Destination Australia PhD Scholarship 2022 | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Destination Australia PhD Scholarship 2022

Currently accepting expressions of interest 

Destination Australia | Australian Government Department of Education


The Australian Government Department of Education and USC have joined together to offer a Higher Degree by Research Destination Australia PhD Scholarship. This scholarship aims to attract and support HDR students to study in regional Australia.


Reference Code


Open to

Domestic applicants

Degree program

Doctor of Philosophy

Research Field

Animal Ecology and Environmental Science

Scholarship value

Combined total value of AU$28,854 (2022 rate) per annum tax-free, rate is indexed annually commensurate with the RTP base stipend rate.


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

Study Load

Must remain enrolled on a full-time basis.


Must be enrolled in USC Fraser Coast Campus

USC Fraser Coast researchers are working on exciting projects and have an opportunity for a PhD student to work on the below project: 
Project: Ecology of freshwater habitats in a World Heritage Landscape - K’gari (Fraser Island)
The Project

K'gari (Fraser Island) is World Heritage listed in part due to its aquatic ecosystems, which includes half of the world's perched lakes and unique peat swamps with significant carbon sequestration. Despite the island’s high significance to the region’s traditional owners (Butchulla), the World Heritage status and protection as a National Park, the island has had major historical and contemporary disturbances (logging, sand mining, and tourism). Threats associated with climate change, such as altered fire and hydrological regimes, are likely to be especially relevant for the island’s aquatic ecosystems.

Unfortunately, our current ecological knowledge of these systems is extremely low, which undermines our ability to protect and conserve them and fulfil our World Heritage obligations. This project will be the first major study of freshwater ecosystems with an emphasis on data deficient keystone species such as freshwater turtles and aquatic invertebrates.

Based out of our Hervey Bay campus, we will be utilizing USC's Environmental Teaching and Research Centre on K'gari (Dilli Village).

The ideal candidate will have skills in animal ecology, statistical analysis using r, field ecology experience. In would be an advantage if they experience in population genetics, eDNA, environmental chemistry, ARC GIS (or QGIS), camera trapping, BRUVs, connection to country.

Supervision Team

Primary supervisor- Assoc Prof Kathy Townsend

 Co-supervisors - Dr. Gabriel Conroy, Prof Cathy Yule, and Dr. Ross Dwyer

Contact Person

For questions about this project or to submit your Expression of Interest, direct your enquiry to Assoc Prof Kathy Townsend.

For enquiries related to the scholarship application process, please direct your enquiry 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 your Expression of Interest (EOI) to the contact person and attach:
    • USCRS application form
    • Cover letter
    • Current CV
  • 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 USC.
  • 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
  • Applications can only be accepted from Domestic students
Selection criteria

Standard Criteria

Criterion 1: Academic Achievement

Criterion 2: Research Capability

Project Specific Criteria

Criterion 3: Demonstrate skills in animal ecology, statistical analysis using r, and field ecology experience

Criterion 4: Desirable, but not required: experience in population genetics, eDNA, environmental chemistry, ARC GIS (or QGIS), camera trapping, BRUVs, and connection to country.