Doctoral Research Scholarships Available

Five scholarships are available through the Australian Technology Network (ATN) Industry Doctoral Training Centre in Mathematics & Statistics.

Selection criteria and application information are available at the ATN website:

Projects available

Superannuation and Retirement Planning Modelling
Mathematical modelling and analysis of the Unity Park Bio-filtration System located in the City of Salisbury
Petascale simulation of reactive aqueous chemistry
Quantum Calculations Applied to Nanofabrication with Electron and Ion-beams

1. Superannuation and Retirement Planning Modelling

The UTS School of Mathematical Sciences and CSIRO Computational Informatics are seeking a PhD student to undertake research on modelling in superannuation and retirement planning and management. The successful applicant will be awarded a highly competitive $30,000 per annum scholarship plus access to the unique doctoral training program under the auspices of the Industry Doctoral Training Centre in Mathematics and Statistics (visit for more information).

The Australian superannuation industry has produced the fourth largest pool of funds under management in the world. With $1.4tn in assets under management, the size of the industry is now greater than the capitalization of the ASX, and greater than the combined deposits of all Australian banks. Total superannuation savings now exceed the size of domestic GDP, with Australia now hosting the fourth largest investment management industry globally. The size of these funds poses a number of questions that attract the interest of industry participants, policy makers and the wider community. With such a large pool of funds, the allocation of superannuation assets has the potential to drive economic development and reshape the Australian economy through contributing to the development of a corporate bond market, funding vital infrastructure, supporting innovation, and create economic growth and employment opportunities by investing in Australian business. Moreover, the world’s population is getting older leading to higher absolute numbers of elderly people, a larger share of elderly, longer healthy life expectancies, and relatively fewer numbers of working-age people. These trends have become increasingly uncertain to predict and the burden of ageing more difficult to budget.

This project aims to develop:

  • Life cycle utility simulation model to model retiree’s preferences of bequest, housing, consumption, health and age pension for different groups of people. This can be used to forecast the age pension requirements for Australia which is critical for the government budget and will allow to assess the impact of changes to the existing policies (e.g. impact of change in compulsory superannuation contributions). At the same time, the model can be used for retirement planning and management.
  • Models for the behaviour of people towards retirement and products for retirees such as annuity style products.
  • Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model at the national level to study the interaction between superannuation industry and economy, the effect of government policies, business-cycle fluctuations, economic growth and other related macroeconomic issues.

Such models are critical for the superannuation industry and policy makers, and retirement planning and management. Research outcomes will include publications and practical implementations. The impact of this work will be substantial and will position the student extremely well for the award of a PhD degree and a career in quantitative finance, either in industry or academia.

This PhD research project is a collaborative arrangement between UTS and CSIRO and will be supervised by Prof Pavel Shevchenko (CSIRO) and Prof Alex Novikov (UTS).

2. Mathematical modelling and analysis of the Unity Park Bio-filtration System located in the City of Salisbury

The University of South Australia, in conjunction with the City of Salisbury and the ATN, will provide you with an exciting new paradigm of post-graduate doctoral training in the field of mathematical sciences through its innovative and purpose established doctoral training centre.

Working closely with the City of Salisbury you will undertake your research under both academic and industrial supervision.

In addition, as a student of the centre you will receive:

  • Technical training – developing the depth of your knowledge relevant to your area of research, and the breadth and of your knowledge for application to other areas of current mathematical and statistical relevance to Australian industry.
  • Professional training in the communication and business needed for executive career progression
  • Bi-annual national opportunities for knowledge sharing and networking.

Scholarship is $30K per annum (tax free) for 4 years plus paid travel

For more information about the program of study visit:

Project Description:

The PhD research topic is part of a broader research Project an Australian Research Council Linkage Project titled “Paving the way: an experimental approach to the mathematical modelling and design of permeable pavements” to mitigate urban flooding, reduce pollution and enable harvesting, treatment and reuse of urban stormwater. The PhD student will also be closely involved in the broader aims and objectives to make significant advances in the modelling, design and implementation of multi-function permeable pavement systems.

The City of Salisbury has prepared a research plan to establish the viability and optimal operating conditions for bio-filtration as a technique to treat stormwater to be suitable for aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). Bio-filtration systems have been widely used in eastern Australia as stormwater treatment prior to reuse schemes, but not ASR schemes. In South Australia, wetlands have been used successfully for stormwater treatment for ASR. A key advantage of a bio-filtration system is they require a smaller footprint (potentially 10 times smaller) to treat similar rates of stormwater than wetlands. The City of Salisbury has built six bio-filtration cells in Unity Park for stormwater treatment prior to ASR.

This is the first time that a bio-filtration system has been constructed in South Australia for this purpose. A key aim of this project is to therefore answer the question: What is the optimal configuration of bio-filtration to treat the maximum volume of stormwater to a suitable standard for ASR? The PhD project would be to develop a model of the Unity Park System to give practical insight into filtration and address the key aim as described above.

3. Petascale simulation of reactive aqueous chemistry


Supercomputing is currently at a very significant crossroads. The inexorable drive to exascale supercomputing, where computers will be capable of performing an incredible quintillion (a billion billion) floating point operations per second (the equivalent number crunching power of 50 million laptops), almost certainly means that supercomputers will consist primarily of accelerators, rather than conventional CPUs.

iVEC, Western Australia’s supercomputing centre, has recently announced that it has ordered a ~$20 million petaflop supercomputer for delivery in 2014. The system is a state-of-the-art Cray Cascade system ( This supercomputer will employ accelerators and in anticipation of this, iVEC has procured two smaller systems, one based on GPUs and the other on Intel many core (MIC), for the iVEC community to determine if these accelerators are appropriate for their calculations.

The largest users of most supercomputing centers worldwide are computational chemists and physicists. However, the arrival of a petascale supercomputer requires a massive increase both in the sophistication of the computer codes used and the size of problem to be tackled.


Simulation of aqueous chemistry is currently the domain of quantum mechanical methods, which severely restricts the size of problem and timescale that can be probed. Reactive force field methods have the potential to extrapolate the information from accurate molecular calculations to realistic models of solutions. The aim of this project is to develop and utilize such methods to make them a powerful tool capable of unprecedented realism through the power of petascale computers.


Aqueous solutions are ubiquitous in geochemistry, biochemistry and many other fields of science. Although such systems are routinely simulated using classical force fields in order to provide valuable insights at the atomic level, the crucial ability of water to mediated reactions via proton transfer is often ignored. Processes including carbon sequestration, polymer fuel cells, and precipitation of mineral deposits all involve proton transfer and other solution reactions. The ability to routinely account for pH in simulations of aqueous solutions would transform the realism of the field and allow reliable contact to be made with experimental observations.


Development and efficient implementation of an approach to perform accurate force field simulations of aqueous solutions that include chemical reactivity.

Apply the methods developed to contemporary high impact problems in geochemistry and biochemistry.

The supervisory team for this project has outstanding records both in the development of computer simulation codes and their use in solving cutting edge research problems. Consequently there is a great deal of flexibility in this project and it can be tailored to match the skills of the successful applicant.

4. Quantum Calculations Applied to Nanofabrication with Electron and Ion-beams

We are looking for talented and highly motivated PhD students to join a progressive, university-industry research venture developing innovative nanofabrication techniques. This position will be responsible for developing the computational models required to fully understand the growth processes underpinning these techniques at the molecular level, using, for example, quantum chemical, ie Density Functional Theory and rate kinetics approaches.

The student will join an extended international team of researchers working on experimental and theoretical aspects of gas-mediated charged particle beam nanofabrication (PBN) at UTS and the US-based research headquarters of industry partner FEI Company ( The research team has a proven international track record in computational materials science and electron beam physics ( FEI is a world leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of charged particle beam technologies. The student will gain first class training in basic research that is directly applicable to the cutting edge fields of nanotechnology, materials physics and nano-scale electronics. The project will include visits to FEI research laboratories in Oregon, USA and close collaboration with research scientists at FEI Company.

The successful candidate should have a strong grounding in mathematics, physics and chemistry. Experience in computational materials science with emphasis on atomistic scale modelling would be desirable.

The successful applicant will be awarded a highly competitive $30,000 per annum scholarship for up to four years and become part of a unique doctoral training program under the auspices of the Industry Doctoral Training Centre (visit for more information).