PhD Research Scholarship in Materials Engineering

Brisbane, Australia
20 Sep 2017
End of advertisement period
20 Oct 2017
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering

The University of Queensland's School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering maintains a world-class reputation and is at the cutting-edge of engineering education, research and expert consultation across the fields of mechanical, materials, mining, aerospace and mechatronic engineering.  The School’s reputation for research excellence attracts academia from around the world.  Our diverse research programs address the evolving needs of industry and society, and contribute to economic and social development.  The School’s established research strengths in hypersonics, light metals, geothermal energy and mining technology, are complemented by continued growth in areas such as solar thermal, composites, steels, surface engineering, metals manufacturing and rock mechanics.

Within the School, Prof Mingxing Zhang (  leads a research group who work on grain refinement of cast metals, metal additive manufacturing, surface engineering, alloy development, steel and wear-resistant alloys for the mining and mineral industries.  The group has five scholarships available to applicants who hold with an Honours or equivalent qualification in Materials Engineering or related discipline, to commence a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the areas of steel and wear-resistant alloys. 

The role

Three PhD projects will be conducted within the framework of the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Alloy Innovation for Mining Efficiency (mineAlloy,, which is a collaboration between Deakin University, The University of Queensland and Monash University.  The topics are: 

  • Control of carbide morphology in high chromium cast irons and high manganese steels
  • Control of carbide morphology in cast high manganese steels. 
  • Development of new generation high carbon bainitic steels for mining and mineral applications

The successful candidates will receive training in the physical metallurgy of metals, crystallography of phase transformations, grain refinement of cast metals, science of wear, and in the required laboratory measurement techniques.  The successful candidates will also have opportunities to work in an Australia industry company for 12 months as part of their PhD training process to gain exposure to both supplier (manufacturing) and end-user (mining) industries.

Another two PhD projects will be conducted within the School working an industry-funded project on quality control of large size steel plate products.  The topics of these two PhD projects are:

  • Development of new generation low carbon bainitic steels and the associated processes for structural applications
  • Grain refinement of the ingots of low carbon bainitic steels

The successful candidates will receive training in the physical metallurgy of metals, crystallography of phase transformations, grain refinement of cast metals, forming of steel, and in the required laboratory measurement techniques.  The successful candidates will have an opportunity to visit and/or work in one of the world biggest steel making companies to gain industrial working experience.

The person

Domestic candidates should have an Honours degree or equivalent in Materials Engineering (or related disciplines) and must meet the requirements of admission into the PhD program (  Applicants should also be eligible for a UQ Graduate School Scholarship (UQGSS) ( 

International candidates will be considered if they have attained a Masters degree (by course work or by research) and have published at least one journal paper.  They are expected to apply for a UQ Graduate School Scholarship (UQGSS) ( or external scholarship.  International applicants must meet the University of Queensland's English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirements ( 

For all the projects to be applied for, the student will be required to have and/or develop the following knowledge, skills and attributes: 

  • Sound knowledge of the science and engineering of metals
  • Capacity to participate in production of experimental iron and steel castings in the University’s experimental foundry, taking part in quality assurance and traceability monitoring
  • Well-developed laboratory and practical skills, including safe operation of rotating equipment, accurate measurements and data recording
  • Capacity to participate in field trials at remote mine sites, liaising with site personnel and taking detailed on-site measurements of worn multi-specimen test plates
  • Ability to operate TEM, SEM and EDS instruments
  • Demonstrable commitment to good practice in data management
  • Ability to communicate technical concepts and the logical “story” of the project in clearly written English 

Previous research and/or industry experience in fields such as foundry technology or minerals industry maintenance would be viewed favourably. 

Candidates will also need to be aware of and comply with legislation and University policy relevant to the duties undertaken, including:


The base stipend will be at the rate of AUD $26,682 per annum (2017 rate) tax-free for three years with the possibility of two six month extensions in approved circumstances.  For the candidates who have been successful in obtaining any government-funded scholarship or UQ-funded scholarship or any other external scholarship, a top-up scholarship of $6000 to $10000 per annum tax-free may be awarded.


For specific questions about the role please email Professor Mingxing Zhang,   


To submit an application for this role, please complete an application to the PhD program online here:  Please list Prof. Mingxing Zhang as the supervisor and list the PhD project you wish to complete as the Scholarship being applied for. All applicants will be required to supply the following documents:

  • A cover letter that addresses how you meet the requirements for the PhD program and addressing the desired skills and attributes;
  • A curriculum vitae detailing education, professional experience, research experience, publications, and relevant competencies;
  • Academic transcript for all post-secondary study undertaken, complete or incomplete, including the institution grading scale;
  • Award certificates for all completed post-secondary study
  • Evidence for meeting UQ’s English language proficiency requirements; and
  • The name and contact details of three referees who can best comment on your prior research experience. UQ will contact your referees directly, but you will need to enter their details into the application form.

Application closing date

Friday, 20 October 2017 (11:55pm Eastern Australia Standard Time)