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Plastic waste in the sea is an enormous and growing problem. Ranging from large-scale debris to microscopic particles, such pollution threatens marine life. Despite this, there has been little research into the effects of plastic pollution in the coral reef environment. Thanks to the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation and its donors - the Rossi Foundation and the Banyer family - we have funds available to help fill that knowledge gap.

Applications are invited to address any aspect of the effects of plastic pollution in the coral reef environment. Note that surveys of rubbish alone do not meet this criterion. The project must investigate an aspect of the relationship between plastic waste and the organisms, habitat, and/or processes of coral reefs.

Funding is provided for field expenses at Lizard Island Research Station (LIRS) over one or two years as required. Salary is not provided.

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

Applications for amounts lower than the maximum are welcomed.

Funding must be used for field research expenses at LIRS including bench fees, travel within Australia, freight, research consumables and incidentals. Salaries, international travel, food and equipment must be funded from other sources.

Researchers at any level who have suitable skills and background are eligible to apply. They must be affiliated with a research institution that will administer the grant and provide the necessary backup support.

Student applicants must be accepted into a higher degree program at any university at the time of application and must have the support of their supervisor.

  • The grant is for field-intensive research carried out at LIRS into the extent and/or effects of plastic pollution. For student applicants, the research must form a substantial part of his or her thesis.
  • Bench fees at the current applicable rate must be paid to LIRS for research visits.
  • Field work must take place between April 2020 and March 2021 and in the same months of the following year if a second year is awarded. A blackout period applies between October and December unless there are compelling biological reasons for doing the work in those months.
  • Funding for the second year, if awarded, is subject to suitable progress.
  • Reporting, outreach and acknowledgement conditions will be detailed in a contract with the successful applicant.
  • Any funds unspent at the end of each grant year must be returned to LIRS unless carry-over arrangements are approved.
  • Administration fees may not be deducted from the grant by the grantee’s institution.

The person:

  • Meets the eligibility criteria as specified above.
  • Has relevant research and field experience to undertake the proposed project.
  • Has demonstrated capacity to produce results.

The project:

  • Will increase understanding of the effects of plastic pollution in the coral reef environment.
  • Has a strong narrative connecting the research proposed for years 1 and 2, if the application is for two year's funding.
  • Is feasible within the limitations of budget and safety regulations.
  • Uses grant funds efficiently (e.g. travel costs are minimised, time in the field is well justified).
  • 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.

Applications must be submitted to LIRS using the form provided. 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.

Closing date for applications - 13 December 2019

Offer made to successful applicant - 7 February 2020

Funds available - 1 April 2020

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.

Dr Lyle Vail or Dr Anne Hoggett

Phone: +61 (0)7 4060 3977