Celebrating 50 Years of TUNRA

The University of Newcastle has a global reputation for world-leading research and innovation, with an exceptional record for achieving research outcomes with enormous potential for industry. These partnerships advance business and industry solutions while being anchored in research and best practice.

In 1969, The University of Newcastle Research Associates (TUNRA) was formed as a vehicle to build and promote applied research opportunities for both the University and industry. TUNRA recently celebrated their 50th anniversary with an event held at Merewether Surf house with the participation of the Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor and other University of Newcastle dignitaries, former and current TUNRA and Newcastle Innovation staff and board members, industry partners and other associated entities.

The evening commenced with a welcome from Professor Kevin Hall, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Vice-President Global Engagement & Partnerships & TUNRA Chair. Professor Hall gave an official welcome to all of the guests and reflected on the history and achievements of TUNRA over the last 50 years and the diversity of successes over this time.

The University of Newcastle Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, provided an overview of the new strategy the University is developing for 2020 – 2025. Professor Zelinsky spoke of the four main engagement domains, being Next Generation Resources, Growing Industries, Connected Communities and Better, Healthier Living, and how both business and community engagement underpins each of these domains. Professor Zelinsky acknowledged the significant contribution TUNRA has provided to the University in its 50 years, and the important role it has in the University strategy into the future.

The Chancellor, Mr Paul Jeans, spoke to the history of TUNRA and how it has maintained an outstanding reputation in industry since its inception in 1969, including worldwide recognition for best practices in high-level engineering and design in the field of bulk solids handling. Mr Jeans also recognised the outstanding contribution that Emeritus Professor Alan Roberts has made to TUNRA, including being the Founding Director of TUNRA Bulk Solids and serving on the TUNRA Board for over 30 years. Emeritus Professor Alan W Roberts, the founding Director of TUNRA Bulk Solids (est 1975),Mr Jeans presented a prestigious award for his outstanding service and lifetime contributions to TUNRA, and in recognition of his ongoing support to the University and translation of research into industry.

Professor Roberts gave a moving speech in acknowledgement of the University’s support and encouragement to the establishment of TUNRA and more specifically TUNRA Bulk Solids.

The night concluded with TUNRA’s General Manager, Dr Tim Donohue, speaking to guests about the future of TUNRA. This included a discussion of the current business activities of TUNRA, which while centred on engineering projects it was also acknowledged that there are also other exciting projects in health, medicine and physics. Dr Donohue spoke to the importance of TUNRA as a vehicle to link industry with research and the appetite of TUNRA to further serve the needs of both through increased engagement.

The evening once again demonstrated the valuable relationships shared between TUNRA and the industry partners. The main theme on the night was how TUNRA is a means to apply world leading research, but secondary themes included research support, industry engagement to define research, and the support of TUNRA in work integrated learning. The significant support of industry partners in attendance was a testament to TUNRAs unique position and provided an opportunity to converse on strategies to continue connecting research and industry going forward. TUNRA is looking forward to delivering a range of services to customers both in Australia and overseas for another 50 years.

The University of Newcastle Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO and Dr Tim Donohue, General Manager TUNRA 


Emeritus Professor Alan Roberts and Chancellor, Mr Paul Jeans 


Vice Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, Emeritus Professor Alan Roberts and Dr Tim Donohue, General Manger TUNRA 

  TUNRA Bulk Solids Engineering Team and Emeritus Professor Alan Roberts

Former and current TUNRA, Newcastle Innovation and TUNRA Bulk Solids Staff

Dr Jafar Zanganeh – Project Manager VAMSP, Trevor Clarke – AC Whalan Composites Pty Ltd, Mohammed Al-Zuraiji​ – University of Newcastle 

Tom Cason and Robert Raines – Schenck Process

Professor Mark Jones – Head of School of Engineering, University of Newcastle and Gary James – EMtek

 Professor Jennifer Martin – Chair of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Newcastle and Dr Soozy Smith – CEO Breast Cancer Trials 

Yvonne Wong, Professor Darren Shafren and Min Yuan Quah​, University of Newcastle 

Dr Tim Donohue – General Manager TUNRA, Marianne Cummings – Austmine and Isaac Court – Austrade​