The creation of The University of Newcastle Research Associates (TUNRA) in 1975 was the work of pioneering problem-solver Emeritus Professor Alan Roberts.

“Prof”, as he is affectionately known to the staff of the organisation he founded, has combined a glittering academic career and the publication of seminal technical papers with an almost uncanny ability to solve industry problems.

He has been conducting research and consulting in bulk solids handling for more than 50 years and is heralded as launching in Australia the scientific and technological developments of bulk solids in 1964 based on the work of Dr Andrew Jenike, known worldwide as the originator of modern day bulk solids flow theory.

E/Prof Roberts graduated in 1955 from the University of NSW with a Bachelor of Engineering with 1st Class Honours and completed his PhD at the University of Wollongong in 1961.

In 1974 he was appointed as Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Newcastle, soon after being appointed Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, as position he held until his retirement in 1993.

Over his career, E/Prof Roberts has published five design manuals and over 350 research papers on various aspects of bulk solids handling, all the while working to build the research and consulting capabilities of TUNRA Bulk Solids.

Despite having formally retired he remains an active contributor to the operations of the business and can generally be found in his office each day.

Read more about the extraordinary contributions of Emeritus Professor Alan Roberts in an extended conversation chronicled by Newcastle Innovation.