PhD scholarship: Thermo-Mechanical Damage Behavior of Rock Under Polyaxial Stresses


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 Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances
Opening date 8 April 2021
Closing date 31 December 2021


Supervisor – Dr Mehdi Serati

Knowledge of rock damage behaviour is of great importance in many engineering applications including the design of open-pit mines, deep underground tunnels, repositories, and deep wells, as well as in geophysics, tectonics, and seismology disciplines. It is therefore imperative to understand how environmental parameters affect rock damage in such applications for better and safer designs. In deep underground operations, in particular, accumulation of damage is predominantly controlled by (high) temperature and pressure (HTP) that rock is exposed to. This project aims to:

  1. Evaluate the effect of temperature on the mechanical strength of rocks under true triaxial (3D) stress conditions,
  2. Investigate fracture pattern of rocks under elevated temperatures as well as far-field external loads, and
  3. Introduce a more accurate and reliable coupled 3D thermo-mechanical damage model for rocks.

We are seeking a full-time, highly motivated PhD candidate to perform high-quality research in the field of rock fracture mechanics. The successful candidate will be working under the supervision of Dr Mehdi Serati and Professor David Williams the Geotechnical Engineering Centre (GEC) within the School of Civil Engineering. The candidate will join a multidisciplinary team in partnership with industry partners.

Domestic and on-shore international applicants will be considered for this scholarship. This scholarship will remain open until 31 December 2021 unless it is filled sooner.


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.

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 ‘POLYAXIAL STRESSESin 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.