HERA has been busy working with our ACM CRC research team to ensure we have the right capability to deliver on our research objectives. Most recently welcoming Hao Chang, AKA Dex, to our program. 

Dex is currently pursuing his PhD in the School of Civil Engineering at The University of Sydney (USYD). He brings a wealth of knowledge to our research project having studied at the Harbin Institute of Technology China in 2020 and completing his Master of Professional Engineering degree from USYD last year.  

During his time at USYD, Dex has participated in several research programs focused on establishing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) environments within the BIM model to realise digital twin models for real-world facilities (particularly in construction scenarios). 

Hao Chang, PhD scholarship recipient for our ACM CRC research

About the ACM CRC research 

ACM CRChas united over 30 partners in a groundbreaking $250 million program under Australia’s Cooperative Research Centres initiative, spanning a decade. This collaboration offers a unique opportunity to harness the world’s leading research teams in the development of composite steel applications with a strong focus on sustainability and circular design principles. 

In the inaugural project with the University of Sydney (USYD) and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), HERA aims to establish an AI-based monitoring system for assessing the quality of manufactured composite products, including steelwork. This system will optimise inspection requirements and manage compliance risks through extensive big data analysis. The project also encompasses the collection and analysis of productivity data, in-service health monitoring, and the development of novel 3D printing techniques capable of reusing or recycling materials based on their remaining properties, all aligned with Circular Design 4.0 principles. 


About Dex and his role in this research  

Dex will be working under the supervision of Prof. Luming Shen and A/Prof. Daniel Daniel Dias-da-Costa with a focus on connection design for the composite timber-steel structures through Circular Design 4.0 technologies.  

It is thought by leveraging Circular Design 4.0 in the structural design process, designers, manufacturers, and policymakers can make more informed decisions, optimise resource usage, reduce material waste, and create products that are more sustainable and aligned with the principles of the circular economy.  

Technologies that will be explored for adaption and implementation include big data analysis, artificial intelligence algorithms and machine learning algorithms, as well as potential design assistance tools to optimise design for both current and new connection types and sections.   

One of the potential advances of implementing such proposed techniques will be the optimisation of the assembly and disassembly of structural elements. This will not only improve waste control and environmental protection but also minimise damage to existing structural elements (through optimised connection design) and potentially create a new way of constructing infrastructure (through re-use of old structural elements from demolished buildings). 


Looking forward… 

We are very happy to have Dex onboard and are excited to see how his contributions to our research will help to drive excellence and sustainability in advanced manufacturing. 


If you’d like to know more about this project, please contact: 



Ganga Prusty 

+61 (2) 9385 5939 




Michail Karpenko 

+64 (0) 21 849 750