Assessing the ecological trajectory of mine rehabilitation - focusing on the Nabarlek Uranium Project - PhD scholarship


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Agriculture and Environment, Engineering and Computing, Science and Mathematics
HDR funding type Top-up Scholarship
Scholarship value A $10,000 per annum top up is available for Research scholars who expect to receive a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship, or an equivalent primary scholarship, commencing in early 2020.
Opening date 23 September 2019
Closing date 6 October 2019

Scholarship description

Nabarlek uranium mine began operations in 1979 in the north-east section of the Alligators River Region, located in the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Reserve of the Northern Territory. The mine had a disturbance area of around 180 ha and was one of the first mines in Australia to go through a formal rehabilitation process. The mine was decommissioned in the 1995 but field surveys completed in 2004 concluded that the area rehabilitated was not similar to its surrounds, presented a high fire risk, had little recruitment of desirable tree species, and had five times as many weeds as compared to reference areas.

Since 2008, Nabarlek has experienced some rehabilitated efforts including weed control, revegetation, and fire management. In its current state, the long-term ecological trajectory at this site means that it is unlikely to meet its Environmental Requirements including “restoration of stable vegetation native to the region.” However, Nabarlek does provide the opportunity for a capable research scholar to use this site as a model system for assessing the trajectory of a mine site in the northern Australian savannas.

The scholar could investigate changes in soil physical properties, nutrient availability, hydrological cycles and plant recruitment. Additionally, you will work closely with a dynamic scientific team outside of the university (at the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Energy’s Supervising Scientist Branch) to ensure that your findings have longer-term applications for future mine site rehabilitation efforts. This project would suit a candidate who is interested in restoration ecology and wants to describe and assess ecological trajectories of rehabilitated mine sites in savanna woodlands of northern Australia.


To be eligible, you must meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research.

Applications are closed.

Before you apply

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them before applying.

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow the link on the upper right of this page. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will have the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Prior to applying, check your eligibility and prepare your documentation.

You should also contact Associate Professor Peter Erskine ( to discuss your suitability for this scholarship prior to submitting an application.

Please ensure that you

  1. select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'
  2. enter in the free-text field ‘nabarlek'
  3. list the enrolling unit as the SMI
  4. enter Associate Professor Peter Erskine as your supervisor

Selection criteria

Applicants for this scholarship should have a background in any of the following disciplines: plant ecology, soil ecology, restoration ecology, geomorphology or hydrology. They must also expect to receive a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship, or an equivalent primary scholarship, commencing in early 2020.

Applications are closed.


Associate Professor Peter Erskine
07 3346 4065
Applications are closed.

Terms and conditions

Read the policy on UQ Research Scholarships.

A domestic part-time student with carer’s responsibilities, a medical condition or a disability, which prevents them from studying full time may be eligible for scholarship consideration, on a case by case basis.

Applications are closed.