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The Lizard Island Postdoctoral Fellowships program has operated since 2008 and 35 awards have been made to date. It is funded by the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation and its donors. There are currently three named fellowships within the program. 

The Isobel Bennett Marine Biology Fellowship is named in recognition of the late Dr Isobel Bennett who was one of Australia's eminent marine biologists. The Hermon Slade Raiatea Foundation has provided funding to the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation (LIRRF) to enable this fellowship. 

The John and Laurine Proud Fellowship is named in recognition of the late Sir John Proud and his late wife, Lady Laurine Proud. Sir John was the founder of the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation and was a long-term passionate supporter of the Research Station. Lady Proud continued her support after the death of her husband. Their estate now supports this fellowship through the LIRRF.

The LIRRF Fellowship is funded from many sources within the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation. 

Fellows are expected to make substantial orginal contributions to science. The fellowships are intended to stimulate scientific benefits in addition to the research outcomes through collaboration, research training, and contributing to larger projects. 

The fellowships support field-intensive research at the Lizard Island Research Station by scientists whose PhD degree was awarded fewer than five years before the application date. Funding is for field expenses over one or two years as required. Salary is not provided. 

This year we are seeking applications in two areas that will be assessed separately.

  1. Projects that develop understanding of the biology, ecology or processes of coral reefs.  
  2. Taxonomic projects that examine little-known marine or terrestrial faunal groups and utilise and/or contribute to the collections of the Australian Museum.

Applications are assessed by a panel of Australian Museum scientists that includes members of the LIRRF Science Committee. A single application will be considered for all available fellowships. 


For researchers based at an Australian institution, the maximum value of each 2019 fellowship is $15,000 plus GST per year for either one or two years. For researchers based at an overseas institution, the amount includes GST. 

Allowable expenses

Fellowship funds must be spent on field work at LIRS. Expenses may include bench fees, travel costs, freight and field/lab consumables. The Fellow must be present at LIRS for the duration of each Fellowship-funded field trip - others may not do the work without on-site supervision. The funds may not be used for salary or living expenses (such as food while at Lizard Island) or for equipment other than consumables. The Fellow's institution may not deduct a fee for administering the Fellowship. 

Conditions of Award

  • Applicants must have been awarded a PhD degree between 5 October 2013 and 5 October 2018. If a researcher does not satisfy this criterion and considers that s/he has an equivalent research qualification or experience of similar duration, then s/he must determine eligibility by making a case to the Selection Committee at least two weeks before the closing date for applications.
  • Applicants must be employed by a research institution for the duration of the Fellowship.
  • Field work must take place between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020 for the first year, and in the same period of the subsequent year if a second year is awarded. However, a blackout period applies in November and December unless there are compelling biological reasons for doing the work in those months (e.g. coral spawning, fish recruitment).
  • Funding in the second year, 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. 

Selection criteria

The person:

  1. Has a PhD degree awarded between 5 October 2013 and 5 October 2018 (unless an exemption to this requirement has been granted prior to the application closing date).
  2. Will be employed at a research institution for the duration of each Fellowship year (April to March) for which funding is requested.
  3. Has an excellent academic record.
  4. Has high research output in relation to career stage.
  5. Has relevant research and fieldwork experience.

The project:

  1. Will significantly advance knowledge in one of two research areas: a) Biology, ecology or processes of coral reefs OR b) the taxonomy of little-known marine or terrestrial fauna.
  2. Makes good use of LIRS facilities.
  3. Is feasible within the limitations of budget and safety regulations.
  4. Makes efficient usage of Fellowship funds.
  5. Has additional funding available if the Fellowship does not cover all planned costs.
  6. Enables scientific leverage. 
  7. For taxonomic projects only, will utilise existing collections within the Australian Museum and/or will contribute to those collections. 


Applications must be submitted to Lizard Island Research Station using the form provided (see link below). A curriculum vitae is to be appended to the application form. The application should be sent as a single email attachment in Word or rich text format (not as a pdf file). Applications will be assessed against the selection criteria.

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. Use the indicative costs for bench fees and travel between Cairns and Lizard Island as provided in the application form.

Relevant dates

Closing date for applications 5 October 2018
Offers made to successful applicants 30 January 2019
Funds available to begin field work at Lizard Island 1 April 2019


Late applications and those in which word allowances are exceeded will not be considered. Receipt of applications will be acknowledged by return email. If you do not receive acknowledgement within three working days of sending your application, please contact the Research Station.

LIRS is not obligated and in most instances will not provide feedback on unsuccessful applications.


Dr Lyle Vail and Dr Anne Hoggett, Directors
Lizard Island Research Station
Phone: + 61 7 4060-3977