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PhD Scholarship - Groundwater and nutrient dynamics in Pacific Islands impacted by climate change

Southern Cross University, National Marine Science Centre
Australia (AU) and Islands of the South Pacific (Vanuatu, Fiji etc.)
$29,863 AUD (Tax free) scholarship. Further top-ups are available for suitably qualified students.
Closing date
Mar 23, 2023

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Biogeosciences, Geochemistry, Global Environmental Change
Career Level
Student / Graduate
Education Level
Job Type
Relocation Cost
No Relocation
Sector Type

We are offering a PhD candidature in the field of groundwater hydrology and groundwater nutrient dynamics. With climate change now having significant impacts on Pacific Islands, many communities are facing difficult choices about whether to relocate or not. One of the major considerations in that choice is access to clean and easily accessible groundwater for household and agricultural use. The prospective student will work closely with a multi-disciplinary team of agricultural and groundwater experts to help develop a range of adaptive responses in Pacific Island communities. Depending on their background, the student can explore a range of groundwater and biogeochemistry related topics, including groundwater modelling, tracer studies, nutrient cycling and agricultural science.  


About Southern Cross University

Southern Cross University is a young and ambitious Australian university powered by passion to deliver the best learning, teaching and research possible. Our graduates stride a global stage with confidence as proud alumni. Studying at Southern Cross combines a rare privilege of being surrounded by ambitious students, amazing and dedicated colleagues and an environment of stunning natural beauty. We create and apply knowledge in partnership with our communities in fields that are regionally relevant and globally significant. Southern Cross University was ranked as one of the Top 200 Young Universities in the Times Higher Education World University ranking (2022) and received the highest rank of "well above world standard" in 14 key research disciplines in the most recent national research excellence assessment, including Environmental Science and Management, Earth Sciences, and Resources Engineering and Extractive Metallurgy. The successful PhD candidate will be involved in an outstanding research group that is focused on delivering significant impact in areas of groundwater and coastal systems management and modelling and to better understand the mechanisms behind coastal nutrient dynamics. 


The candidate will be based at Southern Cross University's principal campus in Lismore (near Byron Bay), in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, Australia. Lismore is just two hours drive from Brisbane, and a little over one hour from the Gold Coast. The Northern Rivers region is a great place to live, with a sub-tropical climate, some of the best beaches and surfing in the world, great fishing and scuba diving, and breathtaking wilderness areas. Added to this, the quality of life in the region is high and the cost of living is relatively low. The project will involve conducting extensive research at several sites in the islands of the western Pacific including Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji.

In addition, our research program provides the opportunity to be involved in a broad range of activities relating to water quality modelling, nutrient processes and fluxes, sediment dynamics and carbon processing. 




  • BSc Honours Class 1 or M.Sc. (or equivalent via an outstanding record of professional or research achievements) Research experience in groundwater nutrient cycling and processes Research experience in agricultural nutrient dynamics Ability to work in challenging research environments Demonstrated publication record in the field in high-impact journals



  • Experience with GIS and computer modelling, including groundwater modelling Experience with natural groundwater tracers and isotopic data



Applications are open to both domestic and international applicants. Please send your Curriculum Vitae, a copy of your academic record, and a 2-page cover letter outlining your research goals and experience relevant to the research topic to Dr Douglas Tait (Email: Applicants must meet the SCU’s HDR admission requirements if not already enrolled.

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