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2003 News Archive

New LEME Scholars and Students in 2003

Pat James, CRC LEME Education and Training Program Leader, Adelaide University, 19 March 2003

CRC LEME is committed to graduating at least 60 PhD students and an equivalent number of Honours students, during its lifetime. To this end LEME is currently guaranteeing more than $600K from its cash reserves each year to provide new scholarships for students to work on LEME-related research. In October 2002 LEME advertised nationally for 30 Geoscience scholarships and was greatly encouraged to receive more than 50 applications from suitable qualified students. A rigorous review and assessment process over the summer recess and a coincidental release of matching funds by one core party university led to the offering of a much larger than anticipated number of scholarships, with about 48 students overall receiving funding.

Seven Summer scholarships worth about $1000 each were offered with one student (Jennifer Leonard) at ANU studying the chemical changes in the regolith associated with Eucalypt types. Six Summer Scholars at Adelaide University including students from both second and third year, worked on projects ranging from the rare earth element geochemistry of albitising brines associated with the Paratoo copper deposit (Jason Tilley) to an experimental geophysical study of the detection of groundwater flow using self-potential electrical methods (Emma Hissey). Emma also produced a poster of her research topic, which was displayed at the ASEG conference in Adelaide.

There were fewer incoming Honours students in LEME in 2003, matching overall smaller Honours classes, due to the lower third year numbers in each core party university. Nevertheless, between 5-6 Honours students at each node have just begun their preparation for Honours research projects. At the ANU Bear McPhail is supervising one student working on geochemistry for mineral exploration (Edward Summerhayes) and another on break of slope salinity problems (Jodi Webb), whilst four other students are involved in regolith landscape evolution studies including mining (Kristy Bewert), palaeodrainage (Daniel Glanville) and soil management aspects (Louisa Roberts and Susan Tate).

At Adelaide three LEME scholars are working on regolith geophysics (Alan Cadd), regolith geochemistry for diamond exploration (Amy Lockheed) and regolith landform evolution in an urban catchment (Sam McDermott). Each of these students is being supervised by one of the new LEME-related staff members at Adelaide. A further two students (Alex Pengelly and Rob Grezgorzek) will be funded from project funds to work, respectively) on remote sensing and regolith mapping projects in the Curnamona area.

A further five Honours scholars are being funded through Curtin University, three in areas of geophysical technique application to regolith studies (Nigel Cantwell, Brendan Corscadden and Matthew Hope) and one project each from Curtin Geology in geochemical expression of sulphide orebodies (Chris Buxton) and tree growth in salt affected landscapes (Claire Robertson).

CRC LEME was spectacularly successful in 2003 in attracting new postgraduate students into its research programmes. In particular, students entering with external (APA and IPRS) scholarships allowed the release of further LEME funded scholarships and a large raft of Science Faculty half scholarships at Adelaide University doubled the number of students there. Six new postgraduate (5 PhD and 1 M Phil.) scholars were accepted at the ANU. Proposed projects range from largely environmental, including the role of regolith in agroforestry (Glenn Bann), hydraulic conductivity dynamics (Michael Turner) and environmental applications (Matthew Lenahan) to more concerned with regolith processes. Amongst these Katie Dowell will study the origin of Opaline silica, while Kathryn Fitzsimmons will be studying regional landscape evolution and David Little intends to model biological factors in regolith formation. As ANU have now replaced UC as the sole Canberra university node, there are seeking further postgraduate applicants and will be advertising for these nationally in the near future.

At Adelaide University, the acquisition of both APA and IPRS award students and the offering of 50% matching Faculty scholarships for each LEME scholarship offer, together with the input of funds from both the SA DWLBC and CRC PBMDS allowed 12 students (11 PhD and 1 MSc) to take up scholarship offers, a significant boost to the overall AU and LEME postgraduate cohort. These students will be studying in six main areas of research. Two students (Tania Dhu - applications, and Phillip Heath - mathematical modelling) are undertaking geophysical projects whilst a further 3 will concentrate on geochemistry (Karin Hulme - biogeochemistry of Curnamona, Pierre Wulser - uranium exploration in the Callabona sub basin and Mark Fritz - baseline geochemistry of saline soils). Isotope geochemistry of calcretes and palaeoenvironmental studies will be undertaken by Aija Mee and Hazell Haywood, supervised by a new LEME staff member, Assoc Prof David McKirdy, while a new link with the AU NCPGG through Assoc Prof Simon Lang will see Mark Riley (regolith mapping and delta formation) and Victor Waclawik (remote sensing of regolith) study the western shores of Lake Eyre. The final input of funds from DWLBC and PBMDS with Assoc Prof David Chittleborough will support a large collaborative project studying the influence of drainage in areas of salinity, principally in the SE of SA. Michael Durkay (mobility of elements in drained saline soils), Sean Mahoney (Remote Sensing and GIS) and David Mitchell (Remote Sensing and spatial technologies) are the LEME participants in this study, which will also include 2 further, largely PBMDS- funded student projects.

A further 5 new LEME scholars were funded at Curtin University. The group of environmental geochemistry students supervised by Dr Ron Watkins received scholarship and operating funds to continue their studies, with Troy Cook (pollutant traps) and Bobak Willis-Jones (groundwater acidity) working towards their MSc degrees and a new scholar (Ryan Noble) commencing a PhD on the distribution of arsenic near surface. Sam Lee is beginning a study on groundwater management at Cape Range Peninsula and finally Anousha Hashemi will join the Curtin Geophysics postgraduate group investigating exploration techniques for high grade manganese ore.

To conclude, this listing of 48 students newly entering LEME research projects adds to 25 Honours students who graduated from our core party Universities in 2002 and the ongoing 26 Postgraduates currently actively engaged in LEME research, to continue the strong educational focus to CRC LEME.

Visit the Education section for more information about Education and Training in CRC LEME



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