PhD scholarships: Reef Restoration and Adaption Program


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Agriculture and Environment, Engineering and Computing, Science and Mathematics
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship
Scholarship value At least at the RTP rate of $28,587 per annum, indexed annually
Scholarship duration Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances
Number awarded Multiple
Opening date 26 November 2020
Closing date 15 December 2020


The Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP) brings together Australia’s leading experts to help the Great Barrier Reef resist, adapt to, and recover from the impacts of climate change.

Visible from outer space, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living structure and one of the seven wonders of the world. It spans 2300km, has more than 600 corals and 1600 types of fish. It is an economic, social and iconic asset valued at $56 billion, important to industries such as tourism and fishing, and providing livelihood to many.

RRAP brings together the best minds in science and technology from Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), CSIRO, James Cook University, The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Southern Cross University, as well as many other leading research universities and institutes.

RRAP is now embarking on a long-term research and development (R&D) program to develop, test and risk-assess novel interventions to help keep the Reef resilient and sustain critical functions and values. The aim is to provide reef managers and decision-makers with an innovative toolkit of safe, acceptable and cost-effective interventions to help protect the Reef from the impacts of climate change, in conjunctions with best-practice reef management and reducing carbon emissions.

Available projects:

HDR project title HDR project description

Principal supervisor

The biology of rubble stabilisation on coral reefs Disturbance routinely creates coral rubble and this must bind and stabilise before new corals can initiate recovery. Yet little is known of the processes binding corals. This project will identify the key drivers of rubble stabilisation in different physical environments, working from inshore to offshore coral reefs. Outputs will help us learn which species might be promoted in order to accelerate natural processes of stabilisation Peter Mumby, Science
The effect of coral bleaching in creating rubble on coral reefs Rising sea temperatures are increasing the frequency and severity of coral bleaching events. There is much to learn over where bleaching is likely to be most severe under climate change and which reefs will likely have impaired recovery potential, including a build up of rubble. This PhD models the effects of climate change on coral reefs and examines the implications for future reef recovery.

Peter Mumby, Science

Dynamics of coral rubble in natural settings  Field measurements of in situ hydrodynamics and dynamics of rubble beds to monitor the movement and/or stability of coral rubble, to “ground truth” the hydrodynamic conditions that move and transport rubble in natural settings Daniel Harris, Science

Students will work as part of a team investigating the drivers of coral reef health and scope for certain restoration methods (Reef Restoration and Adaptation Programme). The team includes partners at CSIRO and AIMS. The first project is field based and will occur at Heron Island (southern GBR) and inshore coral reefs (likely Whitsunday Islands). It includes colleagues from AIMS and CSIRO. The second project is primarily model-based and includes collaboration with NOAA (US government) and the University of Exeter, UK (with time to be spent there).

Both PhDs plan to start April 2021.


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

Applications are closed.

Before you get started

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them.

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.

Before submitting an application you should:

When you apply, please ensure that under the scholarships and collaborative study section you:

  1. Select ‘My higher degree is not collaborative’
  2. Select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'.
  3. Select ‘Other’, then ‘Research Project Scholarship’ and type in ‘REEFin the 'Name of scholarship' field.

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Learn more about applying for a higher degree by research at UQ

Selection criteria

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

Applications are closed.


Professor Peter Mumby
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.