2023 RTP round - Resilient Cities: Ecohydrological sensitive urban design - PhD

Curtin University

Perth WA, Australia 🇦🇺

Status: Open

Applications open: 8/07/2022
Applications close: 18/08/2022View printable version [.pdf]

About this scholarship

Description/Applicant information

There are two factors that will change our quality life in urban environment; Climate change and population increase. The need for cities to be resilient is vital for the survival of its inhabitants. Instead, cities are reactive rather than proactive. Urban environment is vulnerable to climate change, especially in the future world will experience more and frequent hotter days with a decrease in winter days. The heat will be uncomfortable causing the use more energy in the process. An unsustainable cycle, a cause and effect that is increasing the temperature even more in urban settlements causing clusters of urban heat islands. Although, cities are a major contributor to climate change but they can also offer a part of the solution. By providing cities with purposeful infrastructure centred on the current and future needs of the people.   The quality of life is most important. And that quality of life is dependent on how urban water and urban ecology are planned. The urban ecological system operates at the intersection of complex relationships between our built environments. This is a vital premise because people need land, water, vegetation, and buildings to survive. Every city, precinct or neighbourhood has their own micro-ecological system which then forms a part of the whole urban ecological system. Designed and built around human presence, comfort, and safety. Considering a well-balanced urban ecology promotes a resilient urban city where the vital needs co-exist in the balance. The use of water as a resource in urban development and its contribution to a sustainable urban setting is very important. Water sensitive urban design (WSUD) is a concept widely used in urban water management throughout Australia. The concept is currently applied at the local municipal level by linking with existing corridor and precinct structure plans, urban planning and legislative frameworks. Therefore, integrated approach for sustainable planning, development and management of urban hydro-ecological environment understanding the complex interactions of water and ecosystem processes is very important.  

This research will consider Perth city as a case study and expand the research outcome towards other cities in Australia.  Perth’s population is estimated to increase by 2.5 million people in the next four decades. The department of planning will redirect the population increase to infill building development into activity centres and the remaining 53%, will be redirected to greenfield development in Perth metropolitan and peel region. Perth’s urbanisation is continuously growing surpassing the urban fridge and building on Greenfields. This threatens our urban ecology causing continuation of sprawling on the outer layer of suburbs, clearing away the remaining 7% of its original vegetation; an increase in suburban and rural interface that leads to vulnerability of suburban areas to bushfires, lack of natural resource; development uses more raw materials like water, limestone and sand, relying on vehicles; people who live in the outer suburbs of Perth are already vulnerable to the current fuel prices. If business as usual how can the city defend itself from future vulnerabilities? Hence, an overarching goal of this project is to establish qualitative and quantitative frameworks of how to design, plan and manage future cities, strategically. This involves evaluating the current problems urban planning and knowing where to invest and implement solutions. 

An Internship opportunity may also be available with this project.Student type

  • Future Students


  • Faculty of Science & Engineering
    • Science courses
    • Engineering courses
    • Western Australian School of Mines (WASM)

Course type

  • Higher Degree by Research


  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa

Scholarship base

  • 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

Maximum number awarded

1Eligible courses

All applicable HDR coursesEligibility criteria

Bachelor degree (First Class/2nd upper Honours) in Civil Engineering/Environmental Engineering /Design and Built Environment or related fields
Masters degree with more than 25% research component in related fields.
English language IELTS level of: 6.5 or equivalent 
Knowledge in relevant research fields including publications is highly desirable. 

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, Associate Professor Ranjan Sarukkalige via the EOI form above.