Scientist using microscope.

Applications for Postgraduate Scholarships are open until 15 November 2013.

Flagship postgraduate scholarships

National Research Flagships offer Postgraduate Scholarships to high quality students to work on a project relevant to Flagship research.

  • 13 January 2012 | Updated 2 December 2013

The Flagships offer full and top-up Flagship Postgraduate Scholarships to high quality students who are enrolled in a PhD at an Australian university, and who will be working on a project which is directly relevant to a Flagship.

Prospective applicants should contact the relevant Flagship to discuss their proposals prior to the submission of any application for funding. Flagship Postgraduate Scholarships have NOT been accepted for inclusion on the Australian Competitive Grants Register.

Applications for Postgraduate Scholarships in 2014 closed on 15 November 2013.  The Flagship Priority areas that were advertised are listed below.

Learn more about the National Research Flagships.

Flagship Priority Areas 2013


Title of Priority Area Description CSIRO Supervisor
Genome engineering for disease control The development and application of precision genome engineering technology in livestock to implement disease control strategies, including RNAi, virus receptor modification and immune modulation Dr Tim Doran, Dr Mark Tizard
Host factors crucial for Hendra virus replication Identifying and characterising the host cellular pathways relied upon by highly pathogenic viruses such as Hendra virus to replicate and cause disease in infected animals and people Dr Cameron Stewart
Impact of myrtle rust in natural ecosystems Investigate the current impact of myrtle rust on Myrtaceae plants in areas identified as highly suitable climatically for epidemics and potential of plant populations to adapt to this pathogen over time Dr Louise Morin
Vector population genomics and pathogenic virus discovery using Next Generation Sequencing techniques
Using advanced sequencing techniques to integrate population genomics and discovery of emerging pathogenic viruses in the medically important mosquito Culex annulirostris in southern Australia Dr Tek Tay,
Dr Peter Durr
Ecology of fruit flies in a complex landscape Effective area-wide management of Queensland fruit flies requires knowing where and when populations build up, yet the spatial ecology of this pest remains almost entirely unknown Dr Nancy Schellhorn

Climate Adaptation

Title of Priority Area Description CSIRO Supervisor 
Thunderstorms in a changing climate Review existing information about thunderstorms in Australia and large-scale atmospheric diagnostics for hail and lightning that can be used in climate models. The ability of these models to simulate thunderstorm diagnostics will be assessed, and regional projections will be developed for the 21st century. Dr Marcus Thatcher
Resilient Infrastructure Network The research is to develop methodologies and models to simulate the performance of interdependent infrastructure systems, examine the vulnerability, and identify adaptation options for interdependent infrastructure systems (e.g., electricity, water) in regions of Australia, which are exposed to extreme climate hazards. Prof Xiaoming Wang
Nature in the mind and the soul: societal values and narratives for biodiversity conservation in the face of climate change Current conservation institutions and societal narratives of biodiversity have co-evolved in a stationary climate. This project will analyse multiple expressions of social connections to biodiversity and nature, in a climate change framework, to explore aspects of nature that are valued by society and that might persist under climate change, to inform future narratives and conservation institutions Dr Michael Dunlop, Ms Jennifer Price
Pit to Port: A management approach to address climatic vulnerability impacts in mining and the cost of not adapting This student will develop a method for climate-hazard assessment and risk-reduction management, tailored to the complexity of the mining chain from source to client, through a financial and economic impact assessment of climate extremes and assessment of the cost of not adapting; building a business case for climate-informed risk management processes in the future. Dr Jane Hodgkinson
Transformational adaptation of Primary Industries in remote northern Australia In order to equip primary industries in remote northern Australia with sustainable, practical and effective options to adapt more effectively to climate change, an improved understanding and management of the risks and opportunities of taking or not taking transformative action is required. Dr Anne-Maree Dowd

Digital Productivity and Services

Title of Priority Area Description CSIRO Supervisor
Cyber Security for Big Open Data Develop algorithms and methods to perform secure and privacy preserving dissemination and analysis of big data that avoids and prevents potential cyber attacks Dr Surya Nepal
Robust planning and scheduling in mining supply chains CSIRO research is exploring new models and algorithms that contribute to robust planning and scheduling decisions for efficient mining supply chains, particularly in the event of unplanned events (uncertainty) Dr Andreas Ernst, Dr Gaurav Singh
Clinical text mining applied to large-scale longitudinal electronic health records Clinical decision support software is necessary to analyse significant data resources to advance Australia’s healthcare system and enable biomedical discovery. Novel analysis-focused algorithms and tools are needed for this sector Dr Anthony Nguyen
Adverse health outcomes identified using Anomaly detection Anomaly detection in high dimensional settings is challenging. Aim here is to manipulate large volumes of data in real-time and find unusual events early without increasing false positive numbers Dr Ross Sparks
Digital Productivity and Services Flagship – SenseT assessment Quantify the economic, social and environmental benefits of the CSIRO Sensing Tasmania (Sense-T) Program to assess the broader benefits of making data freely available, and define improvements for future systems Dr Craig Lindley


Title of Priority Area Description CSIRO Supervisor
Enable grid integration of large scale renewables Investigate the challenges associated with the integration of renewable energy in to electricity grids, and the subsequent solutions to these challenges. Research domains may vary from the control of energy storage, to load management, or renewable energy output forecasting Dr Glenn Platt
Innovative energy solutions for local, low-emission energy systems Innovative energy solutions for implementation of demand side management technologies, transactive grid design and integration of distributed renewable generation. Ms Kate Cavanagh
Modelling the energy economy The Australian economy is dependent on the way we use energy now and in the future. Help us to model this complex system so that strategic investment decisions in the electricity and transport sectors are cheaper and more resilient over the next 50 years Dr Luke Reedman
Computational Geosciences Develop highly coupled Earth System models to predict the movement and storage of hydrocarbons in the subsurface Dr Ben Clennell 

Food Futures

Title of Priority Area Description CSIRO Supervisor
Aquaculture nutrigenomics: assessing the interactions of nutrition and genome in driving industry productivity Apply nutrigenomics to assess the performance of aquaculture species at both phenomic and genomic levels in response to novel changes in their diet Dr Brett Glencross
Modelling metabolic processes involved in oil synthesis in plants Development of modelling techniques to optimise the production of lipids in crop plants by better understanding metabolic fluxes between carbon sinks. Dr James Petrie
Who is listening? The proteins that worm chemosensors talk to. The genome of the nematode worm contains a rich complement of chemical sensor genes. You will use innovative techniques to investigate the interactions of their gene products. Dr Alisha Anderson
Mutational analysis of wheat growth and development Utilisation of mutant collections to define the genetic basis of key wheat developmental stages in order to optimise productivity Dr Steve Swain

Future Manufacturing

Title of Priority Area   Description CSIRO Supervisor 
Sustainable Materials from CO2 Developing CO2 based biodegradable polymers targeting to enhance the Tg and crystallinity of the polymers and maximise the CO2 utilisation in the synthesis. Dr Xiaoqing Zhang
UV Laser-induced Photochemistry in Continuous Flow Continuous flow chemistry offers many advantages over traditional batch-chemistry reactions. This project will investigate new reactions in flow, with a particular emphasis on photochemical transformations initiated using UV light. Dr John Tsanaktsidis
Business model innovation for Australian SMEs How can SMEs innovate their business models (i.e. re-think, design and implement new business models) to maximise the value they create when adopting disruptive (information & robotics) assistive technologies? Dr Peter Kambouris
3D print models for complex objects This research priority will investigate how ontologies and process models can be used to control the printing process of 3d printers with the aim of increasing the flexibility of material decomposition in the printing process. Dr Nico Adams, Dr Armin Haller 
Rich, multimodal human/robot interfaces for manufacturing To allow human workers to interact with robots in intuitive ways requires rich multimodal interfaces. This research focuses on integrating recognition of speech, gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions, and opportunities to help for assistive robots. Dr Alberto Elfes, Dr Elliot Duff

Minerals Down Under

Title of Priority Area Description CSIRO Supervisor
Meeting the challenge of titanium in steelmaking Titanium critically affects melt properties during steelmaking. This project aims to fundamentally improve understanding of the beneficial/detrimental role of Ti on phase formation in the FeO-CaO-Al2O3-SiO2 (FACS) system Dr Mark Pownceby
Enhancing our understanding of biomass pyrolysis This fundamental study aims to develop an improved understanding of the kinetics of the pyrolysis reaction that converts biomass into charcoal and organic co-products. Dr Alex Deev
Improved iron removal strategies for lateritic atmospheric/heap leach processes Selective iron removal from lateritic atmospheric/heap leach solutions to make such leach processes attractive to the industry, generating less bulky and environmentally friendly solid with minimum value losses. Dr Goutam Das, Dr Robbie McDonald
Use of bio-technologies for Australian ore exploitation The use of reductive bioleaching methods or halotolerant iron/sulfur oxidising microorganisms in bioleaching with Australian waters. Dr Anna Kaksonen
Linking geochemistry and geophysics for mineral exploration Reading geochemical signatures in geophysics data will provide a new tool for mineral explorers without the need for drilling. Dr Rob Hough

Preventative Health

Title of Priority Area Description CSIRO Supervisor
Personalised diet & lifestyle for reducing cognitive decline in a high risk population group. APOE4 Carriers (25 per cent population) have a much higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and stroke. The project will explore which diet and lifestyle is best suited for APOE4 carriers to reduce risk of cognitive decline and AD. Prof Michael Fenech
Genomics and lifestyle factors and prevention of chronic disease Developing a personalised prevention approach to chronic disease, using colorectal cancer as a primary example as part of the Melbourne genomics initiative. Dr Malcolm Riley
Obesity determinants Identify novel non-invasive clinical biomarkers (eg brain/retinal imaging, breath analysis) of obesity and metabolic health Dr Nathan O’Callaghan

Sustainable Agriculture

Title of Priority Area Description CSIRO Supervisor
Value proposition for reducing methane emissions from northern beef herds using genetics This research will establish under what parameters it makes sense to take a genetic approach to reducing GHG emissions, and will investigate optimal strategies for combining direct and indirect measures of methane and gene markers. Dr John Henshall, Dr Luciano Gonzalez
Bushfire GHG emissions: measurement, modelling and application Bushfire emissions in Australia are an important component of the national GHG balance, yet current estimates are highly uncertain. This project will address this current uncertainty through a combination of emissions measurement and environmental modelling Dr Andrew Sullivan, Dr Stephen Roxburgh
Diagnosing wheat yield gaps in Australia’s northern grain zone A current SAF project is mapping wheat yield gap at 1 km 2 resolution. The next step is to diagnose the causes of larger than average yield gaps. Dr Zvi Hochman
Management of resistance in emergence grains pests: the influence of the landscape Supporting multi-functional biodiverse landscapes and sustainable farming practices by understanding practices that increase the risk of resistance developing and spreading. Dr Sarina Macfadyen
Nitrogen productivity in Australia and Africa Bridging the gap between actual and achievable total farm nitrogen productivity in high and low input systems of Australia and eastern Africa Dr Mario Herrero

Water for a Healthy Country

Title of Priority Area Description CSIRO Supervisor
Evaluating ecological response to environmental flows Field investigations and experiments on how the river and wetland ecosystems of the southern Murray-Darling Basin respond to environmental water. Dr Gavin Rees
Stormwater recycling to improve waterway health Model the catchment-scale effects of implementing stormwater controls to determine the interventions required to restore catchment- hydrology and ecology in streams. Dr David Marlow
Global water resource development to meet future water demands Explore the potential for water resource development and improved water management to help meet global demands for food, energy and equitable access to water. Dr Ian Prosser

Wealth from Oceans

Title of Priority Area Description CSIRO Supervisor
Mesoscale and Regional Ocean Dynamics and Prediction

The boundary between the open ocean and coastal/shelf seas is governed by complex dynamical process where ocean eddies and major boundary currents, such as the East Australian Current, impinge in different ways toward the coast. Better understanding of the key dynamical processes – eddies, shelf currents, waves and tides – mediating how offshore conditions impact on our shelves and coasts, is critical to the goal of building reanalysis and prediction systems for our coastal and shelf oceans.

We are interested in activities that exploit the new generation of observational data streams and high resolution modelling provide to further our understanding of these key phenomena and lay the basis for the building blocks of improved ocean prediction systems.

Dr Peter Oke, Dr Andreas Schiller
The Ocean’s Role in Climate Variability and Change The oceans transport vast amounts of heat through the Earth System and thus modulate climate on monthly through centennial scales. They also sequester large amounts of carbon and play a significant role in the global carbon cycle. Major climate extremes such as floods and droughts are often ocean-driven. Further insight is needed into how oceans modulate and drive climate are possible through improved model and observational networks, particularly for the little studied Southern Hemisphere oceans and climate. Dr Wenju Cai, Ms Susan Wijffels
Marine Socioecology

Marine systems are highly productive centres of human activity, attracting competing users with conflicting objectives and cumulative impacts. These socioecological systems are complex, adaptive and characterised by the interplay of biophysical, industrial, economic and social factors across multiple spatiotemporal, and organisational scales.

A transformation to cross-sectoral management that balances social license and competing marine uses and values is required to sustain industries, ecosystems, livelihoods and communities. Transdisciplinary approaches spanning biophysical and human systems, and actively involving stakeholders, show promise. Globally, these methods have previously typically focused on single sectors or terrestrial issues, but Australia needs marine multi-sectoral approaches.

Dr Beth Fulton, Dr Ingrid van Putten
Carbon flux in mangrove forests: potential for blue-carbon sequestration Despite the release of the Blue Carbon Policy Framework (IPCC), research is needed to support the development of IPCC guidance and building scientific understanding of carbon storage and emissions from disturbed mangrove forest systems. Development of projects associated with emission reductions from mangrove forests is currently challenging as emissions factors for these systems have not been satisfactorily established. Dr Andy Steven, Mr David McJannet
Using satellite remote sensing to quantify carbon stocks and fluxes in the Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean plays a major role in the global carbon cycle, yet it is probably the most understudied ocean basin, especially regarding biogeochemical dynamics. It is known to display strong interannual modes of variability, particularly in response to the Indian Ocean Dipole and El Nino Southern Oscillation, with consequences for global carbon cycling.

Quantifying the effects of this variability on carbon stocks and fluxes is critical for regional and global understanding of carbon budgets. Satellite remote sensing offers the potential for quantifying and monitoring carbon stocks (POC, PIC, CDOM) and fluxes (primary production, air-sea CO2 flux) in these waters through synergistic use of data from different sensor types, e.g. ocean colour, SST, altimetry, salinity and SAR.

To achieve this goal, fundamental work is required on establishing relationships between existing in situ observations of these stocks and fluxes with satellite optical and radar measurements for Indian Ocean waters

Dr Nick Hardman-Mountford, Dr Andy Steven

Learn more about CSIRO Postgraduate scholarships.

If you are having difficulty accessing this information, please use either the contact information listed for this page or email CSIRO Enquiries within business hours. You can also request further assistance through our Accessibility webpage.