Professor Tao Xu - The coal miner’s friend

​Thousands of coal miners are killed every year worldwide by explosions caused by coal and a combination of methane and carbon dioxide. Research into the causes of these often catastrophic coal mine explosions, more than one third of which occur in China, has challenged many researchers from the academic community, including rock mechanics and engineers. But Endeavour Research Fellowship recipient Professor Tao Xu, has successfully taken up the challenge and is achieving well-deserved recognition for his work. 

Professor Xu applied an advanced numerical model to simulate the damage and failure process of coal and rock under complex loading and to investigate cross-couplings between the physics of gas flow in coal seam or rock mass, coal or rock deformation and instantaneous failure.

The work that Professor Xu carried out as part of his Endeavour Research Fellowship at Monash University has been accepted in the journals of Acta Geotechnica, Arablian Journal for Science and Engineering. Further contributions to the journals of Mechanics of Time-dependent Materials and Engineering Geology are presently being reviewed.  

During his stay at Monash University, Professor Xu attended weekly seminars in the department of civil engineering, and had the opportunity to meet with range of people from the university and visiting academics to discuss his research topic.

Professor Xu said “The Endeavour Research Fellowship has given me on-ground insight and the opportunity to meet directly with Australian professionals working on this topic.  It has also provided me with an invaluable opportunity to create strong foundations for further joint work between Australia and China, as well as developing my own interpersonal skills as a researcher.”


China features prominently in the Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships programme:

  • the most popular destination for Australian scholarship and fellowship recipients
  • the fourth largest source country for non-Australian recipients

In the 2014 round:

  • 49 Chinese accepted an Endeavour Scholarship or Fellowship to undertake study, research or professional development in Australia, making China the largest source country for non-Australian recipients
  • 27 Australians accepted an Endeavour Scholarship or Fellowship to go to China.

    Professor Tao Xu