Engineering asset management expert, Professor Melinda Hodkiewicz, has been appointed the new BHP Billiton Research Fellow in Engineering for Remote Operations (ERO) at The University of Western Australia.
Her appointment follows BHP Billiton’s commitment in 2013 of $17 million to UWA's New Century Campaign, reinforcing the company's longstanding relationship with the University, which is led by its Energy and Minerals Institute (EMI).
As part of that, UWA’s Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics received $12 million towards creation of a world-class Engineering Zone (EZONE UWA), BHP Billiton scholarships and the establishment of the new Fellowship. The remaining $5 million is dedicated to the UWA Business School.
Dean of the Faculty, Professor John Dell, said Professor Hodkiewicz’s appointment as Research Fellow demonstrates the depth of expertise within the University.
“Professor Hodkiewicz has wide-ranging industry and university experience and conducts research in the areas of safety, system health and maintenance,” Professor Dell said.
“She was also Chair of the Standards Australia Committee and the member of the International Organization for Standardization responsible for the development of the 55000 series ISO Standard for Asset Management.”
Professor Dell said Professor Hodkiewicz won the UWA Safety Leadership Award in 2012 and the ECM Teaching Award in 2014. She also delivers open and in-company programs in Asset Management for Leadership Teams to both government and industry.
BHP Billiton Iron Ore President, Jimmy Wilson said Professor Hodkiewicz’s expertise would be of great benefit for the Research Fellowship.
“Professor Hodkiewicz’s research explores the important issues of asset maintenance, productivity and efficiency. This work is essential as industry looks to improve the productivity of its equipment and gain competitive advantage,” he said.
“Through our partnership with UWA, we want to help create the skills and resources needed to support the future of Western Australia and Australia.”
Professor Hodkiewicz said a key part of the Fellowship is to support a deepening of links between UWA academics and BHP Billiton in particular and industry more generally.
“In line with the aims of EZONE UWA, the Fellowship will engage in multi-disciplinary projects aimed at improving learning outcomes for our students and delivering practical research impact,” she said.
UWA's longstanding association with BHP Billiton has created many university-wide collaborative projects and activities, including scholarships, infrastructure and the 2013 UWA Gives Back Pilbara Tour outreach program.
BHP Billiton’s $17 million contribution was made through its Social Investment Program, which contributed more than $275 million over the past five years to health, education, Indigenous development and community infrastructure initiatives in WA.
Professor Dell said the support will help UWA to grow its resource-related research, teaching and learning.
"This investment in our knowledge economy will help strengthen UWA’s engineering research and deliver applied engineering benefits to industry,” he said. “The collective focus on ERO will help provide creative solutions to complex problems and support Australia's ongoing economic success.”