RMIT/Rail Manufacturing CRC PhD Scholarships in the School of Engineering

RMIT is a global university of technology, focused on creating solutions that transform the future for the benefit of people and their environments. These projects are co-sponsored by the Rail Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre.

Value and duration

$30,000 per year for three years with a possible six-month extension.

Number of scholarships available



To be considered for scholarship you must:

  1. Hold (or be currently completing) a research-inclusive Masters degree, OR hold (or be currently completing) a first class honours degree in a relevant discipline.
  2. Meet RMIT’s entry requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy.
  3. Be an Australian/New Zealand citizen or Australian permanent resident.

Conditions: The successful applicant will be required to enter into a Student Project Agreement with RMIT and the Rail Manufacturing CRC detailing intellectual property rights, publication and reporting.

How to apply

Please send a 1 page letter of motivation with a copy of your CV to the project supervisors below.

Open date

Applications are now open.

Close date

Applications will close on the 15 June 2018

Terms and conditions

Read the Research Scholarship Terms and Conditions (PDF 327KB).

Further information

Project 1

A static and dynamic loading assessment of structural-critical composite material rolling stock carbody shells.

The rail rolling stock industry has yet to follow the Aerospace industry, with current rolling stock structures made of stainless or mild steel, with the weight of the body-shell accounting for a significant proportion of the total weight of the structure. The rail industry is a highly steel dominated industry. Composite materials are currently confined to non-structural non-loadbearing, trim parts. There are several major concerns and questions that need to be addressed before the full endorsement of composite material in rolling stock could become a reality; these questions need to be addressed in the context of the latest design requirements for rolling stock including dimensions, window sizes and loading capacity. The composite body shell will be computationally investigated for various loading configurations, such as high stress loads, resulting from various loading conditions on it, this includes but is not confined to: track loads via bogie king-pins, coupler jerks and stresses, variable passenger loading. The geometry and material specification will be optimized accordingly before a scaled prototype is built and experimentally evaluated, depending on the aforementioned computational effort. Also planned for investigation is how the composite body shell behave throughout its expected life cycle. Current expectations are that each body shell endure a life of 30 years in service. One of the inherent advantages with polymeric composite structures is the enhanced fatigue resistance it has over traditional monolithic metallic structures.

Supervisor: Professor Sabu John, School of Engineering, RMIT University.


Project 2

Miniature Crawling Robots for Rolling Stock Manufacture and Maintenance

The rolling stock is a highly complex system, with a large number of components built tightly together within a small area. For instance, the bogies consists of the frame, primary and secondary suspensions, shock absorbers, motors, brake discs, brake cylinders, wheel, radial-steering mechanisms and many other parts, all within a confined space. Also, newer designs of trains which call for low floors mean that all components have to be cramped into an even smaller volume. This makes inspection of rolling stock extremely difficult, as workers are not able to inspect parts “deep inside” the assembly. While flexible endoscopes such as those used for medical endoscopy can be used for this purpose, it is not easy to manoeuvre the tools to the desired location, and the reach of such endoscopes are also limited.

In this project, miniature crawling robots will be designed and built, for the purpose of carrying some payloads e.g. camera to access hard-to-reach areas of the train to perform inspection. The success of the project will significantly alleviate the difficulty in rolling stock inspection. Such robots can also be applied in the manufacturing process, for e.g. pulling electrical wires or cables through holes across the entire vehicle.

Supervisor: Dr Chow Yin Lai, School of Engineering, RMIT University.



Professor Sabu John, School of Engineering, RMIT University.


Dr Chow Yin Lai, School of Engineering, RMIT University.