Higher Degree by Research

All SMI's Research Centres offer Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in their specialisations.

Postgraduate research projects have a strong link with industry; students gain excellent exposure and become familiar with the challenges of conducting research in an industrial environment, and in the challenges of transferring research outcomes to industry.


Undertaking a Higher Degree by Research at the Sustainable Minerals Institute will allow you to develop the professional and personal skills for a successful career in the mineral industry.

  • You will work on independent research projects under advisors who are world leaders in their field.
  • You will have the opportunity to undertake relevant applied research and gain valuable industry experience.
  • You will be encouraged to publish at all stages of your study
  • You will be part of a diverse and inclusive community

Every year, SMI hosts a one-day conference organised by current Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students. The HDR Conference is open to all research students, at UQ and beyond, who are working on topics related to sustainability in the resources sector.

The HDR Conference is an opportunity for students to showcase their research, hone their presentation skills and interact with industry professionals, academics and colleagues. It includes interactive presentations, panel discussions and a networking session with industry professionals.

HDR Conference 2020

PhD Scholarship Opportunities



Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry
Research project name Supervisor Description of research project Contact details
PhD project - Mine water treatment - Top-up scholarship from CSIRO    SMI has a great opportunity for a PhD project co-supervised with CSIRO on the broad theme of mine water treatment, with an option for a scholarship top-up by CSIRO. Student must commence no later than 30 June 2021. For further information, please contact Associate Professor Claire Côte at c.cote@uq.edu.au or +61 7 3346 4061

Integration of Indigenous knowledge into post-mine land use planning

Dr Carlos Miraldo Ordens The project will investigate effective ways for knowledge sharing between customary land owners and SMI social and environmental researchers. This will potentially lead to the co-creation of a methodology that can be used across Australia to better combine traditional knowledge and socio-environmental science, ultimately providing better cultural, environmental and social outcomes for customary land owners. For further information, please contact Dr Carlos Miraldo Ordens at c.ordens@uq.edu.au +61 7 3346 4021
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and hydrogeologists collaborating to better understand and manage groundwater resources Dr Carlos Miraldo Ordens

The Indigenous student will collaborate with members of a team and traditional-knowledge holders in relation to groundwater in one or more study areas in Queensland. The case study sites will be decided during the early stages of the project. Additionally, the project will seek to investigate effective ways for knowledge sharing between customary landowners and hydrogeologists.

For further information, please contact Dr Carlos Miraldo Ordens at c.ordens@uq.edu.au +61 7 3346 4021


Project No.
Research Project name Short explanation of research area  Contact Details for applicants
Land & Water 1

Beyond the carrot and stick: how social norms and values influence water management

Monitoring, fines and incentives have since long been used as tools for water management. This research area will explore how cultural values and social norms can be used as novel tools for sustainable water management.

For more information please contact
Rodrigo Rojas on +61 7 3833 5600 or email Rodrigo.Rojas@csiro.au or Dr Carlos Ordens +61 7 3346 4021 or c.ordens@uq.edu.au

Flotation properties of base metal sulphides in composite particles, as a function of their mineral chemistry


Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC) & W.H. Bryan Mining & Geology Research Centre (BRC), Sustainable Minerals Institute


Dr Liza Forbes (JKMRC)  & Dr Anita Parbhakar-Fox (BRC)

more information

QUEX PhD Scholarships

The University of Queensland and the University of Exeter are seeking exceptional students to join a world-leading, cross-continental research team tackling major challenges facing the world’s population in global sustainability and wellbeing as part of the QUEX Institute. The joint PhD scholarship program provides a fantastic opportunity for the most talented doctoral students to work closely with world class research groups and benefit from the combined expertise and facilities offered at the two institutions. Expressions of interest for 2021 will open soon - read more

UQ Scholarships

UQ ScholarshipsThe UQ Graduate School manages a limited number of merit-based scholarships for commencing or currently enrolled UQ students on a competitive basis. These scholarships provide financial support for living allowances, tuition fees and overseas health cover (OSHC) (international students only), and international travel awards. To find out more about UQ's scholarships and deadlines for upcoming rounds, please visit the UQ Graduate School Scholarships and Fees website.

Other Scholarships

Please visit the website of the UQ Scholarships Office to review other opportunities for which you may be eligible. If you are applying for an external scholarship which requires you to give evidence of your admission to a Master of Philosophy or Doctor of Philosophy, you must submit your application for admission to UQ six weeks before your scholarship application deadline. This will allow UQ and SMI the time required to process your application and issue you with a provisional offer of admission. 

HDR Co-ordinators

Please send all email enquiries to smipostgrad@uq.edu.au

How to Apply

Visit the UQ Graduate School Future Students website for the most current information on applying for admission and scholarships.

The best place to start is by learning about why research higher degree students choose UQ, our research degrees and entry requirementsscholarships, and the UQ Career Development Framework.

Future students can submit an application at any time. However, strict deadlines apply to those applicants who seek to be nominated for a UQ Scholarship, and consideration of UQ and SMI processing times must be given by students who are applying for external scholarships. See the section on 'Scholarships' below.

Applying is a three-step process

General enquiries

Student enquiries

If you would like to enquire about studying at SMI please contact our HDR Team

Contact HDR Team

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