University of Adelaide and Saab Industry PhD and Scholarship

Applications open
August 12 2021
Applications close
April 29 2022
Payment per year
$28,597.00 per annum (RTP Stipend) and $10,000 per annum (Supplementary Scholarship)
Postgraduate Research
Australian Citizens
Australian Permanent Residents
Type of Scholarship
Available In
Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology (SET)
Available To

The UAiPhD is an innovative 4-year program, which includes completion of a 6-month industry placement.

As a PhD student you will have the opportunity to work on an industry problem, while being supported by a University of Adelaide supervisor and an industry supervisor for the duration of the program.

In addition, you will undertake selected professional development activities offered through the University’s Career and Research Skills Training (CaRST) program or as directed by the industry partner. During your placement, you will gain valuable understanding on how organisations innovate and solve real world problems, and how you can make an impact with your research, while gaining a significant employment advantage.

Detailed information about the program can be found on the UAiPhD (iPhD) website.

Please see below for more information about this exciting project with Saab Australia 

Industry Partner: Saab Australia

Research Project Title: Automation and control of submarine depth keeping at periscope depth

Research Project Details: 

Today's Navy submarines are sophisticated underwater vehicles whose purpose is to deliver military effect while maximising stealth by operating below the surface. However, for operational and tactical reasons submarines on a regular basis need to break the protective surface layer to raise masts with sensors and/or transmitters to receive or transmit information through 'air' and thereby benefit from the electromagnetic wave propagation at long range in the atmosphere.
When a submarine is breaking the surface and sending up masts it is of paramount importance to minimise the time of exposure as well as the area of the submarine that is exposed over the surface in order to minimise the potential risk of the submarine being detected. Furthermore, it is critical not to expose the top of the fin above the surface since this creates a drastically increased visible/detectable area and trailing wake that can be picked up by radars, satellites etc. Existing autopilots and automated depth keeping systems are not effective at low speeds, less than 4 knots where an operator currently replaces the automated system, which can exhaust that category of operators in the crew, as described below. 

In addition if the depth keeping capability is poor, the submarine will suffer from interaction/interference from surface waves creating a:

• 'Uplift motion', where the consequence is the risk of broaching the surface and thereby unwillingly surfacing/exposing a large part of the submarine's fin and ruining its stealth,
• 'Push down motion', where the risk is that masts will be losing 'line of sight', range or contact, triggering a communication cut-out.
Due to the complexity and sensitivity in automating this process 'depth keeping at periscope depth' is today mostly managed manually by an experienced operator, as described above.

Research Problem:

This activity will thoroughly investigate the laws to actuate the submarine control planes and other existing or potential actuators with regard to 'depth keeping at periscope depth at low speed (< 4 knots). The research will have to take into account conditions such as sea state, course of the submarine relative to the swells, trim and ballast conditions of the submarine, water conditions and the submarine's operational mode.
The submarine data used for this research should be based on the unclassified BB2 shape studied by hydrodynamicists worldwide. Experiments and verification of theories and solution options could be applied to the Australian Research and Experimental Submarine Project (ARES).
The project would be supported by industry (Saab Australia Pty Ltd) and involve a 6-month 'industry placement' period at Saab Australia in Mawson Lakes, South Australia.


Applicants must be Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents who are acceptable as candidates for a PhD degree at the University of Adelaide, Faculty of Engineering, Sciences and Technology.


The scholarship will be for 4 years and has a stipend of $28,597 p/a (RTP Stipend) & $10,000 p/a (Supplementary Scholarship) (indexed annually) per annum.  It is likely to be tax exempt, subject to Taxation Office approval.  Details of any terms and/or benefits can be found in the Conditions of Award/Rules.

Application Instructions

Applications for this UAiPhD project should be submitted to Associate Professor Rini Akmeliawati at by no later than COB Friday April 29, 2022, with the title of the program and project in the subject heading. Please ensure that you include all of the following documents:

  • Evidence of Australian citizenship or Australian permanent residency
  • Degree certificates (testamurs)
  • Academic transcripts
  • Curriculum vitae

Please direct all enquiries about this project to A/Prof Rini Akmeliawati at or Eric Fusil at     

For further information about the UAiPhD Program, please visit the UAiPhD (iPhD) website in the first instance, and for further enquiries please contact or phone: 8313 6091.