ARC Discovery Project PhD Scholarship in Landscape Evolution and Indigenous Knowledge | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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ARC Discovery Project PhD Scholarship in Landscape Evolution and Indigenous Knowledge

Accepting expressions of interest until midnight 27 July 2022.

Reference Code


Open to

Domestic & International Students

Study Load

Must remain enrolled on a full-time basis


Contrasting Histories of Coastal Barrier Evolution: Indigenous and Scientific Narratives of the Origin and Evolution of the Younghusband Peninsula (SA)

A PhD scholarship is available for an ARC Discovery project examining the geomorphology and evolution of the Younghusband Peninsula in South Australia.

This PhD research involves the compilation of Indigenous stories explaining the origin and evolution of natural coastal barriers (barrier beaches) with special focus on the Younghusband Peninsula (SA). This process will involve the collection and critical analysis of oral accounts, some obtained directly from living knowledgeholders; from information in various archives; and from surveys of field sites. Key incidents in barrier evolution will be identified and compared with similar transformative events identified through scientific studies. This research builds on the demonstration that numerous Australian stories about coastal change have endured more than 7000 years and that these stories contain many details that agree with those obtained from science-based narratives. This PhD project is well suited to someone with experience of working ethically with Indigenous Australians and having a history or anthropology background, and/or someone with experience of the evolution of soft-sediment coasts. The successful applicant is likely to be someone with some understanding of these fields.

The candidate will be supervised by Prof Patrick Nunn (Quaternary geology, coastal geography, oral history) at the University of the Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia) and will join a multi-disciplinary, international team led by Professor Patrick Hesp (coastal & aeolian geomorphology) and including Dr Graziela Miot da Silva (marine geology; oceanography), Prof Colin Murray-Wallace (Quaternary geology), Dr Tora Tamura (geology, dating), Prof Sergio Dillenburg (Quaternary geology), Dr Ian Moffat (geophysics, archaeology), Prof Robert Bourman (coastal geology and geomorphology), Dr Christopher Wilson (archaeology), and Dr Roger Luebbers (coastal archaeology).

  • Be accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy program at the University of the Sunshine Coast
Selection criteria
  • Criterion 1: Academic Achievement
  • Criterion 2: Research Capability

Ideal Candidate 

This PhD scholarship is for three years full time and tenable in the School of Law and Society at the University of the Sunshine Coast (Queensland) but is also linked to UniSC’s Sustainability Research Centre and its Indigenous and Transcultural Research Centre. The candidate should preferably have a Masters degree in an appropriate discipline. Candidates with a first-class Honours degree will also be considered. Previous experience working with coastal systems and/or Indigenous knowledges will be advantageous. We will also consider a cotutelle arrangement.


Eligible programs
Doctor of Philosophy

Contact Person: Patrick Nunn 

This will be a two-stage application process:

Stage 1 - Expression of Interest: 

  • Download and complete the USC Research Scholarship (USCRS) application form.
  • Email your Expression of Interest (EOI) to the contact person and attach:
    • USCRS application form
    • Motivation letter
    • Current CV
    • Two Referee names and emails
  • The scholarship panel will review the EOI. If shortlisted, you will be invited for interview.
  • The preferred applicant will be invited to formally apply for HDR program and Scholarship.

Stage 2 - Formal application (only if you have been invited to apply)

  • Read the important information on How to Apply for a HDR Program at UniSC.
  • Submit your USCRS application form as a supporting document when submitting your HDR Program application.

*Scholarship offer is subject to applicant meeting the eligibility requirements for entry into a higher degree by research program at UniSC.