New head of civil engineering plans to showcase vibrant research community

9 Jul 2019

Globally renowned transport engineering researcher, Professor Carlo Prato has been selected to take the lead at UQ's School of Civil Engineering, as the new Head of School (Acting) until 2020.

Professor Simon Washington, the existing Head of School of Civil Engineering, will step aside to work on a high impact research project involving researchers from UQ, the Queensland University of Technology, and the University of British Columbia, focusing on reducing injuries and fatalities on Australian roads and globally.

Professor Prato will use this time to showcase the vibrant community of civil engineering researchers at UQ, who are contributing innovative ideas to the world’s greatest challenges. Along with the civil engineering team, he also plans to put on an amazing show for UQ Open Day on Sunday 4 August, this year.

“People may not be aware of the huge amount of creativity and innovation driving the activities in our School, and our goal is to inspire current and potential students to be part of a mind-blowing experience,” Professor Prato said.

Professor Prato said he felt privileged to be able to take on this prestigious role at UQ, where civil engineering is ranked 29th  in the world (NTU Global Rankings 2019).

Throughout his career, Professor Prato has worked across the world – from Torino, Italy to Haifa, Israel and Lyngby, Denmark, advancing global knowledge in the area of transport engineering.

His research uses behavioural modelling to answer big questions about how people perceive time differently according to their personality and lifestyle and how choosing a way to travel affects their sense of identity, for example.

He looks at reactions to legislation that attempts to make journeys safer, and how people accept and adapt to novel technologies and mobility solutions, like the integration of bicycle lanes to a city, the uptake of ride-sharing services or the change of maps representing the public transport routes.

During his time at UQ, Professor Prato has worked on many high-profile projects, including a multidisciplinary project with the Port of Brisbane that aims to develop port growth, and the iMove Cooperative Research Centre that will advance intelligent transport systems in Australia.

Professor Prato said it was crucial for researchers to push boundaries and work with collaboratively across disciplines to achieve the best outcomes for the future.

“In my career, I have worked with psychologists, doctors, economists, mathematicians, and of course engineers,” said Professor Prato.

“There are major challenges for our societies ahead and we will need ideas that go well beyond the boundaries of old disciplines… push these boundaries and you will open up a future of possibilities!”