Opportunities: Research Projects

The University of Melbourne and the Australia China Centre on River Basin Management will support these PhD student projects.

Established in 1853, the University of Melbourne makes distinctive contributions to society in research, learning and teaching and engagement. It is consistently ranked among the leading universities in the world, with international rankings of world universities placing it as number 1 in Australia and number 37 in the world (Times Higher Education 2014–2015).

The centre, one of six Joint Research Centres co-funded by both the Australian and Chinese Government, aims to develop collabrative research for sustainable river basin management in China and Australia to increase water productivity while protecting water ecosystems.

PhD Projects

Water Resources Engineering: Tsinghua University and University of Melbourne

A Memorandum of Understanding for Jointly Awarded PhD Degree between the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at The University of Melbourne and the Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Tsinghua University has been signed.

Download Memorandum of Understanding for Jointly Awarded PhD Degree 198kb pdf

Download Requirements for Jointly Awarded PhD Degree in Water Resources Engineering from Tsinghua University and the University of Melbourne 435kb pdf

Robust water recycle for potable use

Background

The use of recycled water for aquifer recharge and subsequently, indirect potable recycle is a key issue to ensure sustainable urban water supply in many large cities worldwide. Making sure that the recharged water is both safe to drink and does not contaminate the aquifer for future generations is also a key concern. Indeed, it is reasonable to assume that if the water was not adequate for direct potable recycle, it should not be recycled to an aquifer used for drinking supply. Many recycle schemes concentrate on pathogen reduction in the recycled water and whilst this is important, there are a range of chemicals of concern that need to be considered as well. Development of critical control philosophies that ensure that molecules with potential short and long term health effects are always removed to safe levels is an important, even for highly contaminated supplies and as a result of one off events. The PhD program will look at the ability of different treatment processes to achieve robust outcomes across a range of input scenarios.

Research aims

  • To determine the removal efficiency of a range of water treatment barriers to key contaminants in water supplied from secondary treated waste water effluent.
  • To determine the operational robustness of different treatment barriers to large changes in supply conditions.
  • To recommend the optimum treatment process for water supplies form a large range of inputs.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with chemistry/chemical engineering background is preferred.

Supervisor: Professor Peter Scales

Peter Scales is a Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, the Deputy Dean of the School of Engineering and the leader of water research at the University of Melbourne. He is also the Director of the Joint Australia-China Research Centre on River Basin Management. He has seven years of industrial experience in particle and fluid processing as well as over twenty years of experience in academia.

His research interests are in the area of fluid and slurry flow, particle flocculation and dispersion, and molecular and particle separations technologies including thickening, sedimentation and membrane filtration.

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This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Balancing the needs of agriculture and the environment

Background

Flow is highly variable seasonally and from year-to-year and water tends to be scarce when most needed. Storage reservoirs can smooth out the water availability and enable reliable irrigated agriculture and urban water supplies, but at significant environmental costs. A first step towards understanding the relative benefits and impacts in China would be to undertake an assessment of the degree of hyrdologic change in major river basins together with the resulting production benefits.

Research aims

Develop an assessment of the hydrologic impacts of water resource development in China and of the agricultural production.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with sound hydrology/ecology/environment science/natural geography background is preferred.

Supervisor: Professor Andrew Western

Andrew Western is a Professor and the Deputy Head of the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

He has more than fifteen years of experience in catchment and waterway research, teaching and consulting. He is experienced in the fields of hydrology, water resources, hydraulics and related disciplines.

Prof Western has expertise in field monitoring, physically-based and conceptual catchment and river modelling, catchment analysis and remote sensing and has concentrated on integrating these areas to support catchment system understanding and management.

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This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Understanding and predicting basin scale water quality

Background

Rural regions of the country tend to generate diffuse sources of nutrients rather than point sources. Nutrients can be considered as pollutants where their addition to otherwise clean watercourses leads to the growth of nuisance species such as algae and hence to eutrophication. Diffuse sources are typically associated with rural land uses, in particular livestock farming where the sources can be both animal waste and anthropogenic (e.g. fertilizer applications). The consequences downstream of both diffuse and point sources are similar, e.g. algal blooms and eutrophication in lakes and estuaries receiving runoff from these areas, but diffuse sources are inherently more difficult to monitor and quantify, and therefore mitigate. It is also difficult to relate the cost of pollution to the source of the pollution as multiple agricultural activities usually contribute to the overall contamination.

There are a range of models being used frequently today to make predictions of impacts of catchment management on water quality and at present these models have very crude representations of water quality processes due in part to a lack of proper catchment system understanding to underpin the models. There are also significant water quality data bases that could be examined to better understand the controls on basin scale water quality.

Research aims

Develop an analytic and predictive framework informed by an integrated, multidisciplinary understanding that links soil science, aquatic science and hydrological science to extract knowledge from spatial and temporal water quality data.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with strong statistical skills and sound hydrology/ecology/environment science/natural geography background is preferred.

Supervisor: Professor Andrew Western

Andrew Western is a Professor and the Deputy Head of the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

He has more than fifteen years of experience in catchment and waterway research, teaching and consulting. He is experienced in the fields of hydrology, water resources, hydraulics and related disciplines.

Prof Western has expertise in field monitoring, physically-based and conceptual catchment and river modelling, catchment analysis and remote sensing and has concentrated on integrating these areas to support catchment system understanding and management.

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Note

This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Development of groundwater analytics tools: temporal modelling and spatial mapping

Background

Understanding the contribution of groundwater to river flow is critical for the sustainable management of water resources and environmental flows. There is an opportunity to jointly use surface and groundwater data to provide water managers with a new and innovative set of validated techniques that will supersede current ad hoc baseflow analysis techniques is of great significance.

Research aims

This study will use innovative time-series analysis techniques of existing streamflow and groundwater head data to determine the contribution of groundwater to baseflow and the new techniques will be evaluated using hydrochemical field sampling.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with strong mathematical skills and sound hydrology/ecology/environment science/natural geography background is preferred.

Supervisor: Professor Andrew Western

Andrew Western is a Professor and the Deputy Head of the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

He has more than fifteen years of experience in catchment and waterway research, teaching and consulting. He is experienced in the fields of hydrology, water resources, hydraulics and related disciplines.

Prof Western has expertise in field monitoring, physically-based and conceptual catchment and river modelling, catchment analysis and remote sensing and has concentrated on integrating these areas to support catchment system understanding and management.

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Note

This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Water pollution identification

Background

Water needs to be of an adequate quality to support healthy aquatic ecosystems and for potable, industrial and agricultural uses. Pollution needs to be managed to ensure that waters are suitable for these uses. Need to understand what the priority contaminants impacting beneficial uses are. Need to determine what the major sources of these pollutants entering the environment are. This will help to focus management on the most important pollution issues.

Research aims

  • Develop techniques to determine what the priority pollutants in the environment (ecology, ecotoxicology & environmental chemistry combined with a weight of evidence approach) are.
  • Increase information on aquatic ecosystems and biological test species.
  • Increase information on the amount and type of pollution in rivers.
  • Demonstrate our approach in a catchment that has various land use activities.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with sound science/chemistry/biology background is preferred.

Supervisor: Dr Vincent Pettigrove

Dr Pettigrove is the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification and Management. Dr Pettigrove is a Principle Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne and Principal Ecologist at Melbourne Water and has 30 years experience in the Victorian water industry and aquatic research. Vincent also heads the CAPIM Freshwater Research group.

He has designed and conducted a broad range of research and monitoring programs that help catchment management agencies understand what are the priority issues impacting the health of aquatic ecosystems.

Research areas include freshwater sediment toxicity, exotic fish management, pesticide pollution, endocrine disrupting chemicals, macroinvertebrates.

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This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Understanding the evolution of river governance mechanisms in the Murray Darling Basin and the Yellow River Basin

Background

Both the Murray-Darling river basin and the Yellow River Basin are now facing the similar challenges in water scarcity and water resources management. Both river basins have not only the high economic value but also high ecological values. There are different levels of governments are involved in the management in these two river basins.

There have been some studies on the governance mechanism assessment in river basins. The existing assessments failed to provide quantitative information to water managers on the improvement of their decision in the future. Furthermore, current assessment system cannot be used to make comparison of governance performance cross river basins. Furthermore, the interaction between the river basin governance and its ecological driving force is needed to be better understood in order to improve the governance for the river basins in different ecological status in future.

Research aims

  • Development of a quantitative indicator assessment system for the comparison of river governance performance cross river basins.
  • Establishing the link between the river basin governance and its ecological driving force.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with sound environment science/natural geography/natural resource management/hydrology background is preferred.

Supervisor: Dr Yonping Wei

Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Infrastructure Engineering; Coordinator, Australia-China Centre on River Basin Management. Dr Wei is fully funded by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science & Research, Australia to develop collaboration between Australia and China on water resources research.

With the qualifications of Bachelor of Engineering (Irrigation and water resources engineering), Master of Environmental and Natural Resources Economics and PhD in Natural Resources Management, Dr Wei has been leading cross-disciplinary research on socio-hydrology, systemic and adaptive water governance and co-evolution of social-ecological system at water catchment.

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This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Cultural and ecological triggers for water management policies

Background

Water resource scarcity is increasingly becoming a worldwide problem, especially in China. Water management issues are already deemed to be a prime cause of global water issues. An analytical assessment of ongoing policies and their ability is needed to meet these present and future water management challenges.

Looking back at the history of water management, human uses have significantly altered river floodplain systems. However, we are still unsuccessful in search for the effective governance that will unite nature and societies. Most researchers focus on the ecological triggers of river management policies. Almost all the existing research ignored the culture’s effect on managers’ decision making. As a result, integration of the social and ecological analysis is very limited.

Research aims

This proposed research aims to identify the critical dynamic interactions between ecological and social systems and provide water managers and policy-makers with new methods and tools to support improved sustainability through better river management policy.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with sound environment science/natural geography/natural resource management/hydrology background is preferred.

Supervisor: Dr Yonping Wei

Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Infrastructure Engineering; Coordinator, Australia-China Centre on River Basin Management. Dr Wei is fully funded by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science & Research, Australia to develop collaboration between Australia and China on water resources research.

With the qualifications of Bachelor of Engineering (Irrigation and water resources engineering), Master of Environmental and Natural Resources Economics and PhD in Natural Resources Management, Dr Wei has been leading cross-disciplinary research on socio-hydrology, systemic and adaptive water governance and co-evolution of social-ecological system at water catchment.

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This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Understanding the co-evolution of human-water relationship for sustainable catchment management

Background

The necessity to integrate the social component into hydrology and water resources management at water catchments has been recognised. Vogel (2011) recently suggested hydromorphology as a new subfield of hydrology to deal with the ‘structure, evolution and dynamic morphology of hydrologic systems over time’. Similarly, Sivapalan et al. (2012) suggested a new discipline of socio-hydrology to more fully understand and predict the dynamics of the coupled human-water system and assess likely impacts of future water resources management decisions. Central to both these suggestions is an improved understanding of how social drivers and social responses over time interact and feedback with the biophysical component of the co-evolved social-hydrologic system. Unfortunately, while hydrologic models exist to represent the role of vegetation (ecology) on catchment hydrological processes; study of the relationship between hydrology, ecology (landscape change) and societal values change at catchment scale over the long-term is missing.

Research aims

  • Increase our understanding of the social components (societal value change) of the coupled human-water system for improved water catchment management.
  • Provide insight into the likely impact on mean annual runoff at catchments of future changes in societal values.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with environment science/natural resource management/hydrology background is preferred.

Supervisor: Dr Yonping Wei

Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Infrastructure Engineering; Coordinator, Australia-China Centre on River Basin Management. Dr Wei is fully funded by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science & Research, Australia to develop collaboration between Australia and China on water resources research.

With the qualifications of Bachelor of Engineering (Irrigation and water resources engineering), Master of Environmental and Natural Resources Economics and PhD in Natural Resources Management, Dr Wei has been leading cross-disciplinary research on socio-hydrology, systemic and adaptive water governance and co-evolution of social-ecological system at water catchment.

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Note

This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Modelling and control of open water systems

Background

Traditionally, operational efficiency of irrigation channels was low (less 70%). This was mainly due to old infrastructure, manual operation and a tendency to oversupply water. By upgrading the infrastructure and employing automatic control and monitoring systems, these losses have been greatly reduced. Similar issues arise in the operation of rivers. Rivers are manually operated, often using old infrastructure. The operational objectives are different from irrigation channels, e.g. environmental objectives can be important.

There is a desire to move to more flexible operations where a larger amount of the available water can be efficiently commanded for targeted use (e.g. flooding a wetland for environmental benefit or reducing ordering times for irrigators.)

Research aims

  • Modelling and control of open water channels with changing dynamics due to e.g. sedimentation, weed growth, strong and varying wind forces.
  • Gaining more experience with river operation and control of rivers. Various higher level issues in control of irrigation channels such as setpoint selection, scheduling of water demand etc.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with sound science/engineering/mathematics background and good programming skills is preferred.

Supervisor: Assoc Prof Erik Weyer

Erik Weyer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

His research interests are in the areas of system identification, estimation and control with particular emphasis on water resource systems.

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This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Control of on-farm irrigation

Background

Water resources management presents an important research topic, because our planet is facing a serious water crisis. About 70% of all fresh water usage goes towards agriculture. Moreover, low water application efficiency is well reported in the literature. Improving irrigation efficiency can make a substantial contribution to a more sustainable utilization of the world’s fresh water resources. It is argued that ICT can assist to realize the goal of improving water efficiency or produce quality in agriculture whilst maintaining productivity and quality of service. Hence, ICT in water resources management especially in the area of on-farm irrigation and open water channel or river; which attracts increased attention, is an important and challenging area of research. Previous results show that automation led to a substantial improvement in water saving and productivity compared to the existing manual operation in dairy pasture system and apple orchard. Thus, it is suggested that the application of real-time automation would dramatically improve economic water use while reducing water losses from the system leading to better environmental outcomes.

Research aims

The aim of this project is to further investigate and develop a smarter, fully automated on-farm irrigation, based on real-time measurement and control.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with sound science/engineering/mathematics background and good programming skills is preferred.

Supervisor: Dr Su Ki Ooi

Dr Su Ki Ooi is currently a Senior Researcher in National ICT Australia (NICTA), Victoria Research Laboratory. Dr Ooi worked as a Research Fellow in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, The University of Melbourne from 2004 to 2011 before he join NICTA.

Dr Ooi obtained his BEng in 1999 and Ph.D. in 2004, both from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, The University of Melbourne.

His current research interests are system modelling and control (irrigation, control, system identification, water management) and water resources management.

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This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Modelling of soil-water-plant dynamics

Background

Irrigation management is a complex matter in most modern agricultural enterprises. The current practice of manual management is labour intensive and expensive. To implement automation, considerable investment is required. So typically, simulation studies are envisaged to predict the potential changes in behaviour, with the aim of deducing or predicting what the (economic) impact can be. This requires that a good simulation model is available for the system under consideration. This is not a simple task in general as such simulations require information from very different realms of expertise, which are not easily integrated.

Research aims

  • Carry out experiment for a range of crops to obtain detailed measurements over a significant period of time for modelling purposes.
  • Carry out analysis on the measurements to understand the behaviour/dynamics between soil-water-plant.
  • Develop models that capture the true dynamics of soil-water-plant to a sufficient degree useful for simulation purposes.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with sound science/engineering/mathematics background and good programming skills is preferred.

Supervisor: Dr Su Ki Ooi

Dr Su Ki Ooi is currently a Senior Researcher in National ICT Australia (NICTA), Victoria Research Laboratory. Dr Ooi worked as a Research Fellow in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, The University of Melbourne from 2004 to 2011 before he join NICTA.

Dr Ooi obtained his BEng in 1999 and Ph.D. in 2004, both from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, The University of Melbourne.

His current research interests are system modelling and control (irrigation, control, system identification, water management) and water resources management.

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This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Basin-scale evapotranspiration and agricultural water productivity using remote sensing of ET and land cover classification

Background

During the past decade, there have been remarkable advances in remote-sensing spatially distributed evapotranspiration (ET) over large regions Currently available algorithms, however, have very limited capability for some agricultural landscapes that are common in Asian countries. This limits utility of the remote sensing technique for application.

Research aims

This project aims to develop an algorithm that can correctly estimate evapotranspiration from agricultural fields unique in Asia such as the flooded rice paddy and to apply the algorithm to monitor spatially distributed agricultural water productivity.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with experience in remote sensing, hydrology, physical geography, or environment engineering background is preferred.

Supervisor: Dr Dongryeol Ryu

Dr Dongryeol Ryu is the Academic Program Coordinator of the Master of Engineering (Environmental) program. Dr Ryu is a Senior Lecturer and the Coordinator of Research Higher Degree (RHD) program of Environmental Hydrology and Water Resources (EHWR) Group in the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at The University of Melbourne. He also leads the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Group (HRSG) in with a special interest in surface water hydrology and microwave remote sensing.

Dr Ryu is currently working on developing microwave soil moisture retrieval algorithms and on investigating an innovative method of flood forecasting and drought monitoring by using various satellite observations.

Research Interests
  • Environmental Remote Sensing
  • Flood Forecasting and Monitoring Flood Inundation
  • Hydrological Sciences

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This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Integration of remote sensing observations into hydrological modelling and its application to flood forecasting, drought monitoring, continental scale water resources assessment

Background

Continental scale hydrological modelling plays a critical role in understanding terrestrial water cycles and water resources assessment. Majority of continents, however, lacks ground-monitoring stations that are crucial to properly calibrate and force the models.

Research aims

This project will develop a method to optimally integrate remotely sensed hydrometeorological products into hydrological modelling thus to make the modelling system predict land surface processes without relying on ground-based observations.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with experience in remote sensing, hydrology, physical geography, or environment engineering background is preferred.

Supervisor: Dr Dongryeol Ryu

Dr Dongryeol Ryu is the Academic Program Coordinator of the Master of Engineering (Environmental) program. Dr Ryu is a Senior Lecturer and the Coordinator of Research Higher Degree (RHD) program of Environmental Hydrology and Water Resources (EHWR) Group in the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at The University of Melbourne. He also leads the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Group (HRSG) in with a special interest in surface water hydrology and microwave remote sensing.

Dr Ryu is currently working on developing microwave soil moisture retrieval algorithms and on investigating an innovative method of flood forecasting and drought monitoring by using various satellite observations.

Research Interests
  • Environmental Remote Sensing
  • Flood Forecasting and Monitoring Flood Inundation
  • Hydrological Sciences

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Note

This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Real-time drought monitoring system using microwave satellite observations

Background

The changing global climate is expected to cause more frequent extreme events such as floods and droughts. Timely monitoring and prediction of drought is thus very important for public safety and natural resources management. A growing number of microwave satellites nowadays can provide a global coverage of surface soil moisture content, which is a very important input for drought monitoring.

Research aims

This project aims to develop a real-time drought monitoring system by optimally merging multiple microwave satellite instruments and continental scale land surface modelling.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with experience in remote sensing, hydrology, physical geography, or environment engineering background is preferred.

Supervisor: Dr Dongryeol Ryu

Dr Dongryeol Ryu is the Academic Program Coordinator of the Master of Engineering (Environmental) program. Dr Ryu is a Senior Lecturer and the Coordinator of Research Higher Degree (RHD) program of Environmental Hydrology and Water Resources (EHWR) Group in the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at The University of Melbourne. He also leads the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Group (HRSG) in with a special interest in surface water hydrology and microwave remote sensing.

Dr Ryu is currently working on developing microwave soil moisture retrieval algorithms and on investigating an innovative method of flood forecasting and drought monitoring by using various satellite observations.

Research Interests
  • Environmental Remote Sensing
  • Flood Forecasting and Monitoring Flood Inundation
  • Hydrological Sciences

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Note

This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Understanding groundwater processes for the determination of optimal locations for extractions and injections

Background

Groundwater now contributes a significant proportion of fresh water supply used in agriculture and industry. Sustainable exploitation of this resource requires knowledge of stochastic hydrogeology in order to describe and analyse groundwater processes. This involves solving the governing stochastic differential equation describing these processes and estimating the distribution of the governing parameters (e.g. hydraulic conductivity, specific storage) as well as state variables (e.g., groundwater levels, chemical concentrations). Furthermore, it involves understanding the recharge process and the interaction between groundwater and surface water. There are risks resulting from heterogeneity and lack of knowledge about the geological structure within which groundwater is contained.

Research aims

  • Develop spatio-temporal algorithms for estimation, tracking and prediction in a high dimensional environment.
  • Apply stochastic hydrogeology to study the physical processes in heterogeneous aquifers and to quantify the inherent uncertainty resulting from heterogeneity in the groundwater processes.
  • Develop the ability to determine optimal locations for extractions, injections, and sensing and to analyse and quantify the effect of mining activities on groundwater.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with sound science/engineering/mathematics background and good programming skills is preferred.

Supervisor: Dr Nickens Okello

Dr Nickens Okello is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Melbourne. He is employed as a Senior Researcher with the Victorian Research Laboratory, National ICT Australia (NICTA).

Dr Okello received the M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering, from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, in 1988, and The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, in 1994, respectively.

His research interests include statistical signal processing, data and information fusion, sensor networks, track registration and sensor alignment, Bayesian networks, modelling and control of large scale systems, spatio-temporal signal processing, and stochastic hydrogeology.

Dr Okello holds one patent and is a member of IEEE.

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This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Water pollution identification

Backgrounds

Water resources need to be ‘fit for purpose’ to support healthy communities, industry, agriculture and aquatic ecosystems. Pollution sources need to be identified and managed so that there are no contaminants impacting beneficial uses. This will help to focus management on the most important pollution issues.

Research aim

  • Develop techniques to determine the concentrations of priority pollutants in the environment (environmental chemistry).
  • Increase information on the amount and type of pollution in wastewaters and rivers (environmental chemistry).
  • Increase information on chemical impacts on biological test species (ecotoxicology).
  • Demonstrate pollution abatement approaches for industrial and municipal wastewaters (constructed wetlands research).

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with sound chemistry background is preferred.

Supervisor: Dr Graeme Allinson

Dr Allinson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification and Management. Dr Allinson has 25 years experience working with (and in) industry and government on water resources research and aquatic ecotoxicology. Graeme also heads CAPIM emerging Micropollutants Research group.

He has designed and conducted a broad range of research and monitoring programs that have helped manufacturing industries, water utilities and agriculture understand what their priority pollution issues are.

Research areas include use of rapid screening and passive sampling methods for monitoring organic micropollutants, including industrial chemicals, pesticides and endocrine disrupting chemicals; and constructed wetlands for pollution control.

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This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

Mechanism design for open water systems

Background

Automatic monitoring and control systems have been successfully used to improve efficiency of irrigation channels and prevent losses. The problem has multiple dimensions such as environmental objectives and incentives of stakeholders, which can be formulated using (multi-objective) optimisation, mechanism design, and game theoretic methods. Management and control of water demand to the benefit of all participants who have varying and often conflicting preferences is especially of interest. A mechanism design approach can be potentially very useful in addressing these fundamental issues. The design of such mechanisms involves careful consideration of the underlying system constraints and communication/control infrastructure.

Research aims

  • Modelling and analytically formulating the problems related to control and optimisation of open water channels.
  • Developing incentive-compatible mechanisms for sharing limited water resources by stakeholders with varying preferences.

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with sound science/engineering/mathematics background and good programming skills is preferred.

Supervisor: Dr Tansu Alpcan

Dr Tansu Alpcan is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Melbourne. His research interests include resource allocation, game theory, mechanism design, optimisation and control of networked systems.

Email:

Note

This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at the University of Melbourne.

CSIRO: Effective use of weather and climate forecasts for flood and river flow forecasting

Background

Accurate forecasts of river flows and flood levels over both short-term (hours) and longer term (seasonal) is critical to effective management of floods, droughts and water variability in general. Development of forecasting systems requires integration of weather and climate sciences with hydrology, and integration of mathematical and computer modeling with observations.

Current numerical weather prediction (NWP) models and coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (GCMs) produce short-term weather forecasts and seasonal climate forecasts that require post-processing to correct bias and quantify uncertainty before they can be used as inputs to hydrological models for river flow forecasts.

Research aims

Develop and evaluate effective Bayesian methods for post-processing ensemble weather and climate forecasts from NWP models and GCMs

Selection criteria

An outstanding candidate with strong mathematical, statistical and computing skills.

Supervisor: Dr QJ Wang

Dr QJ Wang graduated in 1984 from Tsinghua University with a ‘Graduate of Excellence’ award. He completed his MSc and PhD studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Dr Wang was an academic at the National University of Ireland and the University of Melbourne for over seven years. He was appointed in 1999 to the position of Principal Scientist at the Victorian Department of Primary Industries to lead irrigation science. He joined CSIRO as an Office of the Chief Executive Science Leader and Senior Principal Research Scientist in 2007.


Dr Wang’s current research interests include flood and short-term river flow forecasting, flood inundation forecasting, and seasonal climate and streamflow forecasting. He develops methods for achieving the most accurate forecasts possible, and for reliably quantifying the remaining forecast uncertainty. Research by Dr Wang and his team has been successfully adopted by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in establishing new national services on seasonal streamflow forecasting and on short-term river flow forecasting and in improving flood forecasting.

E: qj.wang@csiro.au

CSIRO and the Australia China Joint Research Centre on River Basin Management

Australia is founding its future on science and innovation. Its national science agency, CSIRO is a powerhouse of ideas, technologies and skills for building prosperity, growth, health and sustainability. It serves governments, industries, business and communities across the nation. Find out more: www.csiro.au.

The CSIRO and the Australia China Centre on River Basin Management will support this PhD student project.

Note

This PhD student project applies to the Chinese students funded by Chinese Scholarship Office who will be enrolled in the University of Melbourne or enrolled in Chinese institutions and joint-supervised at CSIRO.