Strengthening Indigenous community capability for sustainable livelihoods through the native botanicals industry - Uniquely Australian Foods


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Science and Mathematics
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship, Tuition Scholarship
Scholarship value $33,413 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 13 August 2019
Closing date 31 May 2020


The University of Queensland led Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre (ITTC) for Uniquely Australian Foods (IC180100045) aims to transform the native Food and Agribusiness Sector through development of selected crops, foods and ingredients using an Indigenous governance group to oversee the process of converting Traditional Knowledge into Branded Products.  

Native foods represent a major opportunity for premium Australian products in both domestic and export markets, capitalising on consumer interest in the provenance and traditional heritage characteristics of foods.  The outcomes of the Training Centre will include the testing of market opportunities, the development of appropriate social and business models, and the identification of future opportunities for Uniquely Australian Foods.  Economic and quality of life benefits through job creation and benefit sharing arrangements will be secured for Indigenous communities through sustainable business models which will help to Close the Gap, and the development of supply chain partnerships to reduce the risks involved in taking products to market.

This PhD project – focussed on exploring the factors affecting sustainable livelihoods for Indigenous communities through commercial development of native botanicals – will form part of the Training Centre as a collaboration between The University of Queensland and Kindred Spirits Enterprises.

The role

There is an opportunity for a highly motivated PhD student to join the team within the Training Centre aiming to develop the Australian native food industry.  They will work directly with indigenous and non-indigenous enterprises and be involved in the various activities of the centre.  The position will interact with the project collaborators in Australia and may visit collaborating scientists in Canada and Germany.

Research Area

Australian native botanicals presents as an unprecedented economic development opportunity for Indigenous Australians, aligned with their aspirations to work on and care for country.

Indigenous enterprises and community organisations are supplying emerging markets with native botanical ingredients and retail products as functional food and beverages, particularly bush foods and preservatives, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and industrial products.

This PhD project will explore how Indigenous communities achieve their self-identified aspirations for enterprise and livelihoods on their country, and how they are able to access the opportunities presented by the native botanicals industry.

A major objective of this PhD would be to understand the drivers and barriers in achieving:

  • Thriving communities
  • Strong, viable enterprises
  • Meaningful employment
  • Resilient livelihoods

Ultimately, the insights achieved from this research project will lead to the native botanicals industry being characterised by Indigenous leadership, full and effective community participation and equitable engagement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders.


To be eligible to apply you must meet the entry requirements for Higher Degrees by Research at UQ, please visit the Graduate School's website.

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 be given the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

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

You should also contact Professor Janeen Baxter ( to discuss your suitability for this scholarship prior to submitting an application.

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 ‘UAF08'
  3. list the enrolling unit as the Institute for Social Science Research
  4. enter Professor Janeen Baxter as your supervisor

Selection criteria

Applicants will have a First Class Honours degree or equivalent.  Basic expertise and experience is required in one or more of the following areas: anthropology, sociology, economics, law,  social business, or related discipline.

A background in community capacity building is highly desirable.  The successful applicant will have strong communication skills, an interest in community development or social enterprise development and have experience working in cross-disciplinary teams.  The successful applicant will have a willingness to travel for periods (weeks or months) working outdoors and in remote locations directly with Aboriginal communities or industry, and be willing to work alongside the industry partner.

Strong academic performance demonstrated through publication output in peer reviewed international journals is highly desirable.

Applications are closed.


Dr Heather Smyth
07 3443 2469
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.