Good leadership in extreme places

Good leadership in extreme places: An Antarctic case study

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Leadership is widely recognized as a key factor in the cohesion and effectiveness of teams and organisations. Good leadership can unlock individual and team potential, encourage thriving, and facilitate the achievement of desired results. Bad leadership can have catastrophic consequences.

Given the profound effects leaders can have, it is especially important to understand and enable good leadership, especially in high-risk, high-dependency, extreme workplaces, such as in Antarctica stations and expeditions. And yet, within leadership literature there has been scant attention paid to the development and practice of good leadership in such environments. It is the perfect time to study leadership in an Antarctic context to understand what it takes to select and develop good leadership in extreme places.

From a virtue ethics perspective, good leadership is leadership that is effective, ethical, and inherently sustainable. Good leadership keeps people and places safe, and enables thriving. Practicing good leadership is especially important for individuals tasked with leading in extreme places such as Antarctic stations and expeditions.

This PhD project will take a virtues-based approach to understanding when, where, and how good leadership is (or could be) demonstrated and developed in extreme places, with Antarctica as a case study. The project is expected to focus on station or expedition leadership, but will adjust depending on the background and research foci of the successful candidate.

The successful candidate might explore questions such as:

  • To what extent does current leadership theory and evidence account for extreme work?
  • How is good leadership understood and/or enacted in extreme places and extreme work environments?
  • How can good leaders be selected or developed for extreme places such as Antarctica?

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Toby Newstead


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Selection Criteria

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

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Proven ability to write high-quality journal articles
  • Proven ability to engage with cross-disciplinary research and a broad cross-section of business and industry
  • Willingness to complete PhD that incorporates publications

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience working in extreme places or engaging in extreme work

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Toby Newstead to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • 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.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the 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.

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