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Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Environmental Assets Valuation)
University of the Sunshine Coast (USC)
Posted 2 Aug 2019 Salary Classification Level A (Salary range A$85,931 to A$92,197 gross per annum plus up to 9.5% employer superannuation contributions) Email Email:
Region QLD Contact Dr Graham Ashford, Deputy Head, School of Science and Engineering Website View
Type Full time Phone Telephone: + 61 7 5430 1141    

Appointment:  Full-time, fixed-term (until July 2021)
Closing Date:  Midnight, 4 September 2019

Position Overview

The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and the Sunshine Coast Council (SCC) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to advance mutual interests for the benefit of the region. Sunshine Coast Council’s Environment and Liveability Strategy 2017 identifies the need to grow the natural economy by strengthening the economic base around the region’s natural assets and distinctive landscape features. A USC/SCC Project Steering Committee will provide oversight and guidance to the Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Environmental Assets Valuation), who will have reporting obligations to both USC and the Project Steering Committee in relation to the Valuing the Sunshine Coast’s Natural Assets project which will form the basis for the majority of the position’s work. The position will be based primarily at the USC Sunshine Coast campus in the Sustainability Research Centre, but from time to time and as required to progress the project, the incumbent will be accommodated for at the SCC office. 

The primary focus of the Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Environmental Assets Valuation) is to undertake research to better understand the economic value of the Sunshine Coast’s natural assets to inform strategic decision making on how to protect the natural values that exist in the area, while at the same time meeting demands for social and economic development. It is anticipated that the outputs from this project will support the continued need to invest in the protection, enhancement and management of the region’s natural environment by identifying the return on investment. The research objectives are to:

  • identify and critique a range of ecosystem services valuation frameworks, approaches, and methods;
  • select preferred frameworks, approaches, and methods in consultation with SCC and other key stakeholders (which can also facilitate periodical updates to ensure key messages remain current);
  • identify direct and indirect use and non-use values of the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area’s (SCLGA’s) natural assets including biodiversity, waterways and wetlands, and coastline values across the region and across tenures;
  • undertake economic and related assessments of the identified values;
  • develop key messages to raise awareness of the realistic values of the region’s natural assets;
  • develop key messages to contribute to debate and discussions regarding the region’s natural assets and the importance of ongoing strategic investment;
  • identify and apply methods to determine Council’s return on investment from their annual ‘environment’ expenditure;
  • highlight the economic outcomes associated with maintaining current environment management investment levels; and
  • consider how policies, investments, and environmental change may influence values derived from natural assets and ecosystem services under different scenarios.

Selection Criteria


  1. Completion of a relevant doctoral qualification along with research experience in environmental economics related to environmental valuation methods.

Applicants must demonstrate:

  1. Evidence of research performance success through high quality journal and refereed publications, research grant funding or involvement in projects 
  2. Well-developed project management skills enabling the development of effective systems to monitor and report on the project
  3. Highly developed verbal and written communication, interpersonal, consultation and negotiation skills to effectively collaborate with a wide range of people and develop effective working relationships with key external and internal contacts
  4. Strong analytical and evaluation skills


  1. Experience with benefit transfer methods

To Apply

All applicants MUST provide a statement that addresses each of the selection criteria contained within the position description and their resume/curriculum vitae. 

Information regarding how to prepare your application and effectively address selection criteria is available on our website information for applicants.

USC Vision

USC will be a university of international standing and an unsurpassed community asset, focusing on the region from Moreton Bay to Fraser Coast.

University Strategic Goals

The University will be:

  1. A primary engine of capacity building for our region;
  2. A comprehensive multi-campus university growing towards 35,000 students; and
  3. Positioned globally as a top-500 university and a top-100 university under 50 years of age.

USC is in the pilot accreditation program for the national SAGE Athena SWAN initiative to enhance gender equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM).

The University will consider flexible work arrangements for this position, including part-time or job share arrangements.

Overview of the Sustainability Research Centre

While the Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Environmental Assets Valuation) formally works within the School of Science and Engineering, the position has a primary functional association with the work of the Sustainability Research Centre (SRC). The SRC is focused on understanding the relationships between people, place and change. The SRC applies a transdisciplinary and collaborative approach broadly aligned with the fields of human geography and environmental management and leads USC’s sustainability teaching programs with the goal of helping regions transition towards sustainability.

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