CSIRO PhD Grant hosted at Flinders University - Radar applications for ground deformation and land erosion mapping in Australia


We are seeking an outstanding candidate for a PhD scholarship for a CSIRO-funded Project entitled: Radar applications for ground deformation and land erosion mapping in Australia. The PhD project aims at exploring the value-added of satellite-based Earth observation data for understanding ground level changes due to land erosion, coastal erosion, landslides, and groundwater extraction. The project focuses on deformation data produced via the Interferometric Aperture Radar technique but might take advantage of a wide range of field, airborne and spaceborne auxiliary data to validate the measurements obtained by radar imagery processing.

Production and interpretation of ground level change data is crucial to observe land erosion processes, assess stability of surficial soil layers, map soil properties, map compaction in clayey aquifers etc. In Australia, such data help protect key environmental assets such as the Great Barrier Reef or to assure the sustainability of essential water resources. It is also important for the protection of coastal settlements and large development projects (e.g., transport infrastructure, nuclear waste disposal facilities). Currently, in Australia, techniques used for ground level change monitoring mostly rely on multi-temporal LiDAR-data, which are cost-intensive to obtain over large areas and are unable to monitor ground level changes at fine temporal scales (e.g., for one specific rain event). While interferometric radar ground level change mapping (InSAR) has been used throughout the World, its uptake in Australia is still limited to this date. This project proposes to test the method over several areas where interest has been identified in past and current CSIRO projects and where ground level changes can be measured via auxiliary methods. The project will use existing data from these projects to assess the value-added and the limits of methods based on radar imagery.


The scholarship includes:

  • a stipend valued at A$ 35 000 per annum tax free
  • the scholarship will be awarded for 3 1/2 years
  • a Research Training Program Fee Offset Scholarship to cover tuition fees for Australian Citizens, Permanent Residents and NZ Citizens. For an international candidate a tuition fee waiver will be requested from Flinders University.
  • A laptop, an access to CSIRO computing facilities, and a privileged access to radar imagery products


To be eligible for the award of this scholarship a student must: -

  • meet PhD admission requirements including: have an Australian Honours degree Class 1 or 2A or equivalent qualification (at least AQF Level 8), including a research component of at least 6 months’ full-time study achieving Distinction (75%) OR including evidence of equivalent research experience, such as a substantial first-author refereed publication or track record as an investigator on a competitive grant
  • be available to commence as a full-time PhD student at Flinders University in March 2023 (flexible)
  • Australian and International students can apply

ADMISSION to Higher Degree by Research

Those who apply for the scholarship opportunity that have not already applied for admission to a relevant Higher Degree by Research must also apply. Instructions on how to apply for admission can be found here: https://www.flinders.edu.au/study/apply/apply-research-degree/how-to-apply

By lodging this separate application, applicants acknowledge:

  • The ‘Supervisor confirmation’ must refer to the application for this scholarship
  • The application for PhD admission will only be assessed where:
  • The applicant is successful in being awarded the scholarship

Selection Criteria

Selection will be undertaken by the Project Lead.

Application Information

Prior to submitting an application for the scholarship, prospective applicants are advised to contact the Project lead, Prof. Okke Batelaan via email (okke.batelaan@flinders.edu.au) to discuss your interest and eligibility in the opportunity. Applicants are invited to send to the Project lead a copy of their CV together with a cover letter outlining your relevant qualifications, experience, research experience and reasons for applying for the scholarship latest by March 15th 2024.

Applications will be evaluated as they come in, interviews and selection will start latest the week commencing 18th March 2024, but possibly earlier.

The successful candidate will ideally begin as soon as possible after selection, subject to negotiation and possible visa requirements.

posted: 09 February 2024     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.