Apply now: research grant opportunity for early-career scientists

Doctorate and master’s degree students studying bio-physical and social sciences in Australia are invited to apply for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Reef Guardians Research Grants.

The grants from Australia’s lead management agency for the Reef offer an opportunity for new management-relevant research that addresses key threats to the Reef.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority acting Chief Executive Officer Bruce Elliot encourages eligible students to apply for the grants.

“We’re delighted to support early-career scientists — there’s lots of valuable research being conducted by a new generation of scientists,” he said.

"They offer a new perspective and the research can fill knowledge gaps, enable us to better understand this complex system, and inform future management actions by using the best available science.

"Applications may focus on any aspect of the physical, biological, social, cultural and economic environments of the Great Barrier Reef and must be guided by the agency’s Science Strategy and Information Needs.”

Since the grants program began over 40 years ago, there have been more than 300 grants awarded on topics related to the Reef’s health and management.

Among the previous recipients is Suzanne Hillcoat who received a grant in 2018.

Suzanne is undertaking her post-graduate studies on dwarf minke whales through James Cook University and used the grant funding to facilitate workshops with tourism operators in Cairns and Port Douglas.

The workshops focused on recent findings about the whales and provided training to vessel crews to assist with monitoring and data collection.

“Every year dwarf minke whales travel great distances, from the Southern Ocean to the Great Barrier Reef. This journey is remarkable given their small size,” Ms Hillcoat said.

“Based on observational studies to date we think the Great Barrier Reef aggregation may be for mating purposes — adult dwarf minke whales come to the Reef to mate, and the juveniles and sub-adults come to socialise and learn about mating behaviours.

“With a better understanding of important biological characteristics such as behaviour, growth, and age, we can enhance industry knowledge and compliance, improve quality and quantity of citizen science data, and strengthen management decisions.”

This research will also inform program design for the Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program, which will provide access to the best available information to enable resilience-based management of the Great Barrier Reef and catchment.

The grant program provides funding from $1000 to $5000 for successful research projects. Applications are now open and close on 13 February 2019.

For further application information can be found here.

Notes to media:

Download dwarf minke whale image. ©Suzanne Hillcoat

Contact: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Media team | (07) 4750 0846 | media@gbrmpa.gov.au | Twitter:@gbrmarinepark