ARC Rivers of Gold Research Scholarship

The ARC Rivers of Gold project is a 4 year study directed towards understanding the human and environmental legacy of gold mining activities in Victoria in the 1800s

This ARC Discovery project is a collaboration between two departments at La Trobe University (Archaeology; Ecology, Environment and Evolution), the Department of Resource Management and Geography at University of Melbourne, and the Department of Geography at the University of Lincoln (UK). The overall aim of the project is to understand the effects of gold mining practices in Victoria in the 1800s on the geomorphology of the affected river valleys, and the distribution of contaminants (e.g. mercury and arsenic) arising from these activities by using a combination of historical records analysis combined with current geomorphological and geochemical methods.

This particular scholarship is focused on the geochemical aspects of the Rivers of Gold project, particularly the changes in soil properties (compared to that of the original river valleys) and the chemical form of metals and metalloids potentially mobilised by mining activities. The study will utilise classical chemical methods, combined with microprobe and synchrotron-based microscopic techniques (where appropriate). The work is supported by operating and travel budgets to support field work and access to specialised equipment. The funding also allows for attendance at one international conference.


The scholarship associated with this project includes:

  • A La Trobe Post-graduate Research Scholarship for three years, with a value of $26,288 per annum, to support your living costs
  • A fee-relief scholarship (LTUFFRS) for four years to undertake a PhD at La Trobe University (relevant to international applicants only)
  • The possibility of a $10,000 per annum 'top-up' scholarship and $5000 per annum operating funds through the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA).

How to apply

If you wish to apply for this scholarship you:

  • Must have a first-class Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant scientific discipline (e.g. chemistry, geochemistry, mineralogy - see details below for eligibility and equivalence)
  • Should include in your application: (i) your resume, (ii) academic transcript and (iii) an electronic copy of your Honours (or Masters) thesis.

The University will carefully review your application and you will be advised of an outcome in September 2017.

Closing date

Applications close 31 August 2017.

Contact us

For further information, please contact: Associate Professor Ewen Silvester, Department of Ecology, Environment and Evolution (School of Life Sciences).

Supplementary information

This position will be based at the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre (MDFRC) at the Albury-Wodonga campus of La Trobe University. This laboratory specialises in the study of biogeochemical and ecological processes relevant to the health of the Murray-Darling basin. See:

Eligibility criteria

To qualify for La Trobe University (LTU) PhD scholarship consideration candidates must hold an Australian bachelor degree Honours year qualification completed to a minimum LTU 80% standard (or international equivalent degree qualification and GPA). For candidates from Australian or New Zealand institutions Honours marks are accepted without further modification. International applicants, who typically will have completed a Masters-type qualification, will be assessed for Honours equivalence under the Australian system. As a general guide, you will need to have achieved an A-grade average (LTU 80%+) for both coursework and thesis components, with the thesis examined (and marked) independently by LTU academic staff. International candidates may also be required to provide evidence of academic English proficiency prior to commencement of their studies.

published: 26 July 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.