Sustainable Energy Access

Call for PhD candidates

Two of the grand challenges facing humans today are mitigating climate change and eradicating poverty. One of the United Nations’ Sustain­­­able Development Goals is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Achieving this goal requires international cooperation between the world’s leading researchers, and private, philanthropic, public and not-for-profit organisations. In response, Monash University and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (the highest-ranked research institution in India) have established a global network of researchers from multiple disciplines, entrepreneurs from international social enterprises, philanthropists and policymakers to address these challenges.

The core of this network is a multidisciplinary PhD program, which is now calling for expressions of interest. We offer PhD positions in Business and Economics, Engineering, Information Technology and Social Sciences. If you are interested in doctoral-level research on promoting access to sustainable energy in Australia and/or India, this PhD program is for you. This call is for students who will be based mainly at Monash University in Melbourne, although students will spend one year at the IITB. Scholarships are available to Australian and New Zealand citizens and to Australian permanent residents. Other calls will target students for the IITB positions.

There are three key characteristics of this PhD Program that make it the ideal springboard from which to launch your research career:

  1. Multidisciplinary. Scientific breakthroughs and effective solutions in this area depend on the integration of multiple perspectives. You will have a main supervisor from your core discipline. In addition, you will have relevant associate supervisors from another discipline or the  Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI), and from IITB.
  2. Industry linked. This program brings researchers together with external partners from the not-for-profit, government, and private sectors to translate knowledge into impact. External partners include Engineers without Borders and the Pollinate Group. There will be opportunities for industry placements, including in the Pollinate Energy Fellowship Program.
  3. International. Students will be part of an international PhD program in two of the world’s leading research institutions. Monash-based PhD researchers will spend one year at the IITB in Mumbai, which will be an intellectually and culturally enriching experience.

Prof. Robert Thomson

Dr Roger Dargaville

Prof. Patrick Olivier

Dr Sarah Goodwin

Prof. Frada Burstein

A/ Prof. Srinivas Sridharan

Students will have research topics that relate to disciplines in one or more of the four participating faculties: Business and Economics, Engineering, Information Technology and Social Sciences.

Students can elaborate one of the topics proposed by the academics listed below. We also welcome expressions of interest from students who propose their own relevant PhD topics. For students with a particular interest in the Indian context, there are many opportunities to link with ongoing projects that are led by IITB researchers in Mumbai. Some of these are aimed at eradicating energy poverty, such as the famous Million Solar Lamps Project.

Scholarships are available for Australian and New Zealand citizens, and Australian permanent residents. PhD candidates will be offered full scholarships with industry placements. Scholarships of AUD $27,872 per annum full-time rate (tax-free stipend for 3.5 years) are available. Additional ‘top-up’ scholarships from industry may be available for successful applicants through industry sponsorship ( $5-10K additional per year).

Expression of Interest


  • For general enquiries, please contact Monash Energy Institute at
  • If you have an enquiry relating to a particular research topic, please contact the lead researcher within each Faculty. Contact details can be found under 'Research Topics'.

To Apply

  • Australian citizens and permanent residents or New Zealand citizens, contact the relevant academic by 16th October 2019, 11:55 pm AEDT.