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Sustainable agriculture top-up scholarship

Students are offered the opportunities to push the boundaries in knowledge exchange, stakeholder engagement and governance to support sustainable agriculture. Sustainable Farms will provide, top-up scholarship of $8,000 per annum to the successful applicant.

Farming occurs across almost half of Australia’s land mass, meaning that research to improve land management practices can have enormous cumulative environmental benefits, while also contributing to the profitability and sustainability of Australian farms. Our understanding of the value of the ecosystem services provided to the farm enterprise by well-managed green infrastructure is continuing to emerge. Related to this, there is a pressing need to develop policy frameworks that reflect and support the value of nature based solutions.

Sustainable Farms is an interdisciplinary initiative aimed at understanding and communicating opportunities for improved environmental and financial sustainability of Australian farms, and the well-being of the farmers that operate them.

Sustainable Farms is currently running several research projects, which will document and assess the value of specific natural asset management activities, including shelterbelts and enhancing farm dams.  A central objective of Sustainable Farms is to create a platform for this research that brings together different values and social relations. This will create a generative process that produces new interactions and forms of knowledge to shape the design and implementation of policies and programs, which will support sustainable agriculture.

Projects that explore the specific practices involved in knowledge co-production to support the goals and objectives of Sustainable Farms will be regarded highly. More generally, we are looking to fund PhD research on work that sits at the intersection of land management, communication and engagement.

Potential research projects include, but are not limited to:

  • An investigation of the different forms of expertise that exist within agriculture relating to the value of ecosystem services.
  • A specific focus on interactional expertise for creating meaningful exchanges between scientists and non-scientists (farmers, finance actors and policy makers) is preferred.
  • An exploration of the challenges of complex collaborative research

Applicants should contact the Director of Sustainable Farms Michelle Young to discuss potential projects. Applicants will build a panel involving both the CPAS and FSES potentially including Dr Chris Cvitanovic, Dr Will Grant and Professor David Lindenmayer.

Duration and benefits

The successful applicants will be offered a PhD top-up stipend of AUD$8000 p.a., for the duration of three years (full time) plus a possible 6 month extension. The top-up will only be awarded to applicants that have been successful in securing an offer of admission to a relevant HDR program in the College of Science, and a PhD Scholarship stipend – see below.

Applicant requirements          

A bachelor’s degree with first-class honours or a research master’s degree from a recognised university is a prerequisite. Peer-reviewed publications are an advantage. Selection is based on academic merit and the applicant’s research proposal. Successful applicants will have experience in social science research and natural resource management experience will be highly regarded.

Domestic and International applicants must obtain admission to a relevant HDR program in the College of Science, and maintain a PhD (stipend) Scholarship at The Australian National University (2019 rate: AU$27,596p.a. tax free; see below). In addition, applicants must hold a full Tuition Fee Scholarship.

Applicants would be expected to commence their doctoral programs in early 2020.

Application process and closing dates

Interested individuals are invited to discuss the project with Michelle Young and must submit a CV and a one page statement of possible research directions to her by 31 August 2019 for international applicants or 15 October 2019 for domestic applicants. Please email or call 02 6125 1404.

The closing dates for applications for a PhD stipend scholarship at The Australian National University are: International – 31 August 2019; Domestic – 31 October 2019.

Queries regarding scholarship matters can be directed to the HDR Coordinator at

Research at The Australian National University

In the latest World University Rankings, The Australian National University was the top-ranked institution in Australia for environmental research. The Fenner School of Environment and Society has a large, dynamic community of PhD students who are provided with high quality office facilities, computer and statistical support, and access to field equipment, laboratory facilities and a fleet of 4WD vehicles. Students are encouraged to collaborate widely and attend national and international conferences.