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Geography, Planning, and Spatial Sciences Research

Banner Image: Hobart. Credit: Tourism Tasmania and Luke Tscharke.

Our research is world-leading, building on decades of pioneering research in Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences. We undertake research addressing problems of direct societal significance by harnessing the value of spatial data and integrating with human geography, physical geography, and environmental studies.

Our ideas, and the new knowledge that flows from them, influence scientists, industry and policymakers globally and makes a difference locally. Our past and present scholars have helped establish the global permaculture movement, the world’s first green political party, the scientific basis for establishing Tasmania’s World Heritage Areas, novel drone technology for understanding our changing planet, and the first agreed estimate of Greenland and Antarctica’s contribution to sea-level change.

National and global research rankings point to the quality of what we do. Our research in Geography and Environmental Studies is ranked in the top 200 in the world, while our Spatial Sciences research is within the global top 50. Our discipline contributes heavily to nation-leading rankings in Environmental Science and Management, Geomatic Engineering (Surveying and Spatial Sciences) and Geophysics.

Our research themes

Within Geography, Planning, and Spatial Sciences our four research themes align to our focus on geospatial analysis, environmental values, place, governance, social and institutional change, policy, management, planning and decision-making.

  Study with us

Take your research degree with us at Geography, Planning, and Spatial Sciences. Our expertise covers earth observation and spatial analysis techniques, human geography, physical geography, and environmental studies. Within these fields, you can join our existing projects or propose your explorations, whether creative, theoretical or industry/practice-focused. Your thesis may be based on the rich environmental culture of our island laboratory of Tasmania or other regions, drawing on our global experience and expertise. You’ll be joining researchers who are constantly developing theoretical, design-based, collaborative and participatory models of research practice to answer problems of direct societal significance.

Available Research Degree Projects

A research degree candidate may develop their own research project in collaboration with their supervisor or apply for one of our available projects below:

Applicants interested in a specific project should first contact the supervisor listed and then find out more about our Entry Requirements, Scholarships if relevant, and then Apply Now.

Closing Date

31st December 2021*

*unless filled earlier

The Research Project

Social connectedness, support, and safe, local places in which to meet, nurture, and maintain those connections make important contributions to individual, family, and community health, resilience, and wellbeing. On that basis, governments at all levels, and private and community and health services have designed and funded programs and safe spaces to help create and practically support belonging and connectedness, and foster community wellbeing.

Their services often target specific cohorts to support those in certain age, socioeconomic, or diversity groups in particular communities and localities. However, communities also have informal groups and relationships, support networks, and carved-out safe places that embody aspects of connection, belonging, identity, and emotional and practical nurturing and support that these more formal structures seek to create and emulate. Such networks may not be discreet and specifically targeted and nor are they necessarily funded or structured. Rather, they emerge from and form part of the everyday life of community and place and, as such, stretch and flex across time, space, and life-courses.

The aim of this study is to identify such a network and, using qualitative and interpretive methods, to interview participants in that network and analyse the complex interplay of community, place, and context; gain an understanding of the attributes, dynamics, and geographies of such informal and taken-for-granted place based connections that support individual and community resilience and flourishing; and consider how these change over time and space. The outcome will be an enhanced understanding of the complexity and multifaceted nature of such networks, including potentially transferable lessons in how to enhance more formally conceived and created place and community-based programs.

  • First class or upper second honours
  • Publications or evidence of submitted manuscripts
  • Background in social research
  • Competency in use of qualitative data analysis tools
  • Evidence of capacity to manage projects on time and budget

Applicants from the following disciplines are eligible to apply:

  • Human geography

Please check the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the supervisor, Prof Elaine Stratford.

Information and guidance on the application process can be found here.

To submit an application for this project, click here.

  Partner with us

Geography, Planning, and Spatial Sciences seeks to broaden our impact by partnering with government agencies, not-for-profits and industry.

There are many ways to engage with us. We excel in industry collaborative research focused on risk associated with climate change, remote sensing (including sensor calibration), geodetic positioning (e.g., offshore platforms), and insurance issues associated with natural disasters. We are eager to engage with local and regional councils and planning authorities to help make regional cities better places to live and work.

You’ll have access to our expertise across all our domains of research – spatial sciences, planning, and physical, environmental and human geography - and especially our expertise in complex problems that defy simple reduction.