PhD Scholarships – Dung Beetle Research

The Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation is a strategic research alliance between Charles Sturt University and the NSW Department of Primary Industries. The Centre undertakes multi-disciplinary and integrated research to create knowledge and capacity to deliver farming systems for the future. The Centre’s activities are focussed around three key areas – or research pathways – plant systems (crops and pastures), livestock systems (sheep and beef focus), and grain and meat quality.

The Centre is seeking high-quality candidates for two PhD scholarships to undertake research as part of a large, federally-funded project entitled “Dung beetle ecosystem engineers”. The successful candidates would be expected to commence in 2019 to study full-time at Charles Sturt University for three years. The successful candidates will undertake research as part of a broader study which aims to perform a targeted and monitored release of various introduced and existing species of dung beetles and quantify the impact of dung beetles on soil properties and pest life-cycles.

Scholarship 1 will focus on investigations related to dung beetle rearing. The study will cover reproductive biology of selected dung beetle species and will involve both field-based and controlled-environment experiments to determine optimal conditions for beetle rearing.

Scholarship 2 will undertake research evaluating aspects of dung beetle ecology and how management practices impact dung beetle activities. This will include investigating how dung beetle activity alters belowground processes, impacting soil quality and pest biology, alongside associated impacts on the productivity of grass pasture species. This work will involve field, controlled-environment and lab-based research.

The scholarships are for full-time study towards higher degrees by research and are open to Australian and international applicants.

  • Selection Criteria & Eligibility


    (i) an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree;
    (ii) coursework Masters with at least 25% research component;
    (iii) Research Masters degree; or
    (iv) equivalent overseas qualifications.

    NB: Qualifications must relate to ecology, entomology and/or soil science.

    • Outstanding academic record.
    • Interest or experience in ecology and entomology research.
    • Excellent oral and written communication and interpersonal skills.
    • Proficiency in biological/ecological statistics and in the use of statistical software (e.g. R, SPSS).


    • A publication record.
    • Practical experience in field-based and controlled-environment entomological experimentation.
    • Experience in, or an understanding of, entomology, stress physiology, soil science and/or chemical ecology.
    • Experience working in large collaborative projects.
    • Current Driver’s licence.
    • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Award value

    Stipend:  $30,000 per annum, payable in fortnightly instalments

    Tuition Fees: Fee exemption for a period equivalent to three years (six sessions) for PhD/Research Doctorate at full-time study.

    Operating Funds: Scholarship recipients are allocated an allowance per session of enrolment to assist with the reimbursement of costs associated with the candidate's research.

    Relocation Allowance: Scholarship recipients may be eligible to receive a relocation allowance for the cost of relocating themselves, their spouse, and dependants to a CSU campus, to a maximum of AUD $5,000.

    Health Insurance: All international students studying in Australia are required to purchase and maintain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).  This Scholarship will contribute $2,000 per annum towards the cost of a standard OSHC policy for the candidate and their dependents for three (3) years (full-time equivalent).

  • Scholarship duration

    The scholarships will be tenable for three years subject to satisfactory progress.

    An extension of up to six (6) months may be granted where the candidate is making satisfactory progress and the grounds for the extension relate to the study and are beyond the control of the candidate.

Application closing date

Applications for the 2019 Scholarship round have closed.

Further Information