I am always keen to talk to potential Honours, Masters, and Ph.D. students who are interested in working in the fields of Applied Mathematics and Atmosphere-Ocean Science. I strongly encourage female, minority, and non-traditional students to apply: the School of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science, and UNSW Sydney offer a number of initiatives to support such students including scholarships, generous parental leave provisions and flexible work practices.

Postdoctoral Research Positions

ARC PhD scholarship: Understanding lateral ocean transport at small scales

Domestic and International PhD scholarships

Honours and Masters Research Positions

Vacation Research Scholarships and Internships

Postdoctoral Research Positions

There are no postdoctoral research positions with my group available currently.

Graduate (Doctoral) Research Positions

Australian Research Council PhD scholarship: Understanding lateral ocean transport at small scales

UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics offers a fully funded PhD scholarship and top-up scholarship in the area of ocean dynamics. The scholarship is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Proposal DP210102745 “Understanding lateral ocean transport at small scales”, a collaboration between UNSW Sydney, the University of Western Australia, the Australian National University, and the French Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer). The outcomes of this project will contribute to the future NASA-CNES Surface Water and Ocean Topography satellite mission, to be launched in 2022.

Value: $35,109/year for 3 years ($27,609 ARC stipend rate + $7,500 pa top-up).

Topic Area: This project aims to develop and test techniques for measuring fine-scale ocean currents and waves in future high-resolution satellite observations of sea-surface height. The student, who will be based at UNSW Sydney, will work under the supervision of Dr Shane Keating (UNSW Sydney) and Dr Callum Shakespeare (ANU) to rigorously decompose the flow into wave and non-wave components using an innovative Lagrangian filtering method, providing a “ground truth” for wave-current decomposition techniques. The techniques will be tested and validated in high-resolution numerical simulations of ocean dynamics in Australia’s Northwest Shelf. The outcomes of this research will help guide in situ field measurements carried out during the Surface Water and Ocean Topography satellite mission.

Eligibility: Applications are invited from domestic and international PhD candidates who are enrolling on a full-time basis. Applicants must have a Bachelor degree with first class honours, Master of Philosophy or Master of Research, or equivalent. The candidate must be eligible to enrol in an accredited Research Doctorate at UNSW. Applicants for this scholarship will not be considered if they do not meet the minimum UNSW requirements for doctoral candidature. Please first check the requirements for admission https://research.unsw.edu.au/higher-degree-research-programs.

How to apply: Eligible candidates should first contact Dr Shane Keating to discuss their interest and suitability for this project by sending an email to s.keating@unsw.edu.au.

Closing Date: Applications will be accepted until January 2023 for a start date in 2023.

Domestic/International PhD Scholarships

These projects require a student with a research B.Sc. (Hons) or research Masters degree preferably in physics, mathematics, oceanography or quantitative Marine Science. Candidates are expected to apply for a Domestic Research Scholarship (Australian residents) or International Research Scholarship (non-residents). Successful applicants will be eligible for an additional top-up scholarship of $7500 per annum for cost-of-living expenses. See here for online applications and key dates.

PhD Project: Wake interference by swimming crocodiles

Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) swimming underwater. The scutes are visible as bony ridges on the crocodile’s back.

Crocodiles, including the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) have the remarkable ability to swim underwater at high speed while barely making a ripple at the surface. It has been hypothesized that crocodiles are able to do this because the bony ridges on the crocodile’s back (called scutes or osteoderms) produce destructively interfering wake patterns at the water surface, like noise-cancelling headphones. Understanding and replicating this phenomena could have important implications for submarine and ship hull design.

In this project, we will evaluate this hypothesis using a combination of theory, numerical modelling, and laboratory experiments using 3D-printed crocodile models in a wave flume. Experience with Python programming is essential. This project will be co-supervised by Dr Geoff Vasil (U. Sydney), Dr Chris Lustri (Macquarie) and Dr Shane Keating (UNSW).

Applications close 27 January 2023 for commencement in Term 2 or Term 3 2023.

Honours and Masters Research Positions

An Honours degree combines coursework and a research project carried out under the supervision of a Faculty member. Most students undertake Honours year as part of an embedded Honours program (such as Advanced Mathematics), or as an additional year following a three-year undergraduate degree. You can also transfer to UNSW from another institution for your Honours year. Click here for admission requirements for Honours year.

A Masters by Research requires completion of an original piece of research that is more limited in scope and nature than that required for a PhD. The minimum entry requirement for admission to a Masters by Research program is a lower second honours in an appropriate four year Bachelors degree at UNSW, or an equivalent qualification from a tertiary (third-level) institution. Click here for entry requirements and online applications for a Masters by Research.

Simulating fractal curves in turbulent fluid flows

Simulated dye release in a turbulent flow. An initially circular patch of dye is stirred by the flow to form fractal-like filaments.

A patch of dye immersed in a turbulent flow tends to be stretched and deformed into strikingly convoluted, fractal-like patterns, like cream stirred into coffee. This fractal structure provides a fingerprint of the underlying flow and is intimately linked with the processes of stirring and mixing in turbulence. In this project, we will investigate the theoretical connection between the fractal geometry of material fields (like dye) and diffusion in turbulent flows. We will also investigate novel stochastic methods for generating fractal Gaussian fields with the goal of representing unresolved mixing in numerical simulations of turbulence. This project is co-supervised by Zdravko Botev (UNSW).


Tilting of mesoscale ocean eddies in the Tasman Sea

Mesoscale ocean eddies and the East Australian Current in a high-resolution model of the Tasman Sea.

Mesoscale ocean eddies are the “weather systems” of the ocean — rotating columns of fluid, hundreds of kilometers across and a kilometer or more deep that live for weeks to months and play an important role in transporting heat, salt, and other tracers throughout the ocean. Although ocean eddies are readily visible in satellite imagery of sea surface temperature or sea surface height, little is known about the vertical structure of these features due to the cost and difficulty of making measurements at sea. In particular, it is not known the degree to which ocean eddies “tilt” or lean over at an angle from the vertical. In this project, you will investigate the prevalence of tilting in mesoscale ocean eddies in the Tasman Sea using a high-resolution ocean model. Experience with Matlab or Python is a requirement for this project.

Vacation Research Scholarships and Internships

UNSW Science offers highly competitive summer research scholarships to currently enrolled undergraduate students who are considering postgraduate research in the future. This scheme enables students to gain valuable research experience. See here for eligbility and to submit your application online.

Students from outside UNSW who are interested in gaining research experience can undertake an unfunded internship. Please contact me directly for available projects for Vacation Research Scholarships and Internships.