CSIRO PhD Top-Up Scholarship - Improving Surveillance of Buruli Ulcer

Date: 1 Sep 2023

Location: Geelong, VIC, AU Melbourne, VIC, AU

Company: CSIRO

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The Opportunity

  • Are you passionate about a career in research?
  • Want to access CSIRO's world-class facilities and staff?
  • Apply for a CSIRO PhD Top-Up Scholarship now!


CSIRO PhD Top-Up Scholarships provide enhanced opportunities in science and engineering for outstanding graduates enrolling in a PhD at Australian tertiary institutions. Collaborating with us to complete your PhD degree will give your research the edge. We offer you access to our leading scientists, engineers and mentors, the opportunity to take your research to the next level in our first-class facilities and first-hand experience in an environment where our innovative research really is changing the world for the better.


A CSIRO PhD Top-Up Scholarship is a supplementary award, which adds to the student’s support from a principal scholarship awarded by another body, e.g. RTP scholarship.  In all respects recipients of awards will be regarded as students of the University at which they are registered, and all rules relating to degree candidature and the primary award will apply. In particular, recipients will undertake research at CSIRO as a student of the university concerned and will not be employees of CSIRO.


CSIRO Health & Biosecurity’s research programs focus on health and biosecurity preparedness and responsiveness, digital health, and health and wellbeing.  For more information, please see our website at Health & Biosecurity

Project Title: Improving surveillance of Buruli ulcer

Project Details: In recent years, cases of Buruli ulcer (BU) have increased dramatically in Victoria and the epidemic area has now expanded to include regions of the state’s two largest cities, Melbourne and Geelong. Cases of this chronic and debilitating disease of skin and soft tissue have increased by approximately 800% in 2022 in Geelong compared with 4 years previously. Previous studies have strongly indicated the importance of possums as a reservoir for Mycobacterium ulcerans in Victoria and a primary driver of its environmental circulation. Environmental surveys of possum faeces in Geelong and elsewhere have found that the distribution of M. ulcerans-positive possums correlates with human BU cases and appears to precede them in occurrence (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10154024/). This suggests that regular possum faecal surveillance could provide early warning of the ongoing spread of M. ulcerans and allow targeted public health campaigns. However, current surveillance methods utilise standard molecular testing methods which are both expensive and time consuming to perform. The development of a quicker, cheaper and field-deployable 'point-of-care' style methods would increase the feasibility of regular surveillance and enable quicker responses.    


Contact:  For more information on the research project please Kim Blasdell on 03 5227 5261 or email to kim.blasdell@csiro.au


Location: Geelong, VIC (preferred) or other Melbourne locations negotiable

Scholarship: Top-Up Scholarship of $10,000 per annum, plus a learning and development budget of $5,000 over the term of the studentship

Tenure: 3 years

Reference: 94296



To be eligible to apply you must have (or expect to gain):


  • first or upper second-class honours or equivalent in a relevant research area;
  • admission to an Australian University as a PhD student;
  • hold an appropriate visa to study in Australia (if international)*
  • be no further than one year (FTE) into a PhD on commencing at CSIRO
  • hold a primary scholarship; for example, a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or other primary scholarship of similar value
  • not be in receipt of any other Top-Up Scholarship
  • a university supervisor who is willing and able to supervise you; and
  • be available to commence with CSIRO no later than 30 June 2024.


* International applicants must be residing in Australia and have the appropriate immigration approvals to allow them to take up the scholarship


Applications will be assessed on:

  1. Quality and relevance of student project:  The primary assessment criterion for a CSIRO PhD Top-Up Scholarship is the quality and relevance of the project being proposed.  The research must be aligned with the advertised priority research area.
  2. Academic calibre of the student:  The quality of the student is also critical to the assessment of a scholarship and candidates must hold (or expect to gain) a relevant first or upper second class honours (or equivalent) degree from a recognised university.
  3. Availability of appropriate university supervision:  The relevance of the university supervisor’s research background and their willingness to supervise the student in collaboration with the CSIRO supervisor should also be made clear. 


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How to apply:

You will be required to:

  1. submit a Resume/CV and Cover Letter (as one document) in the ‘Resume/CV field which includes:
    • the names and contact details of two previous supervisors or academic/professional referees; and
    • a one-page proposal stating how your research interests align with the project aims.
  2. upload your academic results in the ‘Cover Letter’ field.


If you experience difficulties applying online call 1300 984 220 and someone will be able to assist you. Outside business hours please email: careers.online@csiro.au.


Applications Close

1 November 2023, 11:00pm AEDT