Victoria University is recruiting a ni-Vanuatu Masters student for the following program:

ClimateWatch Vanuatu: Building community climate resilience, implemented by Earthwatch Australia Institute

The aim of this project is to build upon existing traditional knowledge and ecosystem based adaptation projects to deliver the ni-Vanuatu community and Vanuatu government a digital tool (mobile app) to collect traditional knowledge data and monitor species or ecosystem changes with climate (phenology) over time. The project will contribute to hybrid climate forecast products (i.e. forecasts developed using both contemporary and traditional knowledge systems) which will be used to engage ni-Vanuatu communities in climate action and ecosystem based adaptation responses. In doing so this project will provide data needed for meaningful forecast information to ni-Vanuatu communities, whilst simultaneously ensuring traditional knowledge is shared nationally and incorporated in existing ecosystem based adaptation initiatives.

The Masters project will make a significant and novel contribution to understanding the factors that influence community engagement with the ClimateWatch Vanuatu app, the wider program and conduct research on project related needs with communities in Vanuatu.  


Who can apply?

Please note that this is a funded Australian postgraduate scholarship (2-years) with living and travel stipend. The opportunity is exclusively open to ni-Vanuatu students. Prospective students must have a minimum of a bachelor’s level degree qualification, ideally in a related field (e.g., climatology, traditional knowledge and/ or environmental and social sciences) and preferably experience working in these fields, with or on research programs.


Expected skills

  • Excellent ability to work in English and Bislama (oral and written)
  • Ability to work in a team and autonomously
  • Analytical writing and synthesis skills
  • Understand and comply with traditional knowledge sensitivity and intellectual property obligations


Ideal skills

  • Experience in semi-structured interviews and surveys
  • Drivers licence
  • Community engagement experience



Dr Roan Plotz, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, Dr Lynda Chambers, Van-KIRAP (Vanuatu Klaemet blong Redy, Adapt mo Protekt), Bureau of Meteorology and other Pacific Island supervisors to be determined in due course.


Location of Masters

The selected student will need to travel to Australia to enrol at Victoria University in Footscray, Melbourne. The student will then divide their time between Melbourne, to meet University coursework requirements, and Vanuatu, where project related research and community engagement activities will take place. 


Funding and partners

The scholarship is funded by the Global Ecosystem Based Adaptation Fund (IUCN), implemented by Earthwatch Australia, with support from the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), Bureau of Meteorology and Victoria University.


How to apply?

Please send an expression of interest before the 8th of March 2023 in e-mail to Dr Roan Plotz ([email protected]), with a cover letter (300 words) highlighting why you are best suited to receiving this scholarship, along with a 2-page CV (with at least 2 contactable references) and copies of relevant academic transcripts (e.g., Bachelor’s degree).  Preferred candidates will be shortlisted, and online interviews will take place shortly afterwards.