Autonomous technologies for aquaculture

Enabling autonomous technologies for aquaculture in challenging environments

Degree type


Closing date

6 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Aquaculture will increasingly require both routine and event-driven environmental monitoring. Autonomous systems will play an enabling role in these operations, fundamentally improving sustainability at existing sites and the assessment of new sites. The move to complex offshore environments envisaged by the Blue Economy CRC will benefit directly from improved methodologies for advancing remote/autonomous systems. This project will develop new methodologies utilising autonomous sensor networks and platforms to enhance the management of oyster farming sites The outcomes of this project will provide a robust foundation for examining the potential of new inshore aquaculture sites and the next level of challenges when production is moved offshore.

Autonomous systems are the future of ocean operations and will become central tools in enabling the growth and success of the Blue Economy. The reduction of risk to operations by advanced warning of changing environmental conditions - in, around and downstream of an aquaculture site - are key drivers of this trend.

The project will focus on six key objectives:

  1. Apply existing Autonomous Surface Vessel (ASV), Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and other autonomous platform/sensor technology to the environmental monitoring of three unique oyster farming sites on the East Coast of Tasmania facing differing challenges.
  2. Design, build and implement a sub-surface water sampling system for integration onto an Autonomous Surface Vessel.
  3. Develop new methodologies for integrating multiple autonomous platforms (ASV, AUVs and drones) with remote sensor networks.
  4. Assess new oyster farming and kelp production sites with integrated autonomous observation systems and the data extracted from existing sites.
  5. Transfer knowledge to the Blue Economy CRC through field trial demonstrations, student projects and competitions, and quarterly reporting to a collaboratory of research-adjacent project leaders and partner organisations.
  6. Identify next steps and the pathway to offshore operations.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Andy Fischer


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 $28,854 per annum (2022 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.


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

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

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.

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, Dr Andy Fischer to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. 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.

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