Market-Focused Product Innovation

Program B: Market-Focused Product Innovation

This program will optimise the market interface to clearly define end-user need, thereby ensuring product developments are market-driven. This will be achieved through enhanced customer engagement in both the development of ideas and subsequent product development. In this way, the resources and research capacity of the Hub will become available to a broader range of Australian SMEs. Product development initiatives will lead to improved high strength hot rolled products, coated products for resilient Australian buildings, and surface engineering of coatings.

Program Leader (Academic)

Professor Paul CooperAustralian Steel Research Hub | Paul Cooper

Professor Paul Cooper is the Director of the University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC). Paul has been involved in research on a wide variety of topics in energy systems, energy efficiency and fluid mechanics over the past twenty five years. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering, a Masters in Science and Technology Studies and a PhD in Heat Transfer, all from Imperial College London.

Program Leader (Industry)

Mark EckermannAustralian Steel Research Hub | Mark Eckermann

Chief Investigators

Professor Elena PerelomaAustralian Steel Research Hub | Elena Pereloma

Professor Elena Pereloma is currently Professor of Physical Metallurgy in the school of Mechanical, Materials and Mechatronics Engineering, and Director of the Electron Microscopy Centre at the University of Wollongong. Professor Pereloma's main research interests are in processing-microstructure-property relationships, alloy design, advanced characterisation techniques and severe plastic deformation of metals.

Professor Huijun LiAustralian Steel Research Hub | Huijun Li

Associate Professor Michael HigginsAustralian Steel Research Hub | Michael Higgins

Dr Michael Higgins completed his PhD degree in Biology and Chemistry at the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2003. He was a research fellow and senior research fellow at the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanodevices and Nanostructures (CRANN), Trinity College Dublin, Ireland in 2003-2007. Dr Higgins is currently an ARC Australian Research Fellow at the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI), ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), University of Wollongong, Australia. His research interest is the cellular-material interface and application of scanning probe microscopy techniques to study biological systems at the nanoscale.

Professor Elena Ivanova Australian Steel Research Hub | Elena Ivanova

Professor Irene YarovskyAustralian Steel Research Hub | Irene Yarovsky

Irene Yarovsky is currently Professor of Theoretical Physics and Program Leader for Biophysics and Bioengineering of the Health Innovations Research Institute of RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Prof. Yarovsky will contribute expertise in molecular simulations to develop molecular design principles and a rational approach to engineering novel surface treatments and materials with antimicrobial properties. Molecular simulation work will help narrow down materials design options based on the fundamentals of intermolecular interactions between the synthetic surfaces and naturally occurring biomolecules. Prof. Yarovsky’s substantial experience in applying molecular simulations to reduce the risks and costs of the laboratory based material development will form an important foundation for some of the most innovative aspects of the hub research program.

Associate Professor Lip TehAustralian Steel Research Hub | Lip Teh

Partner Investigators

Chris Killmore

Dr Shane Maclaughlin

Dake YuAustralian Steel Research Hub | Dake Yu

Dake has a PhD in metallurgy and material engineering from the University of Wollongong. He is currently the Technical Manager for Bisalloy Steels and has expertise on processing, testing and developing high strength, high hardness quenched and tempered steels.

Philip GrausAustralian Steel Research Hub | Philip Graus

Associate Researchers

Dr Tillman BohmeAustralian Steel Research Hub | Tillman Bohme

Dr Tillmann Böhme Dr Tillmann Böhme is a senior lecturer at the University of Wollongong (Faculty of Business) and applied researcher. Tillmann’s particular research interest is supply chain maturity in practice and the development of pathways to enhancement. His research is founded on the concept of mature manufacturing systems (such as Toyota Production System) and how these systems can be adopted to suit alternate industries and drive innovation (in particular construction and engineering to order). He has conducted applied research with companies in Australia, Austria, Germany, New Zealand and the Netherlands and assisted those companies with their supply chain configuration. Tillmann also belongs to a team of global researchers constantly seeking supply chain best practices and world class business solutions using a tailored supply chain diagnostic methodology termed Quick Scan Audit Methodology (QSAM).


Research Fellow

Dr Paul MolinoAustralian Steel Research Hub | Paul Molino

Dr Paul Molino completed his PhD in Botany at the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2008. He comes to the Steel Research Hub having successfully completed a UOW Vice Chancellors Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI), ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science. His research interests include studying fundamental biomolecular and cellular interactions with nanostructured materials using a range of microscopy techniques and microgravimetric surface sensing techniques. He is interested in the design of biomaterials to promote beneficial protein and cellular interactions, as well as developing ultra-low fouling materials and coatings for both biomedical and environmental applications.

Dr Matthew PennaAustralian Steel Research Hub | Dr Matthew Penna


Dr Mohammed SohelAustralian Steel Research Hub | Dr Matthew Penna

Andrii Kostryzhev Australian Steel Research Hub | Dr Matthew Penna

Dr Aziz Ahmed Australian Steel Research Hub | Aziz Ahmed

Dr. Aziz Ahmed received his PhD from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering National University of Singapore. His B.Sc. in Civil Engineering degree was from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. His PhD research was titled ‘Seismic Vulnerability and Retrofit of Gravity Load Designed RC Buildings’. After completing his PhD he worked as a Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore. His major research projects include ‘Failure Assessment of Thick-Walled Circular Hollow Section (CHS) Joints in Jack-ups’, ‘Assessment of Cleavage Fracture for Structural Steels in Arctic Applications’ and ‘Arctic floater and mooring system design’. His current project is on the ‘Development of Mid-rise Cold Formed Steel Buildings’. Dr Ahmed also has a Graduate Certificate in Management of Technology from the National University of Singapore. He is a Project management Institute (PMI) certified Project management Professional (PMP).

Research Interests include

  • Cold formed Steel Structures
  • Structural Dynamics
  • Ice-structure interaction
  • Fracture mechanics
  • Marine Structural Steel Connections
  • High-rise concrete structures
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • FRP based Structural Retrofit

Alberto EscribanoAustralian Steel Research Hub | Alberto Escribano

Mr. Escribano is a commercial & industrial business development professional, with strong capabilities in business strategy and business process management.

Mr. Escribano has developed new commercial enterprises for globally operating, construction, real estate, manufacturing and services companies in Western, Eastern Europe and recently Australia. Specifically from 2007 to 2013 Mr. Escribano was in charge of a 250 million Euro development budget delivering offices, residential housing, hotels and international schools.

Consequently Mr. Escribano brings extensive international and Australian experience and expertise relevant to complex and diverse business developments, and has practical, hands-on, multifaceted expertise ranging from project management, business strategy, and business process management, legal and commercial strategy.

Additionally, Mr. Escribano developed and implemented the international expansion strategy for a tiles manufacturer modifying their sales and distribution channels and became highly profitable in a very competitive Eastern Europe market. Mr. Escribano obtained a Masters Degree at the Sydney Business School (UOW) achieving a “Rank 1 Award” in Project Management (Quality Systems) and Management (Marketing). Alberto was also awarded membership of The Golden Key Honour Society in 2015.

Currently, Alberto is Research Fellow at SBRC (Sustainable Building Research Centre) working on a variety of different industry engagements at the University of Wollongong.

Research interests

  • TQM strategies and tactics in construction industry
  • Manufacturing principles applied to building processes
  • Modular construction

Dr Emma Heffernan

Dr Emma Heffernan is a Research Fellow at the University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre. Emma is an Architect with over a decade of experience of working in architectural practice in the UK. She holds a Bachelor of Architectural Design and Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture from the University of Brighton, Masters in Urban Design from the University of the West of England, and PhD in Architecture, Design and Environment from Plymouth University. Emma’s previous research investigated the delivery of zero carbon homes in the UK context and explored the potential for alternative forms of housing delivery to promote sustainable communities. Her research interests include energy efficient design in residential buildings, sustainable communities, sustainable construction, building energy modelling and climate change adaptation.

PhD Students

Nicholas FranklinAustralian Steel Research Hub | Nicholas Franklin

Nicholas Franklin is currently undertaking a Steel Research Hub sponsored PhD, hosted at the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC), at the University of Wollongong. He completed his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering at UOW in 2015. Nick's main interests are in cold formed steel construction, building Information modelling and sustainability.

Alberto OrdigoniAustralian Steel Research Hub | Alberto Ordigoni

Alberto Ordigoni is a Supply Chain analyst and PhD researcher at the University of Wollongong. His experience includes projects in manufacturing and service enterprises assessing a variety of business problems from forecasting issues to interdepartmental integration with a strong focus on process optimisation and continuous improvement. He is particularly interested in cross-functional projects that strive to optimise Supply Chain and Logistics operations. He has worked alongside senior and middle management as well as at the workforce in implementing sound solutions to business issues which maximise performance and deliver value for customers. Alberto has a Bachelor of Economics from the Ca' Foscari University of Venice, a Master of Economics from the University of Udine and a Master of International Business from the University of Wollongong. His PhD thesis focuses on supply chains within industrial clusters. He is currently combining his research on supply chain networks with applied projects in industry.

Last reviewed: 8 September, 2016