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PhD scholarship: Catastrophic rock and concrete brittle failures

Apply now Job No:513092
Area:Faculty Of Engineering, Architecture & Info Tech
Salary (FTE):RTP Scholarship NON-BANDED ($28,597.00 - $28,597.00)
Work type:Full Time - Scholarship
Location: St Lucia

Research Environment

UQ ranks in the top 50 as measured by the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities. The University also ranks 46 in the QS World University Rankings, 42 in the US News Best Global Universities Rankings, 66 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and 54 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The award

Supervisor – Dr Mehdi Serati

A PhD position is available as part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery project titled “Catastrophic Rock and Concrete Brittle Failures”. The overall aim of this ARC DP project is to develop a new paradigm of monitoring, prediction and prevention of dangerous skin rock burst-type failures. A unique experimental methodology, measurements and analytical and numerical models will be employed to provide a better understanding of the fundamental processes in spalling-like fracturing in geo-like materials. We seek to develop methods of reducing the risk of dangerous rock and concrete failures from tensile fractures driven by high compressive stresses, either natural (on the walls of an opening) or induced on the concrete/rock surface by fires. This PhD project will focus on either: (i) rock and concrete brittle failures under thermal and polyaxial stresses, or (ii) the development of practical procedures during the site characterisation and laboratory investigation phases to assess whether spalling should be anticipated during construction or the life-time of the project. If spalling is expected, the project aims to further provide design procedures to identify the (lateral and radial) extent of the spalled zone for risk assessment purposes.

Selection criteria

To be eligible to apply, you must also meet the entry requirements for Higher Degrees by Research at UQ. Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

This scholarship is open to Australian citizens, permanent residents and International students who are currently in Australia at the time of application and commencement. 

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field/s of fracture mechanics and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of geotechnical engineering is highly desirable.


The 2021 Research Training Program (RTP) living allowance stipend rate is AUD$28,597 per annum (indexed annually), which is tax-free for three years with two possible extensions of up to 6 months each in approved circumstances (conditions apply).


For further information, please contact Dr Mehdi Serati at +61 7 3365 3911

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow this link. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will have the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Before submitting an application you should:

When you apply, please ensure that under the scholarships and collaborative study section you:

  1. Select ‘My higher degree is not collaborative’
  2. Select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'.
  3. Select ‘Other’, then ‘Research Project Scholarship’ and type in ‘ROCK-SERATI’ in the 'Name of scholarship' field.

See an example of what you have to do

Learn more about applying for a higher degree by research at UQ

Applications close: 31 December 2021 (11:00 PM) E. Australia Standard Time. This scholarship will remain open until 31 December 2021 unless it is filled sooner.

Applications close: E. Australia Standard Time

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