HDR Scholarship - Local Agenda 2030: A general framework for charting pathways to sustainability to future-proof local communities

Applications now open

Two PhD scholarships are available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'HDR Scholarship - Local Agenda 2030: A general framework for charting pathways to sustainability to future-proof local communities'. There will be different study areas for each project.

Research topic

Local communities are concerned about the future as change is occurring more rapidly than at any time in human history. Communities, including our two case study areas (i.e. the Forrest/Otways and Goulburn-Murray regions), are asking how can they be more resilient, adaptive, cleaner, greener, manage risks, and cope with surprises? And how can they anticipate and seize opportunities as they arise? The Forrest/Otways community acknowledges that they are ‘highly susceptible to environmental, social and economic effects of climate change’, and are ‘a community in transition working to define a sustainable and resilient future’. The Goulburn-Murray community—struggling with recent drought and water reform, and seeing opportunities for tourism and digital infrastructure—recently held a regional vision forum to discuss these pressing issues. Charting a pathway to sustainability that is robust to uncertainty is crucial to enable all local communities and environments to adapt, prosper, and thrive under future uncertainty.

The Ian Potter Foundation, in conjunction with Deakin University and several partners including Monash University, the North Central Catchment Management Authority, and the Forrest District Community Group are embarking on a large project entitled “Local Agenda 2030: A general framework for charting pathways to sustainability to future-proof local communities”. The project aims to identify potential options for communities and evaluate the socio-economic and environmental impacts of these options under uncertainty in order to chart pathways towards the SDGs at the local level.

Project aim

This PhD project will contribute to the larger project aimed at implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in local communities. The successful candidate will undertake a comprehensive case study using mixed qualitative (participatory) and quantitative (modelling and data analytics) methods to assess options for improving multiple socioeconomic and environmental dimensions of sustainability for one of our regional Australian communities which are facing unique challenges. The PhD research will contribute to the development of a general framework for local sustainability, future-proofing Australian communities, and enabling people and nature to prosper and thrive. The framework so developed will be generally applicable across rural/regional Australia. Widespread uptake of the framework for charting pathways to local sustainability can help Australia and the world achieve the UN’s Agenda 2030 and the global SDGs from the bottom up.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Friday 14 December 2018.


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $27,082 per annum tax exempt (2018 rate)
  • International students only: Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for the duration of 4 years

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • Background in geography, ecology, economics, engineering, decision science, social science or other field related to sustainability science.

How to apply

Learn more about submitting a successful application on the How to apply page.


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Prof Brett Bryan

Prof Brett Bryan
Professor of Global Change, Environment and Society
Email Prof Brett Bryan
+61 402 881 598