Infrastructure and Environment Research Theme

The Infrastructure and Environment Research Theme encompasses multidisciplinary research groups that provide sustainable solutions in the areas of built and natural environment. We aim to develop technologies that can be implemented to address the current and future challenges in the area of construction, water resource, climate change and environment.

About us

Our research groups' focus is on innovative and holistic approaches to support our industries and communities to develop resilient and thriving communities and healthy environments. We work with many stakeholders to design and build infrastructure and landscapes that are productive and sustainable.

Some of the multidisciplinary activities we engage in are:

  • efficient use of new materials in innovative engineering applications
  • soil-structure interactions
  • assessment of environmental and socio-economic impacts of new infrastructure
  • management of road network for efficient use.

Many of our research projects are funded by industry partners, ranging from regional small-to-medium enterprises through to large multinational companies and government agencies.

Our groups

Our research activities cover different aspects of structural, geotechnical, water, road and transport and environmental engineering. We operate in six research groups that have great synergies between them.

Engineered Timber Structures Group

Our research in the area of engineered mass timber covers the manufacturing, supply chain, material characterisation and structural design using locally and internationally sourced wood. We conduct research into:

  • mechanical and fracture properties of Australian and overseas wood species
  • structural design of mass engineered timber structures
  • bonding of softwood and hardwood
  • numerical simulation of timber
  • optimisation of hybrid engineered timber panels
  • strengthening of timber structure
  • supply chain management of timber industries
  • business value chain.

Key contact: Associate Professor Mahmud Ashraf

Engineering for Climate Change Group

Our research focuses on the use of engineering solutions for the real-world problems that climate change can cause, including:

  • urban stormwater management
  • solar farms efficiency and soil and water appraisal
  • post-fire affected catchments remediation for water resources
  • dust storm mitigation through integrated catchment management
  • groundwater induced recharge and restoration
  • performance of geo-carbon sequestration
  • air pollution
  • drought-resilient water supplies
  • stormwater engineering for extreme rainfall events
  • management and reuse options for residuals from water and wastewater treatment
  • heavy metal speciation
  • industrial water use.

Key contact: Dr Ellen Moon

Sustainable Composite Materials and Structures Group

Within this group, we research various types of materials and structures including:

  • mix design and application of geo-polymer concrete
  • reuse of construction material
  • fibre reinforced and special concrete (light weight, self-compacting, etc.)
  • FRP reinforced concrete and geo-polymer concrete
  • hybrid structures
  • steel alloy
  • topology optimisation
  • barriers and drivers in recovered resource supply chains
  • life cycle analysis (LCA) on consumer products and projects (construction)
  • business value chain
  • smart industrial initiates
  • strategies for driving principles of circular economy and operationalising in business organisations.

Key contact: Dr Kazem Ghabraie

Transport Infrastructure and Safety Group

In this group we research the impacts and ways to improve infrastructure used across a range of industries that utilise some form of transportation, and its safe uses, including:

  • recycled materials for soil stabilisation
  • rock mechanics
  • traffic simulation
  • ground subsidence and groundwater simulation conditioning
  • road safety
  • mining geo-mechanics
  • user behavioural study
  • slope stability and rock slope collapse
  • modelling fatigue damage in cemented pavements
  • rock fracture and rockburst in mine excavation.

Key contact: Dr Ashim Debnath

Water – Energy Nexus Group

This group looks at the co-dependency of water and energy and how systems can be engineered to be sustainable and efficient. We conduct research into:

  • water risks for energy and electricity production at local and regional scales
  • energy needs of water supply and waste systems
  • raw material supplies and water-drought-storm risks
  • water-energy efficiency of green buildings and urban infrastructure projects.

Key contact: Professor Wendy Timms

Water Resources and Asset Management Group

Our group research focus is on how water is being captured and used as well as the overarching management of engineered solutions and technologies. We conduct research into:

  • spatial sampling for land use management in urban and rural catchments
  • water supply catchment modelling
  • smart monitoring and management of water infrastructure
  • porous earth technologies for aquifer assets
  • harvesting of stormwater into the urban water supply-quantity and quality aspects
  • quality classes and water supply sources in urban developments
  • decentralised and alternative water systems
  • scale-modelling catchment, soil and water.

Key contact: Dr James Gong

Facilities to inspire

Our civil and environmental facilities are designed to be versatile and to support students, researchers and staff in conducting a range of tests and research.

Discover our Civil Engineering Labs

Explore our Environmental Engineering Labs

Contact us

For more information about our research, please contact Dr Mahbube Subhani.
Email Dr Subhani

If you're interested in undertaking research studies with us, please contact a member of our team listed above to discuss a potential topic of interest. You can also read our information about being a research degree student at Deakin.

Find out more about becoming a research degree student