Batterham Medal awarded to UON engineering innovator

Dr Andrew Fleming has been awarded the 2016 Batterham Medal by the Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) at an award ceremony in Melbourne.

The Batterham Medal was established in 2014, and is awarded to an early career engineer who has received substantial peer and industry recognition, and is designed to help promote the contribution that engineering makes to Australia.

“What I like about the Batterham Medal and the ATSE is that it raises awareness of engineering work. I’m happy to see engineering being brought into focus,” Andrew says. The impact of Andrew’s research and engineering activities are evident through his exceptional record of research outcomes, industrial activities and management of future engineering education and research at UON.

While The Batterham Medal is an individual award for excellence, innovation and impact, Andrew is insistent that his work is a real team effort which is the culmination of years of collaboration with other researchers. “I’ve worked with physicists, mathematicians, mechanical engineers, civil engineers and medical researchers and strongly advocate research partnerships between academia and industry.”

Andrew is an ARC Future Fellow and research engineer in nanoscale imaging, fabrication and piezoelectric systems. Intellectual property resulting from his research has been commercially licensed in thirteen countries and is now found in industrial and scientific devices including scanning atomic force microscopes.

A recognised expert in the modelling, control and engineering of ultra-high precision imaging and fabrication systems, Andrew has consulted to NASA, Nikon Research, Boeing and Stanford University and the Australian DSTO (now Defence Science and Technology Group). Andrew’s signature contribution to engineering and science involves the development of an affordable process for high-resolution lithography. Andrew aims to develop a desktop alternative to multi-million dollar lithography systems that will allow fast, low-cost fabrication of nano-scale electrical and mechanical systems.

A University of Newcastle PhD alumnus, Andrew has received 30 competitive grants totalling more than $10.6 million and has made seminal contributions to science and engineering at a local and International level.

In 2011, Andrew established the Precision Mechatronics Laboratory at UON, a unique facility for the development of scanning probe imaging and fabrication systems, biomedical devices and miniature robotics.

Andrew is currently installing Australia’s first Tip Enhanced Raman Near-Field Microscope which will add molecular-resolution mapping of chemical composition to the national imaging capability in science, engineering and medicine.

Andrew is a representative on the UON STEMM strategic group at UON which looks to broaden the scope for interdisciplinary collaboration through a 10 year strategic plan for teaching, research and industrial interaction at UON. This will allow students to participate in multidisciplinary research, obtain business skills and experience early exposure to industry. “The idea of mixing up biomedicine, physics, chemistry and engineering will be a fantastic change for the student. It will be truly cross-disciplinary. They’ll be interacting with their teachers, but also with Business, Law, Physics and Chemistry – along with industry. It’s future-proofing their degrees by making it more vocational,” Andrew explains.

Encouraging cross-faculty collaboration will prepare graduates for the future technology work force. “In the future, I think we’ll see some huge changes in the way engineering education and research interacts with industry. I believe the University of Newcastle will be a leader in this space.”

The Batterham Medal was presented to Andrew at the ATSE Oration Dinner at the Intercontinental Melbourne, The Rialto on the evening of Friday 25 November 2016.

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