The changing shape of Antarctica

GPS measurement of deformation of East Antarctica

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Antarctica continues to deform as a result of past and present surface loading changes, especially ice loading changes, and Earthquake-related effects. Over the last 10 years, Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers have been increasingly deployed in Antarctica to measure surface deformation. These data are now yielding sufficiently precise surface velocity time series to be able to separate competing models and in doing so learn new things about the interior of the Earth and the past changes in the size of the ice sheet.

This project will focus on the analysis of GPS data with state-of-the-art techniques in order to better understand the deformation of Antarctica. It will make use of a new set of GPS sites in East Antarctica deployed. It will apply novel techniques to remove time series noise and compare these to numerical models developed from existing codes and from outputs provided by third parties. These results will be important for understanding present-day ice-sheet contribution to sea-level rise and in gaining fundamental understanding into the interior of the Earth. The project will provide students with advanced skills in numerical analysis, interpretation and presentation.

The project builds on our internationally leading work to measure the deformation of Antarctica and to use this to test models of deformation and improve understanding of Earth's internal properties.


  • King, M. A., Watson, C. S., & White, D. (2022). GPS Rates of Vertical Bedrock Motion Suggest Late Holocene Ice-Sheet Readvance in a Critical Sector of East Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters, 49(4). ://WOS:000765659300003
    Nield, G. A., Barletta, V. R., Bordoni, A., King, M. A., Whitehouse, P. L., Clarke, P. J., et al. (2014). Rapid bedrock uplift in the Antarctic Peninsula explained by viscoelastic response to recent ice unloading. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 397, 32-41.
  • Samrat, N. H., King, M. A., Watson, C., Hooper, A., Chen, X. Y., Barletta, V. R., & Bordoni, A. (2020). Reduced ice mass loss and three-dimensional viscoelastic deformation in northern Antarctic Peninsula inferred from GPS. Geophysical Journal International, 222(2), 1013-1022. ://WOS:000565896700021
  • Turner, R. J., Reading, A. M., & King, M. A. (2020). Separation of tectonic and local components of horizontal GPS station velocities: a case study for glacial isostatic adjustment in East Antarctica. Geophysical Journal International, 222(3), 1555-1569. ://WOS:000565895200006
  • Whitehouse, P. L., Gomez, N., King, M. A., & Wiens, D. A. (2019). Solid Earth change and the evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Nature Communications, 10(1), 503.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Matt King


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 $31,500 per annum (2023 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 degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector
  • International applicants will need at least one publication in a good quality international peer-reviewed journal to be competitive for a scholarship
  • Candidates with strong research and analytical skills in the following disciplines are particularly encouraged to apply:
    • Physics or Applied Mathematics
    • Quantitative Earth Sciences
    • Engineering
    • Geodesy (not Surveying or GIS)
  • Applicants 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 desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience using an advanced GPS analysis package and/or modelling of solid Earth deformation

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Prof Matt King 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 25 September 2023.

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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