Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Theses

07 Sep 2020
student studying on campus

Seventy-one UNSW PhD candidates have been awarded a Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Theses, Round 1 2020.

The Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Theses was introduced in 2019 to recognise high-quality PhD theses produced at UNSW. To receive this award, candidates must produce a thesis that requires only minimal corrections, receives outstanding and/or excellent levels of achievement for all examination criteria, and in the opinion of both examiners is in the top 10% of PhD theses they have examined. Examiners are external to the University and are leaders in their fields.

“UNSW’s PhD candidates are a vital part of our research efforts and these awards recognise the outstanding theses examined in the last year,” said Professor Jonathan Morris, Dean of Graduate Research at UNSW Sydney.

“I commend each of these graduates for their achievement.”

The awards are listed below by faculty. Further details about this award have been published on the GRS website.

UNSW Arts and Social Sciences


Thesis title

Leon Ankersmit

Partnership between birth parents and foster carers: a complex systems framework

Caitlin Buckle

Mapping mobile lives: Explorations of migrants' lived experiences through narrative, visual imagery and virtual visitation

Anthea Compton

The function of "traditional culture" in Australian political discourse, 1963-2007

Kenny Kor

A multi-informant study on practice development and implementation of therapeutic residential care for young people in Out of Home Care

Vicki Likourezos

The Variability Effect: An Instructional Approach to Enhance Mathematics Learning


UNSW Built Environment


Thesis title

Malay Dave

High performance prefab housing: towards an evaluation framework for design, sustainability and affordability

Jin Zhu

Pro-growth planning regime and housing outcomes in urbanising China: A case study of Shanghai


UNSW Business School


Thesis title

David Bell

Three Essays Exploring intertemporal asset allocation

Jonas Heller

Reality re-imagined: How augmented reality redefines decision processes and consumer behaviour in retailing


UNSW Engineering


Thesis title

Yara Alzahid

Multi-Dimensional Visualisation Methods for Multiphase Flow Characterisation of Alkaline-Surfactant-Polymer (ASP) Flooding: Impact of Phase Behaviour

Serwan Asaad

Electrical control and quantum chaos with a high-spin nucleus in silicon

Kaixuan Chen

Multi-modal Human Behaviour Understanding

Yongyoon Cho

The development of interface engineering for improving stability and efficiency of perovskite solar cells and understanding meta-stability of perovskite solar cells

Chen Deng

Non-Precious Metal-based Electrocatalysts from Prussian Blue Analogues for Energy-Related Reaction

Ali Dorri

A Scalable Lightweight Blockchain-based Framework for IoT Security and Anonymity

Scott Dorrington

The Trajectory Optimisation and Space Logistics of Asteroid Mining Missions

Song Gao

Interfacial engineering by meso/microporous materials towards efficient biocatalysis

Maryam Haghighat

Rate-Distortion Driven Overcomplete Decomposition of Imagery for Compression

Tuan Le

Buckling of high-strength steel beams

Da Seul Lee

Solution Process Engineering for Improving Stability and Efficiency of Perovskite Solar Cells

Aziz Mahmood

Development of a High-density geopolymer concrete for coastal protection applications

Alison McQuillan

A Risk-Based Slope Stability Assessment Methodology (SSAM) for Excavated Coal Mine Slopes

Laura Montano Luna

An experimental study of free-surface dynamics and internal motions in fully aerated hydraulic jumps

Sayidul Morsalin

Diagnostic Measurement and Modelling of Electrical Insulation Based on Very Low Frequency High Voltage Excitation

Lingzhe Rao

In-Cylinder Soot Oxidation in an Optically Accessible Automotive Diesel Engine

Adel Rezaeimotlagh

Non-thermal processing of liquid food products by using Radio Frequency Electric Fields (RFEF) technology

Michael Roberts

The value of co-operation: Opportunities for deployment of rooftop photovoltaics on Australian apartment buildings

Zahra Sadrearhami

Nitric Oxide-Releasing Polymer-Based Systems for Antibiofilm Applications  

Chenyu Wu

Computer-guided design of photocatalyst for PET-RAFT polymerisation

Weiwei Xing

A Scaled Boundary Finite Element Based Node-to-node Scheme for Contact Problems

Yitao Yan

Distributed control of interconnected systems in the behavioural framework

Fan Zhang

Rational design of wearable strain sensors by employing dual-scale fillers and structural engineering

Yan Zhu

Advanced Characterization of Defects in Silicon Wafers and Solar Cells

Yuting Zhuo

Numerical modelling of the pyrolysis of ellipsoidal low-rank coal briquettes and pyrolysis product char combustion in a blast furnace




Thesis title

Bradley Gooding

Plurality in Legal Reasoning - the Place of Value Pluralism in Theories of Law and Adjudication


UNSW Medicine


Thesis title

Ilina Bareja

Unravelling the molecular interactions of tropomyosin on actin at the single molecule and single filament level

Yolanda Colino Sanguino

Dissecting the role of histone variant H2A.Z acetylation in transcription regulation

Sophie Hertel

Templated Assembly of the Bacterial Flagella Motor Protein FliG using DNA Nanostructures

Shann Hulme

The diversion and supply of pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical use

Elan Lazuardi

Navigating the social dynamics of HIV care: a qualitative study in urban Indonesia in the era of scaled-up testing and treatment

Robert Lloyd

The Effect of Chiari Malformation Type I on Cerebrospinal Fluid Dynamics

Alastair Loutit

Suitability of the dorsal column nuclei for a neural prosthesis: functional considerations

Richard Mellor

Advancing understandings of remission and approaches to treatment through an examination of untreated remission from alcohol problems

Liza Tilia

Is there a Link Between Oocyte Meiotic Spindle Normality and Embryo Euploidy?

Collin Tran

Investigating the role of sphingosine 1-phosphate in neuroprotective signalling

Anne Wand

Understanding self-harm in the very old: A qualitative study with implications for clinical care and wider society


UNSW Science


Thesis title

Erica Barlow

Diversification of early life: Microfossils of the c. 2.45-2.21 Ga Turee Creek Group, Western Australia

Claire Brandenburger

Rapid evolution of an introduced plant

Ngee Kiat Chua

Degron features of the regulatory domain of squalene monooxygenase - a rate limiting enzyme in cholesterol synthesis

Phillip Green

Determinants of Choice in Animal Models of Gambling

Thomas Macdonald

Controlling Molecular Motion

Edward McDonald

Double Operator Integration with applications to Quantised Calculus

James Peak

Investigating the roles of dorsomedial striatal projection neurons in goal-directed action

Angela Soeriyadi

Expression, Characterisation, and Engineering of Cyanobacterial Natural Product Biosynthetic Pathways

Thomas Stindl

Statistical inference for renewal Hawkes self-exciting point processes

Song Tang

Correlation between microstructure and properties of magnesium-lithium-aluminium alloys

Shyam Tummanapalli

Evaluation of corneal nerves and tear neuromediators in diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Gaurav Vats

Investigation of electrical, optical and mechanical control of ferroelectric domains using scanning probe microscopy

Adrian Walker

Learning and earning under uncertainty: The impact of uncertainty on human choice and attention in the exploration/exploitation trade-off

Daniel Wenholz

Development of Bacterial RNA Polymerase Holoenzyme Inhibitors and Total Synthesis of an Archaea Signalling Molecule


UNSW Canberra


Thesis title

Ali Abbas Hussein Ameri

Microstructural Evolution of Lean Duplex Stainless Steels under Different Loading Conditions

Binod Aryal

Mechanical Behaviour of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Laminates and Honeycomb Sandwich Panels Subjected to Low-Velocity and High-Velocity Ballistic Impacts

Sumana Biswas

Real-Time Path Planning for a Swarm of Autonomous Systems

Florian Gottwalt

ACNADA: A Contextual Network Anomaly Detection Approach for False Alarms Reduction and Semantic Reasoning Enhancement

Ahsanul Habib

Efficient Algorithms for Computationally Expensive Optimisation Problems

Nickolaos Koroniotis

Designing an effective network forensic framework for the investigation of botnets in the Internet of Things

Vu Lam

Intermestic Public Diplomacy in Vietnam: Boosting International Standing and Drumming up Domestic Support

Carlos Macana Morena

Modelling and Control of Inverter Based Microgrids

Awanthika Senarath

Embedding Privacy into Software Systems: A Privacy Engineering Methodology for Data Minimisation

Vu Phi Tran

Formation Control of Multi-Vehicle Systems using Negative-Imaginary-Systems Theory in Uncertain Environments

Yuanlong Wang

New Developments in Quantum Tomography