I am a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Melbourne. Here are some stock photos of the University (you can't actually see the sea from anywhere on campus) and School of Engineering:

My research group works in applied optimisation and control problems. These typically involve some theoretical development combined with implementation on real systems including automotive, aerospace, mechatronic, transportation and energy systems. This really means that we get to try stuff on lots of real things, such as:

In our group we typically use two types of approaches. If the system can be relatively well modelled using low order dynamic equations, we tend to utilise model predictive controllers for online application. On the other hand if the system is poorly modelled we rely on approaches like online optimisation (extremum seeking) techniques to optimise the steady state behaviour of the system. This means that a lot of work is mathematical and/or computational in nature: