The research undertaken by the Sustainable Packaging Research Group is aimed at increasing the overall effectiveness of packaging, reducing the environmental impact of packaging and minimising packaging waste. 

Our mission is to provide a local, national and international focus for scientific research aimed at developing environmentally sound and optimised solutions to support the distribution of products and produce in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In particular, our focus is on:

  • Packaging waste economics
  • Circular economy principles
  • Distribution and transport dynamics
  • Sustainable packaging
  • Optimised and engineered protective packaging
  • Packaging waste reduction
  • Biodegradable and antimicrobial packaging
  • Packaging performance testing and evaluation

Research expertise

The Sustainable Packaging Research Group is part of the Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities, and has strong links with the Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies and the College of Engineering & Science with expertise in:

  • Environmental shock and vibration
  • Distribution and Transport dynamics
  • Packaging material characterisation
  • Bio-based and biodegradable polymers
  • Protective packaging
  • Polymer chemistry
  • Analytical chemistry
  • Active food packaging
  • Economic modelling of packaging waste
  • Economic analysis incorporating circular economy principles

Current research projects

Postgraduate research opportunities

Opportunities exist for undertaking postgraduate research (masters or PhD) within the Sustainable Packaging Research Group. A diverse range of projects is available, including the following:

  • Development of statistical models for the characterisation of distribution vibrations
  • Development of sophisticated techniques for the analysis and simulation of transport vibrations
  • Development of inexpensive and effective packaging materials
  • Development of techniques for the performance characterisation of environmentally friendly packaging materials
  • Development of novel methods for determining the progression of damage in packaging elements during distribution
  • Use of strain mapping (using high-speed digital image correlation) to optimise cushioning systems for impact absorption
  • Development of testing facilities to measure biodegradability of packaging materials
  • Development of methods of quality assessment of fresh and processed produce
  • Development of antimicrobial and antioxidant packaging systems
  • Study of migration chemicals and nanoparticles from packaging
  • Development of biodegradable bio-composite materials for packaging
  • Development of information technology systems to enable groups of people to contribute to joint decision making in the distribution and handling industries
  • Packaging accessibility, ease-of-use and security
  • Applied economic analysis of packaging impacts through a circular economy framework

Find out about scholarships for research students.


Research facilities

The research group has a range of specialised equipment to facilitate research collaborations and testing for industry.

Specialised equipment includes:

  • large vibration table for transportation simulation
  • programmable shock generator
  • large compression testing machine
  • free-fall drop tester
  • cushion tester
  • environmental chambers
  • environmental data recorders.
  • vibrations shakers
  • universal testing machines
  • signal analysers
  • data recorders
  • high-speed camera
  • thermal imaging camera
  • a wide range of sensors and transducers.

Specialised equipment includes:

  • infrared and fluorescence spectrophotometers
  • thermal analysis (DSC, TGA)
  • crystallinity (XRD)
  • gas and liquid chromatographs
  • compression moulding press
  • programmable ovens/furnaces
  • capillary rheometer
  • elemental analysis
  • scanning electron microscope with EDS
  • universal testing machines with specialised high-strain non-contact extensometer for polymers
  • hardness testing machines
  • ovens and incubators
  • rheometer
  • zetasizer
  • texture analyser.


Read about our research student projects, and find contact details for our research staff.

Name Phone and email Research interests
Professor Vincent Rouillard
Group Leader
+61 3 9919 4602
[email protected]
Analysis and synthesis of random processes with applications in environmental shock and vibrations, pavement topography, transport dynamics and protective packaging.
Dr Marlene Cran
Deputy Leader
+61 3 9919 7642
[email protected]
Polymers and membrane systems including the development of antimicrobial materials for food packaging. Marlene is also involved with the development of biodegradability and migration tests for packaging materials.
Professor Stephen Bigger +61 3 9919 2959
[email protected]
Polymer degradation and stabilisation with numerous commissioned research and consultancy assignments for both government and industry.

Dr Chitra DeSilva

[email protected] 

Corporate governance and performance, Corporate reporting, Environmental social and governance disclosure, Public sector governance, Auditing and assurance. 

Dr Matthew Lamb +61 3 9919 5591
[email protected]
Mechanical Vibrations, Packaging Dynamics and Structural Integrity Assessment.
Associate Professor Nick Sciulli [email protected] Public sector accounting/management, Sustainability, Disclosures of financial and non-financial data by organisation.
Dr John Symons +61 3 9919 1457
[email protected]
Economic analysis, Packaging waste economics, Environmental economics, Analysis and modelling of road safety and education.
Associate Professor Maxwell Winchester  +61 3 9919 4618 [email protected]  Consumer behaviour, Integrated marketing communication, qualitative and quantitative research methods, empirical generalisationalist research methods, behaviourist consumer behaviour theories. 


Research projects by current and recent postgraduate students include the following.

Postgraduate research students

Name Thesis topic
Bakti Sedayu (PhD, completed 2020) Development of Semi-Refined Kappa-Carrageenan-Based Films for Food Packaging Applications
Ghofran Al-nasiri (PhD, completed 2019) Microencapsulation of natural antimicrobial agents to minimize loss in packaging films.
Julien Lepine (PhD, completed 2018) Decomposition of mixed-mode random signals for improved simulation of vibration produced by wheeled vehicles.
Michael Long (M.Eng., completed 2016) Investigation of pitch, roll and heave motion of transport vehicles.
Daniel Ainalis (PhD, completed 2015) Estimating vehicle dynamic characteristics from in-service response data.
Nyamjav Terbish (masters) Improving the life of air filters operating in dusty environments.
Mohammad Aqeel Nazzal Saraireh (PhD) Heat transfer and condensation from humid air in a compact heat exchanger.
Kuorwel Kuorwel (PhD, completed 2012) Incorporation of natural antimicrobial agents into starch-based material for food packaging.
Intan Syafinaz Mohamed Amin Tawakkal (PhD, 2012) Characterization and Antimicrobial Activity of PLA and PLA/Kenaf Fiber Films with Natural Agents
Matthew Lamb (PhD, 2011) Monitoring the structural integrity of packaging materials subjected top sustained random loads
Hussein Mahanny Shehab (M.Eng. 2011) A study of creep characteristics of multi-layered corrugated fibreboard protective cushions.
J. B. Lasich (PhD 2010) The design and optimisation of a reflective concentrator photovoltaic generation system.
L. A. S. Rupika, (PhD 2009) Development and Evaluation of Antimicrobial Food Packaging Films Containing Natural Agents.
Anthony Parker (PhD, 2008) A method for the characterisation of the nonlinear vibration transmissibility of cushioning materials.
Chanun Rardniyom, (PhD, 2008) Multi-Coated Films Containing Natural Antimicrobial Agents.
Christopher Collins (PhD, 2008) Development of methods to access key sultana parameters at the processing line.
Murad Yusuf (PhD, 2007) Development of technology for the early detection of cold damage in oranges.
Archana Kolasani (PhD, 2006) Metal analyses of Chinese herbs related to kidney function.

Undergraduate honours students

Name Thesis topic
Richard Miller (2014) Evaluation of the performance of distribution shock detectors.
Ghofran Al-Nasiri (2013) Minimizing the Loss of Natural Antimicrobial Agents during the Thermal Processing of Food Packaging Films.
Courtney Bright (2013) Investigating the use of genetic algorithm for optimising cushion design.
Justin Milverton (2013) Evaluating the dynamic characteristics on biodegradable protective packaging.
Laurent Le Page (2012) Calibration of a single-wheel pavement profilometer.
Zoltan Kozak (2012) Evaluation of damage progression in protective packaging systems.
Daniel Ainalis (2011) Evaluation of signal analysis techniques for monitoring loss of structural integrity in engineering materials under random loads.


Contact us

Professor Vincent Rouillard
Leader, Engineered Packaging & Distribution Research Group
Phone: +61 3 9919 4602
Email: [email protected]

Dr Marlene Cran
Deputy Leader, Engineered Packaging & Distribution Research Group
Phone: +61 3 9919 7642
Email: [email protected]