Dynamic Degradation of Sensitive Clays

Modelling Dynamic Degradation of Sensitive Clays for Slope Stability and Foundation Applications

Degree type


Closing date

1 February 2024



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International


$32,192pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

Heavy rainfall and a changing climate have a direct correlation with the frequency of large landslides and slope failures. Geotechnical assessment of groundwater is a crucial factor in developing strategies for Tasmanian coastal landslides and foundation systems involving sensitive clays. Current methods to assess the magnitude failures often focus on static methods, however loading regimes for coastal soils are often dynamic and time dependent.

This project seeks to develop methods of assessment to characterise Tasmanian sensitive coastal and estuarine soils, using computational geomechanical techniques to model long-term cyclic degradation of sensitive clays. The primary objective of this project is to model the impacts to infrastructure caused by long-term dynamic degradation of soil slopes and foundations.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Ali Tolooiyan


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $32,192 per annum (2024 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.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


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

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • The applicant must be able to undertake the project on-campus

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:

  • A solid knowledge of geotechnical engineering and soil-structure interaction.
  • A solid knowledge of Finite Element methods and their application in geotechnical engineering.
  • Knowledge of a programming language (e.g. Python and MATLAB).
  • Strong academic background in engineering and capability to work independently.
  • Motivated to learn and have a scientific mindset and team spirit.

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Ali Tolooiyan to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • 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.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 1 February 2024.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

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

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