Graduate Research School Research Excellence Dean's Award for Excellence 2024

Dean's Award for Excellence 2024

Thesis Title: Repeat Tourist Behaviour: Understanding the Motivations and Experiences of Repeat Tourists and Identifying Stakeholder Perspectives

Abstract: Doctor Agrawal investigated the motivation and experience of repeat tourists and the stakeholder perspectives about repeat tourism. She found that the experience and motivation for repeat tourists varied significantly with different number of repeat visits. The findings have implications for strategy development for repeat tourists not only in India but in wider tourism context.

Advisory Panel: Professor Abhishek Bhati, Associate Professor Hera Oktadiana and Professor

Thesis Title: Microeconomic adaptation in social-ecological systems

Abstract: Doctor Bartelet explored the socio-economic resilience of dive tourism on the Great Barrier Reef and other Pacific communities that depend economically on coral reefs. He identified complex and dynamic relationships between adaptive capacity, adaptive responses, and adaptation outcomes. His thesis extends and refines existing and emerging climate change adaptation theories.

Advisory Panel: Professor Graeme Cumming and Associate Professor Michele Barnes

Thesis Title: Motion monitoring during prostate radiation therapy treatment: clinical considerations, and patient preferences and perspectives

Abstract: Doctor Brown investigated motion monitoring in radiation therapy, a primary treatment for prostate cancer. She investigated clinical and patient-reported outcomes with reduced margins afforded by motion monitoring; patient perceptions and preferences for motion monitoring, and identified future preference research areas. This research has led to practice change at Townsville Cancer Centre

Advisory Panel: Associate Professor Tilley Pain, Associate Professor Emily Callander and Professor Kerrianne Watt

Thesis Title: Exploring perceptions of interreligious learning and teaching and the interplay with religious identity

Abstract: Doctor Foley explored perceptions of interreligious learning and teaching starting with self, extending to other adults and then to participants in a Catholic School.  The study revealed the importance of leadership, all voices counting, and an educational frame for learning.  Resonances could assist all schools to work towards solidarity and a 'civilisation of love'.

Advisory Panel: Professor Maree Dinan-Thompson and Professor Nerina Caltabiano

Thesis Title: From factors to contexts: analysing changes and interactions in behaviour, venom profiles and body state of Australian funnel-web spiders

Abstract: Doctor Duran used a multidisciplinary approach to analyse changes and interactions in behaviours, venom profiles and morphophysiological variables in four species of Australian funnel-web spiders. To understand the ecological role, evolution and diversification of venom in funnel-web spiders. These results and methods are applicable to the study of other venomous animals.

Advisory Panel: Doctor Tasmin Rymer, Doctor David Wilson and Professor William Edwards

Thesis Title: Synthesis of sustainable transfer-free graphene electrodes and plasma polymer encapsulation layers for organic photovoltaics

Abstract: Doctor Kamel successfully synthesized transfer-free graphene electrodes and encapsulation layers using geranium oil as a precursor for organic solar cells. The graphene electrodes exhibited performance comparable to standard electrodes, while the encapsulation layers enhanced device stability. His research contributes to the advancement of affordable, eco-friendly renewable energy technology.

Advisory Panel: Professor Mohan Jacob and Professor Michael Oelgemoeller

Thesis Title: Simulation and implementation of novel deep learning hardware architectures for resource constrained devices

Abstract: Doctor Lammie designed mixed signal memristive-CMOS and FPGA hardware architectures, which were used to reduce the power and resource requirements of DL systems; both during inference and training. Disruptive design methodologies, such as those explored in this thesis, can be used to facilitate the design of next-generation DL systems.

Advisory Panel: Associate Professor Mustafa Rahimi Azghadi and Professor Wei Xiang

Thesis Title: Impacts of ocean warming on the Pacific crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris)

Abstract: Doctor Lang investigated the impacts of temperature on the coral-feeding crown-of-thorns starfish. She found that the early life stages and adults are negatively impacted by magnitudes of warming expected to occur in the near future. These responses to warming may lead to spatial and temporal shifts in outbreak risk.

Advisory Panel: Professor Morgan Pratchett, Professor Andrew Hoey, Associate Professor Jennifer Donelson and Doctor Ciemon Caballes

Thesis Title: Modeling the potential of introducing different Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes to control Aedes-borne arboviral infections

Abstract: Doctor Ogunlade developed single and multi-Wolbachia strain(s) invasive models in wild-type mosquitoes. He found that the advantage of Wolbachia retainment in mosquitoes strongly outweighed cytoplasmic incompatibility and releasing mosquitoes with two different strains of Wolbachia did not increase their prevalence, compared with a single-strain Wolbachia-infected mosquito introduction and only delayed Wolbachia dominance. These findings contribute to the mitigation or elimination of global arboviral infections in particular,dengue.

Advisory Panel: Professor Emma McBryde, Doctor Michael Meehan, Doctor Adeshina Adekinle and Doctor Diana Rojas Alverez

Thesis Title: "Staying afloat at school”: academic buoyancy amongst indigenous secondary students

Abstract: Tamara Sam investigated how Indigenous secondary students in one remote school define and experience academic buoyancy, through group interviews with 11 students. Her thesis shows how Indigenous students learn to negotiate unfamiliar positions and adapt new learning approaches to find success within the contested space of formal schooling.

Advisory Panel: Doctor Ailie McDowall and Doctor Dianna Hardy

Thesis Title: Optimal operation of dams/reservoirs emphasizing potential environmental and climate change impacts

Abstract: Doctor Sedighkia studied the potential ecological and climate change impacts on management of dams. He developed several new optimization frameworks in which benefits of dams are maximised, while above impacts are mitigated. Governments and consulting engineers can use the proposed frameworks for managing dams considering environmental challenges in river basins.

Advisory Panel: Doctor Bithin Datta and Associate Professor Ahmad Zahedi

Thesis Title: Screening for developmental delay and social-emotional learning among children in India

Abstract: Doctor Sheel investigated the use of parental report to screen children aged 4 - 8 years for developmental delay and social-emotional learning in India. She found that the measures were useful in detecting problems in both community and clinical samples. Therefore, low-cost screening can identify children requiring early intervention services.

Advisory Panel: Professor Nigel Marsh and Doctor Lidia Suarez

Thesis Title: Sustainable synthesis of graphene-based materials and applications

Abstract: Doctor Zafar manufactured graphene and graphene-composites at ambient conditions from plant extracts, and for the first time nitrogen-doped graphene-oxide using a single step is fabricated. He developed electrochemical sensors for the detection of various insecticides and pesticides. This work is significant to achieve sustainability in the field of nanotechnology.

Advisory Panel: Professor Mohan Jacob, Professor Ronald White and Dr Yang Liu