PhD scholarship – Integrated modelling and analysis of sustainability of human-environment systems under global change

Two PhD scholarships are available in Deakin University's Centre for Integrative Ecology, within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences and the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environments.

The PhD students, under the guidance of the Chief Investigator, will initiate and conduct research on the topic of ‘Integrated modelling and analysis of sustainability of human-environment systems under global change’, led by Professor Brett A Bryan.

The successful applicants will be based at the Burwood Campus.

Value and duration


  • A stipend of $26,682 per annum tax exempt (2017 rate)
  • A relocation allowance up to $1,500 (2017 rate) awarded to students who are moving from interstate or overseas in order to study at Deakin
  • Paid sick, maternity and parental leave
  • Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for international students for the duration of 4 years


3 years

Important dates

Opening date

 24 March 2017

Closing date

1 May 2017

Project aim

The PhD students will initiate and conduct research within the broad area of integrated modelling and analysis of sustainability in human-environment systems. The research will be interdisciplinary, crossing environmental science and management, and economics and policy. The focus questions will address key global sustainability challenges as they relate to land systems, potentially including food security, climate change, emissions abatement, water, biodiversity conservation, energy, land degradation, population and resource use/scarcity, and urbanisation. 

The position has a broad potential scope of work possibly involving but not limited to: land-use scenario specification and simulation modelling; optimisation of future land-use patterns; evaluation of ecosystem service impacts of potential land-use change including impacts for socio-economic development, agricultural production, biodiversity conservation, water resources, land degradation, and bioenergy; or the cost-effective policy, governance, and management of land systems. 

In addition, the Fellow could contribute to: the development and application of a model of land clearance for Australia, or land-use dynamics in northern Australia; or the analysis of future variability in environmental and economic drivers on agricultural production, carbon sequestration, and the flow-on impacts on food security and greenhouse gas abatement. The geographic area of focus could range from catchment/regional level, but would preferably occur at the national scale for Australia or other countries (e.g. China), or at the global scale. 

The methods used will be quantitative, and may include techniques such as scenario analysis and complex systems modelling, robust decision-making under uncertainty (especially deep uncertainty); optimisation; risk analysis and risk mitigation such as hedging and insurance; and developing backcasting methods to identify feasible pathways to sustainable futures. 

There is also an opportunity to explore new data science methods such as deep learning applications in environmental science and management. The Fellow will use tools such as R, Python, GIS, and integrate multiple spatio-temporal data sources. The specific research topic(s) and methods will depend upon mutual interest and skills, and prospects for co-investment and impact, to be determined via discussion with the successful candidate and other key colleagues/collaborators/stakeholders.


  • International and domestic candidates (domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Resident, New Zealand Citizenship). 
  • Applicants must meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements, be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (First Class) or a master's degree with a substantial research component in a related field. Please refer to the entry pathways to higher degrees by research for further information.

How to apply

Please refer to the Apply for a research degree webpage for application information.

Futher information

If you wish to discuss your research interests and project proposal before applying, please contact Professor Brett Bryan.

Email Prof Bryan
+61 3 9246 8456