Postgraduate Research Scholarship, Examining Social Risk and Incidents in Mining

Brisbane, Australia
21 Mar 2018
End of advertisement period
22 Jun 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Sustainable Minerals Institute

The Sustainable Minerals Institute at The University of Queensland (UQ) is a world leading research institute dedicated to finding knowledge-based solutions to the sustainability challenges of the global minerals industry. Our purpose is to develop practical solutions to the challenges of operating sustainably in the resources sector. We have a unique inter-disciplinary approach including expertise in engineering, science and the social sciences.

Our expertise, which comes from experience across the research, government and industry sectors is genuinely independent and objective. Our work covers all facets of the life of mine from geology, to minerals extraction, water management issues, minerals processing, workplace health and safety, mine rehabilitation, energy and community engagement.

The HDR Research

The Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM), part of the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) at the University of Queensland (UQ), is seeking a high-quality applicant eager to undertake a multi-disciplinary PhD on the topic of social risk and social incident investigation in the mining industry. This PhD research focus is on methods, models and practices currently applied in the global mining industry to address social risk and to investigate incidents. The aim of the research will be to identify and test measures that support a range of stakeholders to better prevent and respond to social complexity in resource development contexts, such as mining.

The Project 

This PhD will be part of a broader program of research hosted by CSRM and the SMI on social complexity in mining. The project is a multi-stakeholder research endeavour involving thought-leaders from across civil society and the global mining industry. The aim of the broader research project is to: (i) better understand how social and business risks are being approached by the industry, (ii) to identify the relationships between risk identification, risk management and controls, and the advent of social incidents and, (iii) establish models of risk identification, management and investigation that lead to improved resource governance within the resources sector, (iv) review and promote pathways for enhanced public participation in managing social complexity in relation to resource extraction.

The key focus areas of the project are: developing a deep understanding of organisational performance and the management of the social risks relating to mining, seeking to establish areas of positive performance that can be adapted to improve risk identification, management and social incident investigation practice, and testing existing or newly developed practice models as potential instruments for improving social performance outcomes in this domain. The outcomes from this research will feed into current policy and practice debates globally about corporate social responsibility, corporate social performance and business and human rights.

The person

In addition to meeting UQ requirements for admission to PhD study, applicants should have a first class or second class A Honours degree or equivalent in business, political science, law or sociology with demonstrated experience, or at least a keen interest, in sustainability knowledge and concepts in resource extraction or other industrial contexts.  Applicants must clearly demonstrate research potential, and relevant research experience will be considered very favourable as well as a willingness to undertake high quality research leading to innovative outcomes.  Experience studying or working in the resources sector is desirable but not essential.

PhD Admission and Scholarship

Applicants must note that selection by SMI for participation in this research project and admission and scholarship to UQ are two separate processes. The applicant who successfully applies to this PhD research project opportunity will then be required to apply to the UQ Graduate School for admission and scholarship. Strict deadlines apply.

SMI will assist the successful applicant with their application for admission and scholarship, but note that a successful application to SMI for this research project does not guarantee a successful application to the UQ Graduate School for admission and scholarship.

The current Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship rate set by the Australian government is AUD$27,082.00 per annum (2018 rate, indexed annually) tax-free for three years with two possible six-month extensions in approved circumstances. The successful applicant will also have the opportunity to receive a tax-free scholarship of AUD$10,000 per annum for three years. This scholarship is available to top-up an existing scholarship or as working capital to support research related activities. This scholarship does not cover tuition fee support or living allowances. 

For further information on PhD entry requirements, admission and scholarships, please visit the UQ Graduate school website on applying for a higher degree by research at

To Apply

To submit an application for this role, use the Apply button below. All applicants must supply the following documents:


For further information, email Professor Deanna Kemp at

To discuss the UQ Graduate School application for admission and scholarship processes, please contact the SMI Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Office at

Applications close

Applications for this research project close 22 June 2018.

Similar jobs