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Top 100 : 2012
COVER STORY -- TOP 100 34 ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA | JUNE 2012 Stuart Wenham, 54 Director, ARC Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence, University of NSW, Sydney Photovoltaic engineer, UNSW WORKING WITH the Pluto technology he jointly developed, solar cell technology pioneer Professor Stuart Wenham said the new cell derivative is more economically viable to produce on a large scale and in the past year they have upscaled capacity to the level where it can produce $1 billion of product each year. Wenham said a partnership with Sun- tech has been vital in allowing the cell to move beyond a lab-scale device and become a commercial reality. In continued develop- ment the cell also recently surpassed the 20% efficiency barrier for converting the sun s radiation into electricity, setting a new benchmark for low-cost, mass produced silicon solar cells. "Much of our success in the develop- ment and commercialisation of new high performance photovoltaic (PV) technol- ogy has been through engineering and its exploitation of scientific breakthroughs. Such engineering has had a major impact in determining the direction of my career." Last year Wenham received the IEEE International Electron Device Society s JJ Ebers Award for "outstanding technical contributions to electron devices" as well as the NSW Science and Engineering Award for Climate Change and the Environment. Last month, he and Professor Martin Green were awarded the 2012 Australian Collaborative Innovation Award from the Cooperative Research Centre Association. Andrew Vann, 48 Vice-Chancellor and President, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst Civil engineer, Nottingham Trent University (formerly Trent Polytechnic) THE MAJOR highlight of the past year for Professor Andrew Vann was moving from senior deputy vice-chancellor at James Cook University in Queensland to his new vice chancellor role at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in central NSW in January this year. With many years working in regional higher education, Vann is committed to growing opportunities for rural and re- gional students and is looking forward to the challenges ahead. The Australian higher education system has provided Vann with opportunities to explore education in ways he believes would not have been available if he had stayed in the UK, such as the development of distance and online education. In one of the tasks ahead in his new role, Vann is looking to see if CSU can introduce engineering as a discipline. The son of two aeronautical engineers, Vann enjoys the sense that in engineering you are always working towards a greater, and reasonably permanent, end. "One of the nice things about engineer- ing projects is that you have to deliver. No matter how well you plan, there are always unexpected adversities, so you have to learn to accept responsibility for, and be philosophical about, success and failure." Ian Young, 55 Vice-Chancellor, Australian National University, Canberra Coastal and ocean engineer, James Cook University THIS PAST year, Australian National University (ANU) vice-chancellor Profes- sor Ian Young delivered his new strategic plan for the university. The ANU by 2020 strategic plan will guide the development of the university over the next decade and was "a major undertaking". Young said the plan is focused on "boost- ing excellence in three key areas: research, education and our role as a public policy resource for the nation and the region". He said his engineering background has provided him with a great platform for managing the complexity of a large organisation, using attributes such as stra- tegic planning and risk evaluation, along with a resolution to remain focussed on achieving the desired outcomes. The most critical turning point in his career was the decision to take on a greater management role: "Despite this, I have always believed that I need to remain connected to my discipline. As a result, I try to remain research active and, where possible, engaged with industry." Young conducts research focused on coastal and ocean engineering and par- ticularly wind generated ocean waves. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Australian Research Council, and sits on the board of the Group of Eight -- a coalition of Australian university vice-chancellors. PHOTO: UNSW MEDIA Academia / Research