Applications for this PhD have now closed.
Location The Carnivore Conservancy, Tasmanian Devil Research Programme

Threatened Tasmanian Carnivore Research

The Carnivore Conservancy (TCC) is seeking applicants for up to three Ph.D. candidates to join our field-based research team, working with the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) and the spotted- tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus). Research may be undertaken in these species’ ecology, behaviour, diet, reproduction, genetics or health, depending on the successful applicant’s background and interests. 


Applicants must hold a B.Sc. with Honours or a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in a relevant subject and must also complete two internships with TCC prior to commencing their Ph.D.: 

  • Basic internship
    • Duration: 1month
    • Duties: You will work as a field assistant with the TCC team, mastering basic fieldwork skills and procedures. (Note: The basic internship does not involve animal handling.) Your work during this internship will be evaluated to determine whether you are invited to undertake an advanced internship and to apply for Ph.D. candidacy at one of our research partner universities.
    • Cost: Basic interns must provide their own transportation to and from north-western Tasmania and contribute A$20 per day toward the cost of their room and board during the internship. This contribution covers twin share accommodation in a large and comfortable house with all the modern conveniences, including unlimited high-speed internet access; all meals (vegetarian), snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are included as well.  
  • Advanced internship
    • Duration: 3 months (preferably consecutive, but can be done in multiple instalments)
    • Duties: In addition to the performing the duties of a basic intern, you will receive extensive hands-on training in handling devils and quolls to the point where you will be qualified to independently lead field surveys.
    • Cost: In most cases, the advanced internship has no associated cost. TCC waives the daily room and board contribution for advanced interns and provides a subsidy of up to A$400 for transportation to and from north-western Tasmania (must be supported by receipts for actual travel expenses). Advanced interns from domestic locations other than Tasmania or mainland population centres such as Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane may find that the travel subsidy does not cover the entire cost of their travel. (Anyone travelling from overseas will certainly find this to be the case.)


In addition to receiving an invitation from TCC, successful applicants must also be accepted as a Ph.D. candidate at the university of one of the following primary academic supervisors, each of whom serves on TCC’s research committee:

  • Professor Chris Dickman, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney
  • Dr. Neil Jordan, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales
  • Associate Professor Euan Ritchie, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University
  • Professor Tracey Rogers, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales


TCC does not underwrite students’ university fees or provide a living stipend during their Ph.D. candidacy; to cover those expenses, successful applicants are expected to qualify for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship through the supervisor’s university.

Exact requirements to qualify for an RTP scholarship can vary from university to university, and from year to year, but the following guidelines generally apply: 

  • Domestic applicants: To qualify for an RTP scholarship, you must have received First Class Honours, earned equivalently high marks in a coursework-based M.Sc. with a minimum research component of 25%, or completed a fully research-based M.Sc.
  • International applicants: In addition to the requirements expected of domestic applicants, you must have published (as primary author) at least one (and probably two) papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals.


Successful applicants can begin their university study in either Semester 1 or Semester 2 of 2019, but preference will be given to those who can start in Semester 1. 

For Semester 1 enrolment, the following timetable applies:

  • Closing date for application to TCC: 31 March 2018.
  • Basic internship (1 month) must be completed no later than 30 June 2018.
  • Closing date for application to supervisor’s university (which covers both university admission and RTP scholarship) varies by university but is typically in October.
  • Advanced internship (3 months) must be completed no later than mid-February 2019.
  • Initial university enrolment date varies by university but is typically in late February 2019.

Once enrolled, Ph.D. candidates will spend a total of approximately 12 months doing fieldwork during their candidacy: 4 months during their first year, 6 months during their second year and 2 months during their third year.

Please Note: Should this listing mention details of an available scholarship, it is your responsibility to confirm the specifics with the university / institute prior to applyiing. Terms and conditions are in some cases subject to change and are not always reflected immediately within listings.

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Further Information / Application Enquiries

Mr Channing Hughes
+61 468 328 262