Leesa Sidhu

Deputy Head of School (Education)
Deputy Head of School

PhD Study Opportunities

Are you interested in Graduate Research?  Explore some of the PhD Study Opportunities at UNSW Canberra.  We offer a diverse range of Scholarships Opportunities to domestic and international students to suit you and your situation.

Scholarships of $35,000 (AUD) are available for PhD applicants who achieved H1 (High Distinction) in their undergraduate program and/or have completed a Masters by Research.

Leesa is currently a Lecturer in Statistics and the Postgraduate Coursework Coordinator in the School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences at UNSW Canberra.


  • PhD, 2007, University of NSW.
  • MEdSt, 1998, University of Queensland.
  • DipEd, 1990, University of Queensland.
  • BSc (with 1st class Honours in Mathematics), 1989, University of Queensland.
  • Employed by UNSW Canberra as Associate Lecturer (Feb 1997 - Jan 2000) and as Lecturer from Feb 2007.
  • Employed as High School Mathematics teacher at Bremer State High School, Queensland (Jan 1991 - Jan 1997).

Research Interests: Current projects in my research areas of Statistical Ecology, Mathematical Biology and Education include:-

  • Effect of climatic and oceanographic variables on survival of little penguins
  • Effect of banding on little penguins
  • Bayesian analysis of multiyear tagging and catch-at-age data for southern bluefin tuna
  • Modelling food- and water-borne disease outbreaks
  • Comparing the performances of first-year engineering students at UNSW Canberra

PhD Opportunities: MPhil, MSc and PhD thesis topics for the above research areas are available.

Honours and Awards:

  • UNSW Canberra Rector’s Commendation for Excellence in Classroom Teaching: 2009
  • Highly commended for seminar entitled “Little Penguins: to band or not to band?” at the Australian Statistical Conference in Melbourne: 2008
  • Ria de Groot Prize for the best female postgraduate research student graduating from UNSW Canberra: 2007


Conference Papers
Tran TP; Sidhu L; Tran D, 2021, 'A Framework for Navigating and Enhancing the Use of Digital Assessment', in ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, ACM, pp. 1 - 6, presented at ICSET 2021: 2021 5th International Conference on E-Society, E-Education and E-Technology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3485768.3485803
Fraser PR; Sidhu LA; Jovanoski Z; Hutchison WD; Tran TP; Arnold J, 2020, 'Teaching university physics to students from different school systems: Australia's state-based education', in Journal of Physics: Conference Series
Quill RE; Sharples JJ; Sidhu LA, 2015, 'Effects of post-fire vegetation regrowth in wind fields over complex terrain', in Weber T; McPhee MJ; Anderssen RS (eds.), MODSIM2015, 21st International Congress on Modelling and Simulation., Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand, Broadbeach, Qld, pp. 277 - 283, presented at The 21st International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM2015), Broadbeach, Qld, 29 November 2015 - 04 December 2015, http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000410535400037&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a
Phelps H; Sidhu HS; Sidhu LA, 2014, 'Modelling heat transport in protective fire fighting clothing containing phase change materials', in Chemeca 14 Processing Excellence: Powering Our Future, Chemeca 14 Processing Excellence: Powering Our Future, Perth, Western Australia, presented at Chemeca 14 Processing Excellence: Powering Our Future, Perth, Western Australia, 28 September 2014 - 01 October 2014
Sidhu LA; Catchpole EA; Cullen JM, 1999, 'Analysis of recovery/recapture data for the Little Penguins of Phillip Island', in SEEM3: Statistics in ecology and evironmental monitoring, SEEM3: Statistics in ecology and evironmental monitoring, Otago, New Zealand, presented at SEEM3: Statistics in ecology and evironmental monitoring, Otago, New Zealand, 06 December 1999 - 10 December 1999
Journal articles
Quill R; Sharples JJ; Sidhu LA, 2020, 'A Statistical Approach to Understanding Canopy Winds over Complex Terrain', Environmental Modeling and Assessment, vol. 25, pp. 231 - 250, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10666-019-09674-w
Quill R; Sharples JJ; Wagenbrenner NS; Sidhu LA; Forthofer JM, 2019, 'Modeling Wind Direction Distributions Using a Diagnostic Model in the Context of Probabilistic Fire Spread Prediction', Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering, vol. 5, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmech.2019.00005
Phelps H; Watt S; Sidhu H; Sidhu L, 2018, 'Using phase change materials and air gaps in designing fire fighting suits: a mathematical investigation', Fire Technology, vol. 55, pp. 1 - 19, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10694-018-0794-z
Chambers MS; Sidhu LA; O'Neill B; Sibanda N, 2017, 'Evidence of separate subgroups of juvenile southern bluefin tuna', Ecology and Evolution, vol. 7, pp. 9818 - 9844, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3500
Hao Z; Drake VA; Sidhu L; Taylor JR, 2017, 'Locust displacing winds in eastern Australia reassessed with observations from an insect monitoring radar', International Journal of Biometeorology, vol. 61, pp. 2073 - 2084, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00484-017-1404-3
Chambers MS; Sidhu LA; O'Neill B; Sibanda N, 2017, 'Flexible von Bertalanffy growth models incorporating Bayesian splines', Ecological Modelling, vol. 355, pp. 1 - 11, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2017.03.026
Waters EK; Hamilton AJ; Sidhu HS; Sidhu LA; Dunbar M, 2016, 'Zoonotic Transmission of Waterborne Disease: A Mathematical Model', Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, vol. 78, pp. 169 - 183, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11538-015-0136-y
Waters EK; Sidhu HS; Sidhu LA; Mercer GN, 2015, 'Extended Lotka–Volterra equations incorporating population heterogeneity: Derivation and analysis of the predator–prey case', Ecological Modelling, vol. 297, pp. 187 - 195, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2014.11.019
Ganendran LB; Sidhu LA; Catchpole EA; Chambers LE; Dann MP, 2015, 'Effects of ambient air temperature, humidity and rainfall on annual survival of adult little penguins Eudyptula minor in southeastern Australia', International Journal of Biometeorology, vol. 60, pp. 1 - 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00484-015-1119-2
Chambers MS; O'Neill B; Sidhu LA, 2015, 'Frailty models for the estimation of tag shedding rates with tagger effects', Fisheries Research, vol. 161, pp. 303 - 311, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2014.08.019
Hao Z; Drake A; Sidhu L; Taylor JR, 2014, 'Investigating wind effects on insect migration', ANZIAM Journal, vol. 56, pp. 399 - 415, http://dx.doi.org/10.21914/anziamj.v56i0.9349
Chambers M; Sidhu L; O'Neill B, 2014, 'Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) shed tags at a higher rate in tuna farms than in the open ocean – Two-stage tag retention models', Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, vol. 71, pp. 1220 - 1228, http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2013-0325
Dann P; Sidhu LA; Jessop R; Renwick L; Healy M; Dettmann B; Baker B; Catchpole EA, 2014, 'Effects of flipper bands and injected transponders on the survival of adult Little Penguins', Ibis, vol. 156, pp. 73 - 83, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ibi.12122
Sidhu LA; Dann P; Chambers L; Catchpole EA, 2012, 'Seasonal ocean temperature and the survival of first-year little penguins Eudyptula minor in south-eastern Australia', Marine Ecology - Progress Series, vol. 454, pp. 263 - 272, http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps09709
Sidhu LA; Catchpole EA; Dann P, 2011, 'Modelling banding effect and tag loss for Little Penguins Eudyptula minor', The ANZIAM Journal, vol. 52, pp. C206 - C221, http://anziamj.austms.org.au/ojs/index.php/ANZIAMJ/article/view/3941
Ganendran LB; Sidhu LA; Catchpole EA; Dann P; Chambers L, 2011, 'The effect of directional wind components on survival of Little Penguins Eudyptula minor', The ANZIAM Journal, vol. 52, pp. C1012 - C1030, http://journal.austms.org.au/ojs/index.php/ANZIAMJ/article/view/3956
Sidhu LA; Catchpole EA; Dann P, 2007, 'Mark-Recapture-Recovery Modeling and Age-Related Survival in Little Penguins (Eudyptula Minor)', The Auk, vol. 124, pp. 815 - 827, http://dx.doi.org/10.1642/0004-8038(2007)124[815:MMAASI]2.0.CO;2
Sidhu LA; Carss M, 2000, 'Dynamics modelling activites', Australian Senior Mathematics Journal, vol. 14, pp. 15 - 25
Sidhu LA; Carss M, 1999, 'The Use of practical modelling activities and technology in Queensland senior mathematics', Australian Senior Mathematics Journal, vol. 13, pp. 21 - 32
Theses / Dissertations
Hao Z, 2016, Testing ideas about Australian insect migration using entomological radar observations and a regional scale meteorological model, UNSW, UNSW Canberra
Waters EK, 2014, Modelling Crowding Effects in Infectious Disease Transmission, UNSW Canberra
Sidhu LA, 2007, Analysis of recovery-recapture data for little penguins
Organisational units
lensSchool of Science
Sub Theme
lensApplied & Industrial Mathematics