Would a future geologist recognize the 6th Mass Extinction? (PhD scholarship)

Queensland University of Technology

Master Scholarship  
February 16, 2022


What you'll receive

You will receive a living allowance of $28,106 (AUD) per annum, for three years. The scholarship is for full-time study and can be used to support living costs.

A six-month extension to the scholarship is also possible, subject to approval by QUT.

International students will be considered for a HDR tuition fee sponsorship, if successful in receiving the scholarship.


You must:

  • meet QUT academic and English language entry requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy (IF49)
  • hold a Bachelor degree with Honours or a Masters degree, in a discipline of relevance to the research topic (e.g. biological sciences, environmental sciences).
  • Beneficial experience and qualities include:

  • peer reviewed publication/s, ideally as lead author
  • a Masters degree
  • professional experience in area relevant to the PhD
  • excellent skills in data analysis and writing
  • skills in R and GIS
  • commitment to developing critical thinking
  • ethical commitment to multi-species justice
  • alignment with the research areas: ecology, palaeontology, novel ecosystems, and compassionate conservation
  • experience and interest in working with complex biodiversity datasets from conservation and palaeontological sources
  • experience and interest in creating interactive maps
  • interest in transdisciplinary research.
  • How to apply Future QUT research student applicants:
  • Follow the steps outlined at the How to apply page.
  • You must submit your expression of interest (EOI) by 31 March 2022.
  • Apply for the scholarship in your EOI by:
  • nominating Arian Wallach as your principal supervisor; and
  • in the financial details section, enter the details of this scholarship at question 2.
  • including in your EOI:
  • under “summary of your research project” outline your background, interest in, and fit with the PhD topic
  • as part of submitting your academic records, include one example of your academic writing. For example, a peer-reviewed publication, thesis chapter, or report which you lead would be suitable.
  • If your EOI is accepted you will be invited to submit a full application including a research proposal to finalise your application

    Current QUT research students:

    Please email Arian Wallach including:

  • a letter outlining your background, interest in, and fit with the PhD topic (1 page maximum)
  • your curriculum vitae
  • a sample of your academic writing. For example, a peer-reviewed publication, thesis chapter, or report which you lead would be suitable.
  • Conditions

    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 Arian Wallach’s Future Fellowship 'Counting a Sixth Mass Extinction' within the Centre for the Environment and School of Biology & Environmental Science.

    You will become part of Arian’s new Feral Biodiversity research group dedicated to enquiring how values shape conservation science. The research group will include a total of three PhD students and a Research Assistant and will be interconnected with an international community of scientists and scholars, particularly those working within the field of compassionate conservation.

    Our research group will be a transdisciplinary space to explore how our values and cultural norms define biodiversity data, and flow on to shape our understanding of the living world. We will incorporate insights from palaeontology, taxonomy, social science, and ethics to reveal new aspects of biodiversity. Our research will be dedicated to enhancing compassion, paying particular attention to creatures excluded from conservation’s moral world.

    Project Background

    The 6th mass extinction is a concept that emerged from geological interpretations of the deep past, to represent conservation’s gravest fears for the future of life. Counting a mass extinction may appear like a simple matter of documenting the number of species over time. Yet underlying such counts are values and norms which define scientific understanding. For example, one belief that shapes conservation is that only native species count as biodiversity.

    In this exciting and ground-breaking project, you will assess global and local biodiversity trends based on extant organisms who are well represented in the fossil record, projecting what biodiversity might be detectable to a future geologist. This project would suit someone with a love of palaeontology, of analysing data trends, making dynamic maps, imaging the past and the future.

    For further information, please contact Dr Arian Wallach.

    About Arian

    I combine ecological science with ethics to promote compassionate approaches to conservation. I collaborate with landholders to protect wild animals from killing programs in conservation and farming, and transition to coexistence. My ecological research explores how ‘non-native’ species promote biodiversity, and how apex predators enable native-non-native coexistence. I have been based at the Centre for Compassionate Conservation at UTS since 2015 and am moving to QUT to start a Future Fellowship in April 2022. Please feel welcome to contact me to discuss this PhD.

    My essays in the Conversation provide a sense of my research interests and moral leanings.

    About the organization

    Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is one of Australia’s leading universities with a truly global outlook and focus on providing students with practical, relevant skills they can apply in the real world.QUT offers hundreds of undergraduate and postgraduate study options...

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