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Scholarship details

2024 RTP round - Hunting black holes and neutron stars in star clusters

Status: Closed

Applications open: 7/07/2023
Applications close: 25/08/2023

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About this scholarship

Discovery of new black holes and neutron stars over the past decade with novel techniques has ushered in an exciting era in our understanding of formation and evolution of these elusive objects. Star clusters in our Galaxy are among the most promising places to find black holes and neutron stars. In this project, using novel observational techniques and astronomical surveys, we will be looking for new black holes and neutron stars in star clusters in our Galaxy. Finding new objects is important to determine how they form and evolve, and star clusters provide excellent laboratories for the formation of particularly interesting or exotic systems. 

The project will use state-of-the-art techniques, both to better understand black holes and neutron stars, and to prepare us to leverage the upcoming generation of astronomical facilities such as the Square Kilometre array to gain new insights into formation and evolution of neutron stars and black holes in our Galaxy, particularly in star clusters.

Globular clusters are exciting environment to explore exotic phenomena such as black holes and neutron stars. In this project our aims are to:
- Search for intermediate-mass black holes at the centres of star clusters, using deep multi-wavelength observations. We also 
- Identify compact binary star systems in star clusters that could host black holes or neutron stars.
- Identify exotic pulsar systems in imaging data that are not accessible to beamformed searches.
- Characterize population of neutron stars and black holes in star clusters by comparing observations to theoretical models and simulations and considering selection functions. 

The main objective of this project is to characterize formation and evolution of stellar remnants such as black holes and neutron stars in Galactic star clusters.

To this end, we will use state-of-the-art observational and analysis techniques to obtain new data from world-class astronomical observatories and deploy novel techniques to search for black holes, neutron stars and pulsars in star clusters. 

Black holes and neutron stars are among the most elusive objects in the universe, and one of the most promising sites of their formation is star clusters. Upcoming next-generation observatories such as the Square Kilometre Array will usher in a new era of research in exploring these exotic objects. In this project, we will develop and deploy techniques for better exploration of black holes using such observatories. 


  • Future Students
  • Faculty of Science & Engineering
    • Science courses
    • Engineering courses
  • Higher Degree by Research
  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa
  • International Student
  • 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 at the 2023 RTP rate valued at $32,250 p.a. for up to a maximum of 3 years, with a possible 6-month completion scholarship. Applicants are determined via a competitive selection process and will be notified of the scholarship outcome in November 2023. 

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

Scholarship Details


All applicable HDR courses

This opportunity is open to students with any science-oriented undergraduate background. Students with a background in physics/astronomy are particularly encouraged to apply. 

Application process

This project has identified a preferred candidate and is no longer available.  Please review remaining scholarships projects.

Enrolment Requirements

Eligible to enrol in a Higher Degree by Research Course at Curtin University by March 2024.

Recipients must complete their milestone 1 within 6 month of enrolment and remain enrolled on a full-time basis for the duration of the scholarship.


The Project lead has identified a preferred candidate and is no longer accepting applications. Please click here to review remaining scholarships projects.

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