Note: The information below relates to 2024 Postdoctoral Fellowships. Applications for that round closed in October 2023. The process and timing for the 2025 round will be similar to that of 2024. Updated information and application materials will be posted here in about September 2024.

The Lizard Island Postdoctoral Fellowships program has operated since 2008 and 49 awards have been made to date. It is funded by the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation and its donors. There are currently four 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 Maple-Brown Fellowship is generously funded by Susan Maple-Brown AM, a long-term supporter of LIRS and LIRRF.

The LIRRF Postdoctoral Fellowship is funded by members and friends of the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation.

We are seeking applications in two categories:

  • Biology, ecology, processes or traditional uses of coral reefs
  • Taxonomy of little-known fauna or flora at Lizard Island

Fellows are expected to make substantial original contributions in one of these fields. The fellowships are intended to stimulate scientific benefits in addition to the research outcomes through collaboration, research training, and contributing to larger projects.

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.

How to apply

Funding is provided for field expenses at LIRS over one or two years as required. Salary is not provided.

The maximum value of each 2024 fellowship is $19,800 including GST per year for either one or two years. Projects that do not require diving should limit their request to $16,500 including GST.

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

Fellowship funds may not be used for salary, for living expenses (such as food while at Lizard Island), or for equipment other than research consumables needed for the project. The fellow's university may not deduct a fee for administering the fellowship.

  • Field work must take place between 1 April 2024 and 31 March 2025 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, acknowledgement and other conditions will be detailed in a contract with each successful applicant.
  • Despite previous awards in this program to more than one person, these fellowships are now restricted to individual investigators.
  • Feedback will not be provided to unsuccessful applicants.

At the time of applying, applicants must:

  1. hold a PhD degree that was awarded on or after 1 October 2018. If a researcher does not satisfy this criterion and considers that they have an equivalent research qualification or experience of similar duration, then they must determine eligibility by making a case to the Selection Committee at least two weeks before the closing date for applications.
  2. show that they have the time and resources to conduct the field research and to publish the results in a timely manner. This is usually demonstrated by being employed in a research position for the duration of the fellowship period. In recognition of the reality of early postdoctoral employment, other ways of demonstrating a commitment to completing the research process may be acceptable.

Applicants who do not meet the eligibility criteria will not be considered further.

The person:

  1. Meets the eligibility criteria.
  2. Has an excellent academic record.
  3. Has high research output in relation to career stage.
  4. Has relevant research and fieldwork experience.

The project:

  1. Will significantly advance knowledge in one of two research areas: a) the biology, ecology, processes or traditional use of coral reefs, or b) the taxonomy of little-known fauna or flora at Lizard Island.
  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, the project will utilise existing collections within the Australian Museum or a state Herbarium, and/or will contribute to those collections. Applicants for taxonomic projects must contact the relevant Collection Manager at the Australian Museum or state Herbarium to determine how the proposed research fits within the collection strategy, and refer to that interaction in the application.

Applications must be submitted online.

Online application form for 2024 postdoctoral fellowships

Two MS Word documents must be uploaded to the online application form.

  1. 2024 Project Application Form and
  2. A curriculum vitae (maximum 4 pages, 12 point font, 3 cm margins; list peer-reviewed publications separately to others).

Applications will be assessed against the selection criteria.

To assist in preparing your application, please consult other sections of this website 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 project application form.

Closing date is 27 October 2023.


Lizard Island Research Station
Phone: + 61 7 40603977

Relevant dates
27 October 2023 Closing date for applications
25 January 2024 Offer made to successful applicants
1 April 2024 Funds available

Past postdoctoral fellows

Fellows' project titles and summaries are provided in LIRS Reports in the year that the fellowship is awarded. That is the year prior to the one listed in the Honour Roll below.

Postdoctoral fellows honour roll
Year Name University Fellowship
2023 Michelle Achlatis University of Amsterdam Maple-Brown Family
2023 Amanda Pettersen Sydney Institute of Marine Science John & Laurine Proud
2023 Nina Schiettekatte University of Hawaii Isobel Bennett
2023 Alejandre Siqueira James Cook University Chris Joscelyne
2022 Eva McClure James Cook University Maple-Brown Family
2022 Ariana Lambrides James Cook University John & Laurine Proud
2022 Fabio Cortesi University of Queensland Chris Joscelyne
2021 No fellowships awarded due to COVID-19 pandemic
2020 William Feeney Griffith University LIRRF
2020 Stephanie Gardner University of New South Wales Raymond E. Purves
2020 Christopher Goatley and Simon Brandl University of New England and University of Perpignan, France John & Laurine Proud
2020 Zegni Triki Stockholm University, Sweden Isobel Bennett
2019 Bridie Allan University of Otago, New Zealand John & Laurine Proud
2019 Darko Cotoras California Academy of Sciences, USA LIRRF
2019 Rohan Brokker Deakin University Isobel Bennett
2018 Tyler Cyronak University of California San Diego, USA Yulgilbar
2018 Kristen Anderson King ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Australian Institute of Marine Science Isobel Bennett
2018 Daniela Pica Universita Polytechnica della Marche, Italy John & Laurine Proud
2018 Chiara Pisapia and Steve Doo California State University Northridge, USA LIRRF
2017 Thomas DiCarlo University of Western Australia John & Laurine Proud
2017 Zoe Richards Curtin University LIRRF
2017 Daniela Ceccarelli Independent researcher Isobel Bennett
2017 Gergely Torda ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University Yulgilbar
2016 Sandra Binning and Dominique Roche University of Neuchatel, Switzerland Yulgilbar
2016 Michael Bok Lund University, Sweden John & Laurine Proud
2016 Rebecca Fox and Jennifer Donelson University of Technology Sydney Isobel Bennett
2015 Daniela Ceccarelli and Zoe Richards Independent researchers John & Laurine Proud
2015 Zoe Richards University of Western Australia Isobel Bennett
2015 Jodie Rummer ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University LIRRF
2015 Sue-Ann Watson ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University Yulgilbar
2014 Celia Churchill University of California Santa Barbara, USA Coral Reef and Marine Science
2014 Jairo Rivera Posada ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University John & Laurine Proud
2014 Paul York and Peter Macreadie James Cook University and University of Technology Sydney, respectively Isobel Bennett
2013 Danielle Dixson Georgia Institute of Technology, USA Yulgilbar
2013 Andrew Hoey ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University Isobel Bennett
2013 Jairo Rivera Posada ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University John & Laurine Proud
2012 Ashley Frisch ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University John & Laurine Proud
2012 Vanessa Messmer ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University Isobel Bennett
2012 Shelby Temple University of Bristol, UK Yulgilbar
2011 Stefan Walker James Cook University Isobel Bennett
2011 Chris Fulton Australian National University Yulgilbar
2011 Tracey Ainsworth University of Queensland John & Laurine Proud (not taken up)
2011 Jessica Stella (PhD student) James Cook University Yulgilbar
2010 Nicola Raihani Zoological Society of London, UK John & Laurine Proud
2010 Maud Ferrari University of Saskatchewan, Canada Isobel Bennett
2009 Michael Berumen James Cook University John & Laurine Proud
2009 Guillermo Diaz-Pulido Griffith University Yulgilbar
2009 Megan Porter University of Marlyland Baltimore County, USA Isobel Bennett
2008 Line Bay Australian Institute of Marine Science Isobel Bennett
2008 Morgan Pratchett ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University John & Laurine Proud