Green light for Flinders students

Eleven outstanding Flinders University students will receive vital support from this year’s Playford Memorial Trust Scholarship program.

Playford Trust scholarships and awards aim to help students make the most of their studies, achieve their potential and contribute to South Australia’s knowledge, skills and research base.

This year’s scholarships include specialist study areas from lasers and photonics to renewable energy and bushfire risk, artificial intelligence and traffic management technologies.

New technologies can be used to improve overall road safety.

Flinders University student Shanique West, who is doing a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Civil), will use her scholarship to model transport flow at intersections and apply new intelligent transport systems, infrastructure and connecting vehicle technologies to minimise traffic delays.

This analysis of integrating new technology at road intersections in South Australia aims to build beneficial information and help reduce traffic congestion for all users.

“I’m interested in this area as I enjoy using software to model the intersections and have been interested in transport infrastructure from watching major projects being constructed such as the Darlington upgrade,” says Ms West, who received Chancellor’s Letters of Commendation in both 2019 and 2020 after achieving a perfect GPA of 7 through three years of undergraduate study.

Shanique West and Professor of Civil Engineering Rocco Zito with the FLEX driverless shuttle at Tonsley Innovation District.

Infrastructure engineering lecturer Dr Nick Holyoak, who is supervising the road intersection traffic signal performance project, says emerging vehicle and infrastructure technologies can be used to improve traffic flow, reduce travelling time and improve safety.

“Additional environmental and economic benefits of technologies such as new driverless vehicles, vehicle-to-signal communications, public transport priorities and pedestrian sensors can be made at the intersection level,” says Dr Holyoak.

The project will test these new approaches in traffic modelling software that replicates real-world traffic operations in current times, and in the future when traffic volumes will be higher. The results will advise how effective use of technologies will impact traffic performance, for motorists but also for public transport users, pedestrians and cyclists.

Playford Trust chair Dean Brown

Playford Trust chairman and former SA Premier Mr Dean Brown thanked the program’s 37 partners from industry, government and the tertiary education sector. He also praised the enthusiastic response from students to the Playford Trust scholarships, including the inaugural six space scholarship recipients awarded in conjunction with the Andy Thomas Space Foundation.

“Together we are investing in South Australia’s future. The talent is remarkable and the study areas diverse,” says Mr Brown.

“Encouraging and fostering skills and research in areas where South Australia has the greatest competency and opportunity will help us meet the growing need for innovation, knowledge and workers in the future.”

Established in 1983 in honour of SA’s longest-serving Premier Sir Thomas Playford, the program has supported more than 600 students in the past decade.

Flinders University Professor David Day with Playford Trust scholarship holders Natalie Newman, left, Shanique West, Rebecca Pedler and James Francis at this year’s presentation night.

This year, the Trust and its partners are investing more than $600,000 to support 46 new and continuing university students in this state, from first-year undergraduates to PhD researchers – and one-third are from regional areas of South Australia.

The annual Playford Trust university scholarships and TAFE awards focus on five key study areas of advanced manufacturing and new technologies; environmental sciences including water and energy; health sciences and enabling technologies; agriculture, aquaculture and food production; and mining and resource development.

Scholarship sponsor Frank Seeley OAM with Flinders University PhD Keiran Lobban.

The other 10 outstanding Flinders University scholarship winners this year are:

Juan Marquez (BArchaeol ’21), Bachelor of Archaeology (Honours) – GSA Playford Trust Honours (or Equivalent) Scholarship

Cameron Tugwell, Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) (Honours) – Nyrstar Playford Trust Scholarship

Rebecca Pedler, Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Enhanced Program for High Achievers) – Playford Trust Honours Scholarship

James Francis, Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) (Honours) – Playford Trust Honours Scholarship

Natalie Newman (BSc ’21), Bachelor of Science (Honours) – Playford Trust Honours Scholarship

Susanna Grigson with The Hon Paul Holloway, Deputy Chair, Playford Trust.

Susanna Grigson (BSc ’20, BSc(Hons) ’22), PhD in Bioinformatics – Playford Trust PhD Scholarship

Rory Bowles, Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Honours) – Playford Trust Regional Science and Engineering Scholarship

Mackenzie Walter, Bachelor of Science (Forensic and Analytical Science) – Playford Trust Regional Science and Engineering Scholarship

Niki Romeo with Mrs Fiona MacLachlan OAM at the award presentations held this year at the University of Adelaide.

Kieran Lobban, Bachelor of Engineering (Robotics) (Honours) with Master of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic) – Seeley International Playford Trust Scholarship

Niki Romeo (BSc(Biotech) ’20, BSc(Hons) ’21), PhD in Environmental Biotechnology – Thyne Reid Foundation Playford Trust PhD Scholarship

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