Developing model-based tools for the resilience of water resources

We are offering two exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary researchers with skills in mathematical or computational modelling to undertake PhD programs at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University.
 

Overview

Development of management strategies to enable, support and improve resilience of social-ecological systems (aka human-environment or socio-environmental systems) to changing conditions is now a key concern globally. In Australia, recent severe droughts on top of longer-term trends of decreased rainfall have been exacerbated by a lack of resilient strategies for drought and water management. Many of Australia’s other natural resources are also severely stressed. Resilience has appropriately become a central concern for socio-environmental research and policy.

While aspects of ‘resilience thinking’ such as adaptive management have been implemented successfully, application of resilience in research and policy has however been hampered by definitions of resilience that are difficult to apply. Pathway diversity­1 provides the potential for a paradigm shift in how resilience is applied in research and practice, leading to deeper understanding of the factors that contribute to resilience and to the development of policies for more resilient use of natural resources.

We are offering scholarships for two PhD candidates to contribute to the project. These scholarships are funded by a Future Fellowship awarded to Dr Steven Lade by the Australian Research Council with co-funding from the Fenner School of Environment & Society.
 

PhD 1: Developing and testing model-based resilience metrics

We are seeking a PhD candidate to advance the theoretical and practical foundations of pathway diversity. The expected work will be based largely on developing and analysing resilience metrics in mathematical models of social-ecological systems, however the student will be encouraged to apply the methods developed to qualitative or semi-quantitative empirical case studies. The student will work closely with researchers from across ANU at the Institute for Water Futures as well as a global network of resilience researchers.

The candidate should have strong experience in mathematical modelling, such as dynamical systems modelling, including a demonstrated capability to develop innovative modelling approaches and new computational algorithms; enthusiasm for working with researchers across disciplines; and strong written and oral English skills. A bachelor’s degree with first-class honours or a research Master’s degree from a recognised university is a prerequisite. Peer-reviewed publications and previous knowledge of social-ecological systems or resilience theory will be viewed favourably. Due to international travel restrictions, this opportunity is only available to domestic students (citizens or permanent residents of Australia and New Zealand).

The successful candidate will be invited to apply for a PhD stipend scholarship at The Australian National University (2021 rate: AUD$28,597/year, tax free, for 3 years). The project will fund an additional top-up scholarship of $7000/year for 3 years.

Interested individuals are invited to discuss the project with Dr Steven Lade (steven.lade@anu.edu.au) and must submit a CV and a one page statement of possible research directions to him by 1 October 2021.

The closing date for domestic applications for a PhD stipend scholarship at The Australian National University is 31 October 2021. The student will be expected to start their PhD in early 2022. Queries regarding scholarship matters can be directed to hdr.coordinator.fses@anu.edu.au
 

PhD 2: Model-based resilience metrics in integrated catchment models

We are seeking a PhD candidate to develop and test the use of resilience metrics such as pathway diversity to analyse and design policy using integrated catchment models and other computationally intensive models. The expected work will be based largely on the development and analysis of integrated environmental models for resilience research, however the student will be encouraged to engage with appropriate stakeholders throughout their candidature. The student will work closely with researchers from across ANU at the Institute for Water Futures as well as a global network of resilience researchers.

The candidate should have strong experience in computational modelling, preferably within ecological, hydrological, social-ecological or economic modelling; enthusiasm for working with researchers across disciplines; and strong written and oral English skills. A bachelor’s degree with first-class honours or a research Master’s degree from a recognised university is a prerequisite. Peer-reviewed publications, previous knowledge of social-ecological systems or resilience theory and demonstrated experience in software engineering will also be viewed favourably.

The successful candidate will be invited to apply for a PhD stipend scholarship at The Australian National University (2021 rate: AUD$28,597/year, tax free, for 3 years). The project will fund an additional top-up scholarship of $7000/year for 3 years. For an exceptional candidate whose PhD stipend application is unsuccessful, the project may instead fund their full PhD stipend.

Interested individuals are invited to discuss the project with Dr Steven Lade or Dr Takuya Iwanaga (steven.lade@anu.edu.auiwanaga.takuya@anu.edu.au) and are encouraged to submit a CV and a one-page statement of possible research directions to them by 1 October 2021. Applications submitted after this date will also be considered until the application is filled.

The closing date for domestic and international applications for a PhD stipend scholarship at The Australian National University (2022 Round 2) is 15 April 2022.  The preferred start date for this student is July 2022. However, applications from exceptional domestic students who wish to apply for a scholarship in 2022 Round 1 2022 (deadline 31 October) for commencement in early 2022 will also be considered. Queries regarding scholarship matters can be directed to hdr.coordinator.fses@anu.edu.au.