and meta-analysis of cognitive processing deficits associated with body dysmorphic disorder” (supervised by Professor Tracey Wade).

Josh Holloway, from the College of Business, Government and Law, was awarded for his published article “Issue competition between Green and social democratic parties in majoritarian settings: the case of Australia” (supervised by Associate Professor Haydon Manning).

Tets Kimura, from the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, was awarded for his published article “Heroes and villains: a discourse analysis of Australian and Japanese whaling reports in newspapers” (supervised by Dr William Peterson).

Sarah Fraser, from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, was awarded for her published article “Burn injury models of care: A review of quality and cultural safety for care of Indigenous children” (supervised by Associate Professor Julian Grant).

The college could not split its two best applicants, so has decided to also present Dr Yogesh Sharma with a Vice President and Executive Dean Award for his published article “Economic evaluation of an extended nutritional intervention in older Australian hospitalized patients: a randomized controlled trial” (supervised by Professor Michelle Miller).

The winning students, who have been notified of their prizes, will be presented with the awards in a ceremony at Flinders University in the coming month.

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College of Science and Engineering

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