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Bill Borthwick Scholarships 2017Bill Borthwick Scholarships 2017


Bill Borthwick Student Scholarships 2017

VEAC has established the annual scholarships for tertiary students to assist in the costs of research relating to public land in Victoria, including terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments.

The scholarships were announced in March 2011 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first meeting of the Land Conservation Council (LCC).  They honour the vision of the Hon. Bill Borthwick, Victoria's first Minister for Conservation from 1973-1979 and Deputy Premier from 1979 to 1982, and a central figure in establishing the LCC to advise government on the use of Victoria's public land.

Applications for the 2017 round of scholarships are now closed.

VEAC awarded seven scholarships in 2016, the recipients were:

 Mr William Lugg, University of Melbourne

"Determining degradation and persistence of platypus environmental DNA"

Will's research for his Master of Science degree seeks to understand and investigate eDNA detectability through a case study using an iconic Australian freshwater species, the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), as a model system.  He will also look at how environmental factors influence DNA persistence and degradation. He will investigate the degradation of platypus eDNA in the platypus pools at Healesville Sanctuary. 


Ms Helen Corney,  RMIT University

"The relationship between public perceptions of amenity and biodiversity in urban river corridors"

Helen's PhD research will explore how to improve the usefulness of public perceptions of amenity as a component of river corridor and public land management by providing a clearer articulation of how amenity is perceived by the general public and how it relates to biodiversity.

This will be achieved by identifying broad themes in public perceptions of amenity of urban river corridors through audio recordings, questionnaires and interviews exploring relationships between these themes and differing levels of biodiversity.


Ms Laura Tan, Deakin University

“Adaptive predator management to protect ecotourism of an iconic species"

The aim of this project is to determine how to mitigate the high risk of loss of Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor) clutches to raven predation, through investigating the genetics and skill transmission of Little Ravens (Corvus mellori).  Laura will undertake an analysis of the genetic links between individual ravens and examining their predation of penguin clutches.  She will aim to determine the relevance of genetic relatedness to transmission of egg predation skills.


Ms Lisa de Kleyn, RMIT University

"Environmental justice and the management and use of Toolangi State Forest”

Lisa's PhD research will provide important information on the potential for an environmental justice approach to address controversial use and management of native forests.  It will also provide insights into how procedures can be changed to achieve procedural and recognition justice and support ongoing decision-making processes for cohesive, equitable and sustainable outcomes.


Ms Sarah McMaster, Federation University

 "Aboriginal fire practices in Victoria: a historical exploration of its meanings, impacts and implications"

Sarah's research project for her PhD will aim to critically examine how the interpretations and representations of Aboriginal burning practices were affected by the cultural position of colonists.  This will allow for a more nuanced view of the fire practices that existed at the point of colonisation and for a better sense of how these can be translated into the contemporary setting.


Mr Chris Davies, Federation University

“Combining genetics and GPS telemetry to inform Sambar deer management on public land in southeast Australia”

The aim of Chris’s work will be to assess how sambar deer utilise their habitat in the Alpine National Park, including daily and seasonal habitat preferences, through the use of GPS telemetry.  He will also utilise genetic data to assess the population structure of sambar deer both within the Alpine National Park and across Victoria.  The knowledge gained will assist in developing future sambar deer management strategies and control operations. 


Ms Sarah Murfitt, Deakin University

 “Application of unmanned aerial vehicles in intertidal reef monitoring”

Sarah’s honours project seeks to test and refine a new method for intertidal reef monitoring (IRMP) using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Several of the current monitoring sites in Victoria (both in marine protected areas and reference sites) will be targeted and images captured using a waterproof multi-rotor airframe. This project will determine if there is potential for UAVs to be used in long-term environmental monitoring.