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The desire to up-cycle ‘waste’ resources to benefit both people and the planet: Dr Filip Stojcevski

Filip's HDR Journey

"I never would have imagined my PhD in carbon fibre would ever lead me to investigate turtle shells and bone structures to make an aircraft lighter and strong."

One of Deakin’s PhD graduates is driven by re-invention and a desire to up-cycle ‘waste’ resources for the benefit of both people and the planet.

We sat down with Associate Research Fellow Filip Stojcevski to talk about his Higher Degree by Research (HDR) journey.

Why did you choose to study a PhD at Deakin?

Deakin offered the opportunity to work on Australia’s only carbon fibre line. As someone interested in aerospace materials and high performance, this was the perfect place to perform a PhD.

What was your PhD research project about?

My PhD investigated ways of changing how carbon fibre is made to make it stronger and lighter so that less material is needed to make safer commercial aircrafts.

What have you achieved that you never thought possible before beginning your PhD?

I became inspired to look at all different materials that make up the world around me and understand how they can be used together to make a sustainable and environmentally friendly world. I never would have imagined my PhD in carbon fibre would ever lead me to investigate turtle shells and bone structures to make an aircraft lighter and strong. The reality of research has opened my eyes to such innovative options.

How is your PhD helping you make an impact on society?

Studying my PhD has armed me with the knowledge that not all materials are equal and that everything has its place. By looking at materials and ‘waste’ as a valuable resource, we as researchers and members of the community can invent new ways to reapply our resources to reduce the environmental strain on the planet. This can start in the lab or at home but will always require a shift in how we view materials.

How has Deakin supported you to achieve your goals?

Deakin has afforded me an opportunity to perform research for world-leading companies like Boeing, travel the world, meeting amazing people and work at research institutes that are pushing the edge of our scientific understanding. This has made me more confident and eager to tackle bigger challenges in my research career.

See what Filip's working on

What are your future career ambitions? How has your PhD helped you realise these?

My future ambition is to help society by using my PhD knowledge to reduce and upcycle waste in our community and use it in as many applications as possible from housing, medicine, humanitarian aid and even sporting goods. My PhD makes me confident I can do this as I now have a deep knowledge of how materials can be made and reinvented to the benefit of us all.

How would you describe your job now?

My current job involves working with varied companies in fields as varied as medicine, automotive, aerospace and recycling to solve key issues that are facing them.

I am one of the three co-founders of start-up company JUC Surf, the world’s first recycled carbon fibre surfboard company. These boards are made entirely of carbon fibre that would otherwise be headed for landfill. By using the principles of engineering and chemistry we learnt at Deakin, we now create surfboards that are stronger, lighter and more durable than conventional e-glass fibre-reinforced boards, but cost around the same price.

This is a world-first commercial application of cutting -edge research that highlights the strengths of Geelong's carbon fibre industry and the Surf Coast community.

What are your future career ambitions? How has your PhD helped you realise these?

I would be opting for a research-intensive career path, indulging my passion for scientific research. I am currently looking into post-doctoral opportunities or becoming an industry research scientist.

Deakin has helped me to build multidisciplinary networks that lead to postdoctoral pathways, gain industry internship experience, develop professional skills to enhance my career prospects and improve my research and communication skills to become an accomplished graduate researcher.

What are you currently working on?

I am developing an automated platform called ‘Ataxia Instrumented Measurement Systems’ with a team of engineers and researchers to translate our PhD research findings and algorithms into commercial medical-grade devices.

These devices are equipped with IoT-based system ‘BioKin’, which senses the movement and when linked via our smartphone-based app to the cloud-based algorithms it can produce scores that describe the presence and severity of ataxia.

This project is funded by Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) – Biomedical Translation Bridge (BTB) program and we are working in collaboration with Melbourne’s Florey and Murdoch Children’s research institutes

Where can a research degree take you? Hear from current candidates and graduates in a range of fields about their HDR journeys here.
Your extraordinary future is here. With 400 scholarships available and world-leading researchers to support you, now is the time to apply for an HDR here.


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