PhD Scholarship on Livelihood Alternatives to Support Reforestation | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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PhD Scholarship on Livelihood Alternatives to Support Reforestation

Closed. USC is no longer accepting expressions of interest.

Reference Code


Open to

Domestic and International Students

HDR Program

Doctor of Philosophy

Study area

Humanities, psychology and social sciences

Scholarship includes

Living stipend and Tuition fee scholarship for 3 years with the possibility of a 6-month extension in approved circumstances. Overseas Student Health Cover (single cover only) for maximum 57 months.

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

Forest Restoration in the Philippines

Despite the large global commitments on ecosystem restoration and carbon emission reductions, there are still significant knowledge gaps on how to implement forest restoration projects for the generation of carbon credits to optimise community, climate, and biodiversity benefits. The project team is implementing a large research for development project aimed at improving our understanding on how to implement large-scale rehabilitation of deforested and degraded forest landscapes and enhance the socioeconomic status of communities through providing sustainable livelihoods. It draws on over 20 years of past research undertaken by members of the research team on reforestation in the Philippines. Using an action research approach, we are working with communities in the Philippines to restore deforested and degraded landscapes, which will create a ‘living laboratory’ to address key research and policy issues.

This living laboratory provides a unique opportunity to undertake research on a ‘real-life’ project which will provide invaluable insights into how reforestation projects elsewhere in the Philippines and in other tropical countries can be better implemented. Research activities are  targeted at addressing critical gaps in knowledge in both STEM and humanities and are informed by lessons learned and experience gained from previous research.

The PhD project will be part of one or a subset of the key themes  listed below:
  1. Improving reforestation project design and funding;
  2. Improving stakeholder engagement;
  3. Afforestation, reforestation, and revegetation systems;
  4. Livelihood projects to support reforestation;
  5. Socioeconomic aspects of reforestation;
  6. Use of Remote Sensing in monitoring carbon sequestration ;
  7. Modelling and measuring carbon stocks and accumulation; and
  8. Policy and governance related to reforestation.

The student will be part of a cohort of up to fifteen PhD students working on the topics above. The research team is comprised of senior Australian, Filipino, and international researchers. This scholarship provides great opportunities for collaboration, networking, and learning.

PhD Topic and Ideal Candidate

The PhD project will be focused on identifying livelihood opportunities to support reforestation interventions. This will likely include using qualitative research methods, and carrying out value-chain and financial analyses. The PhD student will look at examples from communities involved in reforestation in Project Tarsier.

The ideal applicant will have experience undertaking field-based research in a tropical country. The candidate will be required to undertake field work in the Philippines for up to two months at a time. The applicant should be proactive, capable of working independently and culturally aware.


For questions or to submit your Expression of Interest, please contact Liz Ota by directing your email to

  • Be accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy program at the University of the Sunshine Coast
  • Not have an equivalent qualification to the one for which is currently being applied for
  • Have a First-Class Bachelor Honours Degree, or show equivalent level of achievement with other academic qualifications or professional research experience
  • Be based in Australia at the time of application and commencement of program or willing to relocate once the borders open.
  • Be based in Australia during the PhD program and be able to travel overseas to carry out research work
  • Experience in research on forestry or agricultural value-chains
  • Background on Economics or Business
Selection criteria

Standard Criteria

  • Criterion 1: Academic Achievement (Assess the quality of the candidate's academic performance).
  • Criterion 2: Research Capability (Assess evidence of research preparedness and capability)

Project Specific Criteria

  • Ability to work on remote locations