University, S.P.R.E.P. offer two scholarships

The University of Newcastle and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme [S.P.R.E.P.] have teamed up to offer two Samoa-based PhD scholarship opportunities to interested Pacific islanders.

Applications are now open for research candidates in the region interested in these topics: climate change impact on the spread of invasive weeds or understanding the human-invasive species relationship for climate resilient communities.

The University of Newcastle Pacific Node Coordinator based at S.P.R.E.P., Dr. Sascha Fuller, said in a statement that the two PhD scholarship opportunities are a chance for people from Pacific island nations to develop expertise in invasive species management and conservation while collaborating with Pacific leaders in this field.

“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,’ she said.

Ms. Fuller added that these PhD projects have the potential to offer solutions for the Pacific by people from the Pacific.

David Moverley, the S.P.R.E.P. Invasive Species Adviser, also added that the two scholarships will complement an existing scholarship aimed at building capability for Pacific countries to provide local contextual information, in order to support managing invasive species as a priority tool for ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change.

“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 S.P.R.E.P. also emphasised in the statement that 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 successful candidates will be based in Samoa and will work with the S.P.R.E.P. Invasive Species Programme, Pacific Regional Invasive Species Management Support Service [P.R.I.M.S.S.] partners, national governments and their invasive species coordinators. 

The applications for the two scholarships closes on 23 August.

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

Climate change impact on the spread of invasive weeds:

Understanding the human-invasive species relationship for climate resilient communities:

For information on the scholarship scheme and the University of Newcastle and S.P.R.E.P. partnership, please visit our website or email our team at [email protected]

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