UQ / Ecotourism Australia PhD scholarship - Social licence

Summary

Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Agriculture and Environment, Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Business and Economics
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship, Tuition Scholarship
Scholarship value $27,596 per annum tax-free (2019 rate), indexed annually
Scholarship duration Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances.
Opening date 1 August 2019
Closing date 25 August 2019

Scholarship description

The University of Queensland is partnering with Ecotourism Australia to offer PhD scholarships to undertake research that is relevant to the continual development of best practice management of ecotourism. Supervision will be provided by UQ academics with input from Ecotourism Australia experts.

Project 1: Social Licence to Operate Commercial Activities in Protected Areas

Tourism is rapidly growing and can put pressure on natural resources in a destination. In Australia, government agencies have developed programs to encourage investment in national parks, often following best practice ecotourism guidelines. Some members of the community have raised concerns over the use of national parks for commercial tourism operations. Certain types of development may be supported by the community depending on the location, size and nature of proposed investments. This thesis will provide an evidence base to understand community attitudes toward tourism in natural areas and what factors may influence a ‘social license’ to operate.

There are four PhD projects available through UQ’s partnership with Ecotourism Australia.

  • Project 1 - Social Licence to Operate Commercial Activities in Protected Areas (this project)
  • Project 2 - Overtourism in natural environment areas
  • Project 3 - Sustainable Destinations
  • Project 4 - Transitioning to a Low Carbon Future

View the other three projects.

Further Details

Tourism is rapidly growing and can put pressure on natural resources in a destination. In Australia government agencies have developed programs to encourage investment in national parks, often following best practice ecotourism guidelines. Some members of the community have raised concerns over the use of national parks for commercial tourism operations. Certain types of development may be supported by the community depending on the location, size and nature of proposed investments.

Government agencies argue that commercial tourism can raise extra revenue for protected area management or relieve the agencies of management costs where responsibility is passed to the commercial operator.  Tourism industry advocates often argue that the provision of extra attraction in protected areas have a spill over effect in local economies by attracting visitors to come and to stay longer. There is however little research into whether these perceived benefits actually arise and what the opportunity costs are of reduction in public space or access.

As tourism uses public resources it is important that it has a ‘social licence’ to operate. Social licence to operate has been used to understand community attitudes and support for industries such as mining, coal seam gas or agriculture. But to date it has limited application in tourism. As concerns grow over the growth of tourism and commercial operations are proposed a social licence to operate is becoming increasingly important for ecotourism operators.

The proposed PhD program will investigate community attitudes toward commercial tourism in national parks and attitudes and costs and benefits to different stakeholders. It may address the following questions:

  1. What are the levels of community support for tourism in national parks and protected areas? Are concerns homogenous or vary across the community?
  2. What factors influence a social licence to operate for tourism operators in natural areas (such as environmental values, trust, distribution of benefits etc)? 
    1. Is there a relationship between the activity undertaken and differing levels of social license (eg. accommodation, tours, attraction)?
    2. Is there the same levels of social licence when it’s a 100% commercial operated compared to a public/private partnership or an NGO operated activity?
  3. What are the costs and benefits to different stakeholders of increasing commercial access to national parks (optional)?

This thesis will provide an evidence base to understand community attitudes toward tourism in natural areas and what factors may influence a social license to operate. There is an option to employ economic analysis to provide evidence to assist in the trade-offs involved in making policy on this issue.

Eligibility

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

Please fill in the application for your preferred project of the four projects offered. You may also indicate in your statement (see below) if you wish to be considered for any other of the four projects. 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 be given the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

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

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 ‘UQEA1’
  3. list the enrolling unit as the UQ Business School
  4. enter Dr Noreen Breakey as your supervisor

Selection criteria

Prospective students must meet the eligibility criteria for undertaking a PhD at the University of Queensland.

The Scholarships will be awarded on a competitive basis.

Selection Criteria

  1. Statement of up to 100 words on why the preferred project is of interest and the applicant’s suitability to study that topic. Please add another 100 word statement for each of the other projects for which you wish to be considered
  2. Evidence of academic achievement and referees’ reports, as per UQ requirements (above).
  3. Ability of the applicant to take up the offer by Research Quarter 1 2020, depending on visa processing times.
Applications are closed.

Contact

Dr Noreen Breakey
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.