Conservation ecology of New England endemic granite outcrop plant communities

Project Information

This project will increase ecological knowledge and deliver conservation outcomes for a range of rare and threatened plant species in unique granite outcrop communities of the New England bioregion. The project will combine community and molecular ecology, characterising genetic variation within and among plant species, and examining interactions between those species and associated insects and soil microbes.

The New England Batholith is one of the most significant areas of granite outcrop in Australia. Vegetation communities on granite outcrops are unique, yet there is very little knowledge on the ecology and fire responses of New England granitic plant communities, which include many endemic and threatened species.

The candidate will be working alongside an experienced team of researchers as part of a project funded by the Australian Government’s Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery program. The project is focused on ecological monitoring and conservation outcomes. An interest in working alongside industry partners and local stakeholders to deliver conservation outcomes, a passion for science communication, and the capacity to work both independently and as part of a team are important qualities. The applicant must be proficient in spoken and written English and have a current driver’s licence, as well as First Aid certification (or be able to attain one).

The applicant will require physical fitness and capacity to conduct field work in remote and challenging rocky environments within UNE WHS guidelines. The candidate will have access to relevant training in field, statistical and molecular tools as needed. The school provides a laptop, desk and lab space, and operating funds up to $3000 per year.

Start time is negotiable; candidate may commence the scholarship remotely if needed because of COVID restrictions. Selection of applicants will be based on merit. We strongly encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and identities.

Scholarship Information

The scholarship provides a living allowance and is awarded on academic merit and research experience and/or potential. The scholarship is tax free and provides a stipend of AU$28,092 per annum for full time and AU$14,046 for part-time students. An additional AU$10,000 per annum for full time students and AU$5,000 per annum for part-time students will be available in operating costs. The Scholarship is available for three years full-time for a doctoral degree, two years for a research Master's degree. The duration of the scholarship cannot be extended.

For more information please review the scholarship terms and conditions.

How to Apply

Applicants must meet UNE’s admission requirements for a PhD program. For more information on applying for candidature please see our how to apply/enrol webpage. Applicants must submit a completed candidature and scholarship application form in order to be considered.

Please find the link to the application form and guidelines below:

Applications can be submitted through AskUNE.


Enquiries should be directed to Dr Manu Saunders by email at

Applications are open until filled.