Melbourne School of Engineering
Nonlinear Signal Processing Laboratory


The decision to read for a PhD is a crucial one and perhaps the first true turning point with respect to future career. Students should realise that the research and development sector presents unique challenges, both in terms of growth opportunities and of competitiveness. Making the right choice --of topic, research team, department and university-- makes a huge difference in improving career perspectives.


Why choose NSP Lab?

The postgraduate curriculum at NSP Lab draws on the long tradition of excellence at the University of Melbourne, a world leading university, and on the unique organisation of NSP Lab, an interdisciplinary and outcome oriented research team. The curriculum helps students acquire state-of-the art knowledge, build solid research skills and conduct high impact research. Through involvement in high profile research programmes and direct interaction with the world's top universities and researchers, postgraduates are positioned to gain the international visibility necessary for early career researchers.


Education through research

NSP Lab research reflects its tri-level structure. Fundamental open problems in systems theory are considered within a wider framework of state-of-the-art problems in mathematics. In systems neuroscience and biology, cutting edge technical challenges are undertaken using the full range of advanced technology and computation available at the University of Melbourne. Education through research at NSP Lab is based on three foundations: Placing research problems within a general framework, adopting an interdisciplinary approach and outcome oriented management.


Education through coursework

The postgraduate curriculum provides weekly courses which address the following levels of learning:

1) Basic engineering science and mathematics: This includes linear systems, digital signal processing, ordinary differential equations and linear algebra. Postgraduates should master such tools and feel confident both in using them and in explaining them to others.

2) Depth programme: This includes extended two semester courses focusing on advanced engineering problems and mathematical tools. Ongoing courses include Introduction to Stochastic Filtering, Methods of Information Geometry and Real Mathematics for Real Engineers (a first course in functional analysis). These courses introduce postgraduates to modern research problems and allow them to understand them at a concrete technical level. 

3) Breadth programme: These weekly courses deal with useful new techniques that can be presented in one self contained session. Examples include specific programming or simulation techniques. The breadth programme is, in part, devoted to a Technical Writing programme, helping postgraduates improve their skills in writing scientific papers and preparing attractive presentations.



Supervision is based on an outcome oriented management style which provides short term monitoring and motivation of student progress, as well as long term orientation and vision. Postgraduates periodically present their work at lab level. They also benefit from weekly meetings with experienced staff members, helping them rapidly advance their work by concentrating group efforts on outstanding problems. Initiative and vocal, active participation from postgraduates in the supervision process is highly encouraged.


The University of Melbourne


The University of Melbourne has a prestigious history dating back to 1853. It is the leading university in Australia, ranked 36th in the world by the Times Higher Education. It is also the top Australian university in science and engineering, ranked 32nd in the world (see the latest QS report). The University of Melbourne is the second largest research institution in Australia, after CSIRO.



University of Melbourne engineering (Melbourne School of Engineering) graduates are well sought after for jobs in industry and academics. The University of Melbourne is the only Australian university ranked among the Top 10 in the world by employers in 2007 (see the Times Higher Education Supplement).


Living in Melbourne

Melbourne is the third most livable city in the world (see the latest EIU annual index). It enjoys rich history, diverse society, easily available services and the unique natural beauty of Australia. Newcomers will appreciate culinary traditions from all over the world, experience the fast-paced city centre, have fun at endless sporting events and relax in a multitude of parks showcasing Australia's unique ecosystem. Melbourne is also home to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and many arts centres. Melbourne hosts more than 100,000 international students and offers them a safe and caring environment. 


How to apply?

Prospective postgraduates with a strong interest in systems neuroscience and biology, systems theory or mathematics are encouraged to directly contact NSP Lab to discuss their research project or interests. In this case, an interview is arranged where candidates can show their knowledge and aptitude by answering technical and logical questions. In order to go on with postgraduate studies at NSP Lab, an application should be lodged with the University of Melbourne, nominating Professor Jonathan Manton as supervisor. Full details for PhD requirements and regulations may be found at the Melbourne School of Graduate Research website. Generous stipends are usually awarded to competitive PhD students. This page  lists PhD and other  research scholarships awarded by the Melbourne School of Engineering.