THRIVE Domestic First Nations PhD Scholarship

THRIVE - Training Hub promoting Regional Industry and Innovation in Virology and Epidemiology

There are several potential PhD projects on offer through THRIIVE, focussed on fields as diverse as molecular virology, structural virology, antiviral discovery, and epidemiology. Leading projects include:

  • Revealing the role of HSP90 in the pathogenesis of flaviviruses; an important group of mosquito-borne viruses disproportionately affecting First Nations communities in Australia - Flaviviruses such as Zika virus and Japanese encephalitis virus disrupt host cell defensive signalling to promote replication. This is because host HSP90 is bound and disrupted by viral protein NS5. This exciting project will use established model systems and techniques to reveal disrupted signalling networks and demonstrate how this drives viral disease outcomes, potentially leading to novel antiviral strategies.
  • Defining the innate immune antagonism roles of LSDV genes – Lumpy Skin Disease virus (LSDV) is a devastating infection of cattle that is threatening to enter Australia from the north. This project will reveal how proteins of LSDV inhibit cellular interferon defences to promote viral replication.
  • Antiviral intervention of against human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1); a virus infecting high numbers of Central Australian Indigenous peoples - HTLV-1 is an ancient blood-borne virus that causes cancer. There are no vaccines against HLTV-1 and there is a critical need to discover effective antivirals that have a known mechanism of action.
  • Eligibility

    As per Charles Sturt University's standard eligibility requirements for entry to a PhD.

    THRIIVE is seeking a driven and passionate First Nations-identified PhD candidate with an honours degree or masters degree (or another appropriate combination of undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications with research experience) in virology, biology, biochemistry, immunology, cell biology, medical science, pathology, microbiology, epidemiology, veterinary science, animal science, or any other relevant/related scientific field. The successful candidate will have a keen interest in understanding virus infection and the motivation to create novel solutions to counter these disease agents. The candidate will be driven to pursue a challenging multidisciplinary PhD project where a range of technical skills may be employed such as virus culture, recombinant protein expression, structural biology, and the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics.

    THRIIVE acknowledges the Wiradjuri, Ngunnawal, Gundungurra, and Biripai (or Biripi) Nations; the Traditional Custodians of the lands in which Charles Sturt University's campuses are located and pays respect to their elders past, present, and emerging. We also acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea, waterways, and community. We pay our respect to their elders past, present, and emerging, and we extend that respect to all First Nations peoples. Importantly, THRIIVE also acknowledges the connection of First Peoples to their culture and their country, and this scholarship position will specifically incorporate culturally-appropriate mentorship and support

    NB. The position is reserved for a person identifying as of Australian First Nation heritage.

  • Award value

    The scholarship provides the following benefits:

    Stipend: This scholarship is valued at $40,000 per annum payable in fortnightly instalments.

    Tuition Fees: Fee exemption for a period equivalent to four years (eight sessions) for PhD at full-time study.

    Operating Funds: Operational expenses will be built into the overall THRIVE budget over three years.

  • Scholarship duration

    The scholarship is tenable for four years for Research Doctorate studies (4 years FTE tuition fee coverage and 3 years FTE for stipend) subject to satisfactory progress.

  • How to apply

    Applicants will need to apply for enrolment.

    Prospective Higher Degree by Research candidates can apply for a THRIVE Scholarship when completing their Charles Sturt course admission application. When given the option to apply for a scholarship select 'Other' and enter THRIVE First Nations Scholarship.

Application timelines

The position must be filled by June 2024 at the latest


Prof. Jade Forwood –

Dr. Justin Roby -