Specialist research area: Enabling Students’ Critical Mathematical Thinking $29,863 p.a (full-time)


Australian Catholic University is offering one (1) full-time, 3-year PhD scholarship to undertake research in the area of mathematics education with a focus on: 1) the nature of interventions that promote Critical Mathematical Thinking (CMT) development; or 2) teacher practices in noticing student Critical Mathematical Thinking (CMT).

The scholarship supports an ARC Discovery Project (DP220101015), which aims to generate new insight into teaching practices that can promote or inhibit students' CMT development. To address this aim, the project will utilise an innovative video-based methodology that integrates researcher and teacher perspectives on students' CMT development.

The PhD will be completed under the supervision of Professor Vince Geiger.

About Australian Catholic University
ACU is a world-leading research university in our priority areas of education, health, and theology and philosophy. Research excellence at ACU is founded on the principles of social justice and attracts leading experts, students and collaborators from across the globe. The PhD scholarship is offered in the field of mathematics and numeracy curriculum and pedagogy (390109 FOR Code). According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, ACU is ranked in the top 100 Young Universities, worldwide. In the 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment, research at ACU was ranked above (4/5) or well-above world-average (5/5) for ten fields of research in Australia.
About the Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education 

The Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education (ILSTE) is a national research institute hosting a team of eminent researchers and international scholars undertaking nationally-funded research studies with a range of industry-funded partners. Our research draws on both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and includes large-scale, longitudinal studies and meta-analyses. A priority focus is on research relating to policy and practice.

ILSTE's research focuses on 21st Century learning, student diversity, innovation, and engagement across eight areas of research concentration:

  • assessment, evaluation, and student learning
  • STEM in education - early childhood futures
  • educational semiotics in English and literacy pedagogy
  • teachers' work and workforce studies - data analytics and learning interventions.

ILSTE also has a growing team with expertise in data analytics including data design, statistical methods for modelling complex data (including longitudinal survey, administrative and linked datasets) and data science. Our researchers are experienced with generating and disseminating new knowledge to improve the learning outcomes of children and young people, especially those experiencing disadvantage, on the margins or at risk.

ILSTE provides a forum for researchers, scholars, policy makers and practitioners to collaborate and share evidence-based knowledge to address barriers to achievement and learning engagement faced by young people.

ILSTE has membership of the new ACU Research Centre for Digital Data and Assessment in Education, whose researchers will examine digital disruption, assessment, and data analytics as subjects of research, policy and practice in schooling reform, and teacher education. The transformations occurring due to new and emerging technologies and their impact is largely under-researched. The Centre will address this gap and extend ACU's research standing through generating new knowledge through research collaborations and other partnerships across researchers and with national, state-based, and global education agencies (e.g., UNESCO).

The Centre's three programs are Data/digital practices at system and school level, Data Innovation for Learning Progressions and Life Course in Teacher Education, and Digital Foundations in the Early Years.

For further information about the Institute visit https://www.acu.edu.au/research/our-research-institutes/institute-for-learning-sciences-and-teacher-education.

For further information about the Research Centre for Digital Data and Assessment in Education visit https://www.acu.edu.au/research/our-research-institutes/research-centre-for-digital-data-and-assessment-in-education.

About the PhD Stipend Scholarship

The PhD Scholarship is being offered in 2023 to support the work of Professor Vince Geiger in the areas of mathematics and curriculum and pedagogy. The Scholarship is available for a high-performing candidate, with prior experience in mathematics education, who is seeking to undertake research in the following broad areas:

  • critical numeracy;
  • critical mathematical thinking development;
  • student thinking;
  • effective mathematical tasks and interventions;
  • teacher noticing; and
  • teacher instruction and development.

The Successful candidate will be appointed to work on one of the Projects outlined below:

  1. Project One: the nature of interventions that promote Critical Mathematical Thinking (CMT) development
  2. Project Two: teacher practices in noticing student Critical Mathematical Thinking (CMT).
PhD Eligibility criteria
Scholarship criteria

In addition to the PhD Eligibility criteria the successful applicant should:

  • technical skills in the processing and editing of digital video files, including the preparation of files for video analysis (e.g., video log creation, excerpt transcription);
  • demonstrated skills in undertaking data analysis, using both quantitative and qualitative approaches, across relevant software (e.g., SPSS, Stata, Excel, nVivo, MaxQDA); and
  • demonstrated experience working with teachers and students in authentic classroom settings.
Study mode and location
  • Full-time for three (3) years based at the Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education (ILSTE), Brisbane, Australia.
Commencement date 
  • For Onshore applicants: the scholarship is for commencement in Research Term A 2023.
  • For Offshore applicants: temporary offshore commencement may be possible in certain circumstances until visa is granted.
Value and duration

The Successful applicant will be awarded:

  • An Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) stipend scholarship of A$29,863 per annum (tax-free, indexed) for domestic candidates or an ACU Stipend Scholarship of A$29,863 (tax-free, indexed) for international candidates. The stipend duration is for three (3) years, subject to satisfactory progress and full-time study mode; plus
  • A Research Training Program Fees Offset Scholarship; that is, a tuition fee waiver for three (3) years for domestic candidates or an ACU tuition fee waiver for three (3) years for international candidates.
  • Overseas Student Health Care Policy (Single) for international candidates 
Application instructions

This scholarship is open to high quality international applicants in addition to domestic candidates who are either a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, or a citizen of New Zealand.

Step 1: Expression of Interest (EOI) to be submitted by close of business on 11:59pm (AEDT) Sunday 27 November 2022

Applicants must submit a 1 to 2-page cover letter and a brief Curriculum Vitae detailing which Project (Option One or Two) they wish to undertake and how they meet the scholarship criteria as listed above to Professor Vincent Geiger.

E: vince.geiger@acu.edu.au

Step 2: Invitation to submit formal application

Applicants who are successful in their Expression of Interest may be invited to interview. Shortlisted applicants with then be invited to submit a formal application for the PhD program and the stipend scholarships.

Instructions for submitting a formal application to the PhD program can be found on the ‘How to Apply’ instructions on the ACU Research Web Page

For general candidature enquiries, email Candidature Services on res.cand@acu.edu.au, with the subject line “Specialist research area: Enabling Students’ CMT”.

Have a


Our contacts

Have a question for a specific
team? Ask the right person.

View all contacts