PhD opportunities in the Victorian Coastal Monitoring Project.

These PhD places are now closed.

Along the shorelines of South-eastern Australia, there is concern that a lack of sediment supply, rising sea level and climate change will impact sediment circulation patterns, leading to the destabilization of nearshore-beach-dune systems through erosion, overwash, and backshore transgression. We aim to explore the fundamental interconnectedness that drives shoreline change in Victoria, Australia. Despite the acknowledgment of coastal sediment dynamics being critical to sustainable management knowledge of shoreline behaviour and sediment movement is limited. As a result the Victorian Government, though the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning has formed a partnership with Deakin University and The University of Melbourne to develop the Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program. The aim of this program is to develop predictive models of future shoreline behaviour through understanding sediment dynamics derived from the latest innovative technologies from multibeam and subbottom sonar mapping, citizen-science UAV/Drones and disciplines including remote sensing, marine sedimentology and habitat mapping. As part of this initiative 2 full PhD-scholarships are available.


The successful candidate should hold an honours 1 (or equivalent) Masters or Bachelor with Honours Degree. Both projects will be jointly supervised by Associate Professors David Kennedy (UoM) and Daniel Ierodiaconou (Deakin)


PhD Student #1 (UAV Science) (Based at Deakin University, Warrnambool)

Benthic flora and fauna are a critical component of the coastal system acting to stabilise sediment surfaces as well as being direct source of sediment. Quantifying the biological component of the coastal system is however difficult using remotely sensed data, such as multibeam (MBES) and LiDAR. The focus of this PhD is technical, investigating automated methodologies for extracting the biotic and abiotic components. The PhD student will also input into the development and quality assurance of the citizen-science data collection including simplification of methodological advances that enable greater data interrogation by the general public.

It will aim to:

  • Develop methodologies for automated extraction of biotic from abotic factors in remotely sensed UAV & MBES data.
  • Develop a methodology for analysis of UAV data that is accessible to the general public and scientifically robust.
  • Quality assurance and field testing of Citizen Science Data

PhD Student #2 (Marine Sediments) (based at The University of Melbourne, Melbourne)

It is broadly known that the Victorian coast, Australia is partitioned into a siliceous eastern zone and carbonaceous western zone in the intertidal zone. Less is however known of the composition of sediment offshore and whether the littoral zone is connected to an active sediment supply or is primarily relict. For example the shelf environment of western Victoria is a productive temperate region, but the connection between this carbonate factory and the shore is poorly understood. This PhD project will focus on the sedimentology of the Victorian coast.

It will aim to:

Quantify the compositional and textural characteristics of the Victorian marine zone, from beyond wave base to the coastal dunes

Identify the connection between sediment source and depositional areas.

Assess the current rates of sediment supply to the coast.

Qualifications: Knowledge of physical geography/geomorphology and/or marine geology. Experience with the temperate marine systems would be an advantage.

Project partners: Deakin University, The University of Melbourne, Department of Environment Land Water and Planning, DHI.


Value: c. AUD$30,000 per annum tax free, project support (incl. computer, travel) plus other benefits including:


Deakin A relocation allowance from $500 to $1,500 awarded to students who are moving from interstate or overseas in order to study at Deakin


For international students only: overseas health coverage for the duration of the tuition fees offset.

Melbourne (School of Geography) $3000 grant during the lifetime of your candidature



Research environment:

Deakin University: Deakin ranks in the top 3% of universities globally and is Australia’s eighth largest university. The project will be hosted by Deakin Universities Centre for Integrative Ecology (CIE, the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, and supported by a multi-disciplinary team including The Nature Conservancy, government agencies, private industry, and community groups. The goal of CIE’s research is to foster new conceptual understanding that advances fundamental science, while also making innovative contributions to applied conservation and natural resource management, particularly through protection of biodiversity and areas of high conservation value.

University of Melbourne: The University of Melbourne is a leading international university with a tradition of excellence in teaching and research. The project will be hosted in the School of Geography ( With outstanding performance in international rankings, Melbourne is at the forefront of higher education in the Asia-Pacific region and the world. The University of Melbourne is consistently ranked among the world’s top universities. with independent world rankings place us as number 1 in Australia and among the leading universities internationally – number 32 (THE) and number 39 (ARWU). In Australia, our research expenditure is second only to that of CSIRO. With over 100 research centres and institutes, we bring together expertise from across the University and connect with thought leaders around the world to tackle society’s complex problems in innovative ways. QS World University Rankings place us in the top 20 internationally in 14 subject areas.


Supervisory team: The projects are jointly supervised by academics from Deakin University (A/Prof. Daniel Ierodiaconou) and The University of Melbourne (A/Prof David Kennedy)


Closing date: 22nd April 2018


Citizenship: The positions are open to domestic and international applicants.


Selection criteria:

  • An Honours or Masters degree in Ecology, Physical Geography, Geosciences, Environmental Science or Engineering, or similarly relevant degree subjects (e.g. Remote Sensing).
  • Demonstrable strong quantitative skills, and experience with spatial and statistical analysis. Experience in marine remote sensing data manipulation is also desired.
  • Applicants with demonstrable experience in collecting field data (coastal and seabed mapping) and the capacity to undertake independent fieldwork are also desired.
  • Ability to implement research in collaboration with a range of stakeholders (government agencies, private landholders, conservation groups etc.).
  • Strong English written communication skills including the capacity to write research results into scientific papers.
  • A proven track record of academic excellence. Applicants with first-authored publications in quality journals will score highly.



To apply:

Project 1 (Deakin University).

Apply at:


Project 2 (University of Melbourne):

Email the following information Associate Professor David Kennedy

(1) A letter (2 pages max)

  • Addressing each of the selection criteria
  • A summary of your research experience
  • Your reasons for wanting to do a PhD (also a PhD in this research area, and at Deakin/ Uni of Melbourne)
  • Information on how your skills will be relevant to the project

(2) A copy of your academic transcript.

(3) An example of your written work as lead author (e.g. paper, manuscript, thesis).



Further Information

For further information regarding these PhD opportunities contact either Associate Professor Daniel Ierodiaconou or Associate Professor David Kennedy


One thought on “PhD opportunities in the Victorian Coastal Monitoring Project.

  1. Pingback: Two PhD opportunities in coastal and marine science in Victoria, Australia | Centre for Integrative Ecology

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