Marine spatial planning in Australia

Framing the need for marine spatial planning based on socio-ecological and policy contexts in southeast Australia

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a practical approach to implement integrated ocean governance by explicitly considering ecological, social and economic aspects, and cross-sector interactions, when allocating space for activities to operate in the marine environment. MSP originates from areas of dense human use where the need to manage conflict among users and negative – often cumulative – impacts on the marine environment are apparent or predicted. However, the density of human uses and interactions, and their potential impacts on the marine environment, varies. Proximity to land and population centres, spatial footprint and density of activities, and ecological resilience may affect the breadth of any marine spatial planning process. Assessing the socio-ecological and governance context of an area of interest may therefore be beneficial to determine the necessity and scope of a marine spatial planning process, ideally precisely allocating often limited governance resources to ensure sustainable use of the marine environment.

This project uses a data-driven approach to examine how the socio-ecological context of areas of interest – e.g., 'fully allocated' vs 'open' systems – and marine policy and regulations in place, influence the necessity and scope of implementing a marine spatial planning process. The project uses case studies in southeast Australia where new ocean activities are emerging: coastal and marine ecosystem restoration and the development of offshore renewable energy, across multiple jurisdictions (the states of Victoria, Tasmania and the federal government), therefore potentially leading to conflicts by shifting uses and socio-economic or cultural values.

The project will:

  1. conduct a review on methods and implications of density of activities in marine spatial planning;
  2. synthesize and contrast coastal and open ocean socio-ecological and policy contexts to provide space for emerging ocean activities using southeast Australia as a case study; and,
  3. propose an approach to identify areas that would benefit from MSP, and when applicable any roadblocks inhibiting its implementation.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Myriam Lacharite


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.

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.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in the handling of spatial data with GIS software (e.g., ArcGIS, R, Python)
  • Experience and/or knowledge of marine policy, marine resource management, and/or ocean governance

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Myriam Lacharite 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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