PhD Elevate Scholarship - CQUniversity and Gladstone Ports Corporation Partnership (Environmental Economics)

**Closing date extended. This scholarship is still open for applications. Please contact A/Prof Emma Jackson ( to submit your application or if you have any questions.** We seek an independent and highly motivated graduate with experience in environmental economics to undertake research into the application of non-market valuation techniques to assess the importance of environmental assets and functions to the broader community. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to contribute to the implementation of “working-with-nature” solutions for a planned large project in a major port in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and hence to produce research with a tangible and immediate impact.

Scholarship Value: $30,000 stipend per year and access to an operational budget to support research expenses

Length of Scholarship: 3 years

Number Available: 1

Opening Date: 29 July 2020

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;
  2. be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident of Australia or 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 School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences at CQUniversity;
  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. A degree in economics, environmental/resource economics, ecological economics, environmental management, or equivalent (Honours or MSc)
  2. An interest in environmental economics and ecosystem services
  3. Familiarity with data handling and statistical analysis
  4. Ability to work independently in the field
  5. Ability to meet deadlines
  6. Teamwork skills
  7. An interest in working with industry or external stakeholders.

Candidates with equivalent or complementary experience are also encouraged to apply.

Coastal defences built using traditional methods typically replace natural habitats, disrupt ecological connectivity and can mediate the invasion of pest species.  However, incorporating relatively small design modifications that create “novel ecosystems”, the environmental, social and economic value of coastal works can be greatly improved.  The development of effective “working-with-nature” approaches, that align engineering and ecological objectives, is a highly topical and rapidly growing area for research.

They will develop techniques to quantify the value of ecosystem services in Gladstone Harbour, with the aim of setting benchmark values that can be applied through benefit transfer to other similar situations. Specific goals to be addressed during the PhD include:

  • to identify protection values for natural ecosystems and ecosystem services in a port area, and to compare those to protection values for similar ecosystems in other areas;
  • to develop metrics for reclaimed and modified ecosystems, and to compare those with the more standard methods used to quantify the protection of existing natural systems;
  • to assess values for ecosystem services from modified environments, and to compare these with ecosystem service values from natural environments.

The position will be based at CQUniversity’s Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) in Gladstone, Australia.  Just a one-hour flight from Brisbane International Airport, Gladstone houses one of Australia’s leading multi-commodity ports, and is a gateway to the adjacent Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.  The CMERC headquarters, located on the Gladstone Marina, boast world-class facilities and access to cutting-edge research equipment for coastal and marine science.  The position will involve working closely with scientists from CMERC and with the Port of Gladstone.

The PhD Candidate will be part of the vibrant Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) at CQUniversity’s Gladstone campus. The research group includes 20 staff with a goal to undertake research that works with nature to build an economically and environmentally sustainable future to enrich our coastal communities.  CMERC is the only coastal 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 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.

The position will be supervised by Professor John Rolfe.

Applications must include all necessary supporting documents. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applicants will need to supply the following supporting documentation:

  • Written submission
  • CQUniversity unofficial transcript
  • Documents demonstrating community involvement, exemplary work or demonstration of leadership
  • Resume

Enquiries and applications should be submitted by e-mail to Professor John Rolfe.  All supporting documentation should be included within a single email.  The selection process will commence on 31 March 2021, but applications received after that date will be considered until the position is filled.

The application should include:

  1. A cover letter describing how your skills and research expertise address the selection criteria;
  2. Your current resume and academic transcripts together with a list of publications and projects;
  3. Names of two referees, together with email and phone contact information; and
  4. If applicable, examples of scientific writing (e.g. published scientific articles, research reports, thesis).
All applicants will be notified to their nominated email address of the result of their application once the selection process has finalised.
CQUniversity and Gladstone Ports Corporation