Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Dr Reza Hassanli

Main Campus
Mawson Lakes

Applications Close
09 Oct 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate or International Candidate

Tuition Fees:

All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. International students who receive a stipend are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
32,500 p.a. available to domestic and international applicants

Develop innovative and long-lasting solutions for decaying jetties

About this project

If you aspire to pursue a career in the engineering and construction industry and share concerns about sustainability issues in public infrastructure, the University of South Australia, is currently offering a hands-on, project-based PhD program in partnership with the Department for Infrastructure and Transport-South Australia.

Our project's primary objective is to discover a sustainable alternative for the deteriorating jetty decks. This initiative tackles various challenges related to limited timber resources, environmental impact, and compliance with performance standards. The central question revolves around the development of decking materials that are readily available, environmentally sustainable, and capable of meeting durability and load-bearing requirements.

Our approach encompasses a comprehensive review of design prerequisites, the selection of prototype suppliers, as well as laboratory testing and computer modelling. Our goal is to provide robust and eco-friendly solutions for jetty construction. We will develop a range of decking options that seamlessly integrate with existing jetties, minimizing visual disruption, and enabling straightforward replacement.

As part of our research team, you will collaborate within a dynamic research environment, alongside accomplished peers, and subject matter experts. Access to well-equipped facilities and resources will enable cutting-edge research. Moreover, the environment fosters mentorship and offers professional development opportunities, creating an ideal space to produce high-quality research outcomes.

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, your responsibilities will include reviewing prior studies, assessing design prerequisites, selecting prototypes, and conducting laboratory testing and computer modelling. Additionally, you will need to conduct on-site visits to jetties in South Australia for quality assessments.

This project presents a valuable opportunity to collaborate closely with end-users and industry partners. You will gather data to gain insights into the existing challenges associated with current jetty decking and the specific requirements for alternative materials. Your experience at the intersection of industry and academia will help you cultivate a diverse range of expertise and knowledge, as well as establish a robust collaborative and professional network.

Upon successful project completion, you will possess profound knowledge of sustainable material development, an understanding of contemporary material trends, and advanced expertise in materials for structures that meet both environmental and performance criteria. With these skills and knowledge, you will be uniquely positioned to propel your burgeoning career in civil geotechnical engineering and structural engineering to new heights. 

Where you’ll be based

You will be based at UniSA’s Sustainable Infrastructure and Resource Management (SIRM) research concentration which brings together experts from across renewable technologies and materials engineering to develop solutions for the future. We seek to address the major challenges for society at the interface of the natural and built environments on all scales.

Supervisory team

Financial Support 

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses.  Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $32,500 per annum is available to eligible applicants. Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants will be eligible to receive an increased stipend rate of $46,653 per annum (2023 rates). A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included. For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information for domestic students or international students.

Eligibility and Selection 

This project is open to application from both domestic and international applicants.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate.

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and to be based at our Mawson Lakes Campus in the north of Adelaide. Note that international students on a student visa will need to study full-time.

Essential Dates 

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer.  Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close on Monday, 9th October.

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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