Opportunities For Research Positions On A Unique Industry Project

A consortium of four Australian universities, led by The University of Western Australia (UWA) and including UNSW Sydney (UNSW), the University of South Australia (UniSA) and the University of Wollongong (UoW), have been awarded a large research grant by the ARC Linkage programme. The project will investigate the risk of static liquefaction of tailings, a problem that is of great relevance to the mining industry in Australia and worldwide.

The project is co-funded by major international mining companies that include:

  • Anglo American Services (UK) Limited
  • BHP Billiton Innovation Pty Ltd
  • Freeport-McMoRan Inc
  • Newmont USA Ltd
  • Rio Tinto Services Limited
  • Teck Resources Limited

We have funding for two post-doctoral Research Associates (RAs) and three PhD students. The RA positions will be for a period of three years.

One RA will be based at UWA and the other at UNSW, although some interstate travel will almost certainly be required to assist others with aspects of the project. The RA based at UWA will take responsibility for a range of challenging geotechnical activities, including: planning and co-ordinating field testing campaigns, running geotechnical centrifuge tests, and setting up a new calibration chamber. The UNSW-based RA will focus on characterising tailings in variably saturated states using laboratory element testing, as well as carrying out cone penetration testing in the unique UNSW calibration chamber.

One PhD student will be based at UWA, one at UniSA and the third at UoW. The UWA student will focus on laboratory element testing of a range of tailings from sponsors’ sites. Tests will include triaxial, simple shear and resonant column testing. The UniSA student will also undertake element testing using the state-of-the-art equipment available at UniSA and the third student, who will be based at UoW, will focus on the application of computational methods such as the Discrete Element Method (DEM) to the analysis and interpretation of laboratory and field data generated by the other two students and by the two RAs.

There will be a strong emphasis on collaboration between the students, the RAs and the Chief Investigators, Professor Andy Fourie (UWA), Professor Adrian Russell (UNSW), Dr Mizanur Rahman (UniSA) and Dr Jayan Vinod (UoW). There will also be opportunity for interaction with our partner investigators from the sponsor companies, who include some of the world’s top geotechnical practitioners. Our partner investigators will be integral to the project, providing guidance on aspects such as site selection, testing procedures and data interpretation. This presents an excellent opportunity for the PhD students to interact with practitioners.

We are looking for ambitious and technically competent applicants for all positions. For the RA positions in particular, some industry experience would be a decided advantage. If you are interested in applying for any of these positions (RA or PhD), please contact one of the following: