Undergraduate Science Experience


Our Undergraduate Science Experience program allows undergraduate students to experience life in the sciences with HIE.

Christian Aguirre

Learning new skills/techniques from researchers who are experts in their fields, gaining experience on working in a real laboratory and out in the field/greenhouse were the most valuable outcomes for me...

Christian Aguirre - Bachelor of Science (Biological Sciences) 

Rhiannon Rowe

The most valuable outcomes for me in this program were gaining laboratory experience as well as meeting people who are currently working on projects at the HIE. I learnt a lot from the PhD candidates and laboratory assistants...

Rhiannon Rowe - Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science)

Josh Vogelzang

To watch and learn from an experienced researcher, understand the fundamentals of designing an experiment and learning how to use chemicals and scientific machines. Participating in the scholarship has been valuable experience for my future career...

Josh Vogelzang - Bachelor of Science (Zoology)

Rhiannon Wright

The most valuable outcome I gained from being part of the HIE Undergraduate Science Experience program is most definitely the practical skill experience. I was given excellent instruction and demonstration in a variety of skills, and the confidence to utilise those skills autonomously...

Rhiannon Wright - Bachelor of Science (Advanced Science)

Hawkesbury Institute Undergraduate Science Experiences - Real World Experience In The Sciences

You can help us with our innovative, highly topical research programs while you build the connections and skills you need to get a feel for life in environmental sciences.

Researchers at HIE have a large number of active projects in which we need help and hands-on assistance. That's why these Undergraduate Science Experiences are a great opportunity to get that early scientific experience and build those essential connections with key people while you study. 

How Many Places Are Available?

Across the Institute, we will provide up to fifteen placements per round. There are usually two rounds per year, one in Autumn Semester (March) and one in Spring Semester (September).

What Kind Of Students Are We Looking For?

What we are most interested in is that you are open to new ideas, interested in science and flexible with the kind of tasks you might work on.

Ideally, you would have a solid university track record as well as being willing to learn, try new ideas and learn new techniques.

This most likely means you will be in late first year through to your final year of undergraduate study at Western U.

Please note this offer applies to currently enrolled undergraduate students at Western Sydney University only.

How Much Time Is Involved?

Our Undergraduate Science Experiences are designed to be flexible in how much and how often you work so that they fit into your work and study.

Successful participants will be paid $1500, with the first payment of $750 when you commence and the second payment of $750 when you complete the program after 50 hours and return the feedback form.

This means that it should fit flexibly into your study program - and we'll help you so that it does work for both parties.

Which Researchers Are Hosting Interns In Autumn Semester 2017?

These friendly researchers have agreed to take on an undergraduate student between April and June 2017. 

In your application , please choose TWO researchers that you would most like to work with. If you are successful, we will attempt to match you to one of your listed researchers.

Chris Cazzonelli

Chris Cazzonelli

Chris researches the molecular and epigenetic functions of plants, such as how they respond to light, stress, drought and touch. Epigenetics is the study of how the environment impacts on gene functions.

Chris Turbill

Chris Turbill

Chris explores the physiology of small mammals such as mice and native rodents, and uses this research to explore how animals use energy and age.

Michaela Blyton

Michaela Blyton

Michaela is researching how the gut microbiomes (that is, the digestive system's bacteria and other microbes) help the koala to function on a diet of Eucalyptus leaves.

Kirsten Ball

Kirsten Ball

Kirsten is a postgraduate student researching how nutrient addition and cover cropping affects carbon storage in pasture and vineyard agroecosystems.

Jeff Powell

Jeff Powell

Jeff's research is to understand the contributions of microbial biodiversity to the productivity of managed and natural systems and to how these systems respond to environmental change.

Catriona Macdonald

Catriona Macdonald

Catriona aims to improve understanding of how factors such as climate change and land management impact microbial-mediated nutrient transformations, and how this feeds back to ecosystem functioning.

Yolima Carrillo

Yolima Carrillo

Yolima is interested in the regulation of the carbon and nitrogen cycles in terrestrial ecosystems in the context of environmental change, focusing on belowground processes particularly decomposition in soil communities (including microbes and fauna).

Brendan Choat

Brendan Choat

Brendan studies how the structure of the plant's water-vessels work to make sure that trees and plants are able to stay hydrated even in hot and dry conditions.

Jon Finch

James Cook

Jon Finch and James Cook

Jon researches obligate pollination mutualisms (OPMs) which are are highly specialised interactions in which plants and pollinators are entirely dependent upon each other for reproduction. OPM pollinators provide a service by transporting pollen between the male and female flowers of a single host species.

Uffe Nielsen

Uffe Nielsen

Uffe is broadly interested in community and ecosystem ecology, and the link between the two, i.e. how do changes in one influence the other. In a time where large-scale changes in land use and climate are impacting ecosystems across the globe it is essential for human well-being to acquire knowledge of the potential implications of these changes.

Jennifer Morrow

Jennifer Morrow

Jen has a particular interest in pest insects and in applying molecular biology tools to understand their biology and ecology and ultimately improve pest management strategies.


Alexie Papanicolaou

Dr Alexie Papanicolaou blends the frontiers of molecular biology and computer science to secure Australia's agricultural and natural ecosystems in the face of a changing climate. He is a genome bioinformatician working on ecological and economically important species, such as the Heliconius butterflies, Helicoverpa armigera the cotton bollworm moth, invasive Tephritid fruit flies and eucalyptus trees.

What Are The Benefits?

The major benefit of this Experience is to explore future career options in science and research with support of a payment. This experience lets you explore real-world science without too much commitment of time, to help you see for yourself if science and further scientific study might be the right choice for you.

If it turns out you like sciences and environmental research, then you will have earned yourself a great set of skills and experiences that you can take with you.

How Do I Apply?

We are looking for students that can demonstrate that they are building a future in the natural and environmental sciences. We would like you to describe the reasons why you would like to participate in the Undergraduate Science Experience at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment and in particular, what areas of research you want to pursue.

With this information, we will be shortlisting applicants and matching you with an academic that is working in or close to the kind of areas that you are interested in.

That way, it helps us complete our research projects and it helps you develop skills in your areas of interest.

Autumn 2017 Undergraduate Science Experience placements are by invitation only and will be issued from early April 2017.

Download the application form.

Applications must be returned by Friday April 14 2017.

Download (DOCX, 632.24 KB)

Your second instalment of $750 will be paid after you complete the feedback form. You can download a copy here:

Feedback Form (DOCX, 32.63 KB)

For more information please contact David Thompson, HIE Communications Manager on d.thompson@westernsydney.edu.au.