The information below relates to the closed 2020 round of fellowships. It will be updated in August 2020 for the 2021 fellowships.

The Lizard Island Doctoral Fellowships program has operated continuously since 1984, supporting the research of 68 PhD students to 2019. It is funded by the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation and its donors. There are now five named fellowships within the program.

  • The Lizard Island Doctoral Fellowship is funded by the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation.
  • The Ian Potter Doctoral Fellowship at Lizard Island is funded by The Ian Potter Foundation.
  • The Zoltan Florian Marine Biology Fellowship is funded by a bequest from the late Zoltan Florian.
  • The Raymond E. Purves Foundation Doctoral Fellowship is funded by the Raymond E. Purves Foundation.
  • The Gough Family Doctoral Fellowship is funded by family members of the late John Gough AO, OBE who was a governor of The Ian Potter Foundation and a wonderful supporter of LIRS. This fellowship is offered for the first time in 2020.

The fellowships support field-intensive research at the Lizard Island Research Station by outstanding PhD students based at any university worldwide.

Applications are assessed by a panel of Australian Museum scientists that includes members of the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation Science Committee. Full applications are reviewed externally. A single application will be considered for all available fellowships.


Funding is provided for field expenses at LIRS over one, two or three years as required. Salary is not provided. Additional funding to present at an international conference may be awarded to fellows in the second or third year of their fellowship.

For students enrolled at an Australian university, the maximum value of each 2020 fellowship is AU$8,700 plus GST per year for up to three years. For students enrolled at overseas universities, the amount includes GST. Overseas students may apply for an additional $1,000 per year to contribute towards their higher travel costs.

Fellowship funds must be spent on field work at LIRS including bench fees, travel, freight, and field/lab consumables.

They may not be used for salary, for living expenses (such as food while at Lizard Island), for equipment other than research consumables, or for research or travel by the fellow's PhD supervisor (or any other more senior researcher) except as outlined below. The fellow's university may not deduct a fee for administering the fellowship.

In the second or third year of a multi-year fellowship, fellows may apply for additional funding of up to $4,000 to enable them to present their research at an international conference.


  • The fellow must conduct field-intensive research at the Lizard Island Research Station (LIRS) that will form a substantial part of his or her thesis.
  • The fellow must spend an average of at least 100 person days per year of funding, conducting research at LIRS. Most projects require at least one assistant so this usually means that the fellow and an assistant must both work at LIRS for an average of at least 50 days per year. Bench fees at the current applicable rate must be paid to LIRS for these visits.
  • The first field trip using fellowship funding should not be planned to start before April 2020.
  • If the fellow's supervisor or any other senior researcher wishes to accompany the fellow on field trips to Lizard Island, fellowship funds may not be used to cover any part of that person's travel costs. They may be used to pay bench fees for the supervisor or other senior researcher at the student assistant's rate for up to 5 days over the life of the fellow's project, providing that the senior person is actually assisting the fellow on those days rather than conducting his/her own research. Bench fees for any additional days spent at LIRS by the senior researcher must be paid at the current rate applicable to researchers and that amount may not be paid from fellowship funds.
  • Fellows who have been awarded two or three years of funding may apply at the beginning of the second year for up to $4,000 additional funding to assist them to present their research at an international conference. Conference funding is not offered to one-year fellows.
  • Funding in the second and third years, if awarded, is subject to suitable progress.
  • Reporting, outreach and acknowledgement conditions will be detailed in a contract with each successful applicant.
  • Any funds unspent at the end of each fellowship year must be returned to LIRS unless carry-over arrangements are approved.

At the time of applying, applicants must:

  1. be accepted into a PhD program for a project that requires substantial field-based research at a coral reef location, and
  2. show that they can support themselves for the duration of the requested fellowship period by, for example, having a stipend from a scholarship or other source.

Applications from people who do not meet these criteria will not be considered further.


  1. Quality of the application, including spelling, grammar, providing information in the required manner, consistency of the funding request with the remaining duration of the PhD, and similar things.
  2. The applicant has an excellent academic record.
  3. The applicant has high research output in relation to career stage.
  4. Projects for which LIRS is the primary research base will be given preference.
  5. The project makes good use of LIRS facilities, requiring an average of at least 100 person days at LIRS per year of funding to conduct work that would be more difficult at other research facilities.
  6. The applicant has relevant research and field work experience.
  7. The significance and innovative approach of the project.
  8. The project is feasible within the limitations of budget and safety regulations.
  9. Efficient usage of fellowship funds (e.g. travel costs are minimised).
  10. There is an actual or potential source of additional funding if the fellowship does not cover all planned costs, or there is a plan for amending the proposal if such additional funding doesn't become available.

Preliminary applications

Preliminary applications must be submitted on the form provided as an email attachment in Word or rich text format using the font settings in the original form.

Preliminary applications will be assessed against selection criteria 1-6 only.

Preliminary application form for 2020 doctoral fellowships

Invited full applications

Highly ranked preliminary applicants will be invited to submit a full application and full applications will only be accepted from those people. Full applications must be submitted on the form provided, as an email attachment in Word or rich text format using the font settings in the original form. Use photographs and other illustrations only if essential.

Full applications must be supported by a letter from the applicant's primary supervisor which has been endorsed by the head of the university department where the applicant is enrolled. The letter must support the research proposal including the proposed field work at Lizard Island.

Full applications will be sent for external review and assessed against all selection criteria.

Full application form for 2020 doctoral fellowships

Information for completing applications

To assist in preparing your application, please consult other sections of this web site to learn about LIRS facilities and the number of assistants you will need to bring to comply with the Station's scuba diving and boating regulations. You are welcome to contact LIRS with any queries.

Indicative costs for bench fees, travel between Cairns and Lizard Island, and barge freight are provided below for planning purposes. Please use these rates when preparing your budget estimates.

Applicants based at Australian universities have different tax status to those based at overseas universities. Australian students can plan expenditure of Fellowship funds of up to $9,570 per year including GST. Overseas students can plan to spend only $8,700 per year including GST. However, overseas students may apply for an additional $1,000 per year to contribute towards their higher travel costs so their budget may be up to $9,700.



Indicative rates including GST (AUD)
2020 2021 2022
Bench fee (per person per night)
- Applicant $58.50 $59.50 $61.00
- Assistant $53.50 $54.50 $55.50
Airfare, Cairns/Lizard/Cairns $720 $735 $750
Barge freight, per piece $16.00 $16.50 $17.00
Relevant dates
6 September 2019 Closing date for preliminary applications
4 October 2019 Invitations made to submit full applications
22 October 2019 Closing date for full applications
31 January 2020 Offer made to successful applicants
1 April 2020 Funds available

Contact

Dr Lyle Vail and Dr Anne Hoggett, Directors
Lizard Island Research Station
PMB 37 CAIRNS QLD 4892
AUSTRALIA
Phone: + 61 7 4060-3977


Doctoral Fellows Honour Roll
Year Name University Fellowship
2019 Jessica Bellworthy Bar Ilan University, Israel Raymond E. Purves Foundation
2019 Catheline Froelich University of Wollongong Zoltan Florian
2019 Tim Gordon University of Exeter, UK Ian Potter
2019 Kelly Hannan James Cook University Lizard Island
2018 Viviana Brambilla St Andrews University, UK Ian Potter
2018 Claudio Brandao University of Aveiro, Portugal Lizard Island
2018 Jose Paula University of Lisbon, Portugal Lizard Island
2018 Robert Striet James Cook University Lizard Island
2018 Zegni Triki University of Neuchatel, Switzerland Lizard Island
2017 Alexia Graba-Landry James Cook University Lizard Island
2017 Renato Morais Araujo James Cook University Lizard Island
2017 Damaris Torres-Pulliza Macquarie University Ian Potter
2016 Zoe Loffler James Cook University Ian Potter
2016 Jamie McWilliam Curtin University Lizard Island
2015 Steve Doo University of Sydney Ian Potter
2015 Maria Palacios James Cook University Ian Potter
2014 Lauren Nadler James Cook University Lizard Island
2014 Davina Poulos James Cook University Ian Potter
2013 Fabio Cortesi University of Basel, Switzerland Lizard Island
2013 Martina Prazeres University of Queensland Ian Potter
2013 Hanne Thoen University of Queensland Lizard island
2012 Oona Lonnstedt James Cook University Ian Potter
2012 Dominique Roche Australian National University Lizard Island
2012 Justin Welsh James Cook University Lizard Island
2012 Sharon Wismer University of neuchatel, Switzerland Lizard Island
2011 Sandra Binning Australian National University Ian Potter
2011 Jessica Stella James Cook University Yulgilbar
2010 Darren Coker James Cook University Ian Potter
2010 Chris Goatley James Cook University Lizard Island
2009 Rebecca Fox James Cook University Lizard island
2009 Alicia Crawley University of Queensland Ian Potter
2008 Roberta Bonaldo James Cook University Lizard Island
2008 Jacob Johansenn James Cook University Lizard Island
2008 Vanessa Messmer James Cook University Ian Potter
2007 Adel Heenan University of Edinburgh, UK Lizard Island
2007 Michael Holcomb Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA Lizard island
2007 Andrew Hoey James Cook University Ian Potter
2007 Tom Holmes James Cook University Lizard Island
2006 Lynda Curtis University of Queensland Ian Potter
2006 Nicole Patten Southern Cross University Lizard Island
2005 Stefan Walker James Cook University Lizard Island
2005 Marian Wong James Cook University Lizard Island
2004 Cathie Page James Cook University Lizard Island
2003 Line Bay James Cook University Lizard island
2003 Chris Fulton James Cook University Lizard Island
2002 Justin Becker University of Queensland Lizard Island
2001 Rebecca Fisher James Cook University Lizard Island
2001 Heather Petterson James Cook University Lizard Island
2000 Ulricke Siebeck University of Queensland Lizard Island
1999 Jackie Wolstenholme James Cook University Lizard Island
1998 Nick Gust James Cook University Lizard Island
1997 Andrew Baker University of Miami, USA Lizard Island
1997 Philip Munday James Cook University Lizard Island
1996 Bryce Stewart James Cook University Lizard Island
1995 Ilona Stobutzki James Cook University Lizard Island
1994 Vicki Hall James Cook University Lizard Island
1993 Alexandra Grutter James Cook University Lizard Island
1993 Dirk Zeller James Cook University Lizard Island
1992 Vicki Nelson James Cook University Lizard Island
1991 Alison Green James Cook University Lizard Island
1990 Campbell Davies James Cook University Lizard Island
1989 Mark McCormick James Cook University Lizard Island
1988 Julian Cayley James Cook University Lizard island
1987 Kendall Clements James Cook University Lizard Island
1986 Maria Milicich Griffith University Lizard Island
1985 Geoffrey Smith Griffith University Lizard Island
1984 John Chisholm James Cook University Lizard Island
1984 Roland Pitcher Griffith University Lizard Island