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Staff Profile

Dr Robert Madden

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Senior Lecturer
Office of the Provost
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Bentley Campus
08 9266 2456


Robert joined Curtin as a PhD candidate in 2009, having completed an MSci (Hons) degree in Geoscience at the University of Durham (UK) in 2008. He was awarded his PhD in 2013 for his thesis "Modern and Neogene analogues for productive subsurface carbonate systems in SE Asia" completed under a Curtin International Postgraduate Research Scholarship. Robert was intitially appointed in a joint postdoctoral research and teaching capacity, continuing research projects in modern and ancient carbonate petrology and sedimentology and responsible for the development of the BSc Applied Geology, first-year first-semester, fundamental geology unit. In 2015 Robert was appointed as a teaching focused academic with teaching responisbilities across all modes of study and undergraduate course coordination duties.

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Memberships, Awards and Training

Professional Memberships

  • Fellow of the Geological Society of London

Board Memberships

  • Curtin board member: Australian Universities Geoscience Educators Network (AUGEN)


  • 2016 Faculty of Science and Engineering Excellence in Teaching Award (Early Career)
  • 2015 Curtin University Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award (Early Career)
  • 2015 Faculty of Science and Engineering Certificate of Commendation for Excellence in Teaching
  • 2014 Curtin Student Guild Excellence in Teaching Award (Undergraduate Lecturer)
  • 2014 Curtin Student Guild Excellence in Teaching Honourable Mention (Postgraduate Lecturer)

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Robert's teaching is focussed on fundamental geology, palaeontology and sedimentology and subsequently spans Earth-structure, -composition and -system history, Plate Tectonics, mineralogy, igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic petrology, field skills and scienctific communication.

Robert teaches in the following units:


  • GEOL1005 Fundamentals of Geology 1 (Unit Coordinator)
  • GEOL1003 Evolving Earth Systems and Palaeontology (Unit Coordinator)
  • GEOL2004 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (Unit Coordinator)
  • GEOL2008 Geology Field Techniques
  • GEOL1004 Geoscience, Environment and Society
  • GEOL3000 Basin Analysis


  • GEOL5007 Energy Resources (Unit Coordinator)

Robert's teaching interests lie in the improvement of student engagement and retention, and humanisation of the online environment. Through his undergraduate teaching Robert is keenly involved in the development of learning activities and resources that span the traditional and online environments and draw on gamification, social learning, behaviourist and constructivist pedagogical principles. Preferring a practical based learning approach Robert has iteratively refined and improved the Departments largest and most diverse (student cohort) unit into an inclusive, resource rich learning environment. Through his online postgraduate teaching Robert has focussed on principles of humanisation and connectivism to develop teacher presence and peer-learning for what are often remote distance learners. Robert's teaching practice has been recognised through multiple teaching excellence awards and invitations to present workshops at several science educator conferences.

Robert is also involved in the Peer Review of Teaching program, an Academic Misconduct Investigative Officer and the Applied Geology Mentor Program Coordinator. He is also an Open Door Teacher, a program designed as a collegial way of sharing aspects of teaching excellence with other teachers. Staff and visiting academics are welcome to learn from conversations generated through watching my teaching  (more information can be found at:

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Research Fields

    Earth Sciences

  • Sedimentology
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Research Interests

Robert’s research aims to understand how the depositional and diagenetic conditions unique to the equatorial tropics influences regional carbonate development in SE Asia. The main focus of his work is centred on better understanding the controlling influences and sedimentological processes that are responsible for the distribution and sedimentary characteristics of coral reef related settings. Robert's work involves the use of field observation, remote sensing, standard and SEM petrologic investigations, stable isotope geochemistry, trace and major element studies and assessments of geomorphology utilising GIS. Additionally Robert holds interests in linking modern and ancient carbonate deposits through the use of palaeontology and statistical analysis. Through this work there is also the possibility of establishing links between carbonate sediment productivity and transport in ecologically important marine ecosystems. Furthermore Robert has interests in the porosity of biologically derived carbonate sediments with a view to produce models that better explain the distribution, development and preservation of porosity in the subsurface.

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Featured Publications

Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)

  • Madden, R. H. C., M. E. J. Wilson, M. Mihaljević, J. M. Pandolfi, and K. Welsh. 2017. "Unravelling the depositional origins and diagenetic alteration of carbonate breccias." Sedimentary Geology 357: 33-52.


Journal Articles (Research)


Journal Articles (Research)

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