Research Supervisor Connect

Koala Health Hub, Koala Infectious Diseases Research Group


We are seeking expressions of interest in our PhD program or development of postdoctoral opportunities. Koala numbers have been in severe decline for many years and in most states the species’ status is listed as “vulnerable”, based on a dramatic reduction in koala numbers over the past 5-10 years, over most of its range. The threat facing koala populations today is complex and based on numerous challenges including; habitat loss, widespread and serious disease, urbanization, domestic dog attacks, motor vehicle collisions, and climatic extremes. Without assistance to overcome these issues, the long-term outlook for koalas in Australia is bleak. The Koala Health Hub connects researchers in pathology, ecology, pharmacology, microbiology, immunology, genetics and the social sciences with those on the coalface of koala care and management; in koala hospitals and in the wild, so that research can better inform management, and so managers can better direct research, to find the answers they need. 
The Koala Health Hub is hosted in a Faculty with a long history of research in koala health, and in wildlife health and conservation in general.


Associate Professor Damien Higgins, Associate Professor David Norton Phalen.

Research location

Sydney School of Veterinary Science

Program type



Those interested in pursuing a PhD or developing a postdoctoral position in any aspect of koala health and conservation are encouraged to contact A/Prof Damien Higgins directly to discuss potential projects. 
The successful PhD applicant must apply for and be awarded a scholarship (stipend) for example, an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP). Students must have a scholarship which covers full tuition fees and a living allowance.

Additional information

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include: 

  • Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
  • Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
  • Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
  • Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
  • Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
  • Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
  • Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights; Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
  • Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
  • Hold a current scuba diving license;
  • Hold a current Working with Children Check;
  • Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2126