Ph.D. scholarship opportunity – urban water and sustainability transitions

An exciting opportunity for 2 new PhD studentships at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia have become available, focused on sustainability transitions in the urban water sector. With a highly competitive scholarship stiped these PhD projects will be working with a team of leading scholars and other research students at the Monash Centre for Water Sensitive Cities with co-supervision from the James Cook University, Townsville, Australia and the DRIFT research team at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Electronic applications due by 15th August 2012.

The Project: We are seeking two outstanding Phd students who are interested in environmental sustainability and system transitions in the urban water sector. The research will consider the role of people, organisations and institutions in enabling (and constraining) the break-through, diffusion and up-scaling of new and sustainable urban water technologies in the face of competing and conventional practices. The studies will consider the challenges of climate change and population growth in respect of the adoption of new technologies. Issues of water recycling, conservation and improving waterway health are essential for more sustainable water futures, and while much of the sustainable infrastructure technologies have been developed, widespread implementation is still not evident. There is a significant role for the social sciences to contribute new knowledge on how best to facilitate radical transitions in the urban water sector, and environmental resource management more broadly.

This project, funded by the Australian Research Council, focuses on changes in the Australian urban water sector in response to the chronic drought and acute flood conditions over the last ten years, and contrasts the human dimension of recent innovations in decentralised alternative water supply practices with the conventional centralised approach. The students will examine the actions of actors and institutions in relation to the emergence and up-scaling of new environmental water technology trajectories.

The Supervisory Team: The research will be supervised by an experienced and collaborative team comprising:

  • Professor Rebekah Brown (Monash University, Melbourne),
  • Professor Christopher Cocklin (James Cook University, Townsville), and
  • Assoc. Professor Derk Loorbach (Erasmus University, The Netherlands).

Candidate Requirements: The successful applicants will have an excellent academic track record (1st class honours or equivalent) and demonstrated capacity for social science research. An affinity with sustainability transitions, resilience and/or institutional studies is highly desirable. We also encourage candidates with a multi-disciplinary background in the physical or other sciences such as, geography, environmental science, or engineering.

Scholarship Tenure: 3 years full time with a possible 6 month extension subject to approval. Interested applicants are strongly advised to refer to websites below for more information.  Candidates will be required to meet Monash University entry requirements, which include proficiency in English language. 

Applications:  Should include a brief statement of academic suitability for the proposed research topic, a proposed starting date, a curriculum vitae, academic transcripts, a list of publications and contact details for two referees.

Please forward your electronic application to Ms Jennifer Edwards at

Enquiries only

Professor Rebekah Brown

Director, Centre for Water Sensitive Cities

School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University

Relevant web links

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