Four fully-funded PhD scholarships in metamorphic geology, geochronology and tectonics

We are seeking to fill four fully funded 3-year PhD projects in the fields of metamorphic geology, geochronology and tectonics. The individual projects include:

Project 1 - Gondwanan Orogens: Two scholarships to investigate the metamorphic, geochronological and structural evolution of the terranes and terrane interfaces within Gondwana as part of an ARC Future Fellowship project are available. This project will revisit the proposed sutures, major shear systems and terranes in southern India, Madagascar, Africa and Brazil and apply newly developed petrochronological tools including ToF-SIMS garnet mapping, reaction cell ICPMS garnet and biotite geochronology and Raman geobarometry techniques in conjunction with 4+ cation thermometry and P-T phase diagrams. This project forms part of a larger program that aims to investigate the processes that occur during the formation of a supercontinent and as such the candidates will work with and contribute to other aligned studies. The candidates will have the opportunity to spend 1-year at partner institutions in India.

Project 2 - In situ Lu-Hf and Rb-Sr geochronology: One scholarship is available for a project to develop and apply reaction cell mass spectrometry techniques (including Lu-Hf and Rb-Sr) to directly date mineralising and metamorphic events. A crucial component of this project will be the development is the characterisation of reference materials and once developed apply them to select geological problems. The student would be supported by the MinEX CRC and be jointly supervised by Curtin University, the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and a MinEX CRC sponsor. A minimum of one-year would need to be spent at both Curtin and IIT-KGP as part of our joint doctoral program. This project would suit a candidate who has an interest in the application of geochronological techniques to hydrothermal and metamorphic systems and has an interest in gaining experience in both isotope dilution and beam-based methodologies.

Project 3- Subduction processes: A fully funded 3-year PhD project on the metamorphic, geochronological and structural evolution of the ultrahigh pressure rocks from Western Norway as part of an Australian Research Council Discovery Project is available. The rocks in the Western Gneiss Complex are reported to contain diamond-bearing felsic gneisses implying that the felsic gneisses have been subducted to depths >100km. However, recent studies of the rocks of the Blåho sediments have suggested that the rocks do not record pressures of more than 12 kbar. These contradictory observations have significant implications for how we understand what goes on inside a subduction channel during continental subduction. The characterisation of the microstructural, metamorphic and geochronological evolution of this region will be undertaken in collaboration between the Curtin University, University of Adelaide and the University of California Santa Barbara. The successful candidate will have a keen interest in field geology and the application of geochronology and petrology to unravel complicated tectonic scenarios.

The projects provide a living stipend of AU$32,250 p.a. pro rata indexed, based on full-time studies, for up to a maximum of 3.5 years. International students will receive a 100% fee offset for up to 4 years. Support for fieldwork, analytical time, travel, conference attendances and publications will be fully covered by the project funding associated with each of the scholarships.

For more detailed information or to discuss individual projects please email Professor Chris Clark (

Applicant requirements (see Curtin website for project specific requirements)

  • Must have a BSc Hons (first class) or Masters (by research) in geoscience (ideally related to geochemistry / isotope geology, metamorphic petrology, structural geology or geochronology) by the time of appointment.
  • The candidate requires the ability to work both independently and with a broad range of people from diverse backgrounds, as well as evidence of strong oral and written scientific English language competencies.
  • The candidate requires a demonstrated commitment to publish results in scientific journals. Evidence of research experience, academic awards/publications/presentations at conferences is desirable.

Application details

Further information about the project and the specific application and submission requirements may be found through the Curtin Scholarships website via the following links: (Gondwana Orogens - 2 positions) (In situ Lu-Hf and Rb-Sr geochronology - 1 position) (Subduction zone processes - 1 position)

The deadline for complete applications is the 10th of July 2023. The PhD may be started as soon as practicable, but we recognise arranging visas and travel may impact this (where relevant).

Shortlisted applicants will receive an online interview invitation by 15th of July 2023. If you have not heard from us by the 31st of July, your application was unsuccessful.

Recommended applicants will be provided with further information on the PhD enrolment process at Curtin University (including upload of certified transcripts and demonstration of English language requirements).

About Curtin University and the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Curtin is a dynamic, research-intensive University consistently ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide. Curtin was recently ranked 26th in the world for Geology in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023. The disciplines of Geology and Geochemistry have both been awarded the maximum ranking of 5 in the recent federal government's "Excellence in Research for Australia" assessments. These factors, coupled with excellent analytical facilities hosted within the John de Laeter Research Centre (, ensures that candidates will be hosted within a vibrant and dynamic research environment and will receive exceptional research training.

posted: 07 June 2023     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.