Mapping Earth's magnetism from space

The magnetisation of Earth's lithosphere: unravelling the origins of the seafloor using new satellite data

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International


$31,500pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

Earth's magnetic field is a powerful tool to study the evolution of our planet over geological timescales. Yet, many gaps in our knowledge still exist in data-poor areas within the oceans and in poorly explored continents such as Antarctica. This project will use new data from the three satellites making up the European Space Agency's Swarm mission to develop a global understanding of magnetization in the Earth's lithosphere.

The specific focus will be to map magnetic signatures in the rocks underlying the global oceans, formed over the past 200 Million years of Earth's history. Analysing these signals will provide new insights into how seafloor is generated and how it evolves through time. By determining the primary controls on large-scale magnetisation within oceanic lithosphere, we will provide fundamental new insights into how oceanic lithosphere evolves throughout its life cycle. The results will allow maps of Earth's seafloor age to be redrawn; and provide clues to the origin of massive volcanic outpourings known as large igneous provinces, and their cryptic relationship to deep mantle plumes.

The project will provide opportunities to work closely with project collaborators based both in Australia and Europe. The successful candidate will also develop skills across a range of disciplines spanning the analysis of Earth observations in space and time combined with novel machine learning techniques.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Simon Williams


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which provides:

  • a living allowance stipend funded by ARC 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.

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.

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:

  • A background in Earth sciences or similar field of study
  • Some experience with computer coding, ideally in python or a similar language

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact A/Prof Simon Williams 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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