Monash-CSIRO full PhD Scholarships in Computational Geochemistry and in Geometallurgy

We are seeking enthusiastic PhD candidates to support a number of projects at the interface between Earth Sciences, Computational Chemistry, Mineral Engineering, Synchrotron Geosciences.

PhD Project#1: Computational Geochemistry, the Subduction Factory, and Critical Minerals

The PhD project is part of a prestigious ARC Discovery project "Aqueous Fluids in the Deep Earth" funded by the Australian Research Council and co-funded by CSIRO. The aim of this project is to study the behavior of critical metals and the nature of fluids in deep Earth, two key factors controlling the formation of giant deposits of critical minerals. By carrying out Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulation which supported by state-of-the-art high performance computing facilities (Pawsey and NCI), this project expects to generate reliable thermodynamics properties of critical metals and to model the geochemical reactions of ore forming processes. The knowledge will help our understanding of the formation of ore bodies, and the extraction of ore minerals.

PhD Projects#2&3: Experimental geochemistry, geometallurgy, mineral engineering and mineralogy.

The PhD project is funded by the ARC Linkage project "Carbon-neutral copper: unlocking metal value through carbon sequestration", which is co-sponsored by the Australian Government and Newcrest Mining Ltd. The project aims to explore how the concepts of reaction-induced porosity and coupled dissolution-reprecipitation reactions, which have had a profound impact in geosciences, can be exploited in the context of ore processing through carbon sequestration. The project's main outcomes are to generate a new process that maintains porosity in ore, and a combination of lixiviants, for effective Cu metal recovery and Fe capture. This project will benefit the mineral industry by providing an alternative to the current paradigm in copper mineral processing that requires the destruction of the mineral hosting economic value, thereby developing sustainable mining technologies well suited for the increasingly complex ores being extracted in mature terranes such as Australia.

The research group

The PhD student will be enrolled at the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, Monash University (Melbourne) in Prof. JoŽl Brugger's group, also affiliated at CSIRO Mineral Resources (Perth) supervised by Dr. Yuan Mei. This multidisciplinary (geochemistry, geometallurgy, mineralogy, synchrotron geosciences, computational chemistry) and collaborative research group focuses on fundamental aspects of metal transport and ore forming in the Earth's Crust by using both experimental and theoretical approaches. This research group also actively collaborates with institutes in Australia (University of Adelaide, Australian Synchrotron) and overseas (France, UK, Germany, US, China). The group have access to >20 million CPU hours of HPC resources, and the location of the Australian Synchrotron next to our campus offers many opportunities for exciting experiments.

The Scholarships

The PhD stipends are fully funded for a period of three years and are open to both domestic and international students. The stipends include all course fees, plus approximately $29,500 AUD Stipend and allowance annually. The candidates will need to fulfill the requirements and application process detailed in this website. The successful candidate for the project in computational geochemistry (#1) will also receive a top-up scholarship from CSIRO, which provides extra $7,000 stipend plus up to $10,000 operational costs for research activities. The scholarships are tax free.

The candidate

The candidate should have completed or nearly complete a first-class Honours degree or a Master degree (by research) or equivalent in Chemistry, Geochemistry or any other relevant disciplines; satisfy the Monash University English language requirements (for international applicants from non-English speaking/education countries), highly ranked GPA to be competitive in scholarship application. Depending on the projects, experience and knowledge in the following fields are highly valued:

  • strong knowledge in physical chemistry, thermodynamics and kinetics.
  • Experience in molecular simulation and familiar with computational chemistry packages (e.g., CPMD, CP2K, LAMMPS).
  • Experience in computer programming (e.g., Fortran, Python, R).
  • Proficiency with Data processing software (e.g., Matlab, Igor, ...).
  • Interest to work with an industry partner focused on practical outcomes and timely delivery of research products;
  • Excellent research potential evident by publications in reputed journals or excellent Honours/Master thesis.

Application process

Interested candidates please send a cover letter outlining their research interests and motivation, together with a CV and academic transcript to Dr. Yuan Mei (; PhD project#1) or Dr. Rahul Ram (; PhD projects#2,3). Applicants must possess a Bachelor's or equivalent degree with first-class Honours, or a Master degree. Short-listed candidates will be asked for further information and will be interviewed via video conference. The positions will be open until fully filled.

About Monash University:

Monash University is an energetic and dynamic university committed to quality education, outstanding research and international engagement. A member of Australia's Group of Eight research-intensive universities and ranked among the top 100 universities world-wide, it seeks to improve the human condition and is committed to a sustainable future. The School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment is responsible for delivering a broad curriculum for undergraduate students in the Earth sciences (geology, geophysics, geography, atmosphere, environmental geosciences) and competitive research programs at international level suitable for postgraduate training in several nominated areas of strength. Research-based postgraduate study is enhanced by an active and stimulating academic environment where both national and internationally collaborative research projects are actively sought and fostered. As part of its strategic plan, and taking advantage of the Australian Synchrotron on the Clayton Campus and Monash University's investment in supporting E-infrastructure, the School of Geosciences is committed to strengthen its research profile in the in the application of synchrotron methods to geoscience research.

About CSIRO:

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posted: 11 February 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.