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Multi-impact operability modelling

Project Description

We invite applicants to apply for a fully funded PhD position in reliability modelling in New Zealand.

The successful candidate should have a Masters or Honours degree in Statistics, with experience in reliability theory and/or stochastic modelling. Strong computational skills and a willingness to engage in interdisciplinary research are highly desirable. Some familiarity with natural hazard modelling would be valuable.


The project is concerned with modelling the effect of multiple impacts to infrastructure by the same or different natural hazards. Impact from a previously occurring hazard can make the infrastructure more vulnerable to subsequent hazards. The requirement is to develop a vulnerability model (incorporating type of infrastructure, multiple hazard types, the magnitude of the subsequent hazards, the damage state from the earlier hazards, and repairs). This is a very complex problem, which will be initially approached via experiments on multiple same-hazard impacts, and then statistically extended to different hazards. Computational modelling and/or expert elicitation will also have a prominent role. There is scope to modify the project aim according to the successful candidate’s interests and expertise. This PhD will be linked to a PhD at the University of Auckland that is concentrating on experimental assessment of multi-impact operability.

The project is part of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment funded work package “Multihazard and Risk models” (2019-24), part of the Resilience to Natures Challenges National Science Challenge. The project will involve researchers from Massey and Auckland Universities, Market Economics, NIWA, and Statistics Research Associates.


The student will be based at Massey University (Palmerston North, New Zealand) supervised by Prof Mark Bebbington (senior supervisor, Massey University) and Assoc. Prof. Liam Wotherspoon (University of Auckland). Other likely supervisors include Dr David Harte (Statistics Research Associates.), and Dr Xun Xiao (Massey University). Final composition of the supervision team will be determined once the candidate has met the project team and begun to develop their proposal.

Funding Notes

The scholarship will cover all tuition fees, all reasonable research costs (including some travel to international conferences), and a stipend of NZ$25,000/year for three years.

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