Lizard Island Postdoctoral Fellowships

Applications are now invited for the 2017 Lizard Island Postdoctoral Fellowships.


These fellowships provide financial support for research at the Lizard Island Research Station by scientists whose PhD degree was awarded fewer than five years before of the application date. Each provides up to AUD $12,000 for field expenses to be spent within one year. They do not provide salary.

Fellows make substantial original contributions to coral reef science. The fellowships are intended to stimulate scientific benefits in addition to the research outcomes through collaborations, research training, and contributing to larger projects.

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 Yulgilbar Foundation Fellowship is funded by the Yulgilbar Foundation through the LIRRF. The Yulgilbar Foundation has also supported the capital upgrade program of the Lizard Island Research Station.

This year, we are seeking applications for projects that develop understanding of the impact of major events such as cyclones and bleaching on reefs and/or of recovery from those events. Up to two of the Fellowships for 2017 may be awarded by invitation, outside of the process outlined here.


The maximum value of each 2017 fellowship is AU$12,000, payable in April 2017 and to be spent within one year. For successful applicants who are employed at Australian institutions and who can thus provide Australian tax invoices, the payments will be $12,000 plus GST.

Conditions of Award

  • Applicants must have been awarded a PhD degree between 7 October 2011 and 7 October 2016. 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 during the Fellowship year. 
  • Fellowship funds are intended to contribute towards the costs involved in conducting field work at Lizard Island Research Station. Salary and equipment (other than consumables) are not covered by the Fellowships.
  • Expenditure of Fellowship funds is restricted to:
    • Bench fees at Lizard Island Research Station for the fellow and up to two assistants at the current applicable rates. Bench fees must be paid from a different source for any accompanying postgraduate students who are working on their own projects.
    • Economy class travel between the fellow's home institution and Lizard Island, for one trip only.
    • Additional research expenses incurred at Lizard Island. These may include freight charges for food and equipment between Cairns to Lizard Island, communications, use of a larger boat for work at reefs away from the Lizard Island group, research consumables, etc.
  • Field work must take place between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018. 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). 
  • The fellow is required to make an oral presentation about the research during a field trip at Lizard Island and provide at least one illustrated blog post for the AM web site about the research within a month of completing the field trip.
  • A report outlining progress of the project must be submitted within 30 days of the end of the fellowship year, that is, by 30 April 2018. The report must include details of expenditure of the fellowship funds.
  • Any funds unspent at the end of March 2018 must be returned to LIRS unless carry-over arrangements are approved.
  • If carry-over arrangements are approved, a concise final report must also be provided within 30 days of the final field trip.
  • Publications arising from the research must provide appropriate recognition of the fellowship, the funding source and the facilities provided by the Australian Museum's Lizard Island Research Station.

Selection criteria

The person:

  1. Has a PhD degree awarded between 7 October 2011 and 7 October 2016 (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 the Fellowship year (April 2017 to March 2018) 
  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. Addresses impacts of, and/or recovery from, recent damage to the reef by cyclones and/or bleaching.
  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 such as involvement of postgraduate students and/or collaborators funded from a source other than the Fellowship. 


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 also 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 7 October 2016
Offers made to successful applicants 30 January 2017
Funds available to begin field work at Lizard Island 1 April 2017


Late applications and those in which word allowances are exceeded will not be considered. Receipt of applications will be acknowledged by return e-mail. If you do not receive acknowledgement within three working days after 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


Dr Anne Hoggett , Director, Lizard Island Research Station
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