Coupled Earth Systems and Prediction Risk

Coupled Earth Systems and Instability: Understanding and Communicating Risk in Prediction

Degree type


Closing date

29 October 2021



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

The newly established Scientific Research Program of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, INSTANT, reflects the urgent need to understand INStabilities and Thresholds in ANTarctic science, related to the interactions between the ocean, atmosphere, cryosphere and solid Earth beneath.  Centred in mathematical geophysics, this project will examine generalised coupled systems, of relevance to complex models of Earth’s climate.  A particular focus of the project will be how the understanding of non-linearity in separate system components evolves when such systems are coupled. Mathematical approaches to be considered include optimization over hyperparameters, making use of information content metrics, and empirical dynamic modelling.

The project will firstly develop a computational framework that enables the exploration of the impacts of threshold crossing and instabilities in model systems, similar to those employed for ice-ocean and Earth-ice interaction studies. Secondly, the framework will be applied to synthetic, and simplified real-world, examples of interacting components of Earth systems.

Connecting these international priorities to the focused aims of understanding the impact of a changing climate for Australia, this project will focus on the Earth-ice and ice-ocean interactions.  With a link to understanding long-term risk in a social context, the project will also progress the communication of related scientific findings to policy makers.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Anya Reading


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Honours degree in applied mathematics, physics, geophysics or related fields

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience of scientific programming

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Prof Anya Reading, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including contact details of two referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

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