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Associate Professor

Steven Pratt

Professor

Bronwyn Laycock

Professor

Paul Lant

Emeritus Professor

Helen Ross

Professor

Ian O’Hara

Professor

Peter Halley

Dr Marguerite Renouf

Professor

Darren Martin

Dr Luigi Vandi

Dr Adrian Oehmen

Professor

Kevin Thomas

Associate Professor

Paul Jensen

Dr Lalehvash (Laleh) Moghaddam

Dr Anna Phelan

Professor

Kathryn Fairfull-Smith

Professor

William (Bill) Clarke

Dr Severine van Bommel

Professor

Peta Ashworth

Dr Lisa Pope

Mr Michael Burke

Adjunct Associate Professor

Nicholas McCaffrey

Mr Peter Brisbane

Mr Ethan He

Adjunct Professor

Alan Werker

Dr Katie Macintosh

Dr Manuel Brunner

Dr Clement Chan

Mr Sam Lawless

Ms Tracey Read

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Associate Professor

Steven Pratt

Associate Professor Steven Pratt is a research and education leader in environmental engineering, known internationally for his work on the development of polyhdroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioplastics, and their associated wood-fibre composites, and nationally for his delivery of training courses to environmental professionals.

He has authored over 50 scientific papers, with his major contribution to the field of environmental biotechnology being the invention of the TOGA® Sensor for examination and control of biotech/bioprocess systems.

Widespread interest in TOGA® led to an agreement between Massey University and Scion for the commercialisation of the technology. He has attracted nearly $10M in research funding from government and industry and has been a CI on a CRC-P, three ARC Discovery Projects and six ARC Linkage Projects.

He is Director of the Masters of Engineering program at UQ, and has won awards for his outstanding contribution to supervision and enhancing the research supervision culture.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Chemical Engineering

Position 1:Centre Director

Position 2:Chief Investigator

Professor

Bronwyn Laycock

Professor Bronwyn Laycock is a polymer scientist whose research seeks to address some of the challenges around global sustainability and planetary boundaries, such as plastics sustainability, nutrient recovery and efficiency, as well as plastics lifetime and impact estimation and end-of-life management.

She has a diverse background in translational research, working not only in academia but also in industry and as a consulting chemist, as well as at CSIRO. The application areas in her research program include biopolymers (particularly polyhydroxyalkanoates and other bioderived and biodegradable materials for packaging, film and other applications), polymer degradation and end-of-life management/conversion technologies, biocomposites, controlled release matrixes for pesticide and fertiliser applications, polyurethane chemistry, polymer foams, carbon nanofibre production and peptide based conducting nanowires.

She has a strong history of successful commercialisation and impact, being a co-inventor on CSIRO’s extended wear contact lens program (recognised as it fourth most significant invention) – for which she was awarded a joint CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement 2009. As a Project Leader and Deputy Program Leader within the CRC for Polymers, she also managed a project that delivered an oxodegradable thin film polyethylene that was commercially licenced by Integrated Packaging.

This work earned the team a Joint Chairman’s Award for research/commercialization (CRC for Polymers) and an Excellence in Innovation Award (CRC Association). She holds 14 patents, and has attracted more than $12.2M in grant funding since 2013.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Chemical Engineering

Position 1:Theme Leader

Position 2:Chief Investigator

Professor

Paul Lant

Paul Lant is a Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering at The University of Queensland. Paul has a long history of teaching, research, industry collaboration and commercialisation. He was the Head of the School from 2009-2013, during which time he led the establishment of many new teaching, research and engagement activities.

He has a history of successful start-up ventures across his portfolio of research, teaching and commercialisation. He has led many new teaching initiatives and been a key player in establishing UQ Chemical Engineering as a world leader in chemical engineering education innovation. Professor Lant has supervised more than 50 PhD students, for which he has received UQ and national teaching awards in recognition of his PhD student development approaches. He has started several commercial ventures and has been a Director of several companies.

Paul was a Founder and Director of Wastewater Futures Pty Ltd for 20 years. He also founded the UQ PHA group in 2004, which has attracted $25M in research funding. Paul is a Fellow of the IChemE and a Registered Professional Engineer Qld (RPEQ). Paul was a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors from 1998-2019.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Chemical Engineering

Position 1:Theme Leader

Position 2:Chief Investigator

Emeritus Professor

Helen Ross

Emeritus Professor Helen Ross is an interdisciplinary social scientist (environmental psychologist and anthropologist) specialising in people-environment relationships in many contexts and cultures. In her research she focuses particularly on sustainability and resilience, and collaboration processes for natural resource management and rural development. Her many studies include research on ocean plastics, social aspects of water management, and climate change adaptation. Besides the ITTC, she is working with interdisciplinary teams studying Indigenous bushfoods, and co-designing online resources for beef producers.

Her recent studies are in Indonesia, Bolivia and Australia. She is a Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand, and in 2013 won the Institute’s Simon Molesworth Award for contribution to Environmental Management at national level. She is a member of Healthy Land and Water’s Scientific Experts Panel, and chairs its Social Science Experts Panel. She is the Managing Co-editor of the Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, an editorial board member of Architectural Science Reviews and International Perspectives on Psychology, and a former editorial board member of Society and Natural Resources.

She has graduated 36 PhD students and has a further eight enrolled. Over half of these are international.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Agriculture and Food Sciences

Position 1:Theme Leader

Position 2:Chief Investigator

Professor

Ian O’Hara

Professor Ian O’Hara is Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and a member of the Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy (CAB) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). He is a leading expert in policies, technologies and systems for the development of the bioeconomy and bio-based products including biofuels, bioenergy and biomaterials. In addition to his academic role, Ian also represents the Queensland Government as the Biofutures Industry Envoy and acts as an ambassador for Queensland’s Biofutures industry and industrial biotechnology sector.

As the Envoy, Ian provides strategic advice to government and assists in securing domestic and international investment to grow the Biofutures sector. Ian is on the International Advisory Committee for Global Bioeconomy and is a Senior Editor of EFB Bioeconomy Journal. Ian led the development of the Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant (MRBPP) – a unique publicly accessible pilot scale research facility in Australia for the development and demonstration of processing technologies for the manufacture of biofuels and bioproducts. Ian is a Chemical Engineer with extensive experience in research, consulting, policy development, operations management, process design and engineering.

Recent research has focussed on the technical and economic development of biofuel and bioproduct production systems including feedstock supply, bioprocessing technologies, techno-economics and systems analysis.

Organisation:Queensland University of Technology

Subunit:Faculty of Engineering

Position 1:Theme Leader

Position 2:Chief Investigator

Professor

Peter Halley

Peter Halley is a Professor in polymer processing in Chemical Engineering, a chief investigator in Advanced Materials Processing and Manufacturing (AMPAM) centre and a founding member of UQ Plastics. He works at the translational research interface between universities and industry. Specifically his research involves rheology, processing and product design of bio-based materials, polymers and nanocomposite materials.

He has led translational research projects in biopolymers and biofluid platforms for agrifood, biomedical and high-value manufacturing sectors which have attracted more than $14 million in government and industry funding; and produced patents, licences and new industrial know-how.

He is a fellow of the institute of chemical engineers (IChemE) and a fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI). He has won the IChemE Shedden Uhde Award and Prize for excellence in Chemical Engineering (2004), the CRC Sugar innovation award (2008), the CRCPolymers Chairman’s award for research and commercialisation (2011), and has received the CRC Association Technology Transfer Award, twice, in 2002 and 2015.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Chemical Engineering

Position 1:Chief Investigator

Dr Marguerite Renouf

Dr Marguerite Renouf is a Senior Research Fellow (Circular Bioeconomy) and Deputy Director at QUT’s Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy (CAB). Much of her research over the last 20 years has been directed to evaluating environmental impacts and eco-efficiency opportunities for agri-based production systems (bio-fuels, bio-materials, food and beverages) using environmental life cycle assessment (LCA). She explores the changing role of agriculture for producing feedstock for energy, chemicals, fuels, plastics as well as food and fibre, and the complex systems that need to be understood for sustainable innovation in bio-based production.

She also leads the development of LCA databases and guidelines to support the use of LCA in Australia for designing sustainable product supply chains, through the Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society (www.alcas.asn.au), of which Marguerite is a Board member.

In past roles, Marguerite has also examined urban systems and the role of water for facilitating productive and sustainable cities, as a lead researcher with the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities. Prior to that, she helped build the University of Queensland’s Working Group for Cleaner Production (now operating as the Eco-Efficiency Group), which developed eco-efficiency resources for manufacturing and service industries (food processing, metal industries, retail and tourism sectors).

Organisation:Queensland University of Technology

Subunit:Faculty of Engineering

Position 1:Chief Investigator

Professor

Darren Martin

Based in the School of Chemical Engineering at The University of Queensland, Professor Darren Martin is a global leader in research and commercialisation of polyurethanes, polymer nanocomposites and renewable, biomass-derived nanomaterials. His research has led to several licensed and granted patents, with a proven track record in “end-to-end innovation”.

The Martin Group takes fundamental discoveries and learnings in materials science and biology and advances the science, engineering, regulation and translation of these technologies for the benefit of Queensland and Australia.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Chemical Engineering

Position 2:Chief Investigator

Dr Luigi Vandi

Dr Luigi Vandi is a Research Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering. He has a background in materials science, ranging from advanced manufacturing, to end-of-life considerations. Luigi is driven by solution-based research, and in particular bringing latest innovations in materials science to the benefits of a future circular economy.

His translational research activities have a strong focus on industry relevant projects, in the fields of biocomposites manufacturing, compounding, and product development. This includes the development of novel sustainable materials based on local Australian by-products and marine-degradable biopolymers.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Chemical Engineering

Position 2:Chief Investigator

Dr Adrian Oehmen

Dr Adrian Oehmen is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Queensland. He leads research in the area of bioprocess engineering, particularly focussing on wastewater treatment and resource recovery. His research interests include enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR or BioP), metabolic modelling, biopolymer (polyhydroxyalkanoate – PHA) production, micropollutant removal and greenhouse gas (N2O) assessment and mitigation.

He also focusses on other aspects of bioprocess engineering, including microbial encapsulation, bioprocess modelling and food and beverage applications. He has published more than 100 papers in international scientific journals, led or collaborated on more than 30 research projects (many with industry). He is active within the International Water Association (IWA), serving on specialist group and conference committees and is an Associate Editor of Water Research.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Chemical Engineering

Position 2:Chief Investigator

Professor

Kevin Thomas

Professor Kevin Thomas is Director of the Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences (QAEHS). Kevin Thomas is an environmental health scientist with a particular interest in understanding the environmental fate, behaviour, effects and risks associated with contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) with the goal of protecting environmental and human health.

His current research is focused on understanding human exposure to plastics pollution and developing analytical methods for characterizing plastics and other CECs, assessing community-wide health status through analysing wastewater (wastewater-based epidemiology), establishing alternative approaches to exposure monitoring, for example explanted silicone prostheses and wristbands.

Author of over 150 papers and book chapters and Associate Editor for the journal Science of the Total Environment, Professor Thomas is a strong collaborative researcher having co-founded the international SCORE network on sewer biomarker analysis for community health assessment (www.score-cost.eu) and as recently reported in Science is currently establishing a global emerging contaminant early warning network (http://science.sciencemag.org).

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences

Position 2:Chief Investigator

Associate Professor

Paul Jensen

Paul Jensen is a research leader in the areas of anaerobic biotechnology and resource recovery at ACWEB; and leads projects in the areas of waste treatment with a focus on recovery of renewable energy resources, production of bio-fertilizers, bio-plastics and other high value products from wastes and other low value raw materials. Complex challenges require multi-disciplinary thinking and Paul’s team incorporates engineering, biological sciences, modelling and information processing approaches to research and technology development for a range of partners across municipal, agricultural, animal and industrial sectors.

Paul and ACWEB are recognised as both national and global experts on biogas and resource recovery technologies. They actively contribute to over 12 research and consulting projects per year with applications across the product development cycle. Importantly, the team are having real world impact, and have contributed to a range of major wastewater infrastructure projects in the last 5 years.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology

Position 2:Chief Investigator

Dr Lalehvash (Laleh) Moghaddam

Dr Laleh Moghaddam is a polymer and industrial chemist and research fellow within QUT Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy. Dr Moghaddam’s research background includes over 10 years of experience in supporting the agricultural industry to produce sustainable fuels, chemicals, plastics and composites from industry by-products.

Dr Moghaddam completed her PhD studies on the vibration spectroscopy analysis of polymer processing at QUT in 2009. Since 2010, Dr Moghaddam has worked in the Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy on a range of projects aimed toward the efficient and sustainable production of biofuels from biomass, including red meat processing, water utilities, sugar cane bagasse, forestry and microalgae.

Dr Moghaddam is passionate about collaborating with industry for value-adding to agricultural by-products, including the production of biofuels, bioplastics, and biocomposites.

Organisation:Queensland University of Technology

Subunit:School of Chemistry and Physics

Position 2:Chief Investigator

Dr Anna Phelan

Dr Anna Phelan is a Lecturer within the Strategy and Entrepreneurship Discipline at the University of Queensland Business School. She teaches undergraduate and post-graduate courses in Social Entrepreneurship and Business Sustainability. Anna is also Entrepreneur in Residence with the CSIRO Plastics Innovation Hub. Anna’s ongoing research efforts are structured around the following streams: 1) circular economy and plastics 2) social entrepreneurship and small-scale enterprise development 3) decarbonisation and business sustainability.

Dr Phelan’s research portfolio includes working closely with stakeholders from government, industry, sustainability sector, not-for-profits, and community. She brings twenty-three years combined academic and industry experience in business development, technical consulting, and qualitative and quantitative research methods. Previously, Dr Phelan was a Research Fellow at UQ Business School and the Academic Coordinator for the Global Change Scholars Program with the UQ Graduate School, where she worked with high-performing PhD students from across UQ on issues of global change and research leadership.

In 2020 Anna led the Global Change Institute Flagship Project – Small Island Initiative for a Plastic Free Ocean – investigating factors contributing to ocean plastic pollution in Indonesia. Anna has designed and delivered research studies and was part of the Business Development team for the Capturing Coral Reef & Related Ecosystem Services (CCRES) project, focused on alternative sustainable livelihoods that protect and enhance coastal ecosystem services.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Business

Position 2:Chief Investigator

Professor

Kathryn Fairfull-Smith

Professor Kathryn Fairfull-Smith is an organic chemist with more than 15 years experience in the use of organic synthesis to design and build molecules or functionalise surfaces and polymers for various applications. She is Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Science and Co-Director of the Centre for Materials Science, where she focuses on chemistry-driven research efforts with respect to Materials Science. Within the Centre, Kathryn contributes to the projects exploring the development of anti-fouling and anti-inflammatory materials and coatings which utilise nitroxides for applications ranging from biomedical implants to chronic wounds. She is also interested in the development of fluorescent probes to study materials degradation (particularly in extreme environments) and diseases involving oxidative stress. Kathryn’s research work has contributed greatly to the study of nitroxides in biological systems, polymer degradation and environmental pollution.

Organisation:Queensland University of Technology

Subunit:Faculty of Science, School of Chemistry and Physics

Position 2:Chief Investigator

Professor

William (Bill) Clarke

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Civil Engineering

Position 2:Chief Investigator

Dr Severine van Bommel

Dr Severine van Bommel is an interdisciplinary social scientist working on the human side of agriculture and natural resource management. She is the leader of the Rural Development Group within the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences. She also coordinates the broader Social Science group within that school. She holds a PhD from Wageningen University (NL), where she worked as Associate Professor with the Communication Studies Group until 2018. Her research and teaching focus deliberative and participatory practices in agricultural extension and rural development. Taking an interpretive approach, she investigates what is meaningful to people, and how those meanings – often plural, at times clashing – are enacted. When possible she moves beyond explanation to co-design and social learning intended to improve the situation, such as for marginalised actors (both human and non-human). She has a track record of successful, innovative, social science research in this domain through international projects such as SLIM, LEARNing, and CADWAGO. Her research has led to insights on how to conduct and co-design processes that trigger social learning and sustain it. She has more than 15 years of experience of working in Africa, Latin America and Europe. She is currently mainly working in Australia and the Pacific.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Agriculture and Food Sciences

Position 1:Chief Investigator

Professor

Peta Ashworth

Professor Peta Ashworth OAM is the Director of the Andrew N. Liveris Academy for Innovation and Leadership, and Chair in Sustainable Energy Futures at The University of Queensland (UQ). Professor Ashworth brings over thirty years’ experience working in a range of senior management, consulting and research roles. Prior to joining UQ in 2016, Peta worked as a consultant to industry, as Research Group Leader at CSIRO, and in senior executive roles for the Body Shop. Professor Ashworth is a globally-recognised expert in the fields of energy, communication, stakeholder engagement, and technology assessment. For almost two decades, Peta has been researching public attitudes toward climate and energy technologies, including wind, carbon capture and storage (CCS), solar photovoltaic, storage and geothermal. An accomplished speaker and facilitator, Professor Ashworth is actively involved in building energy literacy more broadly both within Australian and globally, and regularly provides input to policy briefings, think tanks, as well as educational events for the benefit of the broader community. Professor Ashworth continues to lead multi-disciplinary research at The University of Queensland relating to public perceptions of climate and energy technologies and she is a Research Leader for the Future Fuels CRC Social Licence to Operate work package. Peta’s main research interests include how to deliver information to best effect, and how to facilitate dialogue across a broad range of stakeholders regarding complex and contested issues.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Chemical Engineering

Position 1:Chief Investigator

Dr Lisa Pope

Dr Lisa Pope has extensive experience in managing ARC Centres, having previously worked in an ARC Centre of Excellence where she was responsible for reporting, analysis and managing the capacity building training programs. She gained her PhD in conservation genetics and has postdoctoral research experience in population genetics of mammals, particularly dispersal.

Lisa is motivated by sustainability and is inspired by the potential to achieve positive environmental and economic impact through the increased use of bioplastics and biocomposite products in the Australian bioeconomy. She has a passion for providing capacity-building support for early career researchers and students.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Chemical Engineering

Position 1:Centre Manager

Position 2:Professional staff

Mr Michael Burke

Director, Biofutures Queensland, Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DSDILGP)

 Michael Burke is the Director of DSDILGP’s Biofutures Queensland where he is responsible for delivering the $30 million Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan with a vision for Queensland to be an Asia-Pacific hub in biomanufacturing and biorefining, enabling global efforts to decarbonise and build diverse local industrial capabilities.

 Michael has overseen the successful deployment of multiple Biofutures Funding Programs including the $5 million Biofutures Industry Development Fund; the $4 million Biofutures Acceleration Program; and the $4 million Biofutures Commercialisation Program.

 He has also been involved in the implementation of two resource recovery funding programs aimed at diverting and reprocessing waste in Queensland: the $100 million Resource Recovery Industry Development Program and the $5 million Waste to Biofutures Fund.

Michael has previously held senior policy and industry development roles within the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for the intensive animal and broad acre cropping industries. His background is in aquatic animal husbandry where he spent 15 years in a research capacity at the Bribie Island Aquaculture Research Centre. Michael has a Master of Aquaculture and post-graduate degree in aquatic animal health.

Organisation:Queensland Government

Subunit:Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning.

Position 1:Partner Investigator

Adjunct Associate Professor

Nicholas McCaffrey

Nick McCaffrey is a materials and processing technology specialist with more than 30 years of practical experience in the development and commercialisation of complex, high technology, product and process development projects for a number of world leading Australian manufacturing businesses. During his career, Nick has worked in a number of areas within the plastics industry, including biodegradable materials, precision optical materials, protective and decorative coatings, injection molded part design and manufacturing process simulation. He is the author of 9 papers related to process and product development and is the inventor of 8 granted patent families and 9 published patent applications.

Qualifications;
B.App.Sci (Chem) – University of Melbourne
GradCertBusTech – University of NSW

Organisation:Plantic Technologies Ltd

Position 1:Chief Technology Officer

Position 2:Partner Investigator

Mr Peter Brisbane

Peter Brisbane has more than two decades experience in public policy and sustainability. As Government Partnership Officer for the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), Peter manages APCO’s close working relationships with the Commonwealth and state territory governments, and helps guide industry’s efforts to implement government legislation and policy on packaging and plastic waste. Prior to joining APCO in 2018, Peter worked for the Australian Government across the Environment, Human Services and Agriculture portfolios. He was a key member of the Australian delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 2002-2005, led the development and implementation of the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007, and oversaw the implementation of the Product Stewardship Act 2011 and the delivery of Australia’s product stewardship and waste programs.

 

Organisation:Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation Ltd

:Government Partnership Officer

Position 1:Partner Investigator

Mr Ethan He

Ethan He has more than 15 years experience working in the personal care hygiene business to boost brand development via sustainable product innovation. As a product innovator of Kimberly-Clark, Ethan is responsible for implementing serious actions to improve sustainability, and collaborates with research hubs and industries leaders to define the footpath towards ‘More Green, Better for Environment’.

During his career, Ethan has led various sustainable projects, including Materials & Finished Goods biodegradable methodology discussion, plant-based materials development, and a reusable product launch. He studied Polymer Material and Science at University, and believes that future polymer materials can be both better for the environment, and ease consumers’ life.

Organisation:Kimberly-Clark Australia Pty Ltd

Position 2:Product Innovator, Kimberly-Clark

Position 1:Partner Investigator

Adjunct Professor

Alan Werker

Alan is an environmental engineer with more than 30 years of experience in both academic and industrial research and development efforts. For 14 years, he drove the devil in the detail from fundamental know-how to bioprocess development in piloting proof of concept of producing biopolymers (polyhydroxyalkanoates) from wastewater. At that time, he led a trans-disciplinary team that peaked at 12 research engineers and scientists and engaged in national and international academic, corporate, and public/private collaborations in basic research, thesis supervision, EU Consortium Projects, and, as well, practical business development challenges for establishing bio-based value-added chains. Currently, he continues to work at the interface between bioprocess and the polymer material science developments as a co-owner and consultant with Promiko AB (www.promiko.se), a research theme leader with Wetsus (www.wetsus.nl), and an Adjunct Professor, School of Chemical Engineering, at the University of Queensland.

Organisation:The University of Queensland / Promiko AB

Subunit:School of Chemical Engineering

Position 1:Partner Investigator

Dr Katie Macintosh

Organisation:City of Gold Coast

Position 1:Partner Investigator

Dr Manuel Brunner

Manuel was born in Bavaria, Germany in 1990. He graduated the University of Regensburg with his BSc in Chemistry in 2014 and with his MSc in Chemistry in 2016 where he investigated anisotropic alginate hydrogels for the treatment of spinal cord injuries. In 2017, Manuel moved to Perth, Australia where he started his PhD at the School of Molecular Sciences at the University of Western Australia. He graduated with his PhD thesis titled “Ionic Liquids for Biomass Dissolution and Analysis of Their Solvent Properties” in 2021. During his PhD, he held a RTP scholarship (UWA) and the Postgraduate Research Award of the Australian Institute for Nuclear Science and Engineering and was awarded several conference awards and research funding valued ~AU$250,000. Manuel’s PhD work was inspired by his passion for sustainability, and it led him to work at world renowned research institutions including the Joint Bioenergy Institute (Berkeley), the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source (Oxford) and the ANSTO OPAL Nuclear Reactor (Sydney).

In 2021, Manuel started his position as Research Analyst within the Plastics and Human Health program at Minderoo Foundation, one of Australia’s biggest philanthropic organisations. Since 2022, Manuel is leading the projects “Redesigning Plastics” and “Advanced Recycling” at Minderoo Foundation with the goal to eliminate the harmful effects of plastic on people and the planet by enabling a safer plastic economy via research partnerships (ITTC Biopolymers and Biocomposites) and investments in tech startups.

Organisation:Minderoo Foundation

Position 1:Partner Investigator

Dr Clement Chan

Clement Chan is an early career researcher in the field of biopolymers (particularly polyhydroxyalkanaotes) and biocomposites. He obtained his PhD on biocomposites from the University of Queensland in 2019, and his BChE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, U.S.A. His background stretched across the full spectrum of materials development, from polymer chemistry, process optimisation to in-service performance evaluations and end-of-life assessments. His research experience has a strong focus on market-driven, solution-based research activities delivering scientific and commercial outcomes.

He is currently working on projects with a focus on delivering more sustainable alternatives to reduce the accumulation of persistent plastic wastes. This includes the development of sustainable high-performance materials based on marine-degradable polymers and natural fibres with close collaboration with industry partners, tailoring biopolymer properties through the manipulation of polymer physics and chemistry, and the evaluation of their lifetimes and environmental impacts with a view to infer on end-of-life management guidelines for these emerging materials. With a view to address the global challenge of minimising waste, Clement is determined to translate latest innovations to generate benefits broadly to industry and community as part of a move towards a ‘zero waste’ and sustainable future.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Chemical Engineering

Position 1:Postoctoral Researcher

Mr Sam Lawless

Sam completed a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) with a major in Chemistry at The University of Queensland in 2020. He began his PhD shortly after in April of 2021 and started developing his project. His research focuses on producing a biodegradable blown film from polyhydroxyalkanoates. His passion lies in applying his chemistry background to help solve real world problems and aims to create a biodegradable alternative to the currently utilized commercial plastic films for food and industrial packaging.

At the end of his PhD, Samuel would like to work in the bioplastic industry to further advance his knowledge and apply his expertise in what he believes is a rapidly growing and key industry in the circular economy.

Organisation:The University of Queensland

Subunit:School of Chemical Engineering

Position 1:PhD student

Ms Tracey Read

Tracey’s interest in biodegradable plastics stems from 10+ years working in the NGO sector In Hong Kong for the charity she co-founded Plastic Free Seas (can I say names?). She delivered solution-focused, research-based education programs, promoting waste reduction action and dispelling greenwashing myths in schools, companies and in the community. Her PhD is an 18-month aquatic field trial analysing 3 different biodegradable plastics of varying thickness in 4 locations. The research objectives include understanding the impacts of different processing methods and the effects of a plasticiser and filler on the rates of biodegradation of biodegradable plastics in aquatic environments.

:The University of Queensland

:School of Chemical Engineering

:PhD student