Associate Professor Azharul Karim

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Associate Professor, School of Mechanical Medical and Process Engineering

PhD in Engineering (The University of Melbourne)


  • Advance Queensland Fellow and Smart Queensland Fellow
  • Leader: Energy and Drying Research Group, QUT (
  • Course Leader: Master of Engineering Management, QUT 


Dr Karim received his PhD in 2007 from Australia’s top University, The University of Melbourne. He is currently the leader of multidisciplinary ‘Energy and Drying’ research group ( at Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Australia. His research is directed towards solving acute food industry problems by advanced multiscale and multiphase food drying models of cellular water using theoretical/computational and experimental methodologies. Through his scholarly, innovative, high quality research, he has established his national and international standing in his field. He has authored over 184 peer-reviewed articles, including 95 high quality Journal Papers, four books and 13 book chapters. His papers have attracted more than 3000 citations with h-index of 29. He is the editor/board member of six reputed journals including Drying Technology and Nature Scientific Reports. He has been keynote/distinguished speaker at scores of international conferences and invited/keynote speaker in seminars in many reputed universities worldwide. He has been awarded 16 research grants amounting A$3.2 million and won multiple international awards for his outstanding contributions in multidisciplinary fields. He is also a leader in innovative application of ‘Lean Manufacturing’ concepts in hospital emergency departments to reduce long waiting times and optimize resources. Currently he is leading research projects with two local (RBWH and RCH) and two international hospitals.

Dr Karim is the inventor of many innovative new products including (1) Ultrasonic washing machine (patent WO02089652) (2) Ultrasonic dishwasher (patent WO0229148) (3) Advanced independent solar drying system with pebble bed thermal storage (Patent 2019900943) and (4) Integrated heat pump, vacuum and microwave convective drying system (Patent 2019900942).

Dr Karim’s high-level achievements in both fundamental and applied research in the important area of food drying has established him as one of the world’s leading researchers in this field as demonstrated by his overall Field Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI) of 2.74. His FWCI in food drying and microwave drying are 2.99 and 10.43 respectively. His current research areas are food drying, multiscale and multiphase modelling of food drying, Nano fluid solar thermal storage, concentrating PV-thermal collector, and Lean Healthcare Systems.

PhD Opportunties: Several PhD projects are available in Dr Karim’s group.  Bangabandhu Fellowship and CSC (China Scholarship Council) applicants are also welcome. Please feel free to contact Dr Karim for more details.

 Broad Areas of Research

  • Food Drying
  • Advanced Drying Methods (e.g. Microwave Drying)
  • Solar Thermal Energy
  • Thermal Storage
  • Lean Manufacturing and Lean Healthcare System

Successful Grants:

  1. A$46,260 (2019) ANSTO (Australia’s Nuclear Sci. and Tech. Org.) grant, Investigation of Microstructural Changes in Plant Based Food Materials during Drying – (1st CI)
  2. A$555K, Advanced Queensland Fellowship (AQF), Intelligent Microwave Assisted Convective Dryer for Agri Products, 2016–2019 (Sole CI) ongoing
  3. A$ 300,000 (AED790,000), UAEU program for advanced research (UPAR) grant, Valorization of Lost Dates and Processing By-Products (VALORDATE), 2015–19, (CI) ongoing
  4. A$220,000 Queensland government Smart Future Fellowship grant, Development of an Efficient and Cost Effective Solar Drying System, 2012–2015 (Sole CI).
  5. A$60,000 PNG University of Technology grant, solar assisted microwave drying (2017–2019) (1st CI). ongoing
  6. A$80,000, Vietnam International Education Development (VIED) grant, Investigation into Phase Transition Properties and Stickiness of Dairy Based Infant Formula Powders, (2014–18); (Sole CI)
  7. $20,000, CSIRO (2012–2014), Investigation of Radiation Flux Profile of PTC Solar Collector (CI)
  8. A$314,682, CRC for Infrastructure Engineering Asset Management, Integration Project, (2008–2011) (CI).
  9. A$5,000 CSIRO on Prime grant (2016) (1st CI).

International Successful Grants

  1. A$9000 (SR 25,000), King Abdul Aziz University Grant, Saudi Arabia 2015 (Role: External CI)
  2. A$20,000 (SR54,000), Sustainable Procurement, King Abdul Aziz University Grant, Saudi Arabia, 2017; (CI)
  3. S$1.1 M, Development of ultrasonic washing machine, Economic Development Board of Singapore (EDB) under Innovation Development Scheme (IDS). (1999–2001) (1st CI).

Additional information

Dr Karim has experience in working in both academic and industry environments. His recent work history is listed below:

Senior Lecturer:  School of CPME, Science and Engineering Faculty, QUT,   2012–present

Lecturer:  School of Engineering Systems, BEE Faculty, QUT,                        2008–2012

Research fellow: RMIT University, Melbourne,                                                2006–2008

Head of R & D: JCS Automation Pte Ltd, Singapore,                                     1999–2002

Teaching Assistant: NUS Singapore, Melbourne, Monash, & RMIT Uni        1996–2007

Leadership Roles

Major Coordinator, Master of Engineering Management (BN87)     2010–present

Subject Area Coordinator, Professional Masters course EN55          2017–present

Founder and Leader of the Energy and Drying Research Group      2012–present

SEF Professional Development Leave (PDL) Committee member    2018–2019

Secretary, 14th GCMM conference, 5-7 Dec 2018, QUT, Brisbane  2017–2018

Justice of the Peace                                                                             2010–present


Editorial Engagements

  1. Associate EditorDrying Technology (Q1, IF=2.307)
  2. Editorial Board MemberNature Scientific Reports (Q1, IF=4.259)
  3. Guest Editor: Energies (Q1. IF=2.707)
  4. Editorial Board MemberInternational Journal of Food Properties (Q2, IF=1.398)
  5. Editorial Board MemberAnnals of Nutritional Food & Current Research
  6. Editorial Board MemberAmerican Journal of Biometrics & Biostatistics
  7. Editor in ChiefJournal of Energy and Food Processing (ISSN 2206-1312)

Keynote speaker in world-class universities:

Due to Dr Karim’s research leadership in the field, he has been invited to deliver seminars in many universities around the world including in the UK, USA, Switzerland, Belgium, Australia, Italy, Singapore, and Japan. He has delivered more than 20 such invited seminars in universities of excellent standing. Some recent seminars are listed below:

  • Auckland University, 3 July 2019, Microscale modelling of food drying
  • KU Leuven, Belgium, 18 September, 2018, Multiphase multiscale modelling of fruits during drying.
  • EMPA, Switzerland, 10 September 2018, Fundamental transport processes at micro level.
  • University of Melbourne, 5 December 2017, Innovative energy efficient food drying techniques.
  • University of Sydney, 17 July 2017, Insight into food drying: resolving energy and quality issues.

 Keynote speaker in influential conferences:

Dr Karim has been invited to deliver many keynote speeches in outstanding international conferences. Some of the recent fully funded keynote speeches are listed below:

  • Keynote speaker: December 14–17, 2019, 10th Asia Pacific Drying Conference, Advanced intermittent microwave convective drying (IMCD) method to improve energy efficiency and food quality (accepted).
  • Keynote speaker: April 3, 2017, World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology Conference, Brisbane Australia, Intermittent Microwave Convective Drying for better Energy Efficiency and Food Quality.

 Scientific committee member:

 Dr Karim served as a scientific committee member in numerous conferences. A few recent examples are shown below:

  1. 16th Global Conference on Sustainable Manufacturing. Sustainable Manufacturing for Global Circular Economy. October 2–4, 2018, Lexington Kentucky, USA.
  2. 15th Global Conference on Sustainable Manufacturing (GCSM), 25–27 September 2017, Haifa, Israel

Reviewer of International grant programmes:

Dr Karim is the regular reviewer of international grant proposals including proposals from Europe’s top funding bodies. Some examples are listed below:

  1. European Science Foundation Fellowship Application 2019.
  2. Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research grant 2019.
  3. National Science Centre, Poland, 2018.

Regular Reviewer of many reputed journals including:

  1. Journal of Food Engineering
  2. Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies,
  3. Applied Thermal Engineering
  4. Solar Energy
  5. Energy
  6. International Journal of Production Research
  7. European Journal of Operation Research
Editorial Role for an Academic Journal
Reference year
Most important recognition of my international research leadership was demonstrated by my appointments editors and editorial board members of reputed journals. I am an Assistant Editor of Drying Technology Journal (Q1, IF=2.219) and editorial board member of 7 reputed journals including Nature Scientific Reports (Q1, IF=4.259) and International Journal of Food Properties (Q2, IF=1.845). I am also the founding Chief Editor of Energy and Food Processing journal. My leadership in editorial jobs can be understood from the comment of the group editor Professor Arun S Mujumdar about my edited book 'I must congratulate you on a really smooth editorial accomplishment. Despite some inevitable delays the project was done on time. Not easy to do' and later added 'In fact your book was smoother than most of mine'.
Reference year
I was successful in getting two highly competitive Fellowships from Queensland Government. 1. A$555,000 (including partner and QUT Cash), Microwave Assisted Solar Dryer, Advanced Queensland Fellowship (AQF) 2016-2019 (Sole CI) 2. A$220,000 (including partner and QUT Cash), Advanced Solar Drying System, Queensland Government smart future fellowship grant, 2012-2015 (Sole CI). Both fellowships have large amount of industry cash contribution. I was informed that I am the only academic who has been awarded both early career and mid-career fellowships. These fellowships demonstrates high impact and relevance of my research to Queensland Economy and local industry. One of my potential industry partner found 'life' in our research as they wrote: If the food industry is to take full advantage of drying as a means to add value to fresh produce it is facing three key problems of high energy consumption, longer drying times and product quality deterioration during food processing.
International Collaboration
Reference year
I have established effective and working collaborations with world¿s renowned academics and universities including 1. KU Leuven, Belgium 2. EMPA, Switzerland 3. Oxford University, 4. UQ, and 5. Sydney University. As continuation of successful collaboration, I have submitted a DP application with KU Leuven, Belgium and Sydney University as partners and working on an ARC Linkage with EMPA, Switzerland and UQ as partner University (I am the 1st CI in both). My international collaborations with other universities resulted in several international grants including A$ 290,000 (AED790,000) UAE University, UAE grant, A$60,000 PNG University of Technology Grant, A$80,000, Vietnam International Education Development (VIED) grant 2. A$20,000 (SR54,000), King Abdul Aziz University Grant, Saudi Arabia and. A$9000 (SR 25,000) grant from Saudi Arabia. Several other collaborations are underway.
Keynote Speaker/Expert Panel Member/Invited Speaker for a Conference
Reference year
I have been invited to deliver seminars on many reputed Universities around the world including in the countries Australia, USA, Italy, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bangladesh. I have delivered more than 24 such distinguished/Keynote/Invited talks including in institutes like: 1. University of Melbourne 2. University of Sydney 3. KU Leuven, Belgium 4. EMPA, Switzerland 5. Oxford University. I was also invited to Lawrence Technical University, Detroit, USA, University of Parma, Italy, Southern Cross University, Lismore, Australia, Ecolo Centre Paris, United Arab Emirates University, Shahir University, Istanbul, Turkey, National University of Singapore, Central Queensland University, University of Malaya, Malaysia, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) (Top University in Bangladesh), Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (RUET), Bangladesh, Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh. I was also keynote
Reference year
Leadership in training HDR, visiting fellows, post-doctoral fellows, Honours and Masters Students: In my 11 years career at QUT, I trained about 200 undergraduate and postgraduate students by supervising real life industry oriented final year projects. I also trained 18 HDR students to completion, 3 visiting fellow and two post-doctoral fellows. They all are employed in local and international universities and industries. They all are the ambassadors of QUT and expanding the reputations of QUT. My training has great influence in their career build up as acknowledged by them. My former student, Dean Scholar and Kindler Medallist Bruce Fernando wrote- Dr Karim has provided excellent learning opportunities in a variety of capacities. Dr Karim succeeded in delivering excellent and relevant course materials to engineering students which was applicable in subsequent as well as in actual engineering applications in industry. Dr Karim demonstrates that he is an exemplary lecturer and academic.