Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarships (ITSS)


  • Studying STEM and interested in joining a research voyage to better understand Australia’s vast marine estate?
  • Do you want to gain valuable, real-world at sea research experience?
  • Apply for an Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship today!


The Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship (ITSS) is an initiative of the Marine National Facility (MNF) under the CSIRO Indigenous Engagement Strategy which seeks to significantly increase Indigenous employment and engagement nationally within CSIRO. Through this strategy, CSIRO aims to enhance the educational, employment, training and career development opportunities for people of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent.

Funded by the Australian Government, owned and operated by CSIRO under direction of an independent Steering Committee, the MNF provides a blue-water research capability to the Australian scientific community and their international collaborators. This capability includes the research vessel Investigator.

In 2020, the MNF will collaborate with the Schmidt Ocean Institute, a non-profit foundation working to advance the frontiers of global marine research by providing state of the art operational, technological, and informational support to pioneering ocean science and technology development projects at sea. This support includes the research vessel Falkor.

Opportunities exist for six university students to undertake a work placement under the ITSS program during research voyages on board the RV Investigator or R/V Falkor in 2020. Working as part of a world class research team, ITSS students will gain a unique experience on ocean research vessels to facilitate skill development and networking, while gaining exposure to methods and techniques applicable to careers in marine science and the maritime industry. The main costs of participating in the voyage, including travel to and from commencing and terminating points, accommodation and medicals, will be covered by the program.

All ITSS students will receive support while onboard and be assigned a “buddy” while at sea. ITSS students will also have regular check ins with shore-based CSIRO ITSS program staff 

Location:  Various
Scholarship:  Up to AU$1,559.85 per fortnight (before tax)
Duration:  Various - see below

Voyage Opportunities:

FK200414: 12 April – 14 May, Broome to Darwin, on RV Falkor.

This is a 30-day voyage with a primary research focus on Australian mesophotic coral. Three main questions will be addressed on this voyage: (1) How do we most effectively and efficiently monitor the health of mesophotic coral ecosystems? (2) What are the links among geographically isolated mesophotic reefs? (3) What processes drive the community structure on mesophotic reefs of North-Western Australia? There is one berth available for an ITSS student on this voyage. They will be joined by other students from various institutions.

ITSS students will be required to publish written blogs documenting their voyage experience and conduct ship-to-shore connections to promote the work of Falkor to a broad range of stakeholders.

FK200517: 15 May – 24 May, Darwin to Cairns, on RV Falkor

This is a 7-day transit voyage to relocate RV Falkor from Darwin to Cairns. There is one berth available for an ITSS student on this voyage. The voyage will suit a student focused on marine technology/engineering and/or the maritime industry. The student will need to be self-motivated as they will be the only student on board.    

ITSS students will be required to publish written blogs documenting their voyage experience and conduct ship-to-shore connections to promote the work of Falkor to a broad range of stakeholders.

IN2020_T03:  30 June – 12 July, Cairns to Hobart, on RV Investigator

This is an 11-day transit voyage with three supplementary research projects onboard:(1) Investigation and sampling of East Australia’s continental margin submarine landslides and their deposits; (2) spatial and temporal variability in the distribution and abundance of seabirds and marine mammals; and (3) microplastics in the food chain: impact on microbial and planktonic organisms. There are two berths available for ITSS students on this voyage.

ITSS students will develop a work plan for their time onboard with assistance from CSIRO ITSS program staff and will be required to document their experience.

FK200731: 29 July – 25 August, Cairns to Cairns, on RV Falkor

This is a 25-day voyage with the primary research focus on seamounts, canyons & reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. The objective is to understand what role these large-scale features may play as refuges for coral and other benthic and pelagic communities in a warming ocean. There is one berth available for an ITSS student on this voyage. They will be joined by other students from various institutions.

ITSS students will be required to publish written blogs documenting their voyage experience and conduct ship-to-shore connections to promote the work of Falkor to a broad range of stakeholders. 

FK200929: 27 September – 19 October, Cairns to Gladstone, on RV Falkor

This is a 20-day voyage with the primary research focus on navigating reefs with autonomous imaging and monitoring. This voyage will use scalable autonomous technologies for benthic visual mapping and monitoring of coral reefs of the Capricorn and Bunker Group in the Great Barrier Reef across multiple unmanned platforms. There is one berth available for an ITSS student on this voyage. The voyage will suit a student with an engineering focus. They will be joined by other students from various institutions.

ITSS students will be required to publish written blogs documenting their voyage experience and conduct ship-to-shore connections to promote the work of Falkor to a broad range of stakeholders. 

Further information can be found at https://mnf.csiro.au/en/Education/ITSS-Scholarship and https://schmidtocean.org/apply/student-opportunities/  

Pre-Requisites/Eligibility

Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarships are open to students who are:

  • enrolled in full-time study in an undergraduate or postgraduate degree course in a STEM discipline (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) at an Australian university;
  • of Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent;
  • able to pass a seagoing medical, attend pre-voyage meetings and complete additional pre-departure materials; and
  • currently hold, or able to hold, a passport.

How to Apply:

To apply for an Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship you will be required to:

  1. Submit a resume/CV in the ‘Resume/CV’ field.
  2. Upload your most recent academic results (or confirmation of enrolment if you have only recently commenced your studies) in the ‘Cover Letter’ field.
  3. Upload evidence of your Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent (this can be a letter from the Indigenous Engagement Unit of your university) in the ‘Additional Documents’ field (this can be provided later if necessary).

If you require assistance applying online call 1300 984 220 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact:  If you have any questions regarding these scholarships please contact Ben Arthur via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone on (03) 6232 5078. Please do not email your application directly to Ben Arthur. Applications received via this method will not be considered.

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Applications Close

Monday 2 March 2020

 

Please click here to apply