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Understanding and mapping how thermal and dietary constraints combine to restrict koala habitat and determine refugia

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, September 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) is a research institute within Western Sydney University. HIE has rapidly become a research leader in environmental and ecological research, with a strong reputation for delivering research outcomes of the highest quality. HIE is home to a team of over 50 academic research scientists and more than 80 PhD students, with access to a unique suite of world-class research facilities.

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate to undertake a 3-year research-driven PhD program in koala physiological ecology and/or remote sensing and/or bioenergetic modelling of koala food resource quality commencing in 2019. The successful candidate will be part of a broader project with common goals. Given the multidisciplinary nature of the project, we encourage applicants with interest and expertise in vertebrate nutritional ecology, physiological ecology (particularly thermal and metabolic physiology), remote sensing and/or species distribution modelling to apply. The project provides ample opportunity to develop new skills.

The scholarship on offer is part of an exciting new project ‘Understanding and mapping how thermal and dietary constraints combine to restrict koala habitat and determine refugia’ funded by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage as part of their NSW Koala Strategy research program. The project has been designed to address research gaps identified by the Koala Research Plan and by an expert elicitation process.
The position will be based at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment on the Hawkesbury Campus of Western Sydney University, Richmond, NSW, with fieldwork at sites at locations elsewhere in NSW. Depending on the eventual research focus of the PhD within the overall project, the student may be required to spend periods of time visiting with collaborators and co-supervisors at the ANU or the University of Melbourne.


• Domestic students will receive a tax free stipend of $30,000 per annum and a funded place in the doctoral degree.
• International students will receive a tax free stipend of $30,000 per annum. Those with a strong track record will receive a fee waiver.
• All International students are required to hold an Overseas Student Health Care (OSHC) policy covering the duration of their studies in Australia. The HIE will provide funding for a single Overseas Student Health Cover policy.
• The project will also provide substantial benefits in terms of additional operational funding for project fieldwork and data collection, and travel and conference attendance.


We welcome applicants from a range of backgrounds, who are keen to apply their skills to the project topic. The successful applicant should:
• hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following (i) an Australian Bachelor Honours degree, (ii) coursework Masters with at least a 25% research component, (iii) a Research Masters degree or (iv) equivalent overseas qualifications.
• demonstrate strong academic performance in animal ecology, ideally with some specialisation in physiological or nutritional ecology and/or remote sensing and/or species distribution modelling.
• be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level.
• be prepared and preferably experienced in undertaking fieldwork under challenging conditions, including at night.
• possess excellent written and verbal communication skills.
• have proven data analysis experience.
• International applicants must also meet English language proficiency:


• Contact Dr Ben Moore to discuss your eligibility, the project requirements and your intention to apply.
• Complete the application form via the link
• Compile your CV, contact information for two referees and a one-page proposal stating how your research interests align with the project aims.
• Ensure all documentation is certified according to Western Sydney University requirements:
• All applications and supporting documentation must be submitted directly to the Graduate Research School as follows:
• Use the email subject line: Application_ARC2020_013
• Submit to

Closing date: 30 September 2019

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