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Scholarship details

2023 Scholarship - The Development of a Dedicated Low-Frequency Passive Radar Array for Space Domain Awareness

Status: Closed

Applications open: 10/01/2023
Applications close: 30/06/2023

View printable version [.pdf]

About this scholarship

The space domain from Low Earth Orbit to Geosynchronous Orbit is the environment in which an increasing number of expensive and highly capable assets are being located. Space Domain Awareness (SDA) entails the collection of information relevant to the space domain. This includes information on the locations and trajectories of satellites and debris (Resident Space Objects: RSOs) and space weather conditions (predominantly due to the ionosphere and the solar wind).

Radio sensors can use the passive detection of intended and unintended transmissions from RSOs or use radar techniques to detect radio waves reflected from RSOs.

In this project, you will be intimately involved in the development, deployment, and operation of a dedicated array of low-frequency radio antennas that will be configured as a passive radar receiver for SDA. You will have the opportunity to:

  • take a system-wide view of the facility, being involved in the design and deployment of the different hardware components of the system (antennas, receiver electronics, and software) into the field;
  • play a key role in commissioning the facility, once deployed, including in the development of software data acquisition and analysis in order to verify the performance of the system;
  • work with Project Sponsor, Nova Systems, in order to contribute to operationalising the facility by developing software that will support the continuous 24/7 collection of data.

The PhD course of study is part of a joint project between Curtin University and Nova Systems, a 100% Australian owned group of companies that works across defence, aerospace, and other sectors. The location of the facility will be Nova's dedicated site near Peterborough in South Australia. The student will be conducting part of their work at this site, entailing travel to South Australia.

Prospective students would benefit from an electrical/electronic engineering, physics, or software engineering background and should be willing to learn skills outside of their undergraduate discipline.

The student will work as part of a team, including industry and academic partners, so experience working in diverse teams would be an advantage.

  • Current Students
  • Future Students
  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Faculty of Science & Engineering
    • Science courses
    • Engineering courses
  • Higher Degree by Research
  • Australian Citizen
  • Merit Based

This scholarship provides a living stipend of $45,000 p.a. pro rata indexed, based on full-time studies, for up to a maximum of 3 years, with the potential to extend by 6 months.

Scholarship Details


Any Australian HDR student with a background in electrical/electronic engineering, physics, or software engineering, who is willing to learn skills outside of their undergraduate discipline.

  • Australian citizen
  • Full-time enrolment
  • Willing to learn skills outside of their undergraduate discipline
  • Availability to travel to offices and remote sites operated by Project Sponsor, Nova Systems.
  • The ability to address any foreign interference concerns, with respect to both formal and informal arrangements, with high-risk foreign countries and their citizens.
  • If required, eligibility for Australian Defence Security Clearance in line with the Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF) Principle 12 – Eligibility and Suitability of Personnel. This includes vetting requirements under AS4811-2022 standard as per PSPF12, para 12.

Application process

Please contact us via the EOI form.


John Curtin Distinguished Professor Steven Tingay:

Further Information

This stipend scholarship is funded by IGS Network Pty Ltd, trading as Nova Systems, in support of a collaboration between Curtin University and Nova Systems to deploy and demonstrate passive radar capability for SDA purposes.

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