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Scholarship details

2023 RTP round - Searching for Binary and Millisecond Pulsars using the SMART pulsar survey.

Status: Open

Applications open: 8/07/2022
Applications close: 18/08/2022

View printable version [.pdf]

About this scholarship

With applications ranging from testing strong-field gravity to probing the state of ultra-dense matter, pulsars enable us to push the boundaries of fundamental physics. Over 3000 pulsars are currently known, but most were found using large single-dish telescopes such as Parkes (Murriyang). Large pulsar surveys have proven track record of success in discovering exotic objects and specialised targets, such as pulsars in relativistic binary systems, millisecond pulsars, and those with extreme magnetic fields. Fundamental physics with pulsars is a headline science theme for the SKA project, and a full cosmic census of the Galactic pulsar population is a key science driver for Phase 1 SKA.

The Southern-sky MWA Rapid Two-metre (SMART) survey is an all-sky pulsar search project with the MWA – it is an ambitious program to search the vast southern skies with high sensitivity at low radio frequencies, and is expected to discover hundreds of pulsars and many millisecond pulsars. It will serve as an important reference for future surveys planned with the SKA. The survey presents a multitude of opportunities to explore new parameter space, and hence potential for new discoveries. Possible projects include:

1. Implementation of novel algorithms to attain optimal detection sensitivities to short-period millisecond pulsars, whose clock-like timing stability can be exploited for applications such as the searches for ultra-low frequency gravitational waves;

2. Undertaking targeted searches toward promising pulsar candidates identified in Gaia DR3 with excess astrometric noise (indicating a potential binary system); and

3. Exploiting the long dwell times for sensitive acceleration searches to target exotic objects such as  relativistic binary systems, the type of pulsars especially valuable for performing exquisite tests of the theories of strong-field gravity." 

An Internship opportunity may also be available with this project.

  • Future Students
  • Faculty of Science & Engineering
    • Science courses
    • Engineering courses
    • Western Australian School of Mines (WASM)
  • Higher Degree by Research
  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa
  • Merit Based

The annual scholarship package (stipend and tuition fees) is approx. $60,000 - $70,000 p.a.


Successful HDR applicants for admission will receive a 100% fee offset for up to 4 years, stipend scholarships, valued at $28,854 p.a. for up to a maximum of 3.5 years, are determined via a competitive selection process. Applicants will be notified of the scholarship outcome in November 2022. 


For detailed information, visit: Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarships | Curtin University, Perth, Australia.

Scholarship Details


All applicable HDR courses

This project is ideal for a candidate with a sound background in physics and astrophysics, and a good exposure to software development and engineering aspects of astronomy. A background in radio astronomy with some research experience is an additional advantage. 

Application process

If this project excites you, and your research skills and experience are a good fit for this specific project, you should contact the Project Lead (listed below in the enquires section) via the Expression of Interest (EOI) form.

Enrolment Requirements

Eligible to enrol in a Higher Degree by Research Course at Curtin University by March 2023


To enquire about this project opportunity that includes a scholarship application, contact the Project lead, Dr Ramesh Bhat via the EOI form above.

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