PhD Scholarship: Dam failure mechanisms based on internal erosion


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Engineering and Computing
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship
Scholarship value $28,092 per annum tax-free (2020 rate), indexed annually.
Scholarship duration Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances.
Opening date 16 December 2019
Closing date 13 January 2020


A critical phenomenon threatening the stability of water retaining structures is internal erosion. Internal erosion is an insidious process, taking place in the obscurity of the soil’s pore system. Starting at the particle-scale with the onset of movements of individual particles, this process can lead with time to the development of unwanted and uncontrolled preferential pathways for flowing water. Once a continuous pipe has been created within the structure or its foundation, production of soil occurs, and cavities can develop. By the time these signs of erosion are evident, the underlying processes are fully developed, and can lead to a catastrophic failure. The instabilities caused by internal erosion threaten the viability of major water storage infrastructure.

The objective of the PhD project is to investigate internal erosion processes on the large scale using dam break experiments. Geophysical methods are applied to observe structural changes within the dam during the experiments. The candidate will modify and adapt geophysical methods for the purpose of monitoring dams and implement large-scale dam experiments using these methods. The measured data will be analysed against the background of the underlying process of internal erosion. The ultimate goal is to use the measured data to predict the development of internal erosion using suitable numerical methods. The candidate will be part of a research team of further PhD students, Research Associates and cooperation partners within and outside Australia.


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

Applications are closed.

Before you get started

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them.

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow the link on the upper right of this page. 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 ‘DAM FAILUREin the 'Name of scholarship' field.

See an example of what you have to do (JPG, 67.8 KB)

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

Selection criteria

Bachelor / Master in Civil Engineering, preferably with specialisation in geotechnical engineering, or in geophysics.

Applications are closed.


Associate Professor Alexander Scheuermann
+61 7 3346 8720
Applications are closed.

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.

Applications are closed.