Bird Conservation Scholars


The Bird Conservation Fund supports applied scientific research, via an annual postgraduate scholarship focusing on critical knowledge gaps in bird conservation across Tasmania.

The Bird Conservation Fund Scholarship is worth up to $5000, and is given annually to a postgraduate scholar focusing on critical knowledge gaps in bird conservation across Tasmania. By pioneering an innovative, scientifically robust, repeatable and cost-effective monitoring program incorporating applied research, the TLC’s Bird Conservation Fund is helping address bird species decline.

Award value

Grant value is cash funding up to $3,000 for Honours, $4,000 for Masters and $5,000 for PhD or Post-doctoral research project. Typically one grant is awarded annually with the potential of two grants if both projects are deemed worthy. Funding amounts may be varied from time-to-time at the commencement of a new funding round.

Funds can be used for:

  • purchase or assistance with any aspect of the project deemed necessary
  • travel to conferences within Australia and abroad by students to deliver a presentation or contribute a paper or poster related to their research.

The funds are not available for salary, to increase a stipend or as personal cash payments.


  • Applications are open mainly to Honours, Masters, PhD and Post-doctoral students.
  • Students are only eligible for funding toward current (not retrospective) research undertaken at an approved Australian tertiary institution.
  • Award funds are provided on the strict understanding that funds will be exempt from institutional administration charges.
  • The student’s work must be wholly or majority focused in Tasmania and or related to issues directly relevant to the conservation of Australian native bird species.
  • A group project may be considered providing a key researcher is involved.
  • Students are only eligible for one award during the life of their project.

How to apply

Refer to the ‘Application Guidelines’ and download the ‘Research Award Application’ form below. Return the completed application form to no later than 5pm, March 31st.


Edith Shum and Moses Pillay

Edith Shum is a PhD student at UTAS exploring how species play a role in how we connect and adapt to a changing place. She is particularly interested in short-tailed shearwater (muttonbird/yula) rookeries on islands like Lunawanna, Bruny Island in lutruwita, Tasmania. With increasing storm surges and sea level rise, nest inundations, or loss of suitable nesting burrows are a growing concern. To address this, she is working on weaving drone and digital photogrammetry to construct a series of 3D terrain models under climate change scenarios. These models will act as a visual medium to facilitate discussions with the community to address where and how muttonbirds are currently impacted, where they may move to adapt to climate change, and how this might influence people and their attachment to place. By using species as a focal point to communicate about climate change, she hopes to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and public understanding, thereby encouraging more meaningful conversations and actions that are necessary for addressing the challenges posed by climate change.Short-tailed shearwater.

Short-tailed shearwater. Photo: Peter Vaughan

Moses Pillay is an ANU Honours student who is using existing blood samples collected since 2014 from wild orange-bellied parrots to implement a novel study of diet and its carry over effects on fitness. Orange-bellied parrots prefer the seeds of native herbs and sedges that grow in the aftermath of fire in Tasmania; however, fire suppression has resulted in total dependence of the contemporary population on supplementary food provided by managers. Using blood samples from wild nestlings, he will use isotopic signatures to determine the ratio of native foods to supplementary foods in diet and investigate how it affects body condition and future survival.Orange-bellied parrot.

Orange-bellied parrot. Photo: George Vaughan


2022: Carla Bruinsma and Erin Bok

2021: Adam Cisterne

2020: Amy Wing

2019: Erin Harris