PhD opportunities in inference and inversion at the Australian National University

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (AU)
AU $30,000 per year (approx. US $22,000)
Jun 20, 2018
Jul 20, 2018
Career Level
Student / Graduate
Education Level
Job Type
Relocation Cost
No Relocation
Sector Type

Fully-funded PhD scholarships are available for excellent candidates to work with Prof. Malcolm Sambridge and Dr Andrew Valentine within the world-leading Seismology & Mathematical Geophysics group at the Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University. Topics of current interest include:

  • Geophysical inverse theory;
  • Applications of machine learning and data science within geophysics;
  • Bayesian inference, especially in high-dimensional or highly non-linear settings.

We are always willing to discuss potential projects in these areas with highly-qualified individuals; our geophysical interests span the full range of scales, datasets and phenomena. For further information on our current research interests see and

In particular, thanks to generous support from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), we have two opportunities for candidates who wish to develop novel inference and imaging techniques for addressing geophysical questions. You will adapt cutting-edge ideas from machine learning and statistics, and help us understand how they can be used to discover and manage Earth resources.

Benefits include:

  • An enhanced PhD stipend of AU $30,000 (approx. US $22,000/EUR €19,000/GB £17,000) per year;
  • Generous support for travel and professional development;
  • A unique opportunity to straddle the divide between blue-skies academic research and industry.

You will be based at the Australian National University in Canberra, but will interact with industry-focussed researchers at CSIRO, and their commercial partners. In particular, you will work closely with scientists at the Australian Resources Research Centre in Perth.

The Seismology & Mathematical Geophysics group at ANU has an enviable international reputation, and currently comprises eight faculty, a number of postdocs and technical staff, and around twenty graduate students. The group is well-resourced, including an in-house computational cluster (‘TerraWulf’), and privileged access to national supercomputing facilities. We run an active field programme, deploying instruments across the Australian continent: opportunities exist for graduate students to participate in this work. Further information about the life and work of the Research School of Earth Sciences can be found at

Applicants must have:

  • An excellent academic background in a numerate subject (e.g. geophysics, mathematics, statistics, physics);
  • Substantial research experience, typically via an extended undergraduate programme with a significant research component (e.g. an Honours year in the Australian system) or a masters degree;
  • Strong communication skills, including fluency in written and spoken English;
  • Good computational skills, including competence in at least one of: Python, Matlab, Fortran, C;
  • A professional attitude and willingness to engage with external partners.

We do not necessarily expect candidates to have prior experience in geophysics.

All offers will be subject to ANU’s standard graduate admissions criteria, which include minimum standards for English language proficiency and educational achievement; applicants may also be entered for School and University scholarships as appropriate. In all cases, we will attach considerable weight to obtaining strong letters of recommendation from referees who are able to assess your aptitude for research.

Please note that successful applicants who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents will need to obtain an appropriate visa before they can take up a scholarship.

To apply:
Please email attaching the following documents (preferably as a single PDF file):

  • A copy of your CV;
  • A statement of your research interests and experience;
  • A transcript of academic results from relevant coursework undertaken;
  • Names and email addresses for 3 referees.

Any queries should also be directed to Andrew Valentine, in the first instance. Applications received before 31st July 2018 are guaranteed full consideration. However, these positions will remain open until filled.