Highly experienced PhD student lands in Tasmania

Scholarship PhD candidate to commence research in Tasmania’s port strategic planning and renewable economy.


05 April 2023

Australian Maritime College (AMC) PhD student Oktaviani Turbainingsih (Vivi) is already a well-credentialled lecturer, researcher and engineer, having worked in a variety of roles in Singapore and Indonesia in port operations, logistics and offshore structural engineering.

Vivi holds certificates and degrees in project management, has a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering, a Master of Science in Ocean Engineering, and a Specialist Diploma in Maritime Business Management.

And she has had multiple papers published for international conferences and scientific journals on subjects including marine engineering, LNG operations, LNG tanker mooring and safety, port logistics, and port planning and management.

But not satisfied with that, Vivi is turning her mind to the renewable energy sector, and specifically to the infrastructure required for ports in northern Tasmania that will have a critical role to play in the delivery of renewable energy generating projects.

Her PhD work at the Australian Maritime College (AMC), Launceston – to research port strategic planning for infrastructure management development and operations based on potential roles in the renewables economy – is being sponsored by TasPorts.

During her time in Tasmania, while completing her PhD, she will work closely with the TasPorts’ Growth and Development Team.

Associate Professor Peggy Shu-Ling Chen, the Director of the Centre for Maritime and Logistics Management (MLM) at the AMC, said it was the first time a MLM PhD student had been sponsored by industry in this way.

“The AMC has enjoyed a very close working relationship with TasPorts for some time,” she said.

“So, we were very willing to have research sponsored by TasPorts for a PhD student in the renewables area when it was suggested.”

“We want to work with industry as much as possible. And we want to work on more of these types of research projects that directly benefit the maritime industry.”

Vivi said she had wanted to complete a PhD since she first graduated in 2014.

“I am excited about this work because of the collaboration opportunity direct with industry,” she said.

She said while Tasmania was a long way from Singapore, the AMC in Launceston was an obvious place for her to undertake the PhD.

“AMC has a link with Singapore Polytechnic where I studied, and there are many AMC alumni working in Singapore,” she said.

Vivi, who arrived in Tasmania in February this year, hopes to complete her PhD in three-and-a-half-years.

And she is already thinking about how her research work will benefit her next position, whatever that is.

“I hope I can contribute to future port development projects that I work on given a multi-disciplinary mindset,” she said.

“This may look like better or more innovative ideas on how to solve the problem for a port operator.

“Engineering and management side of energy industry is always changing and keep growing.”

“So I am keen to continue to work in port operations or logistics, but I also want to keep studying.

Associate Professor Chen said there were currently 13 PhD students in the centre, though pre-Covid this number was closer to 20.

“In the higher education space we focus on research rather than just teaching in a classroom,” she said.

“Research is important, particularly research that is relevant to industry as in this case.

“There will be benefits at the end of the research project for both the AMC and TasPorts.”

Investing in a renewable energy future

TasPorts is working with the Tasmanian Government, government agencies and broader industry to support renewable energy opportunities, driving momentum for the Port of Bell Bay as a key Renewables Energy Hub and offering multi-user port facilities.

As a State, Tasmania started with our hydro-generated power with a series of dams built to provide renewable energy. Now, with Tasmania’s abundance of natural renewable energy resources, the State is in an ideal position to capitalise on the opportunity to develop a green hydrogen industry across the entire value change.

Tasmania is ideally placed to take advantage of the emerging hydrogen industry, providing economic and employment benefits, particularly for regional areas. Tasmania has well-established and successful advanced manufacturing industries including in the marine, heavy vehicle and mining sectors. A domestic renewable hydrogen industry will provide an opportunity to leverage value into these sections and further support regional growth and employment.