Researcher Profile

Associate Professor David Coward

David Coward
David Coward

Phone: +61 8 6488 4563

Research Expertise:
  • Astronomy
  • Astrophysics
  • Gamma ray bursts
  • Data analysis
  • Gravitational waves
  • Seismic studies


Astronomy (PHYS 1102) - 6 Lectures
Astronomy (PHYS 2211) - 13 Lectures
Advanced astronomy techniques

2015 to current:

Electricity (first year)
Special Relativity (first year)


BSc Murd., PhD W.Aust.

Current Projects

Coward is a CI on the ARC center of excellence for Gravitational Astronomy.

His core project is gravitational wave data analysis and gamma ray bursts

Coward has enabled many other research projects, including the follow-up of solar system bodies from the Gaia satellite, rare asteroid shape reconstruction using Zadko photometry, coincident optical and radio (MWA) observations of flare stars to name but a few.

New and Noteworthy

Media Impact
My research and collaborations have attracted considerable media interest. In particular the deployment of the UWA Zadko Telescope has allowed UWA to engage in research that the public find exciting and engaging. Below is a sample of national television, radio and print media reports:

ABC News 24, Sydney, ABC News Evenings With Grandstand, Newsreader 28 Feb 2017 7:46 PM

Also broadcast from the following 10 stations
ABC News 24 (Melbourne), ABC News 24 (Regional NSW), ABC News 24 (Brisbane), ABC News 24 (Adelaide), ABC News 24 (Perth), ABC News 24 (Regional Queensland), ABC News 24 (Hobart), ABC News 24 (Canberra), ABC News 24 (Regional Victoria), ABC News 24 (Regional West Australia)

Channel 10, Perth, TEN Eyewitness News, Narelda Jacobs 27 Feb 2017 5:35 PM

Funding Received

Coward and has team has received over $1 Million in funding from the National and State Governments.

Roles, responsibilities and expertise

Research leader:

In 2006, Coward commenced work as project manager and lead scientist for managing the construction, installation and commissioning of the UWA Zadko Telescope. Coward led the Australian team that is working in partnership with French astronomers to establish a network of robotic telescopes (Zadko is the Australian node), for multi-messenger astronomy.
The facility plays a niche role in Australian astronomy, as it is the only meter class optical facility in Australia dedicated to automated follow-up imaging of alerts or triggers received from different external instruments/detectors spanning the entire electromagnetic spectrum.


His early work on gravitational waves focused on modelling and simulation of gravitational wave background noise. This work evolved in new directions, including the development of a new data analysis algorithm that uses records of the temporal and spatial pattern of rare events in data to predict the occurrence of even rarer events. The methods found novel applications well beyond their original focus, such as predicting the occurrence of very bright gamma ray bursts.

Coward has received a broad mentorship that reflects his refusal to be restricted to a single research niche.

In 2004, Coward took the bold step of branching out into gamma ray burst and optical transient astronomy, receiving mentorship from experts in this field including the highly cited Tsvi Piran. Following this Coward received mentorship from B. Schmidt, UWA ICRA leaders, and a team of leading French astronomers, Boer and Klotz, for the installation and operation of the Zadko Telescope (Australia’s premier facility for gamma ray burst follow-up).
Coward is a member of the LIGO Scientific Community (burst group), and participates in the E.M. follow-up of gravitational wave events as an “advocate” and is named on an MoU for a joint France/Zadko follow-up. He is also named as an investigator on the high-energy detector satellite mission XMM-Newton. In 2013, Coward was invited to collaborate with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Antarctic astronomy. This allowed access to optical data from robotic telescopes (AST3) operating at Dome C Antarctica.

ID: 66964

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