Enrolment status New students, Currently enrolled students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Agriculture and Environment, Science and Mathematics
HDR funding type Top-up Scholarship
Scholarship value This is a $7,000 top up with some project costs. Students must be in receipt of a Graduate School Scholarships (UQGSS) - applications close 28 Sept 2020
Opening date 27 October 2020
Closing date 28 March 2021


This is a $7,000 top up with some project costs.  Students must be in receipt of a Graduate School Scholarships (UQGSS) - applications close 28 Sept 2020

For further details on eligibility please refer to the CSIRO Postgraduate Scholarships - Land & Water page. 

International applicants must have the appropriate immigration approvals to allow them to take up the scholarship.  The successful applicant must be residing in Australia in order to commence their PhD and take up the CSIRO Postgraduate Top-Up Scholarship by no later than 30 June 2021.

Available Projects

Project No.
Research Project name Short explanation of research area  Contact Details for applicants
Land & Water 1 Beyond the carrot and stick: how social norms and values influence water management Monitoring, fines and incentives have since long been used as tools for water management. This research area will explore how cultural values and social norms can be used as novel tools for sustainable water management. For more information please contact
Rodrigo Rojas on +61 7 3833 5600 or email
Land & Water 2 Fire, termites and tree hollows: is there a trade-off between habitat condition and carbon storage in tropical savannas? Tree hollows form important faunal habitat and contribute to uncertainty in carbon accounting. The extensive savanna ecosystems of northern Australia have a high density of tree hollows resulting from termite piping and high fire frequencies. This project will unravel the ecological feedbacks between fire management, termite activity, and the abundance of hollow bearing trees in tropical savannas, and link these attributes to remotely sensed variables, improving our ability to measure habitat condition and carbon storage across these vast landscapes. The project provides an opportunity to gain experience in working with specialised hollow detection equipment and undertaking terrestrial laser scanning in remote field locations. In addition, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to gain skills in the processing and analysis of different remotely sensed data, including LiDAR point cloud data, for interpretation of ecological relationships at landscape-scales.             

The position will be based at the CSIRO Darwin site, within the Ecosystem Dynamics team, and co-supervised by Dr Brett Murphy (Charles Darwin University). It is expected that the successful candidate will obtain an RTP scholarship from Charles Darwin University in order to take up the position.

For more information please contact

Anna Richards on  +61 8 8944 8437 or email; OR

Shaun Levick on +61 8 8944 8429 or email
Land & Water 3 Spaceborne LiDAR as a vegetation biomass scaling tool  NASA's Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigator (GEDI) is the first spaceborne LiDAR specifically designed for vegetation 3D structure measurement, and aims to improve the modelling and understanding of carbon dynamics and biodiversity across the globe. This PhD research project will use terrestrial LiDAR to validate GEDI measurements across a range of ecosystem types, predominately in northern Australia. Key objectives are to assess the sensitivity of GEDI  for: i)  quantifying the 3D structure of sparse and short-statured vegetation in savanna and shrubland ecosystems; and ii)  measuring vegetation regrowth following disturbances, such as windthrow and fire. For more information please contact
Shaun Levick on +61 8 8944 8429 or email
Land & Water 4 Building the case for responsible science and technology innovation and impact in Australia  Identification of approaches that enable responsible science and science entrepreneurship to transform creative ideas and solutions into triple bottom line real-world impact For more information please contact
Cathy Robinson on +61 7 3833 5742 or email
Land & Water 5 River flows and aquatic predator ecology in tropical river-floodplains of northern Australia This project will explore links between tropical river-floodplain flow regimes and the trophic ecology, biomass and distribution of aquatic predators (barramundi, saltwater crocodiles, riverine sharks and sawfish) in northern Australia.
This project will improve our understanding of how northern aquatic ecosystems are likely to change as a result of climate change and water resource development. 
For more information please contact
Danial Stratford on +61 2 6246 5993 or email

Before you get started

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them.

How to apply

If you do not already have a living stipend scholarship, then please ensure you apply to CSIRO, following the instructions at the 'Apply with CSIRO' link,  and also apply in UQ's Domestic Scholarship round, closing on the 28th of September 2020.

If you are a current UQ student with a living stipend scholarship you can apply directly to CSIRO,  following the instructions at the 'Apply with CSIRO' link.