Researcher biography


Steven Pratt is an Associate Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering at The University of Queensland, where he leads research on process development for sustainable waste management. His research focus is on utilising waste streams as feedstocks for the production of biomaterials and biofuels. The outcomes from these activities feed into broader biorefinery research programs, which aim for waste streams to be routinely utilised as feedstocks.

He has authored over 50 scientific papers on related topics, with his major contribution to the field of environmental biotechnology being the invention of the TOGA® Sensor for examination and control of biotech/bioprocess systems. Widespread interest in TOGA® led to an agreement between Massey University and Scion for the commercialisation of the technology.


Assocaite Professor Pratt is a research and education leader in environmental engineering, known internationally for his work on the development of polyhdroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioplastics, and their associated wood-fibre composites, and nationally for his delivery of training courses to environmental professionals. His research is industrially relevant; he has published on models for effective industry-education partnerships.

He is now Director of the new ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Bioplastics and Biocomposites. ARC Centre for Bioplastics and Biocomposites

Plastics are now ubiquitous in our lives, and the systems within our modern society could not function without these light weight, easily formable, strong, cheap, durable, and readily available materials. However, our success at engineering such useful materials has created a systemic problem, with more than 10 million tonnes of plastic leaking into the global environment annually. Urgent change is needed to address this 'plastic crisis', and biodegradable bioplastics, along with their natural fibre composites, will play a pivotal role in this transition to a more sustainable plastics economy. Already, we are witnessing unprecedented growth in the global bioplastics industry – the projected annual growth to 2030 is 16-30%, leading to an estimated global market value of US$40B. As the world transitions towards the integration of bioplastics into a more sustainable plastics economy, there is a real opportunity for Australia to transform our existing plastics industry. Australia is uniquely positioned to become a global leader in the emerging bioplastic and biocomposite industry this decade, supported by our abundance of the raw natural materials needed for their manufacture. The ARC Training Centre for Bioplastics and Biocomposites will capitalise on Australia's abundant natural bioresources to drive advances in technology for the development of bioplastic and biocomposite products for the new bioeconomy.

Teaching and Learning:

Dr Pratt has taught a variety of courses in process engineering, including Environmental Systems Engineering, Wastewater Treatment, Clean Technology and Environmental Biotechnology.

Additionally, he has run the IWES Principles of Wastewater Treatment course, which has an intake of about 100 professionals each year.


ARC ITTC for Bioplastics and Biocomposties.