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 $28,082 per annum, indexed annually
Scholarship duration Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances
Number awarded Multiple
Opening date 25 August 2020
Closing date 30 September 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

Drivers of coral survival during the early stages of reef recovery  It is vital to understand that natural recovery processes across coral reefs, which include the size, density, and species of coral in different environments. This information will inform the design restoration strategies to maximise their effectiveness. Peter Mumby, Science
Critical population thresholds to ensure coral recovery The cumulative impact of multiple disturbances, including coral bleaching, are reducing the density of coral populations. Yet the density of corals will influence the success of fertilisation after they undertake mass spawning. This project identifies critical thresholds of coral density required for successful reproduction and recruitment. Peter Mumby, Science
Genetic adaptation potential of GBR coral populations  Innate attributes of adaptation to GBR reef environments will be genomically examined for multiple coral species   Cynthia Riginos, Science
Measurement and modelling of hydrodynamic forces and breakage of corals This coastal engineering project aims to assess how dead coral converts to rubble as a function of the physical environment, and determine the forces acting to mobilise the rubble, linking with numerical modelling and fieldwork to estimate rates of rubble generation on coral reefs Tom Baldock, Civil Engineering
Predicting coral rubble stability through multi-scale numerical modelling  This coastal engineering project will integrate laboratory and field measurements to estimate coral rubble stability through multi-scale CFD modelling from coral structure (a few centimetres), habitat (a few metres) and reef form (10s of metres to kilometres).  David Callaghan, Civil Engineering
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
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


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

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:

  • check your eligibility
  • prepare your documentation
  • contact the supervisor leading the project your are interested in to discuss your suitability for this scholarship

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.

See an example of what you have to do

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.


Graduate School
+61 7 3346 0503

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.