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Bayi Glacier in Qilian Mountain, China (Credit: Xiaoming Wang, distributed via

Job advertisement PhD scholarship in biodiversity conservation with a geological twist

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European Geosciences Union

PhD scholarship in biodiversity conservation with a geological twist

PhD scholarship in biodiversity conservation with a geological twist



Full time

Student / Graduate / Internship


Preferred education

Application deadline
2 January 2023

6 September 2022

Job description

Would a future geologist recognise the 6th mass extinction? (PhD scholarship)

The PhD scholarship is available as part of Dr Arian Wallach’s Future Fellowship ‘Counting a Sixth Mass Extinction’ within the Centre for the Environment and School of Biology & Environmental Science.

You will become part of Arian’s new Feral Biodiversity research group dedicated to enquiring how values shape conservation science. The research group will include a total of three PhD students and a Research Assistant and will be interconnected with an international community of scientists and scholars, particularly those working within the field of compassionate conservation.

Our research group will be a transdisciplinary space to explore how our values and cultural norms define biodiversity data, and flow on to shape our understanding of the living world. We will incorporate insights from palaeontology, taxonomy, social science, and ethics to reveal new aspects of biodiversity. Our research will be dedicated to enhancing compassion, paying particular attention to creatures excluded from conservation’s moral world.

Project Background

The 6th mass extinction is a concept that emerged from geological interpretations of the deep past, to represent conservation’s gravest fears for the future of life. Counting a mass extinction may appear like a simple matter of documenting the number of species over time. Yet underlying such counts are values and norms which define scientific understanding. For example, one belief that shapes conservation is that only native species count as biodiversity.

In this exciting and ground-breaking project, you will assess global and local biodiversity trends based on extant organisms who are well represented in the fossil record, projecting what biodiversity might be detectable to a future geologist. This project would suit someone with a love of palaeontology, of analysing data trends, making dynamic maps, imagining the past and the future.

Scholarship details

You will receive a living allowance of $28,106 (AUD) per annum, for three years. The scholarship is for full-time study and can be used to support living costs. A six-month extension to the scholarship is also possible, subject to approval by QUT. International students will be considered for a HDR tuition fee sponsorship, if successful in receiving the scholarship.


You must meet QUT academic and English language entry requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy (IF49), hold a Bachelor degree with Honours or a Masters degree, in a discipline of relevance to the research topic (e.g. earth sciences, environmental sciences).

Beneficial experience and qualities include:

peer reviewed publication/s, ideally as lead author
a masters degree
professional experience in area relevant to the PhD
excellent skills in data analysis and writing
skills in R and GIS
commitment to developing critical thinking
ethical commitment to multi-species justice
alignment with the research areas: ecology, palaeontology, novel ecosystems, and compassionate conservation
experience and interest in working with complex biodiversity datasets from conservation and palaeontological sources
experience and interest in creating interactive maps
interest in transdisciplinary research.

How to apply

Please email Dr Arian Wallach at with the following:

(1) a letter outlining your background, interest in, and fit with the PhD topic (1 page maximum)
(2) your curriculum vitae
(3) a sample of your academic writing. For example, a peer-reviewed publication, thesis chapter, or report which you lead would be suitable.

More details at: