PhD: Management scenarios for the Martuwarra (Fitzroy) River Catchment that cater for the needs of First Nations people via FindAPhD

University of South Australia

Adelaide SA, Australia 🇦🇺

About the Project

Are you interested in learning about the cultural values of water recognised by Aboriginal Australians and contributing to water development planning? The University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering an exciting opportunity to apply for a PhD project within the Centre for Markets, Values and Inclusion.

Whilst water management practices preserve the naturally variable flow regimes and river basin ecology generates value for all Australians, the traditions of Aboriginal Australians involve fundamentally different conceptualisations of water property rights and value. This includes different beliefs about compatibility of economic development and water extraction. However, the cultural values of water recognised by Aboriginal Australians are not well understood by other Australians or policy makers.

Significantly, this project connects water and social enterprise themes into indigenous water management in northern Australia. This is an area requiring urgent attention if Australian governments are to meet their policy ambitions for reconciliation and recognition of historical injustices and contemporary inequities, and future improvement.

This project will explore differences and similarities in the ways that local Aboriginal Australians and the wider public and policy makers view and value water management in the Martuwarra (Fitzroy) River Catchment. You will identify the impacts of different options for managing water in the Martuwarra Catchment with a set of social return on investment metrics.

What you’ll do

In this research degree project, you will explore the differences between how local Aboriginal Australians and policy makers view and value water management in the Martuwarra (Fitzroy) River Catchment.

The successful applicant will learn and apply, a range of market and non-market techniques to show how environmental, social, and economic opportunity can be impacted through culturally consistent water management.

You will travel to the Martuwarra Catchment to conduct in-depth interviews, run focus groups and test different experimental designs with indigenous communities. To provide comparison data, you will also undertake similar qualitative tasks with at least two other ‘non-indigenous’ populations, one regional and another metropolitan.

This project will connect you with opportunities to engage with local Aboriginal people and policy, NGO, and business communities that influence water development plans.

Additionally there will be opportunities to present at national conferences (such as the Australian Agricultural and Resources Economics Society annual conference), and at regional briefings, if travel is permitted.

Where you’ll be based

You will be based at UniSA’s Centre for Markets, Values and Inclusion, which combines specialist skills and multidisciplinary perspectives to provide a trans-disciplinary approach to delivering meaningful research that informs innovative, evidence-based solutions for a more inclusive and sustainable future.

The Centre has also recently forged links with the International Alliance for Food and Climate Systems Transformation led by MIT and the Australian National University Water Justice Hub and you will have direct access to these prestigious alliances.

Supervisory Team

Dr Bethany Cooper – Principal Supervisor

Professor Jeff Connor – Co Supervisor

Dr Anne Peolina (Chair of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council)

Eligibility and Selection

This project is open to application from both domestic and international applicants.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. Additionally, applicants must meet the projects selection criteria:

Course work or higher degree in environmental economics, economics, development economics or related field

Proven capacity to work with First Nations People

Applicants who can also demonstrate a background in research on environment and related policies will be highly regarded.

All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate.

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time, and to be based at our City West campus the heart of Adelaide.

Essential Dates

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer. Extended deferral periods are not available.

Applications close: 16 January 2022

Principal Supervisor: Dr Bethany Cooper

Funding Notes

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses. Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $28,854 per annum is available to eligible applicants. A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included. For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information for domestic students or international students.