Congratulations to Ensiyeh Javaherian Pour – runner-up Three-Minute Thesis

Ensiyeh Javaherian Pour was honoured as the runner-up in the Three-Minute Thesis presentation at the Information Resilience Ph.D. School, a two-day event held at the University of Melbourne from October 30th to 31st. This event was organised by the Centre for Information Resilience (CIRES), Australian Research Council (ARC) (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre. Ensiyeh is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the Centre for Spatial Data Infrastructures and Land Administration (CSDILA) at the University of Melbourne, under the supervision of Dr. Behnam Atazadeh, Prof. Abbas Rajabifard, and Dr. Soheil Sabri, as part of the  ARC Research Hub for Resilient and Intelligent Infrastructure Systems (RIIS)


Congratulations to Masoud Kamali -Runner-up Data Literacy Competition

Masoud Kamali was recognized as a runner-up in the data literacy competition during the two-day Information Resilience Ph.D. School held at the University of Melbourne from October 30 to 31. This event was hosted by the Centre for Information Resilience), an Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre. Currently, Masoud is pursuing his PhD at the University of Melbourne in the Centre for Spatial Data Infrastructures and Land Administration (CSDILA). He is supervised by Dr. Behnam Atazadeh, Dr. Yiqun (Benny) Chen, and Prof. Abbas Rajabifard, as part of the  ARC Research Hub for Resilient and Intelligent Infrastructure Systems (RIIS)

RIIS Hub Director invited to the Australian Research Council’s 2024 College of Experts

Congratulations to our RIIS Hub Director and Head of School PSM Professor Nasser Khalili for his recent invitation to join the Australian Research Council’s 2024 College of Experts.

The ARC College of Experts supports the advancement of knowledge and contributes to national innovation, and it plays a key role in identifying research excellence for the ARC. Members of the College are experts of international standing drawn from the Australian research community: from higher education, industry and public sector research organisations.

Prof Nasser Khalili is a globally recognised expert in unsaturated soil mechanics and computational geomechanics, and is the Director and Lead Chief Investigator for the Research Hub for Resilient and Intelligent Infrastructure Systems (RIIS)

There are currently 269 members on the 2023 College of Experts, with 13 from UNSW.

Appointments are for a three year duration.

The College of Experts assists the ARC by:

  • assigning external assessors
  • assessing and ranking ARC grant applications submitted under the National Competitive Grants Program
  • moderating external assessments
  • providing recommendations for fundable applications to the ARC CEO
  • assisting with recruiting through the nomination of new assessors
  • providing advice for peer review reforms, and
  • providing strategic advice to the ARC on emerging disciplines and cross-disciplinary developments.

Prof Khalili is no stranger to the work of the College, he was previously elected in 2018.



UNSW Student – Samah Said awarded a Travel Grant

UNSW RIIS Student Samah Said  was awarded a CIRES Travel Grant to help cover expenses to attend the  Information Resilience Ph.D. School

The PhD School is a 2-day, in-person event held at Melbourne Connect, Carlton Victoria. It targeted  current (at any stage of candidature) or prospective PhD students interested in exploring and understanding cutting-edge data science practices, pathways toward academic or industry careers, and prospects of next-generation research in the field.

It included:

  • Knowledge exchange and sharing, featuring talks and tutorials delivered by world-leading researchers including Prof Gao Cong, Nanyang Technical University, Singapore and Prof Jenny Zhang, RMIT University
  • Social networking, facilitated by interactive short presentation/poster sessions, banquet, roundtable discussions, etc.
  • Mentorship from both academic and industry, with the possibility of establishing long-term collaborations.

This event was hosted by the Centre for Information Resilience), an Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre

Chief Investigator of RIIS Associate Professor Jagannath Aryal receives an Asia-Pacific Award

Associate Professor Jagannath Aryal has received the Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards Educational Development Award for his contributions to the transfer of skills and knowledge through teaching, training, research and publications.

Professor Jagannath Aryal APSEA award 2022 Educational Development (Oceania)

Associate Professor Aryal is a Chief Investigator within our RIIS Hub and is from the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne.  He has worked in government and academic sectors in close collaboration with private Industry. He has delivered surveying and remote sensing education to students throughout Asia, Europe and Oceania.

Associate Professor Jagannath is a chief investigator on  2 of our RIIS Projects

His research experience has also benefited a significant number of PhD completions and ongoing PhD supervisions. Associate Professor Aryal serves as the national chair of the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI), Australia’s Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Commission. In addition, he directs a research group focused on Earth observation.

His teaching and coaching have helped students who have gone on to successful careers in the geospatial industry.

The Geospatial Council of Australia confers the Educational Development Award on teachers, trainers, facilitators or academics who have not only significantly empowered individuals and groups, but also assisted others in acquiring expertise in surveying and spatial science. It recognises strong leadership in an educational role, as well as contributions and accomplishments during the past 18 months.

2022 State Level – Educational Development award (Victoria)

Associate Professor Aryal was awarded the APSEA award (Victoria) in 2022, and he was successful in receiving the APSEA award at the Oceania level in 2023.

ARC Research Hub for Resilient and Intelligent Infrastructure Systems opens at UNSW Sydney


The Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Dr Richard Johnson, officially launched the ARC Research Hub for Resilient and Intelligent Infrastructure Systems (RIIS), on Friday 28 April 2023.

While the Hub was begun during COVID lockdown periods in July 2022, it is now being launched as significant progress is being made on its research and development program, with 16 work packages already developed in the Hub.

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Deputy CEO Dr Richard Johnson said: “This investment enables strong and practical collaboration between top researchers and industry partners focused on deploying innovative and integrated technologies to improve urban infrastructure, transport, water, resource, and energy management.

UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, Professor Nicholas Fisk said that the R&D ecosystem was in the midst of a paradigm shift towards collaborative, interdisciplinary, team efforts, compared to older models of sole trader discipline-specific investigator research.  The Hub really is an exemplar of this high-tech transformative approach to translate research with industry to commercial outcomes, which through its success will go on to benefit this nation and beyond.

Prof. Khalili said “Our aspiration is to make a step change in the way infrastructure is designed, constructed, monitored, managed, and maintained. As we all know, significant advances have been made in digital technologies in recent years, to the extent that they now touch every facet of our lives.  They have the potential to revolutionise infrastructure and engineering in ways that we could not have imagined even a few years ago.

Plaque unveiling
Professor Nicholas Fisk
Dr Richard Johnson
Professor Stephen Foster
Scientia Professor Nasser Khalili
Professor Abbas Rajabifard
Mr James Linke


Executive Team


Prof Abbas Rajabifard appointed to a United Nations International Advisory Committee

Professor Abbas Rajabifard, Deputy Director the RIIS Research Hub, from Department of Infrastructure Engineering, the University of Melbourne, was appointed to the United Nations Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Centre (UN-GGKIC)’s International Advisory Committee.


The Centre’s overarching goal is to work towards the implementation of the United Nations Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (UN-IGIF). Set by Member States, the Framework aims to develop capacity, promote and support the innovation, leadership, coordination and standards needed to develop and deliver national geospatial information policy, data, systems, tools, services and capabilities into their national government development policies, strategies and arrangements.


In particular, given the increase in global issues and challenges, and the need for actions towards global sustainability and resilience, it will urge United Nations to take actions to promote and build global capability, and develop collaborative knowledge and innovation hubs for harnessing contemporary methods, technologies and analytics in geospatial information as a fundamental infrastructure.


It will also seek to facilitate access to regional and global information and data sources, including Earth observations, and to improve national geospatial information management to assist countries to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Webinar – Challenges and opportunities for resilient infrastructure

Webinar – Challenges and opportunities for resilient infrastructure

Professor Abbas Rajabifard and two of our RIIS industry partners Dr Govinda Pandey CEO, Rockfield Technologies Australia and Andy Kennard Business Solutions Manager, Software and Systems, Emerson Automation Solutions were part of a webinar and panel discussion on the future of infrastructure and our RIIS research hub.

With the demand for new infrastructure in all sectors for our growing population, combined with the impacts of climate change and aging infrastructure, there is an increased need for new and innovative technologies. Technologies that can offer solutions to predict infrastructure rehabilitation and renewal needs, pre-empt failure and prolong the life of infrastructure.

In addition, there is a profound need for new systems that can deliver sustainable, resilient, and cost-effective infrastructure. This includes real-time monitoring, predictive modelling, and scenario planning that integrates climate modelling – and can also be used to assess, in 3D, how our landscapes can be designed to play a part in adaptation and mitigation.

The expert panel in this webinar discussed challenges and opportunities across the following key themes:

  • Sensing, intelligent and adaptive systems
  • Data collection, security, and integration
  • Modelling, simulations, and prognostics
  • Infrastructure health monitoring and predictive maintenance
  • Spatial data, digital twins, and decision support.

The panel was proudly presented by the Infrastructure platform, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology – University of Melbourne.

Click here to view the webinar

Panelists and chair:

Andy Kennard

Business Solutions Manager, Software and Systems, Emerson Automation Solutions

Andy Kennard has been working with Emerson in industrial control and automation for over 40 years. In that time he worked in a wide range of industries, including water, power, chemical, life sciences, oil and gas, and mining.

He holds degrees from the University of Sydney in engineering and science and is currently the business solutions manager for SYSS in Australia and New Zealand, specialising in the challenges of modernising industrial automation infrastructure

Dr Govinda Pandey

CEO, Rockfield Technologies Australia

Dr Govinda Pandey is the CEO of Rockfield, Co-Founder of LiXiA, and Adjunct Associate Professor at James Cook University. His leadership has resulted in Rockfield pioneering the adoption of modern sensor technologies to accelerate the world’s transition to safe and intelligent infrastructure. Govinda’s network extends globally given his international training and practice.

Govinda’s technical authority is in the areas of structural rehabilitation, non-linear modelling, bridge engineering, structural health monitoring, asset management, buried metal structures, and mechanically stabilized earth walls. He has delivered projects of various sizes and complexities across Australia and New Zealand.

As an industry thought leader, Govinda delivers talks nationally and internationally at workshops, seminars, and conferences as an invited speaker. He is passionate about education and believes in sharing his knowledge and experience for the greater good of society. This has driven him to continue lecturing at the university, supervising undergraduate thesis students, mentoring student engineers, and visiting schools.

Prof. Abbas Rajabifard

Professor Infrastructure Engineering, University of Melbourne

Prof. Abbas Rajabifard is an accomplished surveyor and researcher, with more than 30 years’ of experience across academia, government, and industry.

His interest and passion encompass spatial science, surveying, land administration and mapping, research, and education. Abbas is an internationally recognised expert in land administration modernisation, 3D cadastre, Digital Twin, and BIM (Building Information Model) technology. He has conducted projects in Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, Middle East, North America, and Latin America regions (in particular, Australia, Iran, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, UAE, Chile, Colombia, India, Solomon Islands, and Saudi Arabia).

Mark Allan (Chair)

Director Greenline, City of Melbourne

Mark Allan is a registered architect and qualified urban planner with a Master’s degree from the Melbourne Business School. With a career spanning 30 years in sustainable urban development and major urban renewal projects, Mark has played key roles in the planning and design of Federation Square, Melbourne Docklands, and the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal. In his current role at the City of Melbourne, he is the Acting Director of City Design where he leads the Council’s City Design Studio. Mark has previously held senior roles in architectural practice at Mirvac, VicUrban, and the former Melbourne Docklands Authority. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and the Planning Institute of Australia and an Honorary Fellow of the University of Melbourne’s Infrastructure Engineering Department. Mark has expertise in urban renewal projects and the design of sustainable precincts.

Scientia Professor Nasser Khalili honoured by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE)

Congratulations to Prof. Nasser Khalili – new Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE).

Elected by their peers, ATSE Fellows are leaders in applied science, technology and engineering.

UNSW Civil & Environmental Engineering Head of School Professor Nasser Khalili, an international leader in geotechnical engineering, is amongst 27 academics elected in October as new Fellows of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE).

Prof. Khalili is an international leader in geotechnical engineering, computational geomechanics and unsaturated soil mechanics. His work encompasses roads, tunnels, mines, dams, earthquake engineering and groundwater projects.

ATSE President Hugh Bradlow said the new Fellows are shaping Australia’s technology powered human driven future.

“Elected by their peers, ATSE Fellows are leaders in applied science, technology and engineering and we celebrate their exceptional professional contributions to Australian STEM innovation,” Professor Bradlow said.

“While the 2022 new Fellows span multiple critical industries, we are pleased to welcome so many at the forefront of tackling climate change.

“ATSE is Australia’s foremost impact network for leading applied scientists, technologists and engineers, and we’re thrilled to see Professor Nasser Khalili join this group. Congratulations on this wonderful accomplishment, Nasser.”

PSM Professor and Scientia Professor Nasser Khalili FTSE,
has contributed to projects of national and international interest including the stability assessment of the Olympic Stadium site at Homebush Bay and the seismic hazard investigation for Sydney Airport’s third runway.

Prof. Khalili currently oversees a project diverting 10,000 tonnes of paper and plastic waste into road construction, creating technical leadership in Australian recycling and reducing infrastructure costs. National design guidelines for embankment dams include Nasser’s seismic analysis. His assessment of the Hume Dam helped determined the cause of increasing movement in the dam’s core-wall and the design of an effective solution.

Prof. Khalili is also Director of the ARC Industry Transformation Research Hub for Resilient and Intelligent Infrastructure Systems (RIIS) (NSW).

He says his top priorities as a Fellow will be to promote the quality of science, technology, and engineering education at all levels, particularly amongst high school students and the broader community and engage industry, government, research leaders, and infrastructure stakeholders, to facilitate the implementation of integrated science-based practical solutions to address the challenges facing Australia’s infrastructure.

Congratulations to Nasser!

Read more about the 2022 ATSE Fellows at

Story source – Olga Gerloff,  UNSW Newsroom, 19 Oct 2022


Congratulations Dr Mohammad Vahab – IACMAG Award Winning Paper.

RIIS Chief Investigator Dr Mohammad Vahab has been awarded a prestigious award for early career researchers from the International Association for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics (IACMAG).

Mohammad received the ‘Excellent Paper Award to Junior Individuals (45 years and under)’ for his paper “X-FEM Modeling of Multizone Hydraulic Fracturing Treatments within Saturated Porous Media”, published in Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering (2018) 51:3219–3239.In this paper, a fully coupled hydro-mechanical model was presented for the study of multizone hydraulic fracturing. Several numerical examples were presented to demonstrate the robustness of the proposed X-FEM framework in the study of multizone hydraulic fracturing treatments through saturated porous media. The results appear to accord with the field observations reporting numerous failed attempts of multistage multizone fracturing treatments, which provide a great insight into the complexities encountered in practice.

The IACMAG Excellent Paper Award recognises excellent research contributions published through refereed paper(s) in archived journals.  This prestigious award is granted every three years to 5 early career researchers in the field. The nominated research should be of high quality and may be in a wide range of subjects in geomechanics/geotechnics, including areas such as analytical or numerical methods, constitutive modelling and testing, and important practical geotechnical applications.

IACMAG was established in 1988. It has organized successful international conferences approximately every three to four years since then.

About Mohammad Vahab

Dr Mohammad Vahab received his PhD in Civil Engineering from Sharif University of Technology in 2015. He immediately joined UNSW, Sydney as a research associate in Geotechnical Engineering, where he is currently employed as a lecturer. The focus of his research is numerical simulation by employing the state-of-the-art computational methods, namely:

– Extended Finite Element Method (XFEM);
– Non-differentiable Energy Minimisation using Discontinuous Galerkin Method (DG); and
– Phase-field Method (PF).

Mohammad specializes in the hydro-mechanical coupling processes in saturated/unsaturated porous formations. This involves the development of physical models as well as advanced computational frameworks in relation to the hydraulic fracturing treatments in neat, fractured and/or layered domains.

About Geomechanics

Geomechanics is an interdisciplinary area that involves the study of natural and man-made systems with emphasis on the mechanics of various interacting phenomena. It comprises aspects of various engineering and scientific disciplines such as civil, mechanical, hydraulic, materials, and geological engineering and geophysics, with appropriate scientific foundations in mechanics and physics. Some of the specific subjects involved are soil and rock mechanics, statics and dynamics of interacting structures and foundations, oil and fluid flow through porous media, environmental geotechnology, offshore and marine technology, geothermal energy and ice mechanics.

Geomechanics: an integration of old and innovative technologies
Geomechanics has the potential for developing innovative technologies, and providing challenging careers to outstanding people. It covers both fundamental and practical aspects, and recognizes the need for a rational process of simplification through integration of theory, experiments, and verification for the development of procedures for solution of practical industrial problems. Geomechanics, with its emphasis on both basic and applied aspects, and its interdisciplinary nature, is capable of participation in and integration of emerging scientific and technological developments so as to contribute to a wide range of areas.