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


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 mid-2020.
Scholarship duration Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances
Opening date 3 February 2020
Closing date 30 March 2020


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.

Applicants must be in receipt of or apply for and be awarded a living allowance scholarship of at least the Research Training Program rate ($28,092 for 2020, indexed annually) to be eligible to receive this top-up.

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:

  • check your eligibility 
  • prepare your documentation 
  • contact Associate Professor Peter Erskine ( 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 ‘NABARLEKin 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

The information you provide in your application is collected for the purposes of (1) assessing your eligibility for this scholarship, (2) selecting scholarship recipients, and (3) administration of the scholarship. The University of Queensland will disclose the information you provide to the Department of Environment and Energy for the stated purposes. The University will not otherwise disclose the information to a third party without your consent, unless such disclosure is authorised or required by law.  For further information, please refer to the University’s Privacy Management Policy at

Selection criteria

Research scholars 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 mid-2020.

Applications are closed.


Associate Professor Peter Erskine
+61 7 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.