Thanks for your interest in the SMART Infrastructure Facility. If you would like to receive more information or have general questions about our research, please contact us via the options below.


Associate Professor Christian Ritz (Interim)
Phone: +61 2 4221 5224




Image of SMART eResearch coordinator Tim Davies

Tim Davies, eResearch Coordinator
Telstra-UOW Hub Manager
Phone: +61 2 4221 377


Cormac Fay, Research Fellow
End-to-end System Specialist
Phone: +61 2 4239 2330

Hugh Forehead, Research Fellow
Adaptive Communities, Environment and Web Mapping
Phone: +61 2 4239 2330




Image of SMART researcher Dr Umair Iqbal

Umair Iqbal, Research Fellow
IOT Engineer
Phone: +61413887704



The SMART Advisory Council consists of some of Australia’s most influential infrastructure leaders from industry and government. The Council advises and guides the SMART Infrastructure Facility in its vision to deliver integrated infrastructure planning solutions for Australia and internationally.

Marika Calfas
Chief Executive Officer, NSW Ports

Marika Calfas is the CEO of NSW Ports, the private sector organisation responsible for managing the ports of Botany and Kembla and the intermodal terminals at Cooks River and Enfield. Marika has over 16 years’ experience in the port sector across a broad range of portfolio areas and was appointed as the CEO of NSW Ports in December 2015. Marika commenced with NSW Ports at its inception in June 2013 and led the development of the NSW Ports Long Term Master Plan, released in October 2015.

Prior to NSW Ports Marika held senior positions at Sydney Ports Corporation and Sinclair Knight Merz. At Sydney Ports Marika was an integral part of the delivery of the $1 billion Port Botany Expansion development project. Marika is a Board member of: Ports Australia; Australian Logistics Council; and PIANC Australia (the International Waterborne Industry Association), as well as Australia’s representative to PIANC’s International Environmental Commission. Marika is also a member of the IPA National Advisory Board.

Marika has been appointed by the Commonwealth Minister for Infrastructure & Transport to the Expert Panel advising the Inquiry into the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy Priorities. Marika has a degree in Environmental Engineering together with a Masters of Engineering Management and Masters of Environmental Law and is a Chartered Professional Engineer with Engineers Australia.

Philip Davies
Chair, SMART Advisory Council & Australian Logistics Council + Partner, Deloitte

Philip Davies recently retired as the Chief Executive of Infrastructure Australia. He is a Partner with Deloitte and chairs both the SMART Advisory Council and the Australian Logistics Council.

He is a Chartered Professional Engineer and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, with over 25 years of global infrastructure experience. His roles have involved shaping policy, delivering nationally significant infrastructure projects and leading reform.

Philip has also held various Board positions in commercial and public life over more than 3 decades including as Deputy Chair of the Committee for Sydney and as a Board member of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia.

During his time leading Infrastructure Australia, he provided independent expert advice to all levels of government on infrastructure, including, advocating for reforms on key issues including the means of funding, financing, delivering and operating infrastructure and how to better plan and utilise infrastructure networks.

As a Director of Transport for London, Philip developed a long-term vision for real time traffic management in London, including establishing London’s transport control centres. He was a leader in the development of intelligent transport systems solutions and the use of real time data to inform proactive operational decisions as well as long term investment choices. These developments positioned London for a successful bid for and delivery of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Dorte Ekelund

Dorte Ekelund has more than thirty years’ experience in infrastructure planning across all levels of government and a variety of jurisdictions.

After starting her career as a trainee planner at Shellharbour Council, in 2008, she was appointed executive director of the Major Cities Unit for the Federal Government, with a focus on Australia’s 18 major cities with populations over 100,000 people.

She later served for four years as director-general for Environment and Planning for the ACT Government and was a former principal advisor on Smart Cities for SMEC.

Her appointment to the SMART Advisory Council cames as she rebalanced her career to include a mix of paid and advisory roles.

She and her partner divide their time between Canberra and Wollongong.

Yvonne von Hartel AM
Principal – peckvonhartel

Yvonne von Hartel AM is a Founding Principal of the award-winning national architectural and urban design practice, peckvonhartel. Yvonne is chair of the Victorian Skills Commission and a director of ConnectEast, the concessionaire of the 40km Eastlink.

She previously served as chair of the Sustainability in Buildings Standards Coordination Group of Standards Australia, as chair of the Victorian Design Advisory Council, and as a director of the Tourism and Transport Forum. Since 2001, Yvonne has been a Trustee of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

During her career, Yvonne has taught both full time and part time at the school of Architecture at the University of Melbourne. She has served on a number of Government Boards, trusts and industry advisory bodies.

In 2007, Yvonne was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for ‘services to architecture, design and building through involvement with a range of professional organisations, to the promotion of women in business, and to the community’.

Yvonne graduated from the University of Melbourne with Honours in Architecture and is a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects (LFAIA).

Evelyn J. Horton
Independent Director

Evelyn has over thirty years’ experience in government and investment banking. She spent eight years at Macquarie Group in risk management, in senior roles across regulatory affairs, operational risk and credit. Before that, she was in mergers and acquisitions at Deutsche Bank, Bankers Trust and CIBC. She spent twelve years as a policy adviser in government, the bulk of that time at the Commonwealth Treasury in Canberra.

Evelyn is an independent director on the boards of MLC Superannuation, Centuria Life Limited, Tasmanian Public Finance Corporation, the Motor Accidents Insurance Board and Mission Australia.

Evelyn has a Bachelor of Economics from the Australian National University and a Masters degree in economics from the National University of Singapore. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Brendan Lyon
Brendan Lyon is a Principal of Project Partners, a specialised financial, economic and commercial infrastructure advisory firm.

Brendan advises government agencies and corporations on the procurement and delivery of major infrastructure projects and infrastructure services. His work spans infrastructure funding, financing and regulation, at a market and project level.

Prior roles include over a decade as CEO of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, a public-private infrastructure think-tank; and several years as a Partner in a global consulting firm; ahead of establishing Project Partners in July 2021.

Brendan has worked regularly across multilateral bodies and processes; and is widely published on infrastructure matters. Alongside the SMART Infrastructure Facility, Brendan serves on the board of the University’s Faculty of Business and Law, and the Commonwealth Government’s Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific.

Certifications and Professional Memberships

  • Life member – Infrastructure Partnerships Australia
  • Master of Business Administration, with Distinction
  • Hon Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics & Business, University of Wollongong
  • Member, Australian Institute of Company Directors

External roles

  • Board Member, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Wollongong
  • Board member, SMART Infrastructure Facility
  • Board member, Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility in the Pacific

Sari Mackay
Executive General Manager, Supply Chain, Bradken

Sari is a multilingual, well-rounded senior supply chain professional with twenty years of experience in Australian and European senior supply chain and management consultant roles at GrainCorp, BlueScope Steel, Unilever and Arnott’s to mention a few.

Sari finished her undergraduate and graduate studies in LUT, Finland, completing her MSc. In Business Economics, 1997. Her thesis was examining Buying Behaviour in the Australian Mining Industry Projects.

Mike Mrdak AO
Former Secretary – Department of Communications and the Arts

Mike Mrdak is Secretary, Department of Communications and The Arts, a position he has held since September 2017. He previously held the position of Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development since 2009. He was appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday 2016 honours list for his distinguished service to public administration in transport, logistics and infrastructure investment. In November 2013, Mike received the Federal Government Leader of the Year Award recognising his outstanding leadership and work on major infrastructure projects including the duplication of the Pacific and Hume Highways.

Between March 2008 and June 2009 he was Deputy Secretary (Governance), Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. During this time he was appointed Commonwealth Coordinator-General. Between March 2005 and March 2008 he was Deputy Secretary, Department of Transport and Regional Services, providing policy advice across major infrastructure projects, transport security, and maritime, vehicle and road safety standards.

Mike began his Australian Public Service career in 1988 as a Graduate with the then Department of Transport and Communications. Mike graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of New England in 1987 and gained post graduate qualifications including a Graduate Diploma in Education in 1987 and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Economics from the University of Canberra in 1992.

Dr Nicola Nelson
Director Research, Greater Sydney Commission

Nicola is responsible for leading and overseeing the research program for the Greater Sydney Commission to support thought leadership, strategic planning and decision making. Previously Manager of Research and Innovation at Sydney Water, Nicola has over 20 years’ experience managing complex science, research and development programs for industry and government. She has worked across multiple industry sectors including agribusiness, health, biotechnology, creative industries and for 15 years in the water industry. Nicola is an active collaborator in the Australian Water industry with lead roles in driving research and innovation, technology development and climate change adaptation.

Paul Oppenheim
Non-Executive Director – Plenary Group

Paul is a graduate of Wollongong University (Bachelor of Commerce – 1991). Paul has been the Managing Director of Plenary Group since its establishment in 2004. His career in public infrastructure includes more than a decade in the PPP market. He has been directly responsible for structuring, negotiating and executing a number of significant PPP transactions in Australia. He is responsible for the day to day running of Plenary Group’s Australian business, managing a team of forty professional staff.

Paul worked at ABN AMRO (formerly BZW) for nine years in the Infrastructure Capital team. The final nine months were spent as Head of the group. Prior to ABN AMRO, Paul worked at KPMG in the Audit & Advisory division. Paul is also a member of the Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Advisory Board.

Dr Richard Sharp
Principal – ARUP

Dr Richard Sharp is a Principal of Arup, and leads its Management Consulting practice in Australasia. Richard has over thirty years’ experience in the infrastructure sector, working across road, rail, information technology, commercial office buildings, industrial and residential property, hotels and education facilities. He has worked for both Government and the private sector, and has had extensive dealings at very senior levels of Defence and Government in Australia and the US.

Richard has led reviews of major capital works funding and delivery for the Federal Government, complex technical and commercial assessments of assets such as the Sydney Harbour Tunnel and Lane Cove Tunnel, undertaken extensive masterplanning work for universities, provided Project Diagnostic advice for rail operators, and developed Knowledge Management systems for State Road Authorities. He is a member of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia’s Transport Taskforce, a member of the Advisory Council for the Engineering Faculty at UTS, an accredited Gateway Reviewer, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Nicholas Whitlam

Nicholas Whitlam is former chairman of the Port Authority of NSW and a non-executive director of Crescent Wealth.

After graduating from Harvard University and the University of London, he worked overseas in major investment banks (JP Morgan, Paribas) before rising to prominence when he was appointed chief executive of the State Bank of NSW in 1981.

He later formed Whitlam Turnbull & Co with future Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former NSW Premier Neville Wran. He was chair of the NRMA Group from 1996 to 2002 and was an architect of the demutualisation of NRMA Insurance in 2000 whereby that business was publically listed (as IAG) and NRMA’s roadside assistance continued as a mutual.

He has lived with his family in the Illawarra since 2004. 

Drawing on the University of Wollongong’s proven inter-disciplinary research track record and its academic strength, SMART works in collaboration with researchers and academics across UOW.


  • Ashish Agalgaonkar, Associate Professor
    School of Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering
  • Tillmann Boehme, Senior Lecturer
    School of Management and Marketing
  • Rodney Clarke, Associate Professor
    School of Management and Marketing
  • Robert Gorkin III, Associate Professor
    Australian Institute for Innovative Materials
  • Sarah Howard, Associate Professor
    School of Education
  • Faisal Hai, Associate Professor
    Strategic Water Infrastructure Lab
  • Marc In Het Panhuis, Associate Dean (International)
    School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience and Intelligent Polymer Research Institute
  • Senevi Kiridena, Senior Lecturer
    School of Mechanical, Materials, Mechatronic and Biomedical Engineering
  • Stephen Palmisano, Associate Professor
    School of Psychology, Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Thomas Plantard, Senior Fellow
    School of Computing & Information Technology
  • (Siva) Muttucumaru Sivakumar, Associate Professor
    School of Civil, Mining & Environmental Engineering
  • Shu-qing Yang, Associate Professor
    School of Civil, Mining & Environmental Engineering
  • Brian Yecies, Senior Lecturer
    School of the Arts, English and Media
  • Ping Yu, Associate Professor
    School of Computing & Information Technology
  • Tieling Zhang, Senior Research Fellow
    School of Mechanical, Materials & Mechatronics Engineering



Matthew Berryman, Honorary Senior Fellow

Dr Matthew Berryman has a strong background in hardware and software, as well as in the area of complex systems. Dr Berryman has designed a compute cluster for research purposes and assists researchers with making effective use of high performance computing. He has managed a number of research/computing teams through his work, including a team of 10 researchers, data mining experts, statisticians and programmers in the Sydney modelling project.

He has been the IT Architect for the project, using best practice software development, testing, and automation techniques to deliver a stable, Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosted platform for real time flood mapping of social media and emergency services data in Jakarta, as used by the Jakarta public and authorities. In that project he developed AWS Internet of Things (IoT) water level sensors, and is now working on other IoT projects at the University of Wollongong.

Research areas and expertise:

  • IT architecture and cloud deployment of data fusion and data analytics platforms
  • Agent-based modelling of mixed socio-technical systems
  • Statistical analysis and visualisation of data, particularly large scientific and engineering data sets to achieve greater understanding of complex systems
  • Developing and deploying Internet of Things devices and software

Peter Campbell, Honorary Professorial Fellow
Phone: +61 429 080 414

Professor Peter Campbell is a world authority on agent-based modelling. He is the former Director, Advanced Computer Applications Center at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago. Professor Campbell has interdisciplinary modelling experience across the physical, biological and social domains that enable him to play a key role in shaping a strong interdisciplinary collaboration culture at SMART. His experience in research and consulting management will allow him to provide project leadership to SMART’s commissioned research projects.

Research areas and expertise:

  • Agent based modelling of complex systems
  • Environmental and micrometeorological modelling
  • Model based systems engineering

Brian Collins CB, Honorary Professorial Fellow

Professor Brian Collins took up the role of Professor of Engineering Policy at University College London on 1st August 2011 and is PI on a £3.5M grant leading the International Centre for Infrastructure Futures. He is also co-investigator on a £10M research programme investigating liveable cities for the future, specialising in governance and policy issues

Prior to his appointment at UCL he was the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) for the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and CSA for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) from 2006 to 2011. He was Professor of Information Systems at Cranfield University from August 2003 until July 2011.

He was a member of the Council of Science and Technology working party that published in 2009 the report ‘A National Infrastructure for the 21st Century’ under the leadership of Sir Mark Walport, now GCSA

In 2009 Professor Collins was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and currently is a Trustee and Council Member.

In the 2011 New Year Honours List, he was bestowed by Her Majesty the Queen the Honour of Companion of the Bath (CB).

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers, of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, of the British Computer Society and of the Institute of Physics.

He has an Honorary Doctorate from City University London, has a visiting Professorship at Wollongong University, New South Wales, Australia and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Kingston University.

Professor Collins holds a MA in Physics and a DPhil in Astrophysics from the University of Oxford.

George Grozev, Honorary Fellow

Dr George Grozev, a former principal research scientist with the CSIRO, has joined the SMART Infrastructure Facility as an Honorary Fellow.

For almost two decades, he has specialised in the study of infrastructure in the fields of telecommunications, gas and electricity.

He led a number of multidisciplinary project teams that carried out research and development in the areas of modelling and simulation of high performance infrastructure, energy applications, electricity demand, renewable energy, distributed energy resources (solar PV, batteries and electric vehicles) and sustainable development of electricity and gas markets.

He has sustained research interest and knowledge of the structure and operating principles of the electricity and gas markets, and specifically Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM). George led the development of NEMSIM and its commercial version – an agent-based modelling and simulation tool of the NEM, which was one of the first to integrate the electricity and gas sectors.

Using this knowledge, he has developed collaborative linkages and provided advice to government and industry. He has lead projects for industry and government clients and other stakeholders.

Research areas and expertise:

  • Simulation models for energy applications
  • Electricity markets scenario modelling and simulation
  • Agent-based modelling
  • Complex systems science
  • Interdependency, resilience and reliability of infrastructure
  • Linear and nonlinear optimisation and network problems

Nam Huynh, Honorary Fellow

Nam Huynh is a Honorary Fellow in the area of modelling and simulation of transport systems. He has vast experience in modelling and simulation for transport planning and operations research, and has been actively working in the areas since 2009. He has been chief investigator in various commercial research projects in urban transport planning and rail logistics in collaboration with both government agencies and private sectors in New South Wales (Australia). Nam is currently the leader of the research group Computer Simulation for Sustainable Transport Systems at the SMART Infrastructure Facility. The group’s research aims at enhancing the understanding of capacity and robustness of transport networks and promoting the application of sophisticated computational tools for better planning and operation of these networks.

Nam’s research interests include the use computational modelling for urban transport planning, operations research, and intelligent transport systems (ITS).

Research areas and expertise:

  • Mathematical modelling and simulation
  • Finite element analyses of mechanical and structural systems
  • Agent based modelling

Jun Ma, Honorary Fellow

Dr Jun Ma is a research fellow (data mining scientist) in SMART Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong. He worked at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia and Southwest Jiaotong University, China before joined SMART. He has over 15 years of experience working in research and teaching in China and Australia. His research focuses on data and decision analysis with applications. At SMART, he works as a data miner to provide data and analysis support for SMART research and projects.

Amal Kumarge, Honorary Professorial Fellow

Dr Amal Kumarage joined SMART Infrastructure Facility as an Honorary Professorial Fellow in February 2015.

Amal is a Senior Professor at the Department of Transport and Logistics Management, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. After visiting the University of Wollongong as an Endeavour Executive Fellow in 2014, Amal was invited to join the SMART team, where he is primarily conducting collaborative research.

Amal received his PhD from the University of Calgary, Canada in 1990. He is one of the eminent Sri Lankan academics working in the transport planning and logistics area. Amal has served as Chairman of the National Transport Commission of Sri Lanka, scientific adviser to the governments of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and consultant to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Andrew McCusker, Honorary Senior Fellow
Phone: +61 2 4239 2346

Andrew has been supporting the NSW government on the rail strategy for Sydney and NSW and is appointed to a number of committees concerned with the strategy and execution of rail futures in NSW. Andrew has carried out peer reviews for TfNSW and for Railcorp on various plans and strategies from ‘Sydney’s Rail Futures’ to ’Long term asset strategies and maintenance planning’.

He has acted as mentor to the RailCorp CEO and executive team as the organisation transforms towards rail franchising. Andrew has been involved with the recruitment and appointment of the CEO’s for the new rail organisations Sydney Trains and NSW Trains, and continues to support the rail reform program for the state.

Appointed as SMART’s inaugural Director of Rail Logistics in late 2011, Andrew is currently developing and leading the SMART Rail Logistics Division in establishing a research capability to support and champion the role of rail as part of the broader transport network in Australia. Andrew has also provided executive learning in building higher performance rail organisations through a series of module development and master class deliveries for the industry.

For the last 24 years Andrew has worked in the Hong Kong MTR Corporation which is recognised as one of the world’s leading railway companies, renowned for leading-edge customer service and service performance in passenger rail.

Over his last five years Andrew led the Rail business for MTR as Operations Director and was responsible for bringing the rail company into sustainable profit through innovative programmes delivering consistent services levels to achieve 99+% performance level while reducing costs and improving safety and customer satisfaction.

Andrew has held Chairmanship of a cable car company and a telecoms services provider and has acted on a number of boards including OCL (Octopus Cards Ltd.) the premium transport card company with some 20 Million cards in circulation and which has a card with the widest range of applications from Multiple transport use to on and off street parking as well as a wide range of commercial and residential uses.

Andrew presently is a director of MTM the Melbourne Metro and chairs a board safety committee for the shareholders (MTR, UGL and John Holland), and has assisted Transport Queensland in a critical review of their first 30 year rail transport strategy.

Andrew has held senior rail positions in Operations, Projects, Safety, and Maintenance during which he delivered substantial performance and productivity improvements. In addition to his reputation for driving productivity and establishing system approaches he is also renowned for future proofing and capability building programs that have supported MTR HK to become a most respected and leading organization.

During his tenure with the MTR Hong Kong and has a wide experience in New line project oversight, direct control of renewals, replacement and refurbishment programs across all railway assets and installations and project managed the world’s first platform screen doors retrofit to an underground railway.

Andrew was past president of the COMET group of metros (an International Forum of the world’s top metro rail companies with around 40 members). He was instrumental in devising the approach, establishment and philosophy that has contributed to the success of the organisation. In 2007 Andrew received recognition when awarded the Australian Asset management Council’s Steve Maxwell leadership Award.

Prior to his career in rail, Andrew was Chief Engineer to the Bahrain State Power Authority where he was in charge of power and water production, network control and new construction. During his time in Bahrain he oversaw the transformation of the electrical system from one with endemic failures to establishing a highly secure electricity and water supply system which achieved international standards.

Ricardo Peculis, Honorary Senior Fellow
Phone: 02 4239 2122

Dr Ricardo Peculis is an engineer experienced in large software-intensive systems for defence and civil applications in Australia and abroad. Dr Peculis joined SMART Infrastructure Facility in 2016 as a Senior Research Fellow, a position which will see him apply the skills acquired throughout his career to the research being conducted at the Facility. Prior to joining SMART, Dr Peculis has had extensive experience working on major Australian defence projects both in Australia and the USA.

Michal Strahilevitz, Honorary Fellow

Michal Ann Strahilevitz is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Saint Mary's College of California. Michal earned her Ph.D. in marketing from the University of California at Berkeley. Her research has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the Journal of Business Research, Marketing Letters, the Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, Nature Sustainability, the Journal of Transport and Health, and the Journal of the American College of Radiology. She is regularly quoted in the media on topics related to marketing, consumer psychology, prosocial behavior and behavioral economics. She has won multiple teaching and research awards from more than one university.

Her work is focused on behavioural economics and much of her published research focuses on how emotions affect decision-making in areas related to shopping, investing and donating to charity. She is also very interested in sustainability and is involved in multiple projects with SMART colleagues at UOW dealing with optimizing the positive impact of public transportation.