HDR Scholarship - Cultural burning and medicinal plants

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Cultural Burning and medicinal plants'.

Project Supervisor

School or Institute


Melbourne Burwood Campus

Research topic

A full-time PhD scholarship is available for a First Nations student to study relationships between Cultural Burning and medicinal plants. This is a mixed-methods project to be undertaken among Community and on Native Title Land that is subject to Cultural Burning.

This scholarship is part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) project entitled: Narrating the Roles of Animals in Cultural Burning. This project recognises the holistic nature of First Nations land management practices and seeks to produce detailed knowledge of how people, plants and animals co-construct landscapes via the medium of cultural fire.

Project aim

As PhD candidate you will apply a host of different methods in order to produce stories of Country, and how people and plants navigate relations within wider frameworks of government regulations, private ownership of land, loss of knowledge and traditions, introduced species controls, and a changing climate. You will have the opportunity to engage with First Nations fire practitioners from Australia and overseas and develop your skills and knowledge in this increasingly important research field.

Role and Responsibilities: Identify medicinal plants, learn their uses and cultural significance, produce knowledge of how they affect and are affected by burning practices. The field research for this project will involve interviews with First Nations stakeholders and fire practitioners from other regions, as well as plant surveys on Native Title and National Parks land.

Location: Ideally this research will be undertaken on Gumbaynggirr Country on the mid north coast of NSW, however alternative field sites will be considered in order to accommodate the candidate’s personal circumstances.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm,  1 June 2023


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $30,000 per annum tax exempt (2023 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be a domestic candidate currently residing in Australia and identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person and be accepted as such by your community.
  • 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.

Important information:

This is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identified position. Deakin University considers that being Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander is a genuine occupational requirement for this position under sub-s 26(3) or s 28 of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic).

How to apply

Please apply using the expression of interest form


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact A/Prof Peter Biro

A/Prof Peter Biro
Email A/Prof Peter Biro