Calls for scholarship and research fund applications
PhD scholarship: Modelling the Conservation of
University of Western Australia
An exciting opportunity has arisen to undertake a PhD that will contribute towards the conservation of wide-ranging species in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.
This PhD is part of a larger project involving staff from the University of Western Australia, Alcoa of Australia, Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Western Australian Museum.
The project, funded by the Australia Research Council, Alcoa World Alumina Australia and Department of Parks and Wildlife, aims to develop methods to better integrate conservation with anthropogenic activities across the whole landscape in a drying climate.
We are seeking a motivated candidate to undertake a PhD that will use data on the spatial distribution of critical resources for Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos to model the best trade-offs between conservation outcomes and a range of anthropogenic land uses. Critically, this will include modelling of how the location of cockatoo drink sites might influence these trade-offs.
While most of the data have already been collected, we would envisage that the candidate would undertake, or assist with, some fieldwork to better understand the cockatoo ecology, the landscapes and land uses modelled. The fieldwork would be conducted in a variety of landscapes in the northern jarrah forest ranging from 35km SE to120km SSE of Perth.
We are looking for a candidate interested in both quantitative and qualitative research design, methodology and analysis, an ability to work both independently and as part of a team and a desire to interact and collaborate with both government departments and private industries.
Most of all we are seeking people with a passion for conserving our unique fauna and an interest in finding novel methods of achieving effective conservation outcomes in multiple-use landscapes.
- Completion of 1st-class or upper 2A honours or a Master of Science (MSc) or equivalent.
- Experience and skills in quantitative modelling of real world systems
- Willingness to engage with external stakeholders, such as private companies and government departments, and effectively present scientific research results to this audience
- Excellent interpersonal and oral communication skills
- Willingness to work as part of a large interdisciplinary team and achieve outcomes through a combination of planning, working independently, and collaborating with other team members
- Experience in undertaking field-based vertebrate research
- Experience in modelling spatial and/or ecological data and familiarity with modelling software
- Experience in surveying literature and working with experts to define key ecological research questions then designing and implementing models to address such questions
- Experience in analysing, validating and interpreting model outputs
- Experience in calibrating models based on available knowledge and data
- Experience in writing scientific reports and publishing in the peer-reviewed literature
- A current A-class driver’s license.
How to apply
Enquiries about the position should be addressed to Dr Mike Craig either by email at email@example.com or by phone on (08) 6488 1073.
To apply for the scholarship, please send a cover letter outlining why you want to do this PhD and your suitability for the position, a CV with the names and details of two academic referees and a document addressing the following selection criteria to firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications close: Friday, 31 March 2017.
This scholarship is open to Australian and New Zealand citizens.
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We look forward to receiving your application.
PhD Studentship: Modelling climate change impacts on seabirds via ocean and forage fish dynamics
Britain’s seabirds have declined over the last three decades, and the species that have declined most are those dependent on small, nutrient-rich forage fish like sandeels. These fish occupy a critical point in marine food webs, vulnerable to both “top down” effects (e.g. fishing) and “bottom up” climate impacts via local ocean physics and plankton productivity. Concern over human impacts on sandeels and their predators have led to fishery closures and the creation of special Marine Protected Areas and Marine Conservation Zones, but where does climate change come into this story? Are current hotspots of sandeel and seabird productivity in British waters, the sites one would naturally focus on protecting, still going to be the hotspots fifty years from now? Are recent short-term trends a reliable guide to long-term future change?
This studentship will address these questions by linking together state-of-the-art dynamical simulations describing regional oceanography, plankton ecology, and sandeel life history, along with spatially explicit data on seabird numbers and trends. This project thus integrates many disciplines including physical oceanography, data science, marine ecology, and life-history theory.
Excellent mathematical and programming skills are required, and a background in either oceanography or ecology is preferred. The project will be co-supervised by Dr Neil Banas, an ocean modeller in the Dept of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow UK (http://neilbanas.com/projects/); Dr Ruedi Nager, a seabird ecologist in the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health, and Comparative Medicine at University of Glasgow (http://www.gla.ac.uk/researchinstitutes/bahcm/staff/ruedinager/); and Dr Peter Wright, a fish biologist and head of the Ecology and Conservation group at Marine Scotland Science, Aberdeen (http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/science/Researchers/PeterWright). The student will be registered jointly at Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities–a rare, highly interdisciplinary opportunity–and participate in the MASTS (Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland) research network.
The position is open to all UK and EU applicants and comes with three years of full support, including fees and an annual living stipend of approximately £14,000, as well as support for conference travel and other expenses. Start date is flexible, with winter 2016-17 preferred. Review of applications will begin 15 Sept 2016 and continue until the position is filled. To apply, send 1) a complete CV, 2) a 1-2 page personal statement explaining your specific interest in this position and the skills you bring to it, and 3) names and contact info for three references. Please send applications and other inquiries to Dr Neil Banas, email@example.com.
Project Title: Fine-scale canopy turbulence models of seed dispersal
Supervisors: A/Prof Jason Sharples (UNSW), Dr John Taylor (UNSW), Dr Joslin Moore (Monash)
Scholarship details: The University of New South Wales (UNSW Canberra) is offering a top-up of $5,000 per annum over three years for PhD candidates in receipt of a Tuition Fee Remission (TFR) Scholarship. The top-up will allow the successful candidate to work with researchers in leading Universities in Australia and the United States. In particular, the scholarship offers a number of unique career development opportunities. These include: a period of travel to the United States to work with leading researchers in the field of turbulence modelling and seed dispersal; experience with field work and real-world application of mathematical modelling; and engagement with industry representatives.
PhD project description:
Invasive plant species are a significant environmental problem that costs the Australian economy $100 million each year. To effectively manage invasive plants, land managers need to understand how populations spread across the landscape; and while we know that species spread is determined by long distance dispersal events, we currently cannot predict where in the landscape these events will occur.
This problem is being addressed in research funded by the Australian Research Council’s Industry Linkage Scheme under the project entitled ‘New multi-scale seed dispersal models for improved regional weed management’. This project is a collaboration between Monash University, the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the University of Canberra and a host of environmental and land management agencies.
A key part of the project is to determine how long distance dispersal depends on seeds being able to escape the plant canopy so that they can be carried by the wind. This seed escape is difficult to predict because it depends on the structure of the canopy, the characteristics of the wind and the aerodynamics of the seed. Variations in topography add an additional layer of complexity to the problem.
To help tackle this problem we are looking for a PhD candidate with a strong background in mathematics, physics or the atmospheric sciences. The candidate will develop and test canopy turbulence models that combine coupled Eulerian-Lagrangian closure models (CELC) and Large Eddy Simulations. These models will down-scale mean wind predictions from weather models to provide improved predictions of seed escape and a better understanding of this process on broad-scale seed dispersal. The numerical modelling will be combined with real measurements of wind across the landscape obtained through field surveys.
The project provides a substantial top-up scholarship and a number of unique career development opportunities. These include: a period of travel to the United States to work with leading researchers in the field of turbulence modelling and seed dispersal; experience with field work and real-world implementation of mathematical modelling; and engagement with industry representatives.
For more information contact:
A/Prof. Jason Sharples
School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences
(P) +61 (2) 6268 9466
Three PhD Opportunities on the Role of Weather and Climate in Integrated
Three PhD projects are offered at University College Dublin, commencing
in September 2016. These focus on the role of weather and climate on
integrated energy systems in the context of a major new Science
Foundation Ireland and Industry funded multi-disciplinary Energy System
Integration Partnership Programme (ESIPP:
1) High-Resolution atmospheric modelling for energy supply and demand.
The successful PhD candidate will investigate the use of different NWP
model types (deterministic/ensemble) and model resolutions in
forecasting energy generation from wind and solar PV plants. This will
involve implementing multiple high-resolution NWP models (WRF, COSMO,
HARMONIE), driven by different global ensemble data (NCEP, ECMWF).
Different parameterisation schemes will be tested under a range of
conditions to decide on optimal settings. The NWP model data will be
used to develop a statistical model (working with another PhD student)
to identify the best variables to use for energy systems forecasting,
while reducing systematic errors and quantifying forecast uncertainty.
The resulting model will be used to investigate different case studies
in integrated energy systems.
Project Supervisor: Dr Conor Sweeney, UCD School of Mathematical
2) Combined physical/statistical models to reduce uncertainty in Energy
The successful PhD candidate will develop a model that systematically
integrates NWP data with spatially resolved energy data to
simultaneously forecast renewable energy supply and weather-driven
demand. Statistical post-processing techniques will be applied and
further developed to remove systematic errors from the model forecasts.
The resulting model will predict the supply and demand response of the
energy system to atmospheric changes such as heat waves, cold spells,
blocking highs and storms, with a prediction period from hours to days
ahead. The model will additionally warn of weather-related impacts for
energy systems infrastructure such as transmission lines and wastewater
Project Supervisor: Dr Conor Sweeney, UCD School of Mathematical
3) Present and future regional scale climate influences on renewable
The successful candidate will investigate how the present-day
distribution and characteristics of renewable energy resources (wind and
solar energy) may be modified by projected climate change on
multi-decadal timescales. Climate model outputs (downscaled as
appropriate) will be investigated to understand how the characteristics
of renewable energy resources are likely to change spatially and
temporally on regional to global scales. The project will also
investigate the extent to which knowledge of pre-cursor conditions on
seasonal timescales, inferred from satellite-based observations of the
cryosphere, oceans and atmosphere may influence the persistence of
selected large scale atmospheric teleconnections during the boreal
Project Supervisor: Prof. Frank McDermott, UCD School of Earth Sciences
All three PhDs are funded for four years, with a tax-free student
stipend of 18,000 per annum. Additionally, standard tuition fees,
project related materials and travel will be provided, as agreed with
PhD supervisor. To apply, please e-mail your CV (max 2 pages), including
contactable referees, a copy of your degree transcript, and a covering
letter of interest to the relevant supervisor by 30th April 2016.
Dr Conor Sweeney
Lecturer in Applied and Computational Mathematics
School of Mathematics and Statistics
UCD, Dublin 4, Ireland
Professor Roland H. Lamberson
Emeritus Professor of Mathematics
Humboldt State University
Arcata, CA 95521
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