HDR Scholarship - Improving the Material Point Method

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Improving the Material Point Method'.

Project Supervisor


Geelong Technology Precinct (GTP), Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

The Material Point Method is a hybrid meshfree numerical method which is commonly used to solve challenging large deformation solid/fluids mechanics problems. In this method, we have a background grid, which is fixed, and a set of particles moving freely over this grid. These particles carry the state of the solid: stresses, strains, temperatures, volume etc. Mathematically, the Material Point Method is a numerical method to solve partial differential equations encountered in solid mechanics (linear momentum equations).

Although it has been used to solve many problems, the method suffers from some fundamental problems. They are:

  1. Energy conservation loss.
  2. Poor accuracy in solving contact problems (for example, the penetration issue).
  3. High computational cost.

This research is in partnership with Dr Phu Nguyen at Department of Civil Engineering, Monash University and will commence on or after 1st November 2023.

Project aim

This aims at developing techniques to mitigate some of the above mentioned issues. Specifically, the student needs to;

  • investigate the source of the issues,
  • develop algorithms/methods to solve them,
  • implement in an in-house Material Point Method code and
  • test the performance of the implemented algorithms.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, 31 December 2023


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $30,000 per annum tax exempt (2023 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate
  • International students only:  Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years. Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international 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.

Other  criteria:

  • Applicants with an engineering, or physics, or applied mathematics or computer sciences background are welcome to apply
  • Strong coding experience is required, either in Python, C++ or Julia
  • Numerical analysis (partial differential equations), linear algebra skills are required
  • Linux/Unix knowledge is preferable

How to apply

Applicants should firstly contact Dr Alban de Vaucorbeil to discuss the project. You will then be invited to submit a formal application.


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact:

Dr Alban de Vaucorbeil
Email Dr Alban de Vaucorbeil
+61 3 5227 3591