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Fibre Composites Builds Foundation for National Award

27 May 2005

Executive Director of the Fibre Composites Design and Development Centre (FCDD) at University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Professor Gerard Van Erp is one of only six recipients in Australia to be granted the prestigious 2005 Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) Clunies Ross Award.

The ATSE Awards recognise people who have devoted themselves to the application of science and the development of technology to create new business, advance industry and solve community problems.

Professor Van Erp received his Clunies Ross medal at the awards dinner held in Melbourne and was supported by the attendance of USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Bill Lovegrove, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Graham Baker, Adjunct Professor to the Faculty of Engineering and Surveying Professor Charles Tranberg, former Queensland Manager of Connell Wagners Consulting Engineers, Brisbane City Council’s Chief Structural Engineer Dr Peter Shaw and Professor Van Erp’s family.

Professsor Van Erp pioneered the development of a range of new innovative structural systems which use advanced composite materials to provide a new level of performance and durability. As inventor of composite-fibre materials used to build bridges, powerpoles, boardwalks and railway sleepers, Gerard has driven the FCDD’s role in the commercialisation of this advanced technology.

His work has been adopted for the Brisbane Riverwalk project and the New South Wales RTA installed a fibre composite road bridge in Grafton utilising the technology which has also been used for bridges in the USA and Russia.

Professor Van Erp is now researching the resource-potential of plant oil polymers, which may provide an enormous boost to Australian agriculture.

“Professor Van Erp has demonstrated enormous perserverance and passion for his work in fibre composites and has ensured that USQ is seen to be a world leader in the development and implementation of this innovative technology,” Professor Graham Baker said.

“We are delighted Gerard has received this prestigious accolade for his major achievements as an outstanding researcher. He is now recognised as one of Australia’s elite technologists,” Professor Baker said.

The Ian Clunies Ross Memorial Foundation was established in 1959 to perpetuate the memory of Sir Ian Clunies Ross, a substantial contributor to Australian science, and to further the development of science and technology in Australia’s beneficial interest.