Professor Ron White is the Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at James Cook University. He was previously the Head of Physical Sciences Academic Group which hosts the Mathematics, Data Science, Chemistry and Physics disciplines, and the Research Director for the College of Science, Technology and Engineering.

His research areas are diverse ranging from the application of low-temperature plasmas and antimatter for medical diagnostics and treatments, to opto-electronic properties of organic semiconductors for solar cells, light emitting diodes and lasers. He also has research programs focused on the application of NIR spectroscopy and vision systems and is current chair of Rapid Assessment Unit (RAU) – a collaborative venture between JCU and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries focused on the development of non-invasive technologies for primary industries.  Professor White has been continuously funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) since 2005 through various ARC schemes including the Centres of Excellence, Discovery Projects, Industrial Transformation Hub and Linkage Project.  In addition, his research has been funded from industry through various schemes including CRC, QLD Smart State and others.  He has been a Chief Investigator within the ARC Centre of Excellence for Antimatter-Matter Studies where he was a member of the COE Executive and a Theme Leader. He is currently a CI on the ARC Research Hub for Supercharging Tropical Aquaculture (https://www.jcu.edu.au/arcsta).  He sits on the Editorial Board for Nature Publishing’s Scientific Reports and for Springer-Nature’s E Phys. Journal D. 

Recent/current ARC projects include:

  • ARC Discovery Project (2022): Non-equilibrium presolvation electron processes at the gas-liquid interface (Lead CI)
  • ARC Discovery Project (2019): Positrons in biosystems (CI)
  • ARC Discovery Project (2018): Electron scattering and transport for plasma-liquid interactions (Lead CI)
  • ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub (2022): Supercharging tropical aquaculture through genetic solutions (CI)
  • ARC Linkage (2022): Breeding super black solider flies for sustainable food production (CI)

PhD projects are available in all areas - please feel free to make direct contact.  

  • PH5010: Directed Study (Level 5; TSV)
  • PH5020: Special Study A (Level 5; TSV)
  • PH5021: Special Study B (Level 5; TSV)
  • PH5022: Special Study C (Level 5; TSV)
  • Charge transport in organic materials for application in organic opto-electronics and organic solar cells.
  • Modelling of Positron Emission Tomography
  • Modelling radiation damage from ionizing radiation
  • Low-temperature plasma discharge modelling and plasma accelerators
  • Swarm physics
  • NIR spectroscopy for food quality and safety
Socio-Economic Objectives

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 197+ research outputs authored by Prof Ron White from 2000 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Electron transport and scattering within the plasma-liquid interface

Indicative Funding
$360,000 over 3 years
The synergistic interaction of low-temperature plasmas with liquids and biological matter has unearthed various technological applications in water treatment, agriculture, biofuels and medicine. Predicitive control of these multiphase plasmas is essential to unlocking the potential of these applications, and this requires predictive models. The absence of the relevant non-equilibrium transport theory describing electrons in these multiphase environments together with fundamental data describing electron interactions with biological and liquid matter severely limits this. The project will develop a state of the art transport model informed by world first measurements of electron cross-sections for biomolecules, radicals and liquids.
Ron White, Darryl Jones, Mark Kushner and Yang Liu (College of Science & Engineering, Flinders University and University of Michigan - Ann Arbor)
Plasma medicine; Electron scattering; Transport theory; biomolecules

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Breeding super black soldier flies for sustainable food production

Indicative Funding
$610,209 over 3 years, in partnership with FlyFarm ($225,000)
Industrialised farming of Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae has the remarkable potential to address critical sustainable food security and waste management issues. Despite the opportunities, there are several challenges around scale-up technologies the insect farming industry must overcome. This project aims to provide critical BSF selective breeding knowledge to enable the industrialised scale-up production of this commercially important BSF biomass resource from a variety of organic waste sources. This project will support the long-term growth and competitive advantage of the Australian insect industry, as well as promoting the benefits of a circular economy through bioconversion of organic waste into commercially viable products.
Kyall Zenger, Dean Jerry and Ron White (College of Science & Engineering)
Black Soldier Fly; Genetics; Animal Production; Breeding; Waste Management; Animal feed

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Industrial Transformation Research Hubs

ARC Research Hub for Supercharging Tropical Aquaculture Through Genetic Solutions

Indicative Funding
$4,996,503 over 4 years, in partnership with Australian Genome Research Facility ($150,000); Cygnet Bay Pearls PL ($500,000); Mainstream Aquaculture ($500,000); Sea Forest Pty Ltd ($500,000) and THE COMPANY ONE PTY LTD ($500,000)
This project aims to integrate cutting edge genetic and genomic approaches into innovative aquaculture enterprises that farm in tropical northern Australia. It will deliver the requisite genetic knowledge to instigate world-leading and highly productive breeding programs for five species (barramundi, pearl oyster, prawn, grouper and marine seaweed), along with a novel understanding of the genetic basis of disease resistance and how the production environment interfaces with the bacterial microbiome, pathogens and water quality to cause disease. It will increase Australia's capacity to deliver advanced genetics outcomes to the aquaculture sector, while increasing productivity, international competitiveness, and lowered risk due to disease.
Dean Jerry, Kyall Zenger, Benjamin Hayes, Rocky de Nys, David Bourne, Andreas Lopata, Ron White, Jan Strugnell, Chaoshu Zeng, Kelly Condon, Mostafa Rahimi Azghadi, Ira Cooke, Leo Nankervis and Carla Ewels (College of Science & Engineering, The University of Queensland, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Selective Breeding; Genomics; Aquaculture

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Reef Trust Partnership

Reducing herbicide usage in the Burdekin and Proserpine reef catchment areas with precise robotic weed control in sugarcane

Indicative Funding
$900,000 over 4 years, in partnership with Autoweed Pty Ltd ($10,000)
The main objective of this project is to develop and build the world?s first robotic platform for selective weed control in sugarcane. Specifically, we aim to retrofit two 12-metre sugarcane booms for farmers in the Burdekin and Proserpine GBR catchment areas with state-of-the-art deep learning detection and spraying technology. The fundamental aim of this project is to significantly minimise the herbicide usage by selective spot spraying. We have set a target to reduce the knockdown herbicide usage on the chosen farms by 80% compared to the traditional blanket spraying that is performed during various stages of the crop cycle.
Mostafa Rahimi Azghadi, Ron White, Bronson Philippa, Brendan Calvert, Alex Olsen, Emilie Fillols, Molly O'Dea, Ross Marchant and jake Woods (College of Science & Engineering, Autoweed Pty Ltd and Sugar Research Australia)
precision agriculture; Deep Learning; automatic weed control; Robotic; weed management

Food Agility CRC Limited - Contract Research

Food Agility Biosecurity Constellation

Indicative Funding
$210,000 over 3 years
Constellations are clusters of projects grouped within a theme, Biosecurity, which are led by a Constellation Leader, JCU, who also has the experience and capabilities to contribute to the research within that theme. A Constellation has been between Food Agility and JCU based on a theme which demonstrates potential for multiple, related research projects with the potential for multiple industries and partners to participate over time.
Davi La Ferla, Ron White and Yvette Everingham (College of Science & Engineering)
Biosecurity; Environmental Health; Environmental management; Disease; Public Health; Invasives

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Positrons in biosystems

Indicative Funding
$185,090 over 3 years (administered by Australian National University)
This project aims to improve our understanding of the damage processes in Positron Emission Tomography (PET). PET is a widely used medical imaging technique, but there are gaps in our understanding of the underlying interactions, in particular in the case of the radiation damage induced during the process. By using new models incorporating accurate descriptions of interactions processes, verified by experimental measurement, this project will develop a new model of positron transport in PET. The project will allow validation of predictions from the model by undertaking experiments in liquid water.
James Sullivan, Ron White, Michael Brunger, Daniel Cocks and Joshua Machacek in collaboration with Gustavo Garcia and Jimena Gorfinkiel (Australian National University, College of Science & Engineering, Flinders University, Spanish National Research Council and The Open University (UK))
positrons; Transport; biological matter

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Electron scattering and transport for plasma-liquid interactions

Indicative Funding
$595,120 over 4 years
The project addresses the emerging technologies associated with the interaction of plasmas with liquids and biological matter, including plasma medicine. The project expects to generate new knowledge on the role of electron-induced processes through the development of complete and accurate sets of microscopic cross- sections for electrons with biomolecules within tissue. This microscopic data will inform new microscopic models for non equilibrium electron transport in liquids and biological matter, and its coupling to plasmas. The expected outcomes of this project include progress towards the optimization of safety/efficacy of future generation plasma medicine devices through detailed understanding of plasma-biological tissue interactions.
Ron White and Michael Brunger in collaboration with Zoran Petrovic and Jaime de Urquijo (College of Science & Engineering, Flinders University, Univerzitet u Beogradu and Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico)
plasma medicine; Transport Theory; scattering

CRC for Developing Northern Australia Scheme - Projects

Applying new technologies to enhance biosecurity and cattle quality.

Indicative Funding
$1,084,500 over 3 years (administered by Branir Pty Ltd & Trustee for Booloomani Unit Trust)
The vast natural environment of Northern Australia feeds the cattle industry; however, biosecurity threats have negatively impacted this. Conventional management of such threats such as weeds are not suited to such broad, harsh landscapes. The project will use an Internet of Things network with low-cost environmental sensors, drone mapping and big data analytics to develop and test data-driven, strategic pest management programs - ultimately improving both cattle industry and natural assets.
Ian Atkinson, Wei Xiang, Ron White, Stephanie Duce, Mohan Jacob and Karen Joyce (Research Infrastructure and College of Science & Engineering)
Biosecurity; Cattle; Drones; Weeds; Technology; Internet Of Things

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Thermal Conductivity of Low-dimensional Out-of-equilibrium Quantum Systems: Theoretically Describing Thermal Transport in Semiconductor Nanowires. (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Smart Organic Solar Cell Windows using Photochromic Materials: Theory and Experiment (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Experimental and Theoretical Investigations of Plasma Liquid Interactions (Masters , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Modelling of Radiation Secondary Elecgtron Transport and Damage in Human Tissue. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Towards Nanodosimetry: Low-Energy Electron Processes and Transport in Biological Tissue (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Monte Carlo simulation of highly non-equilibrium electron and ion transport in plasma medicine. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Graphene based supercapacitors from renewable sources (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Methods for Solving Nonequilibrium Green?s Functions with Application to Driven Quantum Transport (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Quantum spin transport in nanoscale electronic devices (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Graphene-based Nanocomposites for Biosensing applications (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Modelling and Numerical simulations of charge transport in organic semiconductor materials (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Enhancing Elderly Care in Institutional Setting Through Machine Learning: A Focus on Frailty (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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