PhD Elevate Scholarship - CQUniversity, Reef Trust and Burnett Mary Regional Group Partnership (Fish Habitats)

**Closing date extended. This scholarship opportunity is still open for applications. Please contact Dr Nicole Flint ( to submit your application or if you have any questions.** As part of a multi-million dollar Reef Trust project on Integrated Habitat Restoration for the Discovery Coast, the Burnet Mary Regional Group and the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) at CQUniversity are leading a project to improve hydrology and reopen fish passage ways in Declared Fish Habitat Areas. Habitat connectivity is recognised as a key feature of healthy marine ecosystems, with implications for fish movements and habitat use. This project will be conducted in parallel with large scale restoration activities, to assess the change in fish habitat and fish movements associated with restoring connectivity in a declared Fish Habitat Areas. The economic value of the restoration will be assessed in terms of improvements that support fisheries productivity. The project has three main themes. Firstly, to assess current and future connectivity at the restoration sites, secondly to investigate the utilisation of the newly created habitats and passageways by commercial fish species, and finally to analyse the economic value of improved connectivity. The student will gain valuable skills and training in fundamental higher degree research including systematic literature searches, field and laboratory experimental design and quantitative methods, data collection and statistical analysis, project management, and scientific writing. The student will be hosted at CQUniversity’s Gladstone Marina campus in Queensland, with opportunity to travel to other campuses in Bundaberg to meet with partner organisations. However, given the current COVID-19 situation, the location for the first 6 months of desk-based literature review is very flexible. Selection of applicants will be based on merit.

Scholarship Value: $30,000 stipend per year

Length of Scholarship: 3 years

Number Available: 1

Opening Date: 15 January 2021

Closing Date: 31 March 2021

Study LevelPostgraduate (Research)
Year of StudyFuture; First year
Study RegionGladstone Queensland
Study ModeOn-campus
Study LoadFull time

To be eligible for the Scholarship, an applicant must:

  1. have completed a bachelor degree with Honours I or IIA, or be regarded by CQUniversity as having an equivalent level of attainment. The degree should be in the field of biology, chemistry, environmental science or another relevant field;
  2. be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident of Australia, or an international applicant eligible for a student visa for temporary residence and already be living in Australia at time of application due to travel restrictions that are currently in place in Australia due to COVID-19;
  3. be approved for admission and enrolling in a Doctor of Philosophy in the College of Science and Sustainability;
  4. enrol full-time and be an internal candidate at CQUniversity’s Gladstone campus.
  5. not previously have held a Commonwealth Government-funded or CQUniversity- funded postgraduate research scholarship, unless it was terminated within six months of the scholarship’s payments commencing; and
  6. must not be receiving an equivalent award, scholarship or salary providing a benefit greater than 75% of the Scholarship stipend rate to undertake a research higher degree.

Applications are invited from candidates who have or can demonstrate:

  1. potential in critical thinking, quantitative research, and statistical analysis;
  2. strong marine field experience, particularly in fish sampling;
  3. excellent communication skills and ability to engage with community organisations;
  4. strong planning and organisational skills, with the ability to work systematically, prioritise tasks and meet deadlines;
  5. well-developed computer skills, including experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Endnote, and SPSS or similar statistical software.  In addition, previous experience in fish habitat assessments or fish ecology is desirable, but not essential.

The successful applicant will be encouraged to publish peer-reviewed scientific papers related to their thesis during the period of candidature, in collaboration with the supervisory team. The successful candidate will be required to engage with community organisations, and travel for data collection purposes within the Central Queensland region. The successful applicant must commence their candidature early in 2021 (but as noted above, this can be achieved remotely for the first six months).  The successful candidate will become a member of the vibrant Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) at CQUniversity’s Gladstone campus. This growing research group includes over 20 staff and students who share a goal to undertake research that works with nature to build an economically and environmentally sustainable future to enrich our coastal communities. At CMERC, rather than just monitoring the condition of the environment, we take a holistic approach by undertaking proactive applied research that stretches from coastal catchments to the sea, facilitating the development of practical solutions to the challenges facing coastal and marine ecosystems. CMERC is the only coastal and marine research facility based in Central Queensland and features world-class research equipment and laboratories with access to cutting-edge analytical capabilities. CMERC staff have strong links with local industry and community groups and are working closely with Traditional Owners to empower them as custodians of Land and Sea Country. CMERC also actively collaborates with a number of internationally renowned research groups. This scholarship will provide the PhD Candidate with a strong research environment with ample opportunities for research collaborations at the national and international level.

If available, please include examples of scientific writing (e.g. published scientific articles, research reports, thesis) in the scholarship application.

The application should be submitted by e-mail to Dr Nicole Flint. The commencement date is negotiable. Please contact Nicole for any questions regarding the project and flexibility options of location for initial commencement until the student can be located at CMERC, Gladstone.  Please include in the application:

  1. A letter of motivation describing your skills and research expertise,
  2. Your current resume and academic transcripts together with a list of your publications (if any) and projects,
  3. A list of three references together with contact information, and
  4. If available, examples of scientific writing (e.g. published scientific articles, research reports, thesis).
Applicants will be notified via email as soon as the application outcome is available.
CQUniversity, Reef Trust and Burnett Mary Regional Group