Mark Dawkins

Mark Dawkins

Industry PhD Student

Industry PhD project title: Fast-track to Net Zero Carbon buildings

RACE University and Industry partners:

The University of New South Wales – School of Photovoltaic & Renewable Energy (SPREE), through the Collaboration on Energy and Environmental Markets (CEEM), and BuildingsAlive

Previous education and work background:

  • Bachelor of Science Mathematical Modelling (1st Class Hons) – The Australian National University
  • Bachelor of Economics – The Australian National University

During university I worked for the National Health and Medical Research Council as a data analyst. In that role I did work relating to the restructure of the NHMRC’s grant schemes as well as investigating gender equity in grant awards.

For the last three years I’ve worked at a leading Australian big data analytics firm called Quantium. At Quantium I worked across the retail and banking sectors in product analytics. Product analytics is about transforming enormous modern customer datasets into tools that can be used for decision making, such as lending decisions in banking or ranging decisions in retail.

What attracted you to the RACE Industry PhD?

After the 2019/20 bushfires a friend recommended that I read Superpower by Ross Garnaut. That book is what sparked my interest in the opportunities of clean energy in Australia. As I learned more about the energy sector, I realised that there is a significant role for data and data science to play in the clean energy grid of the future. With these industry PhDs RACE is providing the opportunity to innovate in this critical area, and I’m thrilled to be a part of that.



What do you hope to achieve?

I think buildings are an under-studied challenge/opportunity in the clean energy transition.

According to the IEA “floor area in the buildings sector worldwide is expected to increase 75% between 2020 and 2050” and the electricity consumption of these buildings is their major contribution to emissions.

At the same time the introduction of renewable energy into the grid is highlighting the need for flexible demand, which commercial buildings can provide.

I hope to contribute to a growing body of knowledge on how building can not only reduce their carbon emissions but contribute to a stable clean grid.

What are you most looking forward to?

Two things:

  1. Buildings Alive is supplying a world leading data set. I’m a big data nerd, so I can’t wait to get into the data!
  2. I’m looking forward to meeting the other RACE scholars. I think it’s great that RACE will be connecting highly motivated people from a diverse set of backgrounds. I can’t wait to see what everybody is able to achieve.

What innovation/change would you like to see in 5-10 years’ time?

As the grid becomes a more dynamic system, with new types of supply and demand being integrated, I’d love to see data science play a major role in producing great outcomes both for the system but also for individual consumers and producers.

When you were young, what did you want to be when you were older?

Either a cricketer or a scientist (I’m a terrible cricketer)