PhD scholarship
Queensland University of Technology

School of Mathematical Sciences

Posted on: Mon Sep 19 2016


Reconstructing plants surfaces and whole plants from scanned data

Scholarship Information

A PhD scholarship is available for future domestic or international research students to study in the School of Mathematical Sciences, Science and Engineering Faculty, on the Gardens Point campus of QUT. The supervisorial teams includes Professor Ian Turner, Dr Timothy Moroney, Professor Scott McCue, Dr Joe Young and Adjunct Professor John Belward.


The key objective of this PhD project is to develop efficient and accurate surface fitting algorithms specifically designed for whole plants. There are two major challenges for surface reconstruction in this PhD project, namely to incorporate the fine features (such as veins) in leaves and the reconstruction of entire plants. Expansion of existing techniques and a new approach to reconstruct single leaves in fine detail from scanned data will be pursued. Level set methods will be employed and fast sweeping and tagging strategies will be investigated for constructing virtual plants from the scattered data sets. The surface fitting will be implemented with optimal efficiency and the reconstructed surface will be smooth, with a natural scaling in the regularisation that allows varying flexibility according to the local sampling density. The main benefit of using the level set method will be its natural ability to handle the complete plant surface topology, particularly for noisy and highly non-uniform data sets. The implementation of all of these computational models will provide an exciting component of the PhD project.

Another aspect of this PhD project is to develop a mathematical approach for constructing virtual dynamic models of plant species based on 3D scanning at the macro and microscopic levels.

This research is part of an ARC Linkage Project LP160100707 "Mathematical and computational models for agrichemical retention on plants", which is funded by the Australian Research Council and industry partners Syngenta (UK) and Nufarm (Australia). The project is led by Professor Scott McCue and is supported by an experimental program to be conducted by Plant Protection Chemistry New Zealand (PPCNZ) in Rotorua, New Zealand. The project team uses mathematical modelling and computer simulation to provide a deeper understanding of agrichemical spraying of plants. The aims of the program are to drive the development of agrichemical products that increase retention, minimise environmental impacts, and reduce costs for end-users.

Your Opportunity

The School of Mathematical Sciences at QUT provides a world-class research environment for applied and computational mathematics. The PhD project will involve publishing fundamental research in the highest quality journals, but will also use applied and computational mathematics to produce outcomes that have impact in the real world. The successful applicant may be required to travel to both Rotorua in NZ and Jealott's Hill International Research Centre in the UK to collaborate with partners at PPCNZ and Syngenta at various stages of the project.

Study Subject

Applied and Computational Mathematics

Provided By

School of Mathematical Sciences within the Science and Engineering Faculty at Queensland University of Technology.



Payment Information

A scholarship, tax exempt and indexed annually, of $26,288 per annum plus a top-up of $5,000 per annum for a period of 3 years, will be provided to the successful applicant.


You must be eligible to enroll in a PhD at QUT. For international applicants, there is an English proficiency requirement.

To be eligible for the scholarship you must have:

  • A first-class or second-class division A Honours degree or equivalent; OR
  • A domestic or international qualification that is comparable to an Australian Masters Degree (by Research) degree; OR
  • A domestic or international qualification that is comparable to an Australian Masters Degree (by Coursework) degree with a significant research component normally not less than 25% and a minimum GPA score of 5.0 on a 7 point scale.

Ideally you should have an Honours or Masters degree in computational mathematics with a strong background in linear algebra and numerical methods for PDEs. Graduates of physics or engineering may also be considered. You should have excellent written communications skills and expertise in computer programming (in Matlab or C++, for example).

Application Details

The first step* in applying for this scholarship is submitting the following to Prof Ian Turner:

  • Cover letter with a summary of why you are a suitable candidate for this PhD Scholarship
  • An up-to- date CV, including a summary of your education and career
  • Full record of your academic transcript
  • Contact details (email, address and phone numbers) of 2 references

*Note: the second step in the application process is to complete and submit a required application form to confirm that the applicant is eligible for the scholarship. However, only successful candidate(s) from the first round will be asked to fill in this form.

Closing Date

Applications will remain open until a suitable applicant is found.

General Info

For further information, or to discuss this research project, please contact Prof Ian Turner

For further information regarding admission and scholarship application process please contact:

David Kabelele
Higher Degree Research Scholarships Officer
QUT Science and Engineering Faculty
Research Services
Phone: +61 7 3138 7693
Fax: +61 7 3138 2703

**Mention you saw it on the AustMS website**