Spatial Planning for New Offshore Economies

Degree type


Closing date

30 August 2021



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore


$28,597pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

The Blue Economy has the potential to benefit society in many ways; increasing food security through fisheries and aquaculture, providing for tourism, transport and opportunities in marine biotechnology, and even providing innovative and sustainable ocean energy resources. Australia has the third largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world, with over 80% being classified as ‘offshore’ (i.e., beyond two nautical miles from the coast in high-energy environments). There is considerable potential in these waters for aquaculture development and extraction of renewable energy sources. However, as Blue Economy activities increase so does the potential for conflict, and for problems such as resource over-exploitation and pollution. These negative interactions can challenge the essential ecosystem processes our oceans provide, and may in turn be exacerbated by climate change (World Bank, 2018). Consequently, it is essential that we have a process to understand and manage these potential conflicts, especially for emerging industries such as offshore aquaculture.

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is a practical and increasingly common tool to understand and foster the fair and rational use of the ocean from a broad range of users and stakeholders. As a data-driven and holistic approach, MSP can provide a planning framework to enable the various sectors to better achieve their full potential and return sustainable outcomes.  In this PhD project, the student will assess the potential for interactions and conflicts among ocean users in emerging offshore industries in Tasmania and propose a robust spatial planning approach to support decision-making.

World Bank. (2018). The World Bank Annual Report 2018. The World Bank.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Catriona Macleod


The scholarship supporting this project provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years;
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000;
  • a tuition fee scholarship for up to 4 years (successful domestic applicants will be awarded an RTP Fees Offset and successful international applicants will be awarded a University of Tasmania Fees Offset)

The scholarship supporting this project is funded by the University of Tasmania and the Australian Government through the Research Training Program.


The project is open to domestic (Australia and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from International applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the PhD minimum entry requirements.

Applicants from the following disciplines are encouraged to apply:

  • Quantitative ecology
  • Coastal management
  • Marine spatial planning

Selection Criteria

The project/scholarship is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, A/Prof Catriona Macleod, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

Apply now Explore other projects

Why the University of Tasmania?

Worldwide reputation for research excellence

Quality supervision and support

Tasmania offers a unique study lifestyle experience