Murdoch researcher wins Fulbright Scholarship

April 3, 2012

A Murdoch University physicist is one of 26 Australians who will undertake research in the United States after winning a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.

Dr Mark McHenry from the School of Engineering and Energy will be spending six months in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with Sandia National Laboratories investigating how industries which are important across Western Australia can be more energy, carbon and water use efficient via the use of new technologies.

“I’ll be analysing some promising options for WA such as solution mining, thermal desalination, microalgae and associated technologies, and will return here with a slice of that knowledge,” said Dr McHenry who will be assisted by his Murdoch colleagues Professor Parisa Bahri, Dr Navid Moheimani, Prof Glenn Hefter, Prof Mike Borowitzka, Prof David Furukawa and Murdoch University consultant David Doepel.

“With growing energy demand, carbon emissions and water consumption, we need to be more efficient in how we use our resources at every point of the production system. We will be assessing how cutting-edge technologies could revolutionise the way we think about resource supply chains in regional and remote industries.”

Dr McHenry, who is originally from Denmark WA, said it was a huge surprise when he heard he had won the Fulbright scholarship.

“It’s great to finally have a solid backing for research ideas that have been bubbling away for a while,” he added. “Sandia National Laboratories is one of the largest research facilities in the world and I can’t wait to get started there in early 2013.”

Dr McHenry’s Fulbright scholarship follows on from a six-month postdoctoral Endeavour Research Fellowship in the Philippines where he worked on a number of projects including developing suitable economic options for a remote Indigenous people in collaboration with other researchers.

Most recently he was in Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa researching energy and food security options and exploring agricultural production systems with Murdoch University representatives from the Centre for Rhizobium Studies.

Professor Parisa Bahri, Dean of the School of Engineering and Energy, said Dr McHenry’s success in winning the scholarship demonstrated his research leadership and initiative.

“Mark’s ability to integrate knowledge and skills from his formal education as well as his experiences outside the university setting is exceptional,” she said.

“He has demonstrated that he is able to independently undertake high quality research and compile excellent data that is applicable and useful beyond the academic environment.”

Dr McHenry’s research has focused on clean energy technologies, biofuels, renewable resources, agricultural productivity, land use change, water resources, carbon markets and climate change policy. He has published several detailed reports, peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and some successful research funding applications for Murdoch.

The Fulbright program is the largest and one of the most prestigious educational scholarship programs in the world which aims to promote mutual understanding through educational and cultural exchange between Australia and the United States.

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