PhD opportunity: The Living Moorabool - Evaluating the Effects of Human-driven Change on River Health


Barwon Water


Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria

Salary etc:

$115k Scholarship package over 3 years ($30k Stipend)


WaterRA Project 4549

  • $115,000 Scholarship Package over 3 years ($30k p/a stipend, $25k in operating and PD support)
  • Preferred Start Date: Semester 1, 2021 (ie T1, March 2021), Alternate start dates will be considered, up until June 2021.


Open to applicants currently based in Australia (this includes all permanent residents, and international citizens on suitable visas).

  • Applications will also be considered from candidates who will be located in Australia mid-year 2021.
  • Interested Honours Students (ie., from 2020) are encouraged to apply (consideration for Covid disruption will be made, including any delays to results / graduation).


As Australia and the world confront the challenges of climate change and a growing population, water resource management has never been more important. Research will play an important role in helping shape and manage water resources, now and into the future, particularly in Australia, where water resources are scarce and highly variable.

The Moorabool River is one of Victoria’s most important regional rivers. As well as providing drinking water for the expanding cities of Geelong and Ballarat, the river serves as a critical biodiversity corridor, a popular waterway for recreational purposes, and holds significance to its Traditional Owners. It is, however, also a highly stressed river where the construction of farm dams, weirs, diversions, land-use change, and water extraction for both urban and rural use have all impacted the health of the Moorabool River. In 2017 the Victorian Government initiated the “Living Moorabool” project to deliver a healthy culture, environment, and community.

Based out of Deakin’s award-winning Geelong campus, this PhD-level research is sponsored by Corangamite Catchment Authority (CCMA), Barwon Water, and Deakin University’s ‘Centre for Regional and Rural Futures’ as part of the “Living Moorabool” project.

We are seeking a suitably qualified environmental scientist with knowledge and interest in ecological and land-use change assessment, as well as community and social licence factors (such as cultural connection, stewardship), to undertake research on how interventions (such as the land-use change, river diversions, extraction, restoration activities) and social factors have impacted on the health of the Moorabool River.

The candidate will utilise existing field monitoring systems and a variety of historical proxy data-sets and indicators to construct a vivid depiction of the river’s health; quantifying and pinpointing the relative impacts of interventions. Field-based surveys of local land-holders to evaluate the efficacy of various land management practices will compliment and strengthen the methodology.

The outcomes from this research will provide an empirical baseline from which the river’s key stakeholders can use to shape future management practices in the Moorabool catchment.

The project is open to domestic and international students, and would be well suited to mid-career NRM or water professionals looking for a stimulating change, or to provide a competitive career edge.

How to apply:

View details

Date published:


Closing date:


NRMjobs Notice 20005602 - Coast to Coast Conference, Cairns, 26 - 29 July 2021
NRMjobs Notice 20000020 - subscribe to NRMjobs
NRMjobs Notice 20005014 - Australasian Weeds Conference - 22AWC
NRMjobs Notice 20006335 - Online Course: How to be an Efficient Writer
NRMjobs Notice 20007156 - Society for Ecological Restoration conference - May 10-13, Darwin
NRMjobs Notice 20007061 - WA Wetland Management Conference - 1-2 Feb 2021
NRMjobs Notice 20006900 - NRM in the Rangelands Conference 2021
NRMjobs Notice 20006927 - Combined NSW & VIC Weeds Conference - call for abstracts