Research Hub

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Sustainable infrastructure

Sustainable infrastructure refers to manufactured, digital and nature-based infrastructure that supports human and environmental well-being and function of the economy through all stages of the asset life-cycle. 

This requires a systems understanding of how infrastructure is built, maintained and interacts with society to inform the urgent transition to decarbonised, circular and resilient industries, to build capacity and respond to unprecedented climate risks in the Anthropocene.  

Who we are

The Sustainable Infrastructure Research Hub (SIRH) is a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, affiliates and partners working to support industry-level transitions in infrastructure including decarbonisation and circular economy, digitalisation and resilience.

Acknowledging the current trade-offs between achieving these components of sustainable infrastructure, we seek to:  

  • increase the objective evidence base to support informed decision making, implementation and measurement
  • facilitate collaboration between industry, government, academia and communities to drive a shared vision for transformational change 
  • support industry and government to overcome institutional barriers
  • enhance institutional regulations, processes and capabilities, and
  • develop systems models to inform transition pathways and integration 

Our aims

  • Research excellence
  • Industry-wide impact and translation
  • Scalability of research outcomes
  • Ecological, social and economic sustainability

Our approach to work

  • Applied and problem-based
  • Co-designed and collaborative
  • Multi and trans-disciplinary

The team

Dr Cristyn MeathCristyn Meath

Hub Director
Co-founder and Lead, Infrastructure CoLab
Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer
Faculty of Business, Economics and Law

Dr Jurij Karlovsek

Hub Deputy Director
Co-founder and Lead, Infrastructure CoLab 
Lecturer, School of Civil Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and IT

Dr Sue McAvoy

Senior Research Fellow - System Dynamics Lead

Sue lectures the newly introduced Business Dynamics subject into the UQ Business School Master’s Program. Building on existing business strategy concepts, Business Dynamics uses the tools and principles of System Dynamics to analyse and understand a firm’s performance, and designs robust strategies to improve its performance through time.

Sue is also a Senior Research Fellow with the UQ Centre for the Business and Economics of Health.

Dr Tracy Martin

Research Fellow - Workforce Transition Lead

Tracy Martin is an Organisational Psychologist and Industry Fellow in the UQ Business School. She currently combines research and consulting with a focus on strategic change, board behaviour and a developing interest in the impact of technology change on the design of work for leaders and professionals. Recently she has taught courses in human resources, change management and leadership within the Business School. Tracy completed her PhD at UQ, examining how company boards consider issues about people during strategic change. This research was motivated by her 25+ years in the corporate sector, working in large multi-national corporations mainly in organisational development and strategic HR roles. Her industry experience spans mining, chemicals manufacturing, professional services, engineering projects, information technology, media and commercial real estate.

Dr Brenton Fletcher

Research Fellow

Brenton is a chemical engineering graduate of The University of Queensland with considerable experience researching and developing plastic products and processes that aim to improve the sustainability of our modern lives. This has included working with biodegradable polymers, recycling conventional plastics and investigating novel ‘reactive extrusion’ processes that can potentially improve the economics of plastic waste solutions. He was also one of the founding directors of Reverse Garbage Qld Co-op Ltd, a material reuse business that highlights the value of what we throw away. As a research fellow with SIRH, Brenton is working on generic methods for assessing the sustainability of infrastructure projects.

Pablo Aranda Valenzuela

Senior Research Assistant - Water Infrastructure

Pablo is a law graduate from the University of Chile, as well as a graduate of the Master of Integrated Water Management (IWM) through Griffith University and The University of Queensland.  He is currently a lecturer in Environmental Law and Regulation at the School of Engineering of the University of Chile. Pablo has years of professional and research experience spanning a range of policy and regulatory topics, including water, natural resources, infrastructure, renewable energy, and natural resource governance with a focus on community impact. A PhD candidiate at The University of Queensland, he researches water governance, water justice, and integrated water management.  

Jingjing Mai

Senior Research Assistant - Emerging Materials and Course Development

Jingjing is a PhD candidate in the School of Chemical Engineering at The University of Queensland.  Her research includes synthesis and characterisation of sustainable polymers (polyhydroxyalkanoates), and water and wastewater treatment using sustainable bio-polymers and bio-materials. Jingjing will support the development of the new UQ courses Sustainable Infrastructure Design (CIVL4525) and Engineering the Circular Economy (ENVE4610).  Jingjing is also interested in plastics in the circular economy and sustainability. 

Lawrence Miles-Mwangangi

Senior Research Assistant - Infrastructure Procurement and Risk

Lawrence is a final year Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Economics student at The University of Queensland, and a researcher with a particular interest in examining the role of the built environment in a circular economy. As a researcher, his role is to provide the Infrastructure CoLab with relevant academic research to scale innovative solutions and maximize sustainable outcomes across the industry. His research has considered the adoption of sustainable materials and procurement of infrastructure, seeking to establish the key drivers and barriers, and benchmark best practice examples.

Julia Read

Senior Research Assistant - Health Infrastructure

Julia is a final year Master of Environmental Health Science student at The University of Queensland, Faculty of Medicine.  Her research has been on the transition to climate-smart healthcare and improving the sustainability of hospitals with a focus on aligning the built environment to allow for better practices.  After almost 10 years in clinical roles, she has utilised this knowledge to transition into environmental sustainability.  Her interests relate to climate change and health, building the climate resilience of the healthcare industry and the circular economy in health. 

Gabriel Sunol Marten

Senior Research Assistant - Smart Infrastructure

Gabriel is a Master of Business majoring in Organisational Sustainability graduate from the UQ Business School. Parallel to his studies, Gabriel worked as a researcher in sustainability where he undertook policy-oriented research on sustainable development. Most recently the focus of his research has been on the transition towards circular economy principles in the infrastructure sector. Gabriel’s main interests revolve around sustainable business, environmental ethics, circular systems and using business as a vehicle for positive impact.

Agnes Toth-Peter

Senior Research Assistant - System Dynamics, Digitalisation and Circular Business Models

Agnes has a background in systems thinking and system dynamics and has been a research and teaching assistant at The University of Queensland for over three years. Agnes is currently undertaking her PhD in circular economy at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Specifically, Agnes is interested in looking at the benefits and opportunities of digitalisation and the way digital technologies can enable the implementation of circular economy principles and support this paradigm shift. Agnes is a graduate of Regent's University London, UK (Bachelor of International Business with French and Spanish - Honours First Class) and The University of Queensland (Master of Business - Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Social Impact and Sustainability).

Syvannah Wilson

Senior Research Assistant - Evaluating Transitions

Syvannah’s career in sustainability has predominantly explored carbon and climate change policy, finance mechanisms and investment opportunities. Her experience also spans legislating benefit sharing under REDD+, contributing to a Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement, and improving the sustainability performance of the fashion and events sectors. This had lead her to work with a variety of private sector and government entities as well as multiple United Nations agencies.


The Sustainable Infrastructure Resarch Hub draws on the expertise of many researchers across various fields related to sustainable infrastructure.

Dr Ida Asadi Someh

Dr Ida Asadi Someh is a senior lecturer in the Business Information Systems discipline at the UQ Business School, The University of Queensland, and a research fellow at the Centre for Information Systems Research (CISR), MIT Sloan School of Management, United States. Her research focuses on organisational and societal impact of data, analytics and artificial intelligence. She completed her PhD in 2015 at The University of Melbourne and was awarded the best PhD thesis in Melbourne School of Engineering, and the Vice Chancellor's PhD Prize at The University of Melbourne. Ida teaches business analytics in undergraduate and postgraduate information systems programs. She previously has taught databases and data warehousing to both computing and information systems students.

Professor Jonathan CorcoranProfessor Jonathan Corcoran

Jonathan is a human geographer and joined The University of Queensland in 2005 following previous appointments at the University of Glamorgan (UK) and the UK National Mapping Agency, Ordnance Survey. Jonathan is the Director of the Queensland Centre for Population Research located within the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at The University of Queensland. He is the co-editor of Australian Population Studies, Councillor of the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland and Secretary of the Applied Geography Commission (a Commission of the International Geographical Union).  Jonathan's interests lie at the intersection of human geography, regional science, sociology and criminology in understanding how human mobility shapes and is shaped by our urban systems and in turn impacts social sustainability; how regional economic growth and development is governed by human capital migration; and how big data and spatial analytics can be effectively harnessed to inform smarter policy.

Dr Fred Fialho Teixeira 

Dr Fred Fialho Teixeira is an architect, media artist and senior lecturer at the School of Architecture, The University of Queensland. He has been working in the fields of computational architecture and mixed reality for the last 20 years. He has been awarded the Dean's Fellowship from the University of California and developed innovative biologically based design strategies at the California Nano Systems Institute. With over 40 publications on design methods and research in digital design and fabrication, his research focusses on bio-spaces through the experiential traits of immersive media and spatial computing strategies. He holds professional degrees in architecture (Royal Institute of British Architects and Portuguese Chamber of Architects) and practiced for the top international offices such as Zaha Hadid Architects. Through his innovative strategies he designed over 30 projects from which he was internationally awarded within art and architectural domains. Presently his research work on spatial computation combines the use of mixed reality (VR/AR) and advanced manufacturing to enable a next generation of sustainable architecture in terms of advanced manufacturing and sustainability.

Professor Peter Halley 

Professor Peter Halley is a professor a the School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland. His translational research work focuses on biodegradable polymers, sustainable polymers, circular plastics, rheology and polymer processing. He is developing a new course about engineering the circular economy to help students add their knowledge of sustainable engineering technologies to new skills in holistic circular and sustainable product and process development. He has been involved in both fundamental research, teaching and technology development (including the company Plantic Technologies Ltd) in the sustainable polymers area.

Professor Mark Hickman

Professor Mark Hickman is the TAP Chair and Professor of Transport Engineering within the School of Civil Engineering at The University of Queensland. Professor Hickman has taught courses and performed research in public transit planning and operations, travel demand modelling, and traffic engineering. His areas of research interest and expertise include public transit planning and operations, urban transportation planning, and the application of remote sensing technology for traffic management.

Associate Professor Tim Kastelle

Associate Professor Tim Kastelle is the Director of External Engagement at The University of Queensland Business School. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in economics, and his MBA and PhD were completed at UQ. Tim has published widely in leading innovation journals. He is deeply committed to translating research into practice. To this end, he writes a well-regarded innovation blog for managers (, and he has worked extensively with a wide range of organisations. He has worked with several infrastructure firms to build innovation programs and new business models designed to increase their impact and success.

Dr David Lange

Dr David Lange is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Civil Engineering. His research interests follow two main tracks - fire safety engineering and infrastructure resilience. A Chartered Engineer and Fellow of Engineers Australia, he has over a decade of experience working in the research and education sector in Australia and in Europe. His research explores the performance of novel materials and systems in fire, the operationalisation of resilience to critical infrastructure, and the development and implementation of risk and performance based design methodologies in various contexts.

Professor Bronwyn Laycock

Professor Bronwyn Laycock is a polymer scientist with a focus on plastics sustainability, particularly polymer degradation and lifetime estimation, biopolymer production, polymer conversion chemistries and polymer applications. Some specific application areas in her research program include the synthesis, modification and biodegradation of biopolymers (particularly polyhydroxyalkanoates), bioderived composites using natural fibres such as wood, controlled release matrixes for pesticide and fertiliser applications, polyurethane chemistry, polymer foams, biodegradable packaging and carbon nanofibre production. She holds a Joint Chairman’s Award for research/commercialisation (CRC for Polymers) and an Excellence in Innovation Award (CRC Association) as well as a Joint CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement 2009 for her work on the extended wear contact lens project (within the Vision CRC).

Dr Sam MacAulay

Dr Sam MacAulay is a world-renowned expert on innovation strategy and Senior Lecturer at the Business School, The University of Queensland. Sam’s research explores how innovation is shaped by business models, how new products and services are created, and how organisations gain and sustain competitive advantage. This research has focused on industries including mining, gas, solar, wind power, civil engineering, architecture and design, and advanced manufacturing, and been published across leading international journals ranging from the Academy of Management Review through to the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Organisations around the world are now using this knowledge to inform the management of innovation in settings ranging from delivering complex infrastructure projects through to product development.

Dr Anya Phelan

Dr Anya Phelan is a lecturer in social entrepreneurship and business sustainability within the Strategy and Entrepreneurship Discipline at The University of Queensland Business School. Anya is also Entrepreneur in Residence with the CSIRO Plastics Innovation Hub and Impact Initiatives Advisor for Blue Oceans Capital. Her main research efforts focus on entrepreneurship, sustainable development, and the circular economy. She is particularly interested in understanding how entrepreneurial action is helping solve intractable social and environmental problems, such as plastic pollution. Her research in remote regions focuses on waste management infrastructure and recycling challenges.

Dr Ben Seligmann

Ben is a risk specialist, systems thinker and teacher. Over the last 10 years he has worked in academia, engineering consulting, HSE, risk and compliance, across mining, infrastructure, healthcare and the education industries. He currently focusses on risk management research at the Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre (MISCH). His particular research interests are new frontiers of risk management, risk assessment in practice, modelling of accident scenarios and trying to engage with the complexity of socio-technical industrial systems.

Ms Stephanie Wyeth

Stephanie is a Professional Planner in Residence and Senior Lecturer in urban planning at UQ. As a practicing urban and social planner, she is interested in ensuring city-makers and community builders (government, industry and community) have the knowledge and capabilities to plan and design a better future for our cities, towns and communities.  Stephanie brings significant industry and leadership experience to The University of Queensland, having previously held a senior position with a national multidisciplinary property, planning and design firm in Queensland. She is currently a non-Executive Director for the South Bank Corporation Board, overseeing the planning, management and operation of Queensland's premier lifestyle, community and cultural precinct. Stephanie is a Fellow of Planning Institute of Australia.