PhD project: A Spatial Network Approach to Maintaining River Basin Ecosystem Values and Managing Hydrological Threats


University of Melbourne


Melbourne, Victoria (& Washington, USA)

Salary etc:

$31,200 AGRTP scholarship & $5,000 top-up p.a.

An exciting PhD project is available for a motivated and suitably qualified candidate to undertake original research in a multi-disciplinary area.

You will work with a dynamic and industry-aligned team to explore the potential to apply conservation planning principles to water resource management. Your findings will inform the water industry and contribute to the international body of knowledge.

You will be supervised by Dr Avril Horne and A Prof Angus Webb (University of Melbourne), and Prof Julian Olden (University of Washington). 

Project description:

Many freshwater ecosystems are in decline because of anthropogenic disturbances including extractions for human consumption, exotic species invasions, and river regulation for power generation or water security. Climate change has the potential to further exacerbate tradeoffs between water for human uses and water for the environment.\

This project will explore the potential of adopting spatial network and conservation planning techniques within the field of water resource management.

The project would adapt existing methods from conservation planning to prioritize decisions around environmental water use, infrastructure locations and agricultural development.


Australian, US, and international students are eligible to apply. Candidates must be eligible to apply for an Australian Government Research Training Program Stipend Scholarship (4-year degree or Masters) and be highly competitive for that award (approximate weighted average over final two years of study of >82% for local applicants or >88% for international applicants).

Applicants will be assessed on their scholarship score and relevant skills and previous experience. Selection criteria include outstanding written communication skills, demonstrated competency in ecology, hydrology or natural resource management, and experience with mathematics or statistics.  Industry experience is preferred, and female and indigenous applicants are highly encouraged to apply.

PhD conditions:

The successful applicant will receive a stipend of $31, 200 AUD p.a. tax-free plus an additional $5,000 p.a. top up scholarship. The candidate will enter the PhD program within the Water, Environment and Agriculture Program of the Melbourne School of Engineering.

You will commence the PhD in 2021 and be enrolled on a full-time basis. Australian PhD candidatures run for 3-4 years full time, and candidates are given considerable intellectual freedom to pursue their individual interests. This is backed up by considerable professional development opportunities, including presenting at local and international conferences, specific training courses, and limited paid work in consulting-style projects or teaching.

As the PhD will be co-supervised by Julian Olden, the candidate will have the opportunity to spend 12 months or more of their candidature based in the Olden Lab at The University of Washington.

How to apply:

View details

Date published:


Closing date:


NRMjobs Notice 20006335 - Online Course: How to be an Efficient Writer
NRMjobs Notice 20006338 - Webinar: Fire Country - How Indigenous Fire Management Could Help Save Australia
NRMjobs Notice 20005014 - Australasian Weeds Conference
NRMjobs Notice 20005808 - Australasian Wildlife Management Society conference
NRMjobs Notice 20006274 - Automatic weed control tracking and reporting
NRMjobs Notice 20004808 - 12th International Conference and Workshop on Lobster Biology & Management
NRMjobs Notice 20005602 - Coast to Coast Conference, Cairns, 26 - 29 July 2021
NRMjobs Notice 20005789 - 23rd International Riversymposium (online)