HDR Scholarship - Data Analytics For Pore Water Pressure - New Tools For Sustainable Groundwater and Engineering Projects

Applications now open

A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'HDR Scholarship - Data Analytics For Pore Water Pressure - New Tools For Sustainable Groundwater and Engineering Projects'.

Project Supervisor

Associate Supervisor


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

This new PhD scholarship will develop advanced pore pressure analysis for groundwater systems with engineering applications in civil construction, mining operations and water supply systems. Groundwater levels, or pore pressures, go up and down in response to factors such as pumping or injection of groundwater, loads on the surface including storage of water and waste materials, and responses to small stresses in the earth from earth and atmospheric tides.

The patterns of pore water pressure responses can reveal how aquifers and aquitards operate, how much water is stored and if there is hydraulic separation or connectivity. This requires pore pressure data logged accurately at least 8 times a day in bores within strata at different depths, and associated geo-information. Advanced analysis of this pore pressure data can then enable real-time indicators of changing ground conditions, value adding to common groundwater monitoring:

  • Evaluating changes in hydraulic loading – important for construction, dams and excavation
  • Monitoring changes in soil moisture storage – important for agriculture

There are opportunities to better utilise groundwater data that is commonly collected to benefit engineering projects and sustainable water resource management. This research will develop advanced analytical tools to process water data in both time series and frequency domain.

The research outcomes would be new data analytical tools that are technically robust and user friendly, to determine hydro-geomechanical parameters at strata and site scale. These tools are to compliment and extend tools developed in collaboration with a group of researchers at UNSW Australia and internationally including Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany. Such tools will enable new opportunities to determine in situ properties of the ground for geomechanical and hydrogeological applications. In situ and strata specific estimates on hydraulic and poro-elastic properties of the ground will be used to predict and manage loading and soil moisture.

Research project sites in regional Victoria and beyond will include one or more of the following types: groundwater supply systems for town water and agriculture, underground and open pit mine sites including pumped hydro energy storage, civil construction and tunnelling projects, underground injection sites for recycled water or carbon sequestration, and the possibility of shallow geothermal energy projects. The PhD scholar will benefit from international research collaborations and local industry partnerships, for example with government, and engineering companies.

Project aim

The research outcomes will include improved data analytics tools that are user friendly, and a paradigm shift in determining in situ properties of the ground for various engineering applications that require multi-disciplinary approaches. The PhD project will aim to

  • Develop improved data analytical tools for pore pressure and related hydro-geomechanical data and apply to a priority groundwater engineering project site. These tools are to be technically robust and user-friendly, to compliment and extend tools developed in collaboration with a group of researchers at UNSW Australia and internationally including KIT in Germany.
  • Use these tools to measure hydraulic and poro-elastic properties of the ground at selected project sites (ie. in situ and strata specific), and to measure changes in these properties over time.
  • Develop decision support for the effectiveness of monitoring bores at detecting these properties at various scales, depending on bore depth and construction and local geology for example.
  • Analyse the sensitivity of groundwater and geomechanical models to spatial and temporal variations in hydraulic and poro-elastic properties of the ground. Evaluate the implications of hydro-geomechanical coupling for modelled scenarios of pore pressure changes, watertable drawdown and ground movement at selected sites, in the context of sustainable water and engineering projects.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Monday 1st July 2019.


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $27,596 per annum tax exempt (2019 rate)

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be a domestic candidate (domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship).
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • Applications must have a Degree qualification in Civil Engineering, Engineering Geology, Hydrogeology, Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Water Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, Maths, or related technical discipline.
  • Applicants must provide details of capability or aptitude in numerical analysis and scripting/coding capability. For example, list of software and code experience including level of aptitude (Basic, Proficient, Advanced).
  • Applicants must provide evidence of their reporting/publications track record or aptitude for written communication.
  • Professional engineering experience is highly desirable, so applicants should provide information on work placements and engineering roles.

How to apply

Please apply using the expression of interest form


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Dr Wendy Timms

Dr Wendy Timms
Professor in Civil or Environmental Engineering
Email Wendy Timms
+61 3 522 78692