Scholarship details

Study levels


Student type

Future students and Current students

Study area

Health and community, Science, technology and engineering and mathematics

Eligibility criteria

Academic performance

What you'll receive

You'll receive a scholarship, tax exempt and indexed annually, of $28,854 per annum for a period of three years, with a possible 6 month extension subject to satisfactory progress. In addition, an annual top-up scholarship may also be available from the Centre for Data Science.

If you're an international student, you will also receive either:

  • an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) fees offset (International)
  • a QUT research degree (HDR) tuition fee scholarship.

As the scholarship recipient, you will have the opportunity to work with a team of leading researchers and undertake your own innovative research across QUT's School of Biology and Environmental Science, Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy and the Centre for the Environment.


To apply for this scholarship, you must meet the entry requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at QUT, including any English language requirements for international students.

You must also:

  • enrol as a full-time, internal student
  • hold a Bachelor degree with Honours or a Masters degree (with a significant research component), in a discipline of relevance to the research topic (e.g. environmental sciences, social sciences, agricultural sciences, behavioural economics).

It is desirable that applicants have:

  • peer reviewed publication/s, ideally as lead author
  • strong written and oral English skills
  • experience in data analysis and coding in a relevant programming language (e.g. MATLAB, R, C++)
  • alignment with the research areas: conservation of biodiversity, sustainable production and consumption, supporting human well-being
  • experience and interest in leading ecological or social field work in rural areas
  • enthusiasm for working with researchers and practitioners across disciplines.

How to apply

You must submit an expression of interest (EOI) for consideration before applying for this scholarship.

How to apply for a research degree

To be considered for this scholarship, you must:

  • nominate Dr Ayesha Tulloch as your principal supervisor
  • in the financial details section, enter the details of this scholarship at question 2.

If your expression of interest is accepted you will be invited to submit a full application including a research proposal to finalise your application. You must be accepted into QUT’s Doctor of Philosophy program to receive this scholarship.

For current PhD students at QUT who have already commenced in the degree, to apply for this scholarship please email Dr Ayesha Tulloch to express your interest, and include your curriculum vitae and a short summary of your research project explaining how it will contribute to the objectives of this scholarship.

What happens next?

The scholarship opportunity will remain open until the successful applicant is identified.

For more information about the scholarship or application process please contact Dr Ayesha Tulloch.


The conditions for retaining the scholarship are set out in the rules of the QUT Postgraduate Research Award (Domestic) or QUT Postgraduate Research Award (International).

About the scholarship

The PhD scholarship is available as part of Dr Ayesha Tulloch’s Australian Research Council Future Fellowship ‘Pathways to agri-food supply chains that co-benefit people and nature’ with the School of Biology & Environmental Science, and supported by the Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomyand Centre for Data Science . The project is supported by a top-up scholarship and travel funding. There will also be an opportunity to collaborate with and/or present results to decision science, sustainability and quantitative ecology researchers from  external institutions in Australia and overseas.

The successful candidate will become part of Ayesha’s new 'Food for Nature and People' research group dedicated to decision science that empowers communities and governments to make more sustainable choices about agricultural production and food consumption. The research group will include five PhD  students, a postdoctoral fellow and a research assistant, and will be interconnected with an international community of scientists and scholars, particularly those working within the fields of conservation decision science, sustainable production and consumption, and environmental management.

Our research group is a transdisciplinary space that explores how our choices about the food we grow and eat impact biodiversity, our environment and our well-being, and flow on to impact global environmental and socio-economic change. We will build insights from research in the fields of ecology, biodiversity  conservation, agriculture, food and nutrition science, health, and human well-being, to reveal important impacts on nature and people from behaviour changes at both the production and consumption ends of agri-food chains. By applying methods from decision science, operations research and behavioural  science, our team will use these insights to understand which interventions, if successful, would have the greatest outcomes for recovering biodiversity from ongoing declines whilst maintaining or improving people’s well-being. Identifying agri-food production and consumption behaviours that are resilient,  healthy and sustainable is particularly critical in these times of rapid environmental, social and economic change.

Project background

Despite efforts to monitor and manage declining species and ecosystems around the world, biodiversity is still not routinely included in mainstream decision-making and continues to decline at the highest rate in human history. Added to this is the problem that both natural and agri-food systems are continually changing due to human and natural disturbances, with climate change likely to increase the impacts of extreme events like drought, fire and economic shocks. Because of large uncertainties and trade-offs between many human and environmental goals, it is unclear which interventions will have the greatest benefits for biodiversity, whether actions for biodiversity have benefits for people, and how resilient these actions are under continual environmental and economic change. This combination of uncertainties creates a global challenge: how to intervene in agri-food supply chains to co-benefit biodiversity and human well-being?

In this PhD project the student will build an understanding of how agri-food system interventions (e.g. farm sustainability initiatives, consumer marketing to change purchasing behaviours, taxes on “unsustainable” foods) impact biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being. The student will work with different agri-food system researchers and stakeholders (from farmers to commercial food distributors) to compile datasets, and contribute to working groups with international researchers. The student will model the impacts of different interventions across case study agri-food systems to build an understanding of the range of possible outcomes from different policies, sustainable farming initiatives and consumer behaviour changes. Model validation activities will depend on the student’s background and interests, but could include farm biodiversity monitoring and/or landholder surveys to explore local-scale impacts of ongoing interventions to improve the sustainability of agricultural food production. Models can then be used to identify strategies for investment in interventions that are good for the environment and for people. You will gain experience in working and communicating with researchers from multiple disciplines outside of your field, further diversifying your potential career pathways post-PhD.

You should be motivated to explore different research questions within this topic and acquire knowledge and skills across the diversity of disciplines offered at QUT. There are multiple case studies from across the globe (collaborative partners in Australia, Europe, Africa and South America) that could be examined in this project, depending on your preferences and interest. Because of the growing interest in alternative proteins and Australian biodiversity crisis, there will be a particular focus on plant-based protein production and consumption (e.g. legumes, nuts) as well as beef production and consumption in Queensland and New South Wales.

About Dr Ayesha Tulloch

Ayesha is a conservation decision scientist with a background in ecology and a passion for building strong knowledge and tools to address the world’s most pressing challenges of recovering biodiversity whilst maintaining human well-being in human-modified landscapes. It is important to Ayesha that her  research is applicable and accessible to agencies and organisations that make decisions about biodiversity conservation and environmental management. She draws on a wide range of skills, techniques and professional experience to address real questions related to managing natural and human-modified ecosystems  to try to address the global biodiversity crisis we are currently facing. Ayesha worked as a conservation practitioner before returning to academia, and collaborates with landholders, non-government conservation organisations such as BirdLife Australia and Bush Heritage Australia, and government agencies  such as NSW’s Saving our Species Program and Biodiversity Conservation Trust, to deliver research and tools that help inform conservation decisions and sustainable land management.

Please visit Dr Tulloch's website and see her articles in her articles in The Conversation to learn more about her research interests.

For further information, please contact: Ayesha Tulloch.

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