A leading researcher whose work has helped make offshore oil and gas platforms more stable and safer has been awarded Australia's most prestigious research fellowship.
The University of Western Australia's Winthrop Professor Mark Cassidy, who is Director of UWA's Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS), accepted one of 17 Australian Laureate Fellowship in Melbourne today from Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.
Professor Cassidy is the only researcher in WA to be made a 2013 Australian Laureate. His Fellowship - worth more than $3 million - is for his project New frontiers in offshore geotechnics: securing Australia's energy future. The inaugural Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow is also Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical and Science Engineering and in 2011 was appointed as a member of the ARC College.
"Offshore gas lies at the heart of Australia's prosperity with $120 billion of infrastructure under construction," Professor Cassidy said.
"But the future of offshore gas requires new technology to safely build offshore foundations in our weak and problematic soils. This project will provide engineers with science-based tools to unlock the natural gas stranded in our deep oceans."
Professor Cassidy's research interests are in offshore geotechnics and engineering, predominantly developing wave-structure-soil interaction models for the analysis of oil and gas platforms, mobile drilling rigs and pipelines. He is a fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia.
Professor Cassidy has received many other awards. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2009 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the offshore oil and gas industry at an international level in the analysis of mobile drilling rigs, foundations and pipelines.
In 2007 he was named the Prime Minister's Malcolm McIntosh Australian Physical Scientist of the Year and in 2006 received the Premier's Early Career Achievement Award for excellence in science education, research and achievement in helping raise the profile of science and technology endeavours in Western Australia.
As head of the COFS team, Professor Cassidy has secured millions of dollars in public and private research grants for devising novel foundation solutions in Western Australia's soil conditions. COFS' achievements and innovative research are examples of how UWA's Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics is committed to achieving international excellence and empowering people to help change the world.
The ARC's Laureate Fellowships scheme supports excellence in research at Australian universities by attracting world-class researchers and research leaders to key positions.