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Research Fellow RTCMA – Net Zero Transition Smart Grid Design & Optimisation

Darlington, Australia
$105,350 - $140,586 + 17% superannuation
Closing date
12 Mar 2024

Job Details

  • The opportunity to conduct world-class research in net zero transition for the mining industry
  • Join an existing team on a project in partnership with Rio Tinto
  • Full-time fixed term for 2 years. Base Salary $105,350 - $140,586 + 17% superannuation

About the opportunity

The Rio Tinto Centre for Mine Automation (RTCMA) is a long-term partnership between Rio Tinto and the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) at the University of Sydney, which was established in 2007. Since its launch, it has become a world-class research group of scientists and engineers, recognised for both fundamental research and delivering technology to industry. The Centre's research spans automation of equipment, geological interpretation and optimisation of equipment and processes. Funded by the global mining company Rio Tinto, the aim of the Centre for Mining Automation is to develop technologies to transform the mining industry through automation and optimisation of equipment and information, creating safer, more efficient, and more robust processes for a sustainable future in the mining of raw minerals.

We are currently seeking a passionate researcher with a background in power grid design, stochastic optimisation and control to join a net zero transition project, a collaboration between the Rio Tinto Centre for Mine Automation and the Centre for Future Energy Networks. The project aims to use state-of-the-art optimisation, control, mine planning, and power engineering techniques to design optimal pathways to net zero for various mining sites and processing facilities owned or operated by Rio Tinto.

The project will have a holistic view of power grid design & control and mine planning to design the optimal mix of decarbonisation technologies along with the required operational modification that leads to a seamless transition to net zero. We will consider the entire operation chain, from extracting raw material to port transportation and material processing. The design, optimisation and control will involve a variety of time scales and levels of detail. Various decarbonisation technologies and their future uncertainties will be considered in a stochastic optimisation framework to design the net zero pathway. You will work closely with the industry partner and a team of researchers and software engineers to develop novel tools that assist Rio Tinto in its net zero journey.

In addition to technical expertise, the role will require good communication and collaboration skills to work as part of a team and share your research with technical and non-technical audiences. This role will provide an exceptional opportunity to work closely with academia and Rio Tinto at the intersection of fundamental research into power grid design and optimisation and mine planning. You will be expected to build your research profile in the subject, engage in academic publication of your research, supervise honours and/or PhD students, and engage directly with the industry partner. This research-focused role does not require a teaching load, but opportunities may be available if desired.

About you

The University values courage and creativity; openness and engagement; inclusion and diversity; and respect and integrity. As such, we see the importance of recruiting talent aligned to these values and are looking for a Postdoctoral Research Associate/Fellow who has:

  • a PhD in electrical engineering, computer science, applied mathematics or a related discipline
  • demonstrated expertise in power system operation, control and energy management, stochastic optimisation, control, operations research, mine planning and simulation
  • an understanding of various decarbonisation techniques and their technical, environmental and economic specifications
  • excellent computing skills, including working with Python and Gurobi or similar. Experience in using power system analysis software PowerFactory / PSS/E / PSCAD is preferred.
  • demonstrated ability to work with a software development team to transfer your research into real-world, deployable systems
  • experience with mining applications and/or collaborating with industry partners will be highly regarded
  • a demonstrated ability to conduct independent research with limited supervision, highlighting your self-motivation and research acumen
  • a track record of publications and conference presentations relative to opportunities, signifying a commitment to advancing knowledge in your field
  • the ability to work in a team, collaborate across disciplines, and build effective relationships, emphasising your teamwork and interdisciplinary skills
  • strong interpersonal skills with a demonstrated ability to communicate and interact with a diverse range of stakeholders and students, reflecting your capacity to engage with and mentor others
  • excellent written and oral communication skills which enable you to convey complex ideas and findings effectively.

To keep our community safe, please be aware of our COVID safety precautions which form our conditions of entry for all staff, students and visitors coming to campus.

Pre-employment checks

Your employment is conditional upon the completion of all role required pre-employment or background checks in terms satisfactory to the University. Similarly, your ongoing employment is conditional upon the satisfactory maintenance of all relevant clearances and background check requirements. If you do not meet these conditions, the University may take any necessary step, including the termination of your employment.

EEO statement

At the University of Sydney, our shared values include diversity and inclusion and we strive to be a place where everyone can thrive. We are committed to creating a University community which reflects the wider community that we serve. We deliver on this commitment through our people and culture programs, as well as key strategies to increase participation and support the careers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, women, people living with a disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and those who identify as LGBTIQ. We welcome applications from candidates from all backgrounds.

How to apply

Applications (including a cover letter, CV, and any additional supporting documentation) can be submitted via the Apply button at the top of the page.

For employees of the University or contingent workers, please login into your Workday account and navigate to the Career icon on your Dashboard. Click on USYD Find Jobs and apply.

For a confidential discussion about the role, please contact Professor Verbic or Dr Mohammadreza Chambanbaz

If you require reasonable adjustment or any documents in alternate formats, please contact Rebecca Astar or Cherie Goodwin, Recruitment Operations by email to

Copyright The University of Sydney

The University reserves the right not to proceed with any appointment.

Click to view the Position Description for this role.

Applications Close

Tuesday 12 March 2024 11:59 PM


The University of Sydney was established in 1850 and is consistently recognised, both locally and internationally, for its outstanding teaching and research excellence. Sydney alumni include Prime Ministers, Governor Generals, Nobel Prize winners and leaders in every field of endeavour.

The University offers a comprehensive range of courses, including a number of disciplines unique in Australia. Teaching is spread across nine different state-of-the art campuses, located across New South Wales.

The University of Sydney’s commitment to excellence in research has resulted in an outstanding record in national competitive funding and underpins an approach to teaching which has won nominations for excellence and resulted in high student satisfaction ratings. The University has 78 research centres and institutes and is home to three ARC Centres of Excellence.

The teaching, research and cultural life of the University is supported by extensive facilities, including the largest library collection in the Southern Hemisphere, the world-class Nicholson Museum of archaeological antiquities, the Macleay Museum of natural history and ethnographic collections and the University Art Gallery. Its outstanding sporting and recreation facilities provide a training centre for students and Olympic athletes.

The University of Sydney is a key member of the Group of Eight Australian major research-intensive universities, and the Worldwide Universities Network.


The University of Sydney has nine official campuses.

1.         Camperdown/Darlington Campus.

2.         Cumberland Campus. Home to the Faculty of Health Sciences (based in Lidcombe).

3.         Mallett Street Campus. Home of the Sydney Nursing School.

4.         Sydney Conservatorium of Music Campus. In Macquarie Street, central Sydney.

5.         Rozelle Campus. Home to Sydney College of the Arts.

6.         Surry Hills Campus. Home to the Faculty of Dentistry.

7.         Camden Campus. Contains facilities connected to the Faculty of Veterinary Science and the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment.

8.         Burren Street Campus. Facilties are currently under development.

9.         Sydney Medical School campuses. These include the School of Rural Health (in Dubbo and Orange), the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Concord Hospital, Westmead Hospital, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Nepean Hospital, Northern Clinical School, Sydney Adventist Hospital, Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health, and Northern Rivers University Department of Rural Health.


The University of Sydney has 16 faculties.

1. Agriculture and Environment

2. Architecture, Design and Planning

3. Arts and Social Sciences

4. Business (Business School)

5. Dentistry

6. Education and Social Work

7. Engineering and Information Technologies

8. Health Sciences

9. Law (Sydney Law School)

10. Medicine (Sydney Medical School)

11. Nursing and Midwifery

12. Pharmacy

13. Science

14. Sydney College of the Arts

15. Sydney Conservatorium of Music

16. Veterinary Science

Number of Employees

Full-time employees: 7616

For more information, please visit:

Company info
+(61) 2 9351 2222

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