Novel governance for changing oceans

Policy learning from climate interventions in Global Marine Hotspots

Degree type


Closing date

10 October 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

To sustain the significant benefits of marine ecosystems into the future, policymakers must design and implement an ever-expanding range of marine interventions at a variety of ecological and governance scales. This includes those that propose to mitigate climate change (e.g., seaweed aquaculture and carbon trading), as well as those promoting adaptation and resilience (e.g., assisted marine animal and plant migration (Morrison et al 2020)). Policymakers must also navigate radically different interests in marine ecosystems, and at the same time, the risks of failure to intervene responsibly are significantly higher. This highlights the critical role of policy learning in advancing governance transformation, whereby governance moves from incremental improvement of established strategies, to adjustment for evolving conditions, and finally to implementation of new strategies (Dunlop and Radaelli 2018).

This project will examine the forms and role of policy learning arising from planning, implementing and evaluating climate interventions within specific sites experiencing global warming. The project will use planning and management for the marine estate in Tasmania, Australia, as a case study in which a range of place-based interventions (e.g., kelp restoration, fisheries stock enhancement) have been led by public, private and community actors. The project will identify the array of interventions, their scales of intensity of cause and effects, the synergistic effects of groups or sequences of interventions, and the marine management goals they were designed to address. It will then examine the role of current institutional and policy conditions (such as policy framing, scaling and core beliefs, local and multi-scale networks) across the suite of interventions and the extent of any policy learning.  Drawing on the emergent concept of responsible innovation (which includes processes for considering risk, feasibility and ethics), the project will identify properties of site and estate-level governance which enhance or hinder policy learning for more responsible intervention.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Gretta Pecl


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.

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:

  • Undergraduate training in research theories and methodologies in the disciplines of social sciences and/or political sciences and/or humanities
  • Capacity to work with mentors to independently design and execute a research project
  • Capacity to collaborate as part of a global team that contributes to a broader global research project on governing marine ecosystems in rapid transition

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, Prof Gretta Pecl 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.

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