Postgraduate Research Scholarship, Sustainable Minerals Institute

Brisbane, Australia
14 May 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.

Informaiton about the institute may be accessed at the web site

The Research Project

These PhDs will be closely embedded within large industry-funded research projects investigating technologies to eco-engineer bauxite residues (or red mud) into soil or technosols, which forms at least partially soil systems to support the establishment and growth tolerant pioneer plant species. In particular, the large project is the first field-based research to develop technologies and methodologies for rehabilitating seawater neutralized bauxite residues (or red mud).

The PhD research aims to investigate detailed mechanisms and processes in eco-engineered red mud, including: (1) mineralogical transformation and organo-mineral interactions catalyzed by biological factors (including bacteria, fungi and roots) under alkaline conditions; (2) mineral dissolution and porewater geochemistry – from ion exchange to mass-flow movement; (3) relationship between microbial community evolution and physico-geochemical dynamics; (4) microbial driven mechanisms in nitrogen mineralization and cycling in red mud and sodic soil; and (5) rhizosphere processes of tolerant pioneer plant species in alkaline and saline  soils and red mud. Other specific topics may be developed based on project objectives and candidates’ background.

The person

Applicants should have a first class or second class A Honours degree or equivalent, in environmental chemistry, soil science, mineralogy, geochemistry, soil-plant relations, plant physiology, or combined knowledge and background, depending on the research topic chosen. International applicants must satisfy English language proficiency requirements as set by UQ admission requirements.

Applicants are expected to demonstrate experience, or at least a keen interest, in knowledge and concepts in environmental contamination, remediation and/or mined land rehabilitation/restoration.  Applicants must clearly demonstrate research potential, and relevant research experience will be considered very favorable as well as a willingness to undertake high quality research leading to innovative outcomes.

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 Associate Professor Longbin Huang 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.

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