Modelling Water Resilience Scholarship


Development of management strategies to enable, support and improve resilience of social-ecological systems (aka human-environment or socio-environmental systems) to changing conditions is now a key concern globally. In Australia, recent severe droughts on top of longer-term trends of decreased rainfall have been exacerbated by a lack of resilient strategies for drought and water management. Many of Australia's other natural resources are also severely stressed. Resilience has appropriately become a central concern for socio-environmental research and policy.

While aspects of 'resilience thinking' such as adaptive management have been implemented successfully, application of resilience in research and policy has however been hampered by definitions of resilience that are difficult to apply. Pathway diversity provides the potential for a paradigm shift in how resilience is applied in research and practice, leading to deeper understanding of the factors that contribute to resilience and to the development of policies for more resilient use of natural resources.

We are offering a full scholarships for one PhD candidate to contribute to the project. This scholarship is funded by a Future Fellowship awarded to Dr Steven Lade by the Australian Research Council with co-funding from the Fenner School of Environment & Society.

In this opportunity, we are seeking a PhD candidate to develop and test the use of resilience metrics such as pathway diversity to analyse and design policy using integrated catchment models and other computationally intensive models. The expected work will be based largely on the development and analysis of integrated environmental models for resilience research, however the student will be encouraged to engage with appropriate stakeholders throughout their candidature. The student will work closely with researchers from across ANU at the Institute for Water Futures as well as a global network of resilience researchers.

Field of study

While this is project within environmental science and water resources, we will consider any candidates with a computational modelling background, including but not limited to physics, ecology, hydrology, economics.


This scholarship is available to potential students who:

  • are domestic or international;
  • a bachelor's degree with first-class honours or a research Master's degree from a recognised university is a prerequisite;
  • have successfully obtained an offer of admission to a PhD program;
  • must be able to commence between 01 January and 31 July 2022;
  • the candidate should have strong experience in computational modelling, preferably within ecological, hydrological, social-ecological or economic modelling.


The successful candidate will receive:

  • fortnightly payments for 3 years plus possible 6 month extension;
  • travel and Removal allowances for students relocating to Canberra to commence their research program;
  • thesis allowance;
  • paid medical, maternity and paternity leave.

How to apply

Interested individuals are invited to discuss the project with Dr Steven Lade or Dr Takuya Iwanaga (, and are encouraged to submit a CV and a one-page statement of possible research directions to them by 1 October 2021.

Applications submitted after this date will also be considered until the application is filled.

Preference will be given to candidates with:

  • enthusiasm for working with researchers across disciplines;
  • evidence of strong written and oral English skills;
  • peer-reviewed publications, previous knowledge of social-ecological systems or resilience theory; and;
  • demonstrated experience in software engineering will also be viewed favourably..

Further information