HDR Scholarship – PhD Opportunity: Deakin University, Australia

HDR Scholarship – PhD Opportunity: Deakin University, Australia: Applications now open for a PhD scholarship on the topic ‘Development of the avian clock’ at Deakin University, Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus.

  • Project Scope: The scholarship focuses on understanding how photoperiod affects the development of the avian clock and influences the timing of crucial life events in wild zebra finches.
  • Developmental Programming: Previous research has highlighted the significance of early life conditions in determining developmental programming for later life conditions.
  • Research Tasks: The PhD candidate will conduct experiments to quantify the impact of photoperiod on reproductive timing, including gene expression analysis, developmental assessments, and behavioral observations.
  • Fieldwork Involvement: The research will involve remote fieldwork, including the capture and relocation of wild birds for breeding in captivity.
  • Ethics and Responsibilities: The candidate will work under local ethics permission and will be responsible for limited euthanasia and sample collection.
  • Research Team: The PhD student will join a vibrant research team focusing on the role of environmental cycles in early avian development.
  • Supervision: The student will be based at Deakin University, Geelong, and will be co-supervised by A/Prof F Gachon from the University of Queensland.

💰 Benefits and Duration

  • Stipend: $33,500 per annum (tax-exempt) starting from 28/05/2023
  • Relocation allowance: $500 to $1,500 (for single to family)
  • International students: Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy
  • Doctoral Degree Duration: 3 years for stipend, 4 years for tuition fees offset
  • Research Master Degree Duration: 2 years for stipend, 2 years for tuition fees offset

📜 Eligibility Criteria

  • Open to domestic and international HDR students at Deakin University
  • RTP Fees Offset applicants must not receive an equivalent award or scholarship from the Commonwealth for HDR fees offset
  • RTP or DUPRS Stipend applicants must not have income exceeding 75% of the stipend rate from other sources
  • Additional admission requirements can be found on the research degree entry pathways page

🔍 Selection Process

  • Stipends awarded through a competitive process outlined in ranking guidelines
  • Applicants must have completed at least four years of tertiary education studies
  • Academic attainment, work experience, research publications, and other research experience considered
  • Currently enrolled HDR students can apply, with specific time limits
  • Refer to Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Scholarships Procedure for details

📄 How to Apply

  • Prospective students can learn about the application process on the “how to apply” page
  • Currently enrolled HDR students can complete the scholarship application form provided

Summary Table:

Scholarship Duration3 years
Stipend$33,500 per annum (tax exempt, 2023 rate)
Relocation Allowance$500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate
International StudentsTuition fees offset for 4 years, Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the student visa duration

Study Area: School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Engineering, and Built Environment

Scholarship Description:

A PhD scholarship opportunity is available for a highly motivated candidate to undertake research on the ‘Development of the avian clock’ under the supervision of Prof Kate Buchanan at Deakin University’s Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus. This project focuses on understanding the role of photoperiod in shaping the development of the avian biological clock and its impact on the timing of life events, such as hatching and reproduction in wild zebra finches. The research builds upon previous work highlighting the significance of early life conditions in determining later life outcomes.

The PhD student will be responsible for quantifying the influence of photoperiod on reproductive timing through a common garden experiment, involving the assessment of gene expression, development, and behavior. Fieldwork, including the capture and relocation of wild birds for captive breeding, will be part of the project. The student will work under local ethics permissions for tissue collection from embryonic birds and may be responsible for limited euthanasia and sample collection.

The successful candidate will be part of a dynamic research team investigating environmental cycles’ impact on early avian development. There will be opportunities to learn various molecular techniques, conduct endocrine and behavioral assays, study neural gene expression, and perform genomics analyses to assess physiological processes and functional implications. Additionally, the student will have co-supervision from A/Prof F Gachon at the University of Queensland.


To be eligible for this scholarship, candidates must:

  • Be domestic or international candidates. (Domestic candidates include those with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency, or New Zealand Citizenship)
  • Meet Deakin’s PhD entry requirements.
  • Enroll full-time and hold either an honors degree (first class) or a master’s degree with a substantial research component (or equivalent).

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • An interest in birds.
  • Possession of a full driving license.
  • Willingness to work in remote areas with appropriate support.
  • Willingness to perform limited euthanasia of embryos or adult birds for tissue collection.

Required Documents:

Interested applicants should email Prof Kate Buchanan with the following:

  • Statement of interest in the project.
  • Detailed CV, including contact details for two referees.
  • The SEBE expression of interest (found below).

How to Apply:

For further information and to apply, please email Prof Kate Buchanan. The successful student must commence their studies in Australia before 31st Dec 2023.

Last Date:

Applications close at 5 pm, Friday 31 December 2023..

Contact Us:

For more information about this scholarship, please contact:

Prof Kate Buchanan

A/Prof Frederic Gachon

Discover more about this exciting research opportunity and contribute to our understanding of avian biology and developmental programming.

Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment

All applicants must complete and submit an EOI form prior to applying via the HDR application form. The Faculty will then advise whether or not you should proceed in applying for candidature and scholarship.

Round 1Round 2
ApplicantsDomestic and International applicants available to commence in 2023Domestic and International applicants available to commence in 2024
EOI Closing date1 March 20232 October 2023
Application Closing Date31 March 202331 October 2023


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