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Scholarship details

2024 RTP round - From Observation to Mitigation: Leveraging LSST, the Global Fireball Observatory, and DREAMS to Prepare for Asteroid Impacts

Status: Closed

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

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About this scholarship

The threat of asteroid impacts on Earth necessitates the detection and tracking of potentially hazardous asteroids to develop effective mitigation strategies. This PhD project aims to explore the combined use of the Vera Rubin Observatory (Legacy Survey of Space and Time - LSST) and the Global Fireball Observatory for identifying asteroids impacting the Earth. The upcoming Australian Dynamic REd All-sky Monitoring Survey (DREAMS)’s high-cadence near-infrared observations will open a new parameter space on the asteroid population. With proprietary access to these three world class facilities, the candidate for this project will be in a unique position to push our knowledge of asteroids in our Solar System, and specifically the ones that can threaten the Earth. 

The main aim of this PhD project is to advance our understanding of the asteroid population and its potential impact on Earth by using LSST and fireball networks to detect and track potentially hazardous asteroids. 

The secondary aim is to make use of cutting-edge data from the Australian DREAMS telescope infrared survey, a so far poorly explored parameter space for asteroid characterisation.  

To achieve these aims, this PhD project will focus on the following objectives:

- Use LSST observations to detect and track potentially hazardous asteroids, and to study their orbits, sizes, shapes, and compositions.
- Develop and test new algorithms and software tools for combining LSST and Global Fireball Observatory observations to improve our understanding of the asteroid impacting population on Earth.
- Process the DREAMS infrared telescope data to retrieve asteroids, generate an observation catalogue, and exploit the catalogue to derive physical properties of asteroids. 

This PhD project has significant scientific and practical significance. Scientifically, it will advance our understanding of the asteroid population and its potential impact on Earth, and it will contribute to efforts to protect Earth from potential asteroid impacts. Practically, it will develop and test new algorithms and software tools for analysing LSST and DREAMS data, which can be used by astronomers and planetary defence experts to detect and track potentially hazardous asteroids, and to develop and implement mitigation strategies. Overall, this project will contribute to the ongoing efforts to study asteroids and their potential impact on Earth, and to protect our planet from potential catastrophic events. 

This project may provide internship opportunities with SSTCs industry and defence partners

  • Future Students
  • Faculty of Science & Engineering
    • Engineering courses
  • 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 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 project is ideal for a candidate with a sound background in astronomy, image processing or data science.

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. ahead of the closing date. Please note you should apply as soon as possible, as once a suitable candidate has been identified this opportunity will no longer be available to receive an EOI.

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 months of enrolment and remain enrolled on a full-time basis for the duration of the scholarship.


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

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