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THE INFORMATION BELOW relates to the now-closed 2019 grants.

The scope of the 2020 program is still being determined.

Grants under Round 5 will be awarded to conduct field work on the Great Barrier Reef in 2019. They are funded by The Ian Potter Foundation 50th Anniversary Commemorative Grants scheme through the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation.

Applications are invited from established researchers, reef managers and industry specialists. PhD and Masters candidates can apply but they need a demonstrated track record of extensive research experience and delivering results. Key areas of interest in Round 5 include but are not limited to:

  • Cost-effective and efficient methods of controlling COTS outbreaks.
  • Filling knowledge gaps about what regulates the abundance of COTS and applying that information to COTS control.
  • Reducing the severity and/or frequency of COTS outbreaks.
  • Developing an early-warning system for future outbreaks.

We are looking for practical methods to reduce the impact of COTS on their coral prey. Projects investigating biology and ecology of COTS will be considered only if the investigator can demonstrate how the research could be used for that purpose.


The value of each 2019 grant is nominally up to AU$25,000. Applications for smaller amounts are welcome and those for higher amounts will be considered in exceptional circumstances. For successful applicants who are employed at Australian institutions and who can thus provide an Australian tax invoice, the payment will be up to $25,000 plus GST.

Funding will be available from January 2019 and must be spent within that calendar year.

Conditions of Award

  • Funding is typically limited to paying for research conducted at LIRS including: bench fees, travel, freight, internet, and research consumables. Salaries, food and equipment must be funded from other sources. However, COTS are no longer in outbreaking numbers at Lizard Island so the funding may be used for similar field expenses elsewhere on the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Field work must take place during calendar 2019.
  • Other conditions including reporting, outreach and acknowledgement will be detailed in a contract with each successful applicant.
  • Any funds unspent at 31 December 2019 must be returned to LIRS unless carry-over arrangements are approved.

Selection criteria

The person:

  • Has relevant research or industry experience to undertake the proposed project.
  • Has demonstrated capacity to produce results.

The project:

  • Investigates innovative and practical ideas for controlling COTS populations or for developing an early-warning system for future outbreaks.
  • Is feasible within the limitations of budget and safety regulations.
  • Has additional funding if the grant does not cover all planned costs.
  • Enables leverage such as the involvement of collaborators funded from a source other than the grant.

Applicants acknowledge that:

  • The Australian Museum is not under any obligation to award a grant even though the application meets all guidelines and eligiblity requirements.
  • All decisions by the selection committee are final.
  • LIRS is not obligated and in most instances will not provide feedback on unsuccessful applications.
  • LIRS has the right to forward the application to other people for review and comment.
  • LIRS reserves the right to re-advertise for applications at any time.


  • Applications must be submitted to LIRS using the form provided (link below). A curriculum vitae is to be appended to the application form. The application must be sent as a single email attachment in Word format, not as a pdf. 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 comply with the Station’s diving and boating regulations. You are welcome to contact LIRS with any queries. Use the indicative costs as provided in the application form where applicable.

Relevant dates

Closing date for applications: 12 October 2018
Offers made to successful applicants: 9 November 2018
Funds available: January 2019

Receipt of applications will be acknowledged by return e-mail. If you do not receive acknowledgement within three working days of sending your application, please contact the Research Station.


Dr Lyle Vail and Dr Anne Hoggett, Directors
Lizard Island Research Station
PMB 37, Cairns, Qld 4892
Phone: +61 7 4060 3977
E-mail: lizard@austmus.gov.au