Postgraduate Research Scholarship, Sustainable Minerals Institute

Brisbane, Australia
27 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, community engagement and operational risk management.

Information about the institute may be accessed at the web site

The Research Project

The purpose of this project is to gather information on industry risk identification, assessment, and treatment requirements, and valid assessment processes for determining capability of thinking required by different risk management approaches and individuals’ levels of thinking preferences. It will then collect and compare risk management activity outcomes produced when different levels of thinking, analysis and synthesis of the processes have been employed.

The research will reference Stratified systems theory (Jaques, 1985, 1986, 1996, 2001; Macdonald, Burke, & Stewart, 2006) specifically the frameworks for understanding and articulating the complexity of work and the requisite level of thinking required to successfully execute the work. The levels of thinking are differentiated by the ability to cope with different amounts of complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity. Therefore both risk and stratified systems theory are underpinned by levels of complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity. This commonality raises the following research question: can stratified system theory based approaches and tools be used to help identify the “level of thinking” needed to effectively identify and assess risks and risk treatment options?

The candidate will be able to use a range of methodologies to characterise and analyse gender differences including literature review, interview, survey, and in-field observations. The candidate will be expected to articulate their findings in peer reviewed journal publications and to present their findings to the academic and industry practitioner communities. A key deliverable from the project will be communicating how the research results can be applied to improve the management of risk in industry.

The person

Applicants must have excellent critical thinking skills and experience with managing risk in industry contexts. Very good written and spoken communication are required, and you must be able to analyse and synthesize information from across a range of disciplines. Experience in quantitative and/or qualitative research and producing peer reviewed research publications is desired. A bachelor’s degree with honours class IIA or better, or a research masters degree in engineering, science, economics, engineering, social science, psychology or another suitable field is essential.

The University of Queensland values diversity and inclusion and offers flexible working arrangements. Applications are particularly encouraged from women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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:


To discuss this research project please contact A/Prof Maureen Hassall ( or Professor Neville Plint (

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.