Speakers for National Security,
Science & Technology Forum


Forum Chair

Mark G. Stewart is Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the Centre for Infrastructure Performance and Reliability at The University of Newcastle in Australia. He is co-author of Probabilistic Risk Assessment of Engineering Systems, Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland SecurityChasing Ghosts: The Policing of Terrorism, and Are We Safe Enough? Measuring and Assessing Aviation Security, and has published more than 400 technical papers and reports. He has 30 years of experience in probabilistic risk and vulnerability assessment of infrastructure and security systems. Professor Stewart has received extensive Australian Research Council support, including an Australian Professorial Fellowship, to develop probabilistic risk-modelling techniques for infrastructure subject to military and terrorist explosive blasts, and cost-benefit assess­ments of aviation security, policing, and counter-terrorism protective measures for critical infrastructure.

John Waschl, Scientific Adviser – National Security, National Security Science and Technology Centre, Defence Science and Technology

Forum Chair

John Waschl, a member of the National Security Science and Technology Centre (NSSTC), is based at the Edinburgh site of the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST). Mr Waschl is the Scientific Advisor for National Security in the NSSTC.

Mr Waschl is responsible for the overall S&T direction and governance principles of the NSSTC program and is keenly interested in growing the domestic S&T provider base in support of National Security goals.

In his more than 35 years in Defence, Mr Waschl has conducted or supported research in a number of areas including novel initiation systems for warheads, modelling blast and warhead effects and target response, landmine detection, counter improvised explosives, and autonomous systems and is widely published in those areas. During his career, he has held a number of senior roles in DST and Chaired or represented Defence on domestic and international technical panels. He has also been seconded to BAE Systems (Australia), the US Army (formerly Harry Diamond Laboratory) and US Navy (Office of Naval Research).

Mr Waschl holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree in Physics from the University of Melbourne and Post Graduate Diplomas in Audiology and Computer Simulation as well as having completed the Executive Leadership Development Program and a number of other management courses.

PROFESSOR PRIYAN MENDIS, Department of Infrastructure Engineering, University of Melbourne

Forum Co-Chair

Professor Priyan Mendis has received international recognition for his work in protective and structural engineering and security. Priyan has successfully undertaken commissions for clients within the public and private sectors both nationally and internationally. He has lectured in structural engineering and protective engineering at the University Melbourne, Australia for more than 20 years and attached to the Dept of Infrastructure Engineering. He has been invited to lecture to both researchers and practising engineers on various topics related to protective technology of structures, both in Australia and overseas.


Forum Co-Chair

Professor Chi-King Lee has been working in the areas of finite element modelling and structural engineering for many years. His main research interests include automatic finite element mesh generation and adaptive algorithm, steel structure, sustainable building structure system and protective engineering for structure. He acts as reviewer for many international journals in the areas of numerical modelling, structural mechanics and engineering. He also worked as a consultant for the PSA Singapore on the dynamic fatigue study of container quay cranes as well as for a building design software company to provide recommendations on the implementation of their analysis and design software.

PhD University of London, Imperial College, London 1996
MPhil University of Hong Kong 1993
BSc(Eng) University of Hong Kong 1989

Professional Affiliations
Member, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Member, Singapore Structural Steel Society (SSSS)

Career History
June 2015–Present, Professor in Civil Engineering, School of Engineering & IT, UNSW Canberra, Australia
1998-2000 Lecturer, 2000-2001 Assistant Professor, 2002–June 2015 Associate Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
1996-1997 Post-doctoral fellow and honorary lecturer, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, The University of Hong Kong

Research Interests
Computational Mechanics: Automatic mesh generations, Meshless methods (RKPM/EFGM) and Generalized and eXtended finite element methods (GFEM, XFEM), Adaptive algorithm

Steel structures and sustainable Building Structure System: Use of high strength steel in construction, Fatigue performance of tubular and crane structures
Integrated design procedure for optimal sustainable building structural system

Protective engineering for structures: Explosion safety of ammunition magazines, Impact and ricochet behaviours of explosion debris, Combined blast and fragment loading on structures, Progressive collapse of reinforced concrete structures

Dr Jonathan Tran, Senior lecturer, Civil & Infrastructure Engineering, School of Engineering
Advanced Manufacturing Precinct (AMP), RMIT University

Forum Co-Chair

Dr Jonathan Tran is a senior lecturer in the department of Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, School of Engineering, and a member of Advanced Manufacturing Precinct (AMP), RMIT University. His research interests lie at the interface between solid mechanics and materials engineering with the aim to develop novel materials that exhibit paradigm-shifting properties for extreme loading protection that can impact the general field of infrastructure and lightweight structural materials.  Dr Tran received his Ph.D. in Theoretical & Applied Mechanics from University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, USA and then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University, USA. From 2012-2018, Dr Tran were a research fellow and then a lecturer in Structural Engineering, department of Infrastructure Engineering, University of Melbourne. Dr Tran had considerable experiences through various defence material projects in the USA and Australia supported by Office of Naval Research (USA), Australian Research Council (ARC), Defence Material Technology Centre (DMTC), CSIRO, DST Group and industries including Thales Group, Lockheed Martin. His research included design and optimise novel smart, high-performance and lightweight materials based on composite and additive manufacturing approach. He also has significant experience with characterisation and numerical modelling of materials and structures under extreme loadings such as underwater/air/soil blast and ballistic impact. Dr Tran has published three book chapters on composite under extreme events and over 60 refereed journal articles. Dr Tran and his Ph.D. students were awarded a number of best paper prizes for their research on computational mechanics and shock & impact on structures.