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Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Paleogeography

A postgraduate research scholarship

For students interested in reconstructing Earth’s paleogeography through time.

Highlights

Value Eligibility Open date Close date
$30,000 p.a. stipend and course fees (up to 3.5 years)
  • International student
  • PhD with the School of Geosciences
  • research into paleogeography with a strong computational background
15 March 2022 28 March 2022

How to apply

Apply here.

Benefits

This scholarship will provide an annual stipend allowance of $30,000 per annum for up to three years.

This scholarship will provide academic course fees and student services and amenities fee for up to twelve research periods.

An extension for up to six months/two research periods is available, subject to satisfactory academic performance.

Who's eligible

You must:

  • be an international student
  • have a conditional or unconditional offer of admission in a full-time PhD at the Faculty of Science
  • be willing to research paleogeography with a strong computational background
  • hold an honours degree (first class or second class upper) or a master's degree with a substantial research component in geology, geophysics or earth sciences
  • have a background in geology, geophysics or earth sciences and computational skills.

Background

This scholarship has been established to provide financial assistance to a PhD student within the EarthByte Group in the School of Geosciences where the focus of the PhD research is on reconstructing Earth’s paleogeography through time.

Reconstructing the past shapes and sizes of the continents and ocean basins through geological time is important for understanding some of the most fundamental processes occurring on our planet, such as those related to global climate, seawater chemistry, the emergence and resilience of life. However, in order to reconstruct the elevations of the continents and bathymetry of the ocean basins, we must account for a variety of processes including continental stretching and seafloor spreading, mountain building, large-scale volcanism and sedimentation.

In this project, you will use a combined plate tectonics and geodynamics approach, using pyGPlates and a coupled GPlates-CitcomS workflow, to model the past elevations of our planet through deep time. You will additionally assess uncertainties through end-member comparisons between alternative paleo-elevation and tectonic models. Applicants need to have a background in geology, geophysics, marine science, or related fields. Past experience in processing and visualising geospatial data using GIS and other tools, as well as coding in Python will be helpful in completing this project. Applicants will need excellent written and oral communication skills, a high level of ethics and team-work abilities, and time management skills. This PhD program will support a funded industry project, and will involve international academic and industry collaborations

This scholarship is partially funded through a Research agreement with BHP Billiton Petroleum (Deepwater) Inc and the University of Sydney and partially by the School of Geosciences, Faculty of Science. 

1. Background

a. This Scholarship has been established to provide financial assistance to a PhD student within the EarthByte Group in the School of Geosciences where the focus of the PhD research is on reconstructing Earth’s paleogeography through time.

b. This Scholarship is partially funded through a Research agreement with BHP Billiton Petroleum (Deepwater) Inc and the University of Sydney and partially by the School of Geosciences, Faculty of Science.

2. Eligibility

a. The Scholarship is offered subject to the applicant having a conditional or unconditional offer of admission to study full-time in a PhD within the School of Geosciences, Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney.

b. Applicant must be willing to undertake research into paleogeography with a strong computational background.

c. Applicant must be an international student.

d. Applicant must hold an honours degree (First Class or Second Upper) or a Master’s Degree with a substantial research component in geology, geophysics or earth sciences, or equivalent.

e. Applicant must have a background in geology, geophysics or earth sciences and computational skills.

3. Selection Criteria

a. The successful applicant will be awarded the Scholarship on the basis of:

I. academic merit,
II. area of study and/or research proposal,
III. curriculum vitae,
IV. previous research experience.

b. The successful applicant will be awarded the Scholarship on the nomination of the relevant research supervisor(s), or their nominated delegate(s).

4. Value

a. The Scholarship will provide a stipend allowance of $30,000 for up to 3 years, subject to satisfactory academic performance.

b. The PhD recipient encouraged to complete their PhD in 3 years but may apply for an extension of the primary stipend allowance for up to 6 months.

c. Academic course fees and the Student Services Amenities fee (SSAF) are also provided for a successful international applicant, for 12 research periods, subject to satisfactory academic performance. The recipient may apply for an extension of the academic course fees for up to 2 research periods provided the stipend is also extended.

d. Periods of study already undertaken towards the degree prior to the commencement of the Scholarship will be deducted from the maximum duration of the Scholarship excluding the potential extension period.

e. The Scholarship is for commencement in the relevant research period in which it is offered and cannot be deferred or transferred to another area of research without prior approval.

f. No other amount is payable.

g. The Scholarship will be offered subject to the availability of funding.

5. Eligibility for Progression

a. Progression is subject to attending and passing the annual progress evaluation.

6. Leave Arrangements

a. The Scholarship recipient receives up to 20 working days recreation leave each year of the Scholarship and this may be accrued. However, the student will forfeit any unused leave remaining when the Scholarship is terminated or complete. Recreation leave does not attract a leave loading and the supervisor's agreement must be obtained before leave is taken.

b. The Scholarship recipient may take up to 10 working days sick leave each year of the Scholarship and this may be accrued over the tenure of the Scholarship. Students with family responsibilities, caring for sick children or relatives, or experiencing domestic violence, may convert up to five days of their annual sick leave entitlement to carer’s leave on presentation of medical certificate(s). Students taking sick leave must inform their supervisor as soon as practicable.

7. Research Overseas

a. The Scholarship recipient may not normally conduct research overseas within the first six months of award.

b. The recipient is required to follow official advice from the University and Department of Foreign Affairs and Travel in light of travel restrictions due to Covid-19.

c. The Scholarship holder may conduct up to 12 months of their research outside Australia. Approval must be sought from the student's supervisor, Head of School and the Faculty via application to the Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre (HDRAC) and will only be granted if the research is essential for completion of the degree.

d. In addition, further approval may be required as outlined in the University of Sydney’s Covid-19 Response Plan.

e. All periods of overseas research are cumulative and will be counted towards a student's candidature. Students must remain enrolled full-time at the University and receive approval to count time away.

f. If the recipient is conducting research outside of Australia, the recipient acknowledges that the University of Sydney is not liable for any costs incurred. This includes but is not limited to: cost of travel and transfers (unless stated under section 4 (Value) of this scholarship to amount listed), delays due to travel restrictions or State and/or Federal quarantine requirements on their return to Australia.

8. Suspension

a. The Scholarship recipient cannot suspend their award within their first six months of study, unless a legislative provision applies.

b. The Scholarship recipient may apply for up to 12 months suspension of the Scholarship for any reason during the tenure of the Scholarship. Periods of Scholarship suspension are cumulative and failure to resume study after suspension will result in the award being terminated. Approval must be sought from the student's supervisor, Head of School and the Faculty via application to the Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre (HDRAC). Periods of study towards the degree during suspension of the Scholarship will be deducted from the maximum tenure of the Scholarship.

9. Changes in Enrolment

a. The Scholarship recipient must notify HDRAC and their supervisor promptly of any planned changes to their enrolment including but not limited to: attendance pattern, suspension, leave of absence, withdrawal, course transfer, and candidature upgrade or downgrade. If the award holder does not provide notice of the changes identified above, the University may require repayment of any overpaid stipend.

10. Termination

a. The Scholarship will be terminated:

I. on resignation or withdrawal of the recipient from their research degree,
II. upon submission of the thesis or at the end of the award,
III. if the recipient ceases to be a full-time student and prior approval has not been obtained to hold the Scholarship on a part-time basis,
IV. upon the recipient having completed the maximum candidature for their degree as per the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011 Policy,
V. if the recipient receives an alternative primary stipend scholarship. In such circumstances this Scholarship will be terminated in favour of the alternative stipend scholarship where it is of higher value,
VI. if the recipient does not resume study at the end of a period of approved leave, or
VII. If the recipient ceases to meet the eligibility requirements specified for this Scholarship, (other than during a period in which the Scholarship has been suspended or during a period of approved leave).

b. The Scholarship may also be terminated by the University before this time if, in the opinion of the University:

I. the course of study is not being carried out with competence and diligence or in accordance with the terms of this offer,
II. the student fails to maintain satisfactory progress, or
III. the student has committed misconduct or other inappropriate conduct.

c. The Scholarship will be suspended throughout the duration of any enquiry/appeal process.

d. Once the Scholarship has been terminated, it will not be reinstated unless due to University error.

11. Misconduct

a. Where during the Scholarship a student engages in misconduct, or other inappropriate conduct (either during the Scholarship or in connection with the student’s application and eligibility for the Scholarship), which in the opinion of the University warrants recovery of funds provided, the University may require the student to repay payments made in connection with the Scholarship. Examples of such conduct include and without limitation; academic dishonesty, research misconduct within the meaning of the Research Code of Conduct (for example, plagiarism in proposing, carrying out or reporting the results of research, or failure to declare or manage a serious conflict of interests), breach of the Code of Conduct for Students and misrepresentation in the application materials or other documentation associated with the Scholarship.

b. The University may require such repayment at any time during or after the Scholarship period. In addition, by accepting this Scholarship, the student consents to all aspects of any investigation into misconduct in connection with this Scholarship being disclosed by the University to the funding body and/or any relevant professional body.

12. Intellectual Property

a. The successful recipient of this Scholarship must complete the Student Deed Poll supplied by the University of Sydney.

13. Ethics Approvals

a. If the research being undertaken requires ethics approval(s), a valid Research Ethics Committee Approval(s) must be held for the duration of the Scholarship.

b. A copy of all Ethics Approvals must be provided to the BHP Billiton Petroleum (Deepwater) Inc.

14. Acknowledgement

a. The Scholarship recipient must acknowledge the support of the BHP Billiton Petroleum (Deepwater) in any media, publications or presentations arising from the research whilst on this Scholarship.

b. The successful recipient must not issue any public communication in relation to this scholarship without prior approval of BHP Billiton Petroleum (Deepwater) Inc.

c. The successful applicant must provide BHP Billiton Petroleum (Deepwater) Inc and the University of Sydney with a copy of any proposed publications within 60 days in advance of submitting for publication. Comments and/or reasonable amendments to the publication can be made by BHP Billiton Petroleum (Deepwater) Inc and the University of Sydney to protect their Confidential Information and/or Intellectual Property provided they are given to the publishing Party in writing no later than 14 days before the publication is made.

15. Privacy and Confidentiality

a. The successful applicant is required to keep all confidential information disclosed by the BHP Billiton Petroleum (Deepwater) Inc or the University of Sydney confidential and ensure it is not disclosed to a third party without the prior written consent of the University of Sydney or BHP Billiton Petroleum (Deepwater) Inc, as appropriate, or as required by law.

b. All information or data provided to the successful recipient by BHP Billiton Petroleum (Deepwater) Inc must remain confidential unless used for the purposes of the research outlined in these terms and conditions.

16. Other requirements
a. The successful applicant must be able to meet the costs of any travel or quarantine arrangements required by the University of Sydney or any Australian State or Federal Government Agency.