School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences

Jason Sharples

Associate Professor Jason Sharples

PhD Uni of Canberra


Telephone: +61 2 6268 9466
Fax: +61 2 6268 9796
Location: PEMS Sth, Room 107

My UNSW Research Gateway Profile

Research Interests:
Bushfire Risk Management, Geometry, Mathematical Physics

Applied and Industrial Mathematics - Bushfires and Combustion


Jason graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics/Physics) and Bachelor of Mathematics in 1995 and an Honours degree in Mathematics in 1996, all from the University of Newcastle. He then completed his PhD in pure mathematics and mathematical physics at the University of Canberra.
In 2001, Jason was appointed as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian National University where he worked on the spatiotemporal analysis of climatic variables such as rainfall and evaporation. In 2006 Jason moved to the School of PEMS where he worked on the Bushfire CRC's HighFire Risk Project.
Between 2008 and 2011 Jason worked in the School of PEMS as a Research Associate on an ARC funded project addressing the existence and stability of combustion waves arising in simplified reaction schemes.

In 2011 Jason was appointed as Lecturer in Mathematics in the School of PEMS, where he works as part of the Applied and Industrial Mathematics Research Group. Jason is currently employed as a Discovery Indigenous Award recipient, working on an ARC funded project concerned with better understanding the dynamics of extreme bushfire development.


Extreme bushfire dynamics:

This research addresses the apparently worsening problem of catastrophic wildfire incidence around the globe. It seeks to provide a better understanding of the processes that can result in the escalation of bushfires to their most destructive state. Particular points of research focus include:

This research also involves collaboration with researchers at the University of Manchester, UK, the University of Coimbra, Portugal and with various Australian and New Zealand bushfire and structural firefighting researchers/organisations.
Further information on aspects of my research conducted in collaboration with Rick McRae from the ACT Emergency Services Agency can be found at:

Instabilities in complex combustion models:

The main aim of this research is to systematically investigate the stability of flame solutions arising in reaction with complex kinetic schemes. Particular attention is directed at reduced kinetic schemes, which consist of only a few reaction steps. This research is applicable to a number of industrial processes where combustion instabilities can lead to undesirable or dangerous situations.  Particular reaction schemes considered include:

Other research interests:

I also have a number of other research interests (in various states of dormancy!), which include:


See the attached file (Publications).


2014-2016: ARC Discovery Indigenous Grant for the project entitled: Understanding the role of terrain geometry in eruptive bushfire behaviour. $360,000
2013-2015: ARC Discovery Indigenous Grant and Discovery Indigenous Award for the project entitled: Investigation of atypical bushfire spread driven by the interaction of wind, terrain and fire. $460,000
2012: UNSW Canberra Special Research Grant for the project entitled: A computational fluid dynamics study of dynamic fire spread mechanisms. $8,000
2012: UNSW Canberra Special Research Grant for the project entitled: Robust data acquisition and control for an electromagnetic wind profiler. $5,000.
2011: UNSW Canberra Rectors Start-up Grant for the project entitled: Investigation of dynamic bushfire mechanisms.$9,600
2011: UNSW Engineering - ADFA Research Collaboration Initiative Grant for the project entitled: Investigation of atypical bushfire spread mechanisms driven by the interaction of terrain and extreme fire weather. $30,000
2010: Australian Academy of Science, Scientific Visits to Europe Program Grant for the project entitled: Analysing complex combustion processes: combustion wave stability and eruptive behaviour of bushfires. $9,000
2000-2002: Indigenous Researchers Development Scheme Grant for the project entitled: On the existence of initial data sets for the Einstein equations in the quasispherical gauge. $12,000

Honours and Awards

2013: Bushfire researchers nominated for Eureka Prize - 13 August 2013

2010: Nominated for the International Association of Wildland Fire's Ember Award for outstanding research into wildland fire.
1996:  Australian Postgraduate Award for PhD research in mathematical general relativity.
1995:  University Medal for Mathematics, University of Newcastle.
1995:  Dean?s Medal, Faculty of Science and Mathematics, University of Newcastle.
1994:  Ivan Lincoln Rose Prize in Applied Mathematics, University of Newcastle.
1994:  Level 300 Mathematics Prize, University of Newcastle.
1993:  George Arkla Harle Memorial Prize in Physics, University of Newcastle.
1992:  Apollo Commemorative Prize in Physics, University of Newcastle.
1991:  Donald Peterson Prize in Chemistry, University of Newcastle