University of Wollongong, Australia is offering a PhD Scholarship associated with Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship Project FT 200100006 (https://scholars.uow.edu.au/display/jenny_atchison).
Critical geographies, political ecologies of forestry and biosecurity in Northern Australia
Invasive plants are transforming the landscapes and livelihoods of northern Australia. They are proliferating in response to human activities, and are uncontrolled drivers of ecosystem change. Northern Australia is also undergoing complex social and economic transformation; we are now seeing significant national and international investment, increased tourism, and a growing population. Notably, while the rise in ‘Big Development’ – major infrastructure projects, dams, agricultural development and extractive industries focused on increasing connectivity to Asia– has created opportunities, it has increased uncertainty and economic difficulty for others, including Indigenous people. Forestry is one industry promoted as offering a range of economic opportunities but also presents biosecurity risks and constitutes a proportion of those plants deliberately introduced for commercial purposes, despite their invasive potential.
The project seeks to build new and critical knowledge of forestry production, uneven development in northern Australia, and its relationship to biosecurity. The PhD scholar will be expected to develop and carry out a project that supports the aims of the ARC project to build new conceptual and empirical understandings of invasive plant management, including how human relations and politics with invasive plants are emerging and being transformed. The student will aim to characterise the changing material geographies of forestry in the north, its connection to global systems, and the social, economic and political relations which underpin it, and answer the question: how might forestry biosecurity in northern Australia contribute to more responsive, sustainable and socially just outcomes?
The project will primarily involve qualitative research. The student will be expected to have a background in either critical cultural or material geographies, political ecology, community justice, economic development, and/or historical colonial geographies of trade and exchange. They will be familiar with research methodologies including discourse and policy analysis, interview and focus groups, and social network analysis. Knowledge of the industry would be of benefit but is not essential. This is an exciting opportunity to undertake cutting edge research into the opportunities, challenges and tensions involved in biosecurity in Australia.
The project will be supervised by Associate Professor Jennifer Atchison and Dr Andrew Warren in the School of Geography and Sustainable Communities and ACCESS (Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space). The Future Fellowship provides generous financial resources to support fieldwork and other projects costs. The PhD scholar will be supported through the active research programs of ACCESS (https://www.uow.edu.au/social-sciences/research/access/), and have the opportunity to interact with other researchers in ACCESS who research social dimensions of weed management (including Associate Professor Nicholas Gill and Dr Sonia Graham).
The successful candidate will receive a stipend of $28,854 (2022 rate) per year which will be indexed annually for the duration of the award. The duration of the award shall be for 3 years.
To be eligible, a student must have completed a Bachelor degree in human geography, sociology, political ecology or related discipline with First Class Honours, or be regarded by UOW as having an equivalent level of attainment (such as Masters); and intend on undertaking a full-time higher degree by research.
Both domestic and international students are eligible and encouraged to apply. For international applicants, a fee waiver may be available but is not guaranteed.
Applicants should submit an expression of interest to Dr Jennifer Atchison (email@example.com) by the 1st February 2023 (or earlier) and include:
- a letter of application outlining your thematic interest in relation to the project, motivation and profile (maximum 2 pages) • a CV • relevant academic transcripts • a relevant sample of your academic writing (e.g., a working paper, a thesis chapter, or publication) After approval from Dr Atchison, you will then need to proceed with:
- a full Higher Degree Research (HDR) admission application, available at https://www.uow.edu.au/apply/index.html