Congratulations to our four School of Civil & Environmental Engineering PhD graduates who have been awarded the 2023 Dean’s Award for an Outstanding PhD Thesis.

To receive this award, candidates must produce a thesis that requires only minimal corrections, received outstanding and/or excellent levels of achievement for all examination criteria, and in the opinion of both examiners is in the top 10 per cent of PhD theses they have examined. Examiners are external to the University and are leaders in their fields. 

“Our PhD candidates are undertaking innovative research across the entire breadth of UNSW’s disciplinary areas and are a vital part of our research efforts,” said Professor Jonathan Morris, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Dean of Graduate Research, when he announced the awards in September.  

“These awards recognise the outstanding theses produced in the last year and highlight the high-quality research our candidates are carrying out across a wide range of fields.” 

Congratulations to Sumaiya, Philippa, Qingya and Lakshminarayanan on your magnificent achievement, and best wishes for the next stage of your research career.


Thesis title 


Sumaiya Afroz 

Shrinkage, cracking and self-healing in low carbon cement concrete 

Taehwan Kim/ Arnaud Castel

Philippa Higgins 

Remote tree-ring proxies: methods, opportunities, and limitations for reconstructing South Pacific climate 

Martin Andersen/ Fiona Johnson

Qingya Li


A Framework for Size-dependent Structural Analysis of Smart Micro/nanoplates 

Wei Gao & Francis Tin-Loi

Lakshminarayanan Mohana Kumar 

Fibre orientation and distribution in steel fibre reinforced concrete 

Stephen Foster

L-R Sumaiya Afroz

Philippa Higgins

Qingya Li

Mohana Kumar