Australia a Space-faring Nation: Imaginaries and Practices of Space Futures (Yarramundi)

Institute for Culture and Society

Lead Researcher: Professor Juan Francisco Salazar

About the project

The Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) is a research institute within Western Sydney University, that champions collaborative engaged research in the humanities and social sciences as the largest dedicated research concentration of its kind in Australia. We are now offering a research scholarship to highly motivated PhD candidates to work in an innovative project looking at the social and technological imaginaries of outer space, in Australia and internationally.

The project is funded through the Australian Research Council and investigates the challenges, opportunities and implications of outer space as a site of economic, political, environmental and cultural interest. Combining ethnography, science and technology studies, and creative practice, the project analyses how a range of imaginaries of outer space are produced through a series of case studies including: the development of Australia’s National Space Agency; the role of new venture capital firms; scientific research on alien life in terrestrial analogue sites; and Indigenous imaginaries of outer space.

The project will be based at ICS with the opportunity to work with a number of experienced supervisors in both the Institute and the School of Humanities and Commmunication Arts.

What does the scholarship provide?

  • Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $50,000(AUD) per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs, supported by the Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset.
  • Up to $7,000(AUD) support for training, conference attendance, fieldwork and additional research costs as approved by the Institute.

International applicants are not eligible to apply for this scholarship.

Eligibility criteria

We welcome Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants from a range of backgrounds, who are keen to apply their knowledge and critical approaches to social studies of outer space and connecting science, storytelling and Indigenous heritage. In particular, the project is suitable for candidates with strong interests in questions of decolonization (of space imaginaries); environmental justice, Indigenous representation in the astronomical and space sciences in Australia, Aboriginal astronomical knowledge traditions and practices.

The successful applicant should:

  • identify as being an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person.*
  • hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following (i) an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree, (ii) coursework Masters with at least 25% research component, or (iii) a Research Masters degree.
  • demonstrate strong academic performance in subjects relevant to humanities, arts and social sciences, but also for candidates interested in science communication and transdisciplinary research weaving socio-economic systems thinking and Indigenous knowledge.
  • have an interest in developing novel modes of engaging creatively with outer space, and/or develop new perspectives by which to intervene in how we envision and inhabit the cosmos based on Indigenous forms of knowledge creation.
  • be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level.

*Being an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is a genuine occupational qualification as authorised under Section 14 (D) of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act, 1977 NSW.

International applicants are not eligible to apply for this scholarship.

How to apply

Follow the step-by-step instructions on the how to apply for a project scholarship(opens in a new window) page.

Incomplete applications or applications that do not conform to the above requirements will not be considered.

For questions and advice about the research project, please contact the Lead Researcher;
Professor Juan Francisco Salazar:

For questions and advice about the application process, please contact the Graduate Research School:

Applications close 30 June 2020

*Applications close at 11.59pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).

Scholarship reference code: PS2020_033_ICS