Invasive species are one of the primary drivers of biodiversity loss in the Pacific. The impact of invasive species on Pacific islands biodiversity, health and livelihoods will further increase as a result of climate change. We already know that invasive plant species benefit from events such as cyclones which increase the rate of their spread and reduce the resilience of ecosystems and communities. Much more needs to be understood about human-invasive relationships in the Pacific, including community perceptions and the role of climate change. In order to increase our understanding we need to assess the resilience of ecosystems and communities to climate change, the relationship between people and their environment, and ways to prevent and control invasive species.

The University of Newcastle and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) have partnered to offer two PhD Scholarships to eligible citizens of Pacific countries. Applications are now open for research candidates interested in these topics: 1) climate change impact on the spread of invasive weeds; or 2) understanding the human-invasive species relationship for climate resilient communities.

“The two PhD scholarships being offered by SPREP and the University of Newcastle provide an excellent opportunity for people from Pacific island nations to develop expertise in invasive species management and  conservation while collaborating with Pacific leaders in this field,” Dr Sascha Fuller, Pacific Node Coordinator from The University of Newcastle based at SPREP. “There is so much to understand about both the human-invasive species relationship, and the spread of invasive species as a result of climate change. These PhD projects have the potential to offer solutions for the Pacific by people from the Pacific.”

“These two scholarships will complement an existing scholarship aimed at building capability for Pacific countries to provide local contextual information to support managing invasive species as a priority tool for ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change” said Mr David Moverley, SPREP Invasive Species Adviser. “This research will allow relevant issues to be assessed locally and provide information to assist Pacific islanders respond to  donor, international, regional and national obligations. The successful candidates will not only gain a lot of knowledge, but the work they do will help others in the Pacific.”

The successful candidates will be based in Samoa   will work with the SPREP Invasive Species programme, Pacific Regional Invasive Species Management Support Service (PRIMSS) partners, national governments and their invasive species coordinators.

Applications close on 23 August.

For more information on the scholarships, including the eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit:

  1. Climate change impact on the spread of invasive weeds: https://www.newcastle.edu.au/research-and-innovation/graduate-research/phd-scholarships/phd-scholarships/climate-change-impact-on-the-spread-of-invasive-weeds
  2. Understanding the human-invasive species relationship for climate resilient communities: https://www.newcastle.edu.au/research-and-innovation/graduate-research/phd-scholarships/phd-scholarships/understanding-the-human-invasive-species-relationships-for-climate-resilient-communities

For information on the scholarship scheme and the University of Newcastle and SPREP partnership, please visit our website www.sprep.org or email our team at [email protected].