Mark Hoffman

Dean's Unit
Contact details:
+61 2 9385 4970
+61 2 9385 6439

CSE Building K17
Level 6
Kensington Campus

Professor Mark Hoffman is the Dean of UNSW Engineering. Prior to his current appointment, Mark was the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and also held the positions of Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Science and Head of its School for Materials Science and Engineering for six years.

Professor Hoffman was the Presiding Member of the University’s Committee on Research from 2010-13. He holds a BE (1989) and PhD (1994) from the University of Sydney and Masters of Business and Technology from the University of New South Wales. 

Areas of Current Research

  • Electrical Ceramics
  • Development of light metal hybrid composite systems
  • Computational material and structural modelling
  • Development of polymer nanocomposites
  • Mechanical property assessment and modelling of biological systems
  • Fracture and fatigue of materials
  • Wear of materials
  • Development of thin film systems


  • Masters of Business and Technology (2005) – The University of New South Wales
  • PhD in Material Science/Mechanical Eng. (1994)- Sydney University
  • Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering(Honours) (1989) - Sydney University

Previous Roles

  • Head, School of Materials Science & Engineering (2007 - 2012)
  • Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Science (2008 - 2012)
  • Associate Professor, University of New South Wales, 2004-2006
  • Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow, Darmstadt Uni. of Tech. (Germany) 2005
  • Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales, 2001-2004
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (India), Visiting Researcher, 2001
  • Lecturer, University of New South Wales, 1997-2000
  • Darmstadt Uni. of Tech. (Germany), Research Associate, 1994-1997
  • Tokyo Metropolitan University (Japan), Visiting Scientist, 1993
  • University of California, Berkeley (USA), Visiting Scientist, 1991-1992
  • NSW Electricity Commission, Cadet Engineer, 1987-1989

Research Contribution


Prof. Mark Hoffman’s research passion is designing new materials which have high levels of structural reliability and integrity – and how to predict their operation lifetimes. 

His research experience covers materials including structural and functional ceramics including the development of environmentally friendly electronic materials, thin films, light metals, metallic foams, high-wear resistance and tough ceramic composites, polymer nanocomposites, silicon wafers and biological materials. 

Recent projects include using biomimicry to design aircraft engine components, the development of design maps for metallic foam laminates, developing reliable lead-free piezoelectric ceramics, mechanical deformation of bone, wear and tribology of dental enamel and alumina-based ceramic matrix composites, development of high-toughness and fatigue resistant PVC-based polymer nanocomposites and design of abrasion resistant coatings for high reliability.

 He has worked closely with Australian and international companies to successfully address their engineering challenges. His fundamental research outcomes have also been highly cited in the academic community.

Prof. Hoffman has obtained over $10m in research funding from the Australian Research Council and has been co-investigator on grants from bodies including the US NSF, the German DFG, the Hong Kong Sci. and Tech. Fund, Science Foundation Ireland and Thai government schemes. He has led 5 major contract research projects with local and international industry. He has published over 150 international journal papers and graduated 23 PhD and Masters students. He has twice received the UNSW Vice Chancellors Award for teaching, in 2004 for undergraduate teaching and in 2007 for Excellence in Postgraduate Supervision, the same year he also received a Carrick Citation.

Prof. Hoffman is currently a Research Program Leader for the ARC Centre of Excellence in Design in Light Metals, Fellow of the Institute of Engineers Australia and an Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Ceramic Society. He was a Director of the International Congress on Fracture from 2009-13.

Awards & Memberships

  • 2014-       Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
  • 2014        Chair of the New South Wales Deputy and Pro-Vice Chancellors Research Committee
  • 2011-       Fellow of the Institute of Engineers Australia
  • 2010        US Defense Program Award of Excellence
  • 2007        Carrick Citation Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning
  • 2007        UNSW Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Postgraduate Supervision
  • 2005        Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship
  • 2003        UNSW Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award
  • 2005        Australian Academy of Science Travel Award
  • 2003-5     UNSW Research and Teaching Award
  • 2002-5     UNSW Career Development Award
  • 2001        Australian Academy of Science Travel Award
  • 2001        German Academic Exchange Service Travel Award
  • 2006-       Member Institute of Materials Engineers Australia
  • 1997-       Member Australian Ceramic Society
  • 1998-       Member American Ceramic Society
  • 2005-       Member Materials Research Society

Selected Industry Partners

  • Iplex Pipelines
  • Bosch Research, Germany
  • Weir Warman
  • Sydney Water
  • Anaconda Minerals
  • Sea-slip Marinas
  • Thales Sonar Systems
  • Bishop Austrans
  • Columna
  • BP Solar
  • Composites Technology
  • Hyder Consulting
  • EDI Rail
  • Dunlop Flooring
  • Tubemakers Australia
  • Ventracore
  • Silverbrook Research
  • Resmed

Selected Research Collaborators

  • Technical University Darmstadt, Germany
  • Technical University Aalen, Germany
  • Purdue University, USA
  • National Inst. of Standards & Testing, USA
  • Indian Inst. of Science, Bangalore
  • City University Hong Kong
  • Nanyang Technology University, Singapore
  • School of Orthopaedics, UNSW

Other Recognitions of Professorial Standing

  • Assessor for German Science Foundation (DFG) Clusters of Excellence and Graduate Schools Program 2010 
  • Bragg Institute ANSTO, External Review Panel Member 2010
  • International Assessor for Materials Science and Engineering University Programs for Institution of Engineers Singapore 2008
  • Research Program Leader, ARC Centre of Excellence in Design in Light Metals, Hybrid Composites Research Program 2006-13
  • Invited participant, Gender equity workshop, EU 6th Framework programme 2005
  • External Assessor of German Special Research Programme in Electrical Fatigue of Materials 2005
  • Theme presenter, EU 6th Framework meeting on Knowledge-based Materials Modelling 2005
  • Expert reviewer for Australian Research Council 2001-
  • Key Engineering Materials, Editorial Board Member, 2002-
  • Structural Integrity & Fracture, Editorial Committee Member, 2002 & 2004
  • Expert Witness:
    • Thredbo Landslide Coronial Enquiry
    • Waterfall Train Crash Coronial Enquiry

Conference Organiser/Chair

  • Fracture Mechanics: Moving Forwards, January 23-25, 2006
  • Structural Integrity & Failure 2006, September 27-29, 2006
  • Symposium Organiser, Innovative structural and funcational materials at ARNAM2006
  • Session Chair, Advanced Ceramics at IMES/Austceram 2007
  • Symposium Co-Chair, MRS International Conference on Electronic Materials 2008
  • International Conference on Fracture 2009, Topic organiser for two fields: Nanoscale Issues and Ceramics


  • English (native language)
  • German (spoken and written)
  • Japanese (general communication)