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PhD Elevate Scholarship: Application of Non-Market Valuation Techniques to Assess the Importance of Environmental Assets and Functions

School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences

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Rockhampton Australia Environmental Biology Marine Biology Marine Sciences Economics

About the Project

The Opportunity

Central Queensland University and Gladstone Ports Corporation seek an independent and highly motivated graduate with experience in environmental economics to undertake research into the application of non-market valuation techniques to assess the importance of environmental assets and functions to the broader community. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to contribute to the implementation of “working-with-nature” solutions for a planned large project in a major port in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and hence to produce research with a tangible and immediate impact.

Coastal defences built using traditional methods typically replace natural habitats, disrupt ecological connectivity and can mediate the invasion of pest species.  However, incorporating relatively small design modifications that create “novel ecosystems”, the environmental, social and economic value of coastal works can be greatly improved.  The development of effective “working-with-nature” approaches, that align engineering and ecological objectives, is a highly topical and rapidly growing area for research.

They will develop techniques to quantify the value of ecosystem services in Gladstone Harbour, with the aim of setting benchmark values that can be applied through benefit transfer to other similar situations. Specific goals to be addressed during the PhD include:

  • to identify protection values for natural ecosystems and ecosystem services in a port area, and to compare those to protection values for similar ecosystems in other areas;
  • to develop metrics for reclaimed and modified ecosystems, and to compare those with the more standard methods used to quantify the protection of existing natural systems;
  • to assess values for ecosystem services from modified environments, and to compare these with ecosystem service values from natural environments.

Central Queensland University – About Us

With the largest footprint of any university in Australia and a comprehensive range of TAFE and university courses available online or on campus, CQUniversity is committed to our belief that higher education should be for everyone. We've achieved excellent results year-on-year for our research quality and graduate employability, and are Australia's first and only Changemaker Campus recognised by global social innovation group Ashoka U. Follow this link for a video on CQUniversity:

The Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) has recently opened on the Gladstone Marina and is the only coastal marine research facility based in Central Queensland. CMERC has a specific focus on the Southern Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and researches how the industry and marine ecosystems can thrive beside each other in harmony. CMERC is also proud to host Queensland’s first and only seagrass nursery. Follow this link to learn more about CMERC:

Gladstone – Southern Great Barrier Reef ‘Where Great Begins

The Gladstone Region may very well be one of Australia’s best kept secrets. If you are searching for pristine beaches, marvelous coral islands, and plenty of national parks, then look no further. Boasting the iconic Town of 1770 along the Discovery Coast in the south, the gorgeous Heron Island just a short boat ride away, and a view like no other from the Round Hill lookout, the region has much to offer.

Known as a bustling hive of various industries, the thriving hub of the region is Gladstone. The city prides itself on constant monitoring and improvements on coastal vegetation, air quality, and conservation programs to keep the region welcoming residents, visitors, and travelers, all-year round.

Follow this link for a video on our wonderful region, thanks to Queensland Aerial

 Selection Criteria:

Applications are invited from candidates who have or can demonstrate:

A degree in economics, environmental/resource economics, ecological economics, environmental management, or equivalent (Honours or MSc).

An interest in environmental economics and ecosystem services.

Familiarity with data handling and statistical analysis.

Ability to work independently in the field.

Ability to meet deadlines.

Teamwork skills.

An interest in working with industry or external stakeholders.

For more information:

Please note: to apply for this opportunity, you will need to be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident of Australia, or an international applicant eligible for a student visa for temporary residence and already be living in Australia at time of application due to travel restrictions that are currently in place in Australia due to COVID-19.

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