PhD scholarship: Catastrophic rock and concrete brittle failures


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Engineering and Computing
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship
Scholarship value $28,597 per annum (2021 rate), indexed annually
Scholarship duration 3.5 years with the possibility of 1 extension in line with UQ and RTP Scholarship Policy
Opening date 16 February 2021
Closing date 31 December 2021


Supervisor – Dr Mehdi Serati

A PhD position is available as part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery project titled “Catastrophic Rock and Concrete Brittle Failures”. The overall aim of this ARC DP project is to develop a new paradigm of monitoring, prediction and prevention of dangerous skin rock burst-type failures. A unique experimental methodology, measurements and analytical and numerical models will be employed to provide a better understanding of the fundamental processes in spalling-like fracturing in geo-like materials. We seek to develop methods of reducing the risk of dangerous rock and concrete failures from tensile fractures driven by high compressive stresses, either natural (on the walls of an opening) or induced on the concrete/rock surface by fires. This PhD project will focus on either: (i) rock and concrete brittle failures under thermal and polyaxial stresses, or (ii) the development of practical procedures during the site characterisation and laboratory investigation phases to assess whether spalling should be anticipated during construction or the life-time of the project. If spalling is expected, the project aims to further provide design procedures to identify the (lateral and radial) extent of the spalled zone for risk assessment purposes.


To be eligible, you must meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research.

This scholarship is open to Australian citizens, permanent residents and International students who are currently in Australia at the time of application and commencement.

Successful applicants will also be considered for the Graduate School Tuition Scholarship.

This scholarship will remain open until 31 December 2021 unless it is filled sooner.

Before you get started

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them.

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow this link. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will have the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Before submitting an application you should:

When you apply, please ensure that under the scholarships and collaborative study section you:

  1. Select ‘My higher degree is not collaborative’
  2. Select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'.
  3. Select ‘Other’, then ‘Research Project Scholarship’ and type in ‘ROCK-SERATI’ in the 'Name of scholarship' field.

See an example of what you have to do

Learn more about applying for a higher degree by research at UQ

Selection criteria

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field/s of fracture mechanics and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of geotechnical engineering is highly desirable.


Dr Mehdi Serati
+61 7 3365 3911

Terms and conditions

Read the policy on UQ Research Scholarships.

A domestic part-time student with carer’s responsibilities, a medical condition or a disability, which prevents them from studying full time may be eligible for scholarship consideration, on a case by case basis.