Defence Research Project | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

Defence Research Project

Currently accepting applications until 18 October.

Reference Code


Open to

Domestic Students

HDR Program

Doctor of Philosophy

Study area

Engineering, planning and science

Scholarship includes

Living stipend for 3 years with the possibility of a 6-month extension in approved circumstances.

Operational funding is covered by this project, which includes return travel from Darwin to the University of the Sunshine Coast twice annually.

Living Stipend value

AU$28,854 (2022 rate) per annum tax-free, paid in fortnightly instalments. The rate is indexed annually commensurate with the RTP base stipend rate.

Study Load

Must remain enrolled on a full-time basis



Title: larval biology and marine biofouling solutions for the oyster Planostrea pestigris.

The University of the Sunshine Coast, in partnership with the Australian Government and the Northern Territory Government Fisheries Division, is recruiting a PhD candidate to conduct research on larval biology and the effect of biocides on the biofouling oyster Planostrea pestigris. This project will investigate the larval biology of P. pestigris to better understand the environmental conditions responsible for larval settlement events. It will also investigate the efficacy of various biocides deter fouling under laboratory and field conditions. This applied research project should generate outcomes appropriate for application on marine vessels.

Key project activities include:

  1. Review existing literature and available data on settlement timing and cues for P. pestigris;
  2. Describe larval development and settlement timing of P. pestigris under hatchery conditions;
  3. Investigate the efficacy of various biocides to deter settlement of P. pestigris within the hatchery;
  4. Investigate the efficacy of various biocides to deter settlement of P. pestigris within the field; and
  5. Generate research outputs and management options, appropriate for application on vessels.

Following confirmation of candidature at USC, research activities will be based at the Darwin Aquaculture Centre (DAC) in Darwin, with facility for regular trips between DAC and UniSC.

Ideal Candidate

Candidates will ideally have the following characteristics:

  1. Prior bivalve mollusc hatchery experience, preferably with oysters;
  2. Experience conducting field research in remote and challenging conditions;
  3. A self-starter, highly motivated person with a strong ‘team’ ethic; and
  4. Prior research and research reporting experience.

Applicants should be an Australian citizen.


For questions or to submit your Expression of Interest, please contact Professor Paul Southgate by directing your email to:

How to apply

This will be a two-stage application process:

Stage 1 - Expression of Interest:

  • Download and complete the USC Research Scholarship (USCRS) application form.
  • Email an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the contact person and attach:
    • Attach the USCRS application form
    • Cover letter
    • CV – Please ensure you list details of 3 referees
  • 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 USC.

  • Be accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy program at the University of the Sunshine Coast
  • Must be an Australian Citizen
  • Have a First-Class Bachelor Honours Degree, or show equivalent level of achievement with other academic qualifications or professional research experience
Selection criteria

Standard Criteria

Criterion 1: Academic Achievement

Criterion 2: Research Capability

Project Specific Criteria

Criterion 3: Research experience with bivalve molluscs/oysters

Criterion 4: Willing to be based primarily in Darwin