In recognition of his outstanding efforts as a postgraduate supervisor, Professor Ranjith Pathegama Gamage has won the 2014 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Supervision.

Ranjith is an ARC Future Fellow in the Department of Civil Engineering. Ranjith's lines of research ultimately converge on mitigation of climate change, an overriding challenge in our time; and he faces up to some of the greatest engineering challenges.


His discoveries are revolutionary for carbon sequestration, coal-seam gas recovery, and also the environmentally safe release of shale gas. Ranjith has developed ways to harvest very deep coal-seam gas with little or no use of water by injection of carbon dioxide (CO2). Ranjith's theoretical and applied research assists the national effort to reduce global warming, and to safeguard the Australian economy by speeding our transition to sustainable new sources of energy.

Ranjith currently supervises 15 doctoral students in a wide range of topics including deep earth energy and resources extractions.

The prestigious award recognises high quality supervision. Ranjith wants his PhD students to have every chance to develop as leading scientists and engineers so that they may grow in creativity, capacity and contribute constructively to society. Ranjith’s research students have joined his team from all over the world. He adapts his supervision style to the many educational and cultural backgrounds. Professor Ranjith Pathegama Gamage believes “a teacher and mentor must explore each student’s capabilities and weaknesses, then plan how best to develop them in the core areas of analytical thinking, communication (written and oral), numerical modelling, and experimental design and practice.”

Over the last ten years at Monash, Ranjith has mentored students of extraordinary ability, with many quality outputs to their credit. “I have assisted slower learners, who must be helped resourcefully and patiently, with liberal support and encouragement. These students too have made great advances” Ranjith finds this to be a particular source of satisfaction.

Ranjith’s philosophy is that they work as a family, pursuing their own aims but also assisting each other. “As a result my students regularly perform well within the Department and the Faculty. This is evidenced by the awards they have received. It is essential to keep career development in mind, and students’ preferences are relevant in determining resources and advice. I provided every opportunity for them to develop in crucial areas: research, teaching, administration and leadership, and professional and community service. My supervision style allows my students to lead in their thesis study, rather than passively accepting the guidance I offer. I strongly believe that PhD training must make the student capable of independent research."

Dr Perera, a previous research student of Ranjith said “He is skilled in identifying the best scientific approaches to a problem. He makes each student think differently to produce innovative outcomes, and creates a working environment so they never feel alone”.

His award was presented at the Vice Chancellor's Education and Research Awards ceremony on 18 November 2014, where 10 other award recipients from across the University were also recognised for their outstanding contribution and achievements as educators and researchers.

Being nominated for the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Supervision is no simple task.

The supervisor must be nominated by four people and a lengthy dossier submitted that provides evidence of the supervisor's outstanding contributions to supervision. References are also required from the nominated supervisor's Head of Academic Unit and three of the research degree graduates he/she has supervised.

As a recipient of the Award, Professor Pathegama Gamage will contribute his supervision experience and knowledge to help improve supervisor training for Monash academic staff.

Watch Professor Pathegama Gamage's video below about supervising research degree students at Monash.