Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Professor Md. Mizanur Rahman

Main Campus
Mawson Lakes

Applications Close
04 Jun 2024

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate

Tuition Fees:

All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:

About this project

Develop the next generation of permeable pavements

If you are seeking to launch your career in construction engineering and keen to advance the use of sustainable permeable pavements, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a hands-on project-based PhD with real community impact within Sustainable Infrastructure and Resource Management (SIRM), in partnership with external partners.

Urban drainage infrastructure is often unable to handle the volume of stormwater runoff during episodes of brief yet intense rainfall. This results in urban flash flooding, substantial damage to properties and social disruptions. 

Implementing permeable pavements (PPs) for rainwater retention and reuse can play a crucial role in mitigating stormwater runoff, subsequently reducing the risk of floods and providing a sustainable water source for green infrastructure. 

Although PPs have been employed for low-traffic pavements, such as landscaping, public space and car parks, they are yet to be applied to urban road networks in Australia. This is because we don’t yet have a suitable mechanistic design approach capable of accommodating wheel loads on PPs.

Our team recently developed a theory of mechanistic design and implemented it in the Australian national-standard software DesignPave v2.0. In the mechanistic design of traditional pavements bearing vehicular wheel loads, the base course is compacted to a denser state for higher stiffness (measured by the resilient modulus, Mr), which reduces the effectiveness of the hydraulic design. 

This project seeks to characterise a range of base course materials to optimise the combined requirements of permeability and water storage capacity as well as a higher Mr. We will use two innovative approaches in extensive laboratory testing to optimise both mechanistic and hydraulic properties. 

You will be based in SIRM, and specifically located in the Geotechnical research group. This supportive and collegial environment will provide you with a solid platform from which you can launch your academic, industry or government career. You will have access to worldclass facilities, resources and expertise, and opportunities to network with both early career and senior researchers and other HDR students. 

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will define the research question and scope the proposed research project. You will collect and analyse data, using your qualitative and quantitative skills throughout the project. 

You may have the opportunity to present your research at and attend networking, conferences, partnership opportunities. We will also guide you in publishing academic outputs. These activities will help hone your communication and networking skills.

Upon graduation, you will be equipped with in-demand skills and abilities in an important field of research.

Where you’ll be based

You will be based at SIRM. We undertake research in physical infrastructure management and the sustainable management of assets. SIRM applies circular economy philosophy and carbon reduction solutions to ensure sustainable communities throughout the world.

SIRM recognises that the challenge of moving to a more sustainable future requires an understanding of the complexity and interactions of human, natural, and built systems. We bring together diverse research expertise to address significant societal challenges at the interface of the natural and built environments at all scales. We offer clients the potential to address real problems using multidisciplinary teams. Our goal is to efficiently use resources to manage the natural and built environments sustainably.

Our members include world-leading researchers in sustainable management and systems analysis, as well as experts in various disciplines of science and engineering ranging from environmental, construction, transportation, food, social, and community. 

We are involved in research construction projects in both water and transport supporting liveable regions / regional economic growth.  We also undertake research in the maintenance aspect of assets (physical infrastructure management), sustainable management of assets in tactical asset management (interface between strategic and operational management), integrating the circular economy philosophy, and applying carbon reduction considerations. We work in ecology, environmental restoration, planning for liveable cities and regions, and building carbon-resilient regenerative communities.

Supervisory team

Financial Support

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses.  A fee offset for the standard term of the program is available to Australian and New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents of Australia, including permanent humanitarian visa holders. Additionally, any Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicant who holds an offer of admission without a living allowance will be eligible for the Aboriginal Enterprise Research Scholarship. This scholarship is to the value of $50,291 per annum (2024 rates). Any Aboriginal Enterprise Research Scholarship recipient will also receive a fee waiver. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Eligibility and Selection 

This project is open to applications from Australian or New Zealand citizens, and Australian permanent residents or permanent humanitarian visa holders. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time. 

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. 

All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate.

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and to be based at our Mawson Lakes Campus in the north of Adelaide. Additionally, applications from students studying externally will also be considered. 

Essential Dates

For all projects: Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer.  Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close on Tuesday, 4 June, 2024.

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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