Indigenous scholarship tackles groundwater skills gap

aboriginal-groundwater-scholarship-0303111Two Indigenous students have the opportunity to have their entire Flinders University tuition fees paid for through a new scholarship scheme in groundwater science.

The Aboriginal Groundwater Scholarship, the first of its kind in Australia, is being offered by Flinders University, the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) and the SA Department for Water.

NCGRT Director, Professor Craig Simmons, said the Scholarship was unique in addressing two important issues at once: groundwater research and Indigenous employment.

“Since its foundation in 2009, the NCGRT has been making inroads on the skills shortage in groundwater research by training students and graduates in all aspects of water science,” Professor Simmons said.

“However, there’s a vast amount of work to be done to improve our understanding of groundwater and surface water systems,” he said.

“The Aboriginal Groundwater Scholarship is aimed at encouraging Indigenous students to be part of this exciting and critical field.”

In addition to payment of tuition fees for successful completion of a groundwater-related undergraduate degree from Flinders School of the Environment, the Scholarship winners will undertake 12 weeks of paid work placements alongside a mentor at the Department of Water.

Professor Simmons encouraged Indigenous students to apply for the Scholarship.

“The conservation and management of Australia’s groundwater resources are vital to the nation’s future water security,” he said.

“Groundwater will be an increasingly important source of freshwater for domestic, agricultural and industrial use. We really need high-calibre scientists to guide our use of this precious resource.

“It’s a real growth area with excellent opportunities for employment.”

Written applications for the Scholarship must be received by 15 March. For further information or to apply, visit

PICTURED: (right to left) Professor Craig Simmons, Minister for Water Paul Caica and  NCGRT Research Fellow Eddie Banks at the launch of SuperScience Willunga, one of five NCGRT groundwater testing sites nationally.

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