PhD Scholarship & CSIRO Top-up in Computational Materials Chemistry/Physics

This is a joint project between RMIT and CSIRO that includes a stipend plus a top-up scholarship of $10,000 per annum. The successful candidate will use a computational approach to develop 2D materials for sensing of pollutant molecules.

Reactive small molecules such as phosphine are commonly used industrially as fumigants to eliminate pests and microorganisms from bulk commodities and cash crops alike. Many of these fumigants are highly toxic and can only be reliably tested at >1ppm levels. To overcome this limitation, new sensing materials such as 2D materials and their heterostructures will be investigated to enable ppb level sensing, to improve worker/operator safety.

This project will focus on using density functional theory calculations and ab initio molecular dynamics simulations. The project is a collaboration with Dr Michael Breedon at CSIRO and will involve working on the RMIT city campus and the CSIRO Clayton site.

$33,826 + $10,000 per annum

Applications are now open

30 June 2024

One scholarship available. 

Eligible candidates must meet the requirements for an RTP place at RMIT.

Students receiving a CSIRO Postgraduate Top-Up Scholarship which is funded by an R+ grant must:

  • be enrolled at an Australian university; hold an appropriate visa to study in Australia (if international); 
  • be no further than one year (FTE) into a PhD candidature on commencing at CSIRO; 
  • hold a primary scholarship; for example, a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or other primary scholarship of similar value; 
  • not be in receipt of any other Top-Up scholarship; 
  • be available to commence with CSIRO prior to 30 June 2024.

Interested candidates who meet the eligibility criteria should contact the primary supervisor, Professor Michelle Spencer ( to express their interest and apply through the RMIT application process.

Candidates with prior experience in DFT and AIMD simulations is required.

The candidate is expected to work across RMIT and CSIRO (Clayton).

Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria and can enroll by Dec 2023 will be prioritised.

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.