PhD Stipend Scholarship - to Investigate Microplastic Contamination in Seagrass Meadows

The Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) at CQU Gladstone Marina campus is offering a PhD scholarship to investigate microplastic contamination in seagrass meadows. The project has three main themes – to establish a baseline of microplastic abundance; determine settling, trapping and resuspension mechanisms of seagrass; investigate grazer interactions. The project will be carried out using field-collected samples, mesocosm experimental trials and laboratory analysis (identification and verification). The student will gain valuable skills and training in fundamental higher degree research including systematic literature searches, study design qualitative and quantitative methods, data collection and analyses, project management, statistics and scientific writing. The student will be hosted at CQUniversity, Gladstone campus, with opportunity to collaborate with researchers of the other universities. 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. The PhD scholar will be supervised by Dr. Angela Capper (Research Fellow), CMERC, Assoc. Prof. Andrew Irving, Central Queensland Innovation Research Precinct (CQIRP) and Dr. Amie Anastasi, CQIRP.

Scholarship Value: $28,092 (per year, indexed)

Length of Scholarship: 3 years

Number Available: 1

Opening Date: 31 March 2020

Closing Date: 30 June 2020

Study LevelPostgraduate (Research)
Year of StudyFuture; First Year
Study RegionGladstone Queensland
Study ModeMixed Mode
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 eligible for a student visa for temporary residence.
  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. potential in qualitative and quantitative research and statistical analysis;
  2. abilities to review and critique literature extensively and systematically;
  3. excellent communication skills and able 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 microplastics research is desirable, but not essential. Candidates with chemical contaminants and/or pollutants are also encouraged to apply.

The successful applicant will be required to publish papers related to their thesis during the period of candidature. 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 in 2020 (but as noted above, this can be remotely for the first six months).

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. At CMERC, rather than just monitoring the condition of the environment, we take a holistic approach by undertaking proactive applied research from coastal catchments to sea to develop 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 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 ( no later than close of business (5 pm EST) on 30 June 2020. The commencement date is negotiable. Please contact Dr Angela Capper 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 a list of your publications 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).
All applicants will be notified via email to their nominated email address as soon as the application outcome is available.