HDR Scholarship - Plugging leaky landscapes: Turnip Creek Catchment Rehydration

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Plugging leaky landscapes: Turnip Creek Catchment Rehydration '.

Project Supervisor

Additional Supervision


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

As Australia and the world confronts the growing challenges of climate change, natural disasters and a growing population, catchment management to retain water has never been more important. Research will play a large role in helping shape and manage land and water resources, now and into the future, particularly in Australia, where water resources are scarce and highly variable.

Practices such as land clearing, drain construction and compaction have resulted in ‘leaky landscapes’, reducing the landscape’s ability to retain moisture. This has a direct and diminishing impact on farm biodiversity and productivity, especially in drought periods. The Turnip Creek Catchment Rehydration Project will address hydrological disfunction, experienced by many farms throughout Victoria. There are a number of management actions available to halt and reverse leaky landscapes, but there is a lack of science-based literature and demonstration sites. This significantly limits land manger's understanding, support and adoption of hydrating practices, ultimately impacting on-farm natural and productive capital

Project aim

This project aims to interrogate innovative hydrological pilots which measure and quantify changes in landscape hydration relative to changes in targeted land management practices. The findings from these pilots will provide the basis for the development of a commercial model, enabling pilot insights to be rolled out on a broad scale, providing broad application for the research findings. This will increase landholder knowledge and capability and lead to improved sustainability of agricultural production.

Based out of Deakin’s award-winning Geelong campus, this PhD-level research is sponsored by The William Buckland Foundation with key support by Bush Heritage, select farmers within the Turnip Creek Catchment, The Mulloon Institute, the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub and Deakin University’s ‘Centre for Regional and Rural Futures’. We are seeking a suitably qualified agricultural or environmental scientist with knowledge and interest in soils, catchment management, agriculture or ecological assessment to undertake research on how changes to catchment land management alters pasture composition & biomass, soil moisture, hydrology and biodiversity. The candidate will assist in the establishment of trial sites in the Turnip Creek catchment and lead assessment of trial impacts to construct a vivid depiction of the efficacy of the approaches; quantifying and pinpointing the relative impacts of interventions.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Thursday 19 October 2023


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $33,500 per annum tax exempt (2023 rate)
  • International students only:  Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years. Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be a domestic or international candidate. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship.
  • 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 note that the position is subject to the finalisation of partner agreements.

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

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • The project is open to domestic students and international students currently based in Australia and would be well suited to mid-career agricultural or water professionals looking for a stimulating change, or to provide a competitive career edge.

How to apply

Please email a CV and cover letter to Ms Emily Armstrong. The CV should highlight your skills, education, publications and relevant work experience. If you are successful you will then be invited to submit a formal application

Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Ms Emily Armstrong

Ms Emily Armstrong
Email Ms Emily Armstrong