Big History Institute Scholarships

Call for Applicants: Anthropocene Cotutelle PhD Scholarships

For Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Sydney, Australia and international partner institution
Funding for: International Students, Domestic Students, payable while at Macquarie
Funding Amount: Tuition, 2016 APA rate of $26, 288 p.a stipend, air travel funding
Places Available: 10 Cotutelle PhD scholarships
Study Hours: Full Time
Opened: 1 June 2016
Closes: Expressions of Interest by 31 July 2016
We invite applications from current and prospective PhD candidates to apply for a Big History Institute Anthropocene Scholarship. In 2016, ten scholarships will be awarded. Big History Institute Scholars will pursue a Cotutelle PhD on a transdisciplinary theme. 

Under the Cotutelle model a PhD student is/will be enrolled at both Macquarie University and an international university. Both universities will appoint at least 1 of its staff as the supervisor and these supervisors will jointly guide the research. At the conclusion of the research a single thesis is prepared that is submitted for individual examination by both universities.

You can find out more information on Cotutelle programs here.  

PhD candidates will receive funding for their tuition while at Macquarie University, a living stipend to enable full time research, and air travel funding.

Research Topics

PhD candidates will pursue research topics pertaining to the major issues facing humanity in the Anthropocene. The transdisciplinary research will cut across any 3 or more fields/disciplines. Co-supervisors will be selected from Macquarie and our international partners who are from differing fields to best complement the nature of the project. Candidates currently studying their PhD are also eligible to apply and will be assigned the corresponding supervisor(s). Candidates are encouraged to propose their own topics but candidates wishing to explore research agendas identified by the Big History Institute are also strongly encouraged to apply.

The research undertaken will explore topics arising from Macquarie University's Big History Anthropocene Conference: A Transdisciplinary Exploration.

Prospective research agendas may include, but are not restricted to:

  • Defining the Anthropocene
  • Ecosystems, Boundaries, and Species
  • Economics for the Anthropocene
  • Law and Governance for the Anthropocene
  • Climate Change, Health, and Population
  • Humanity's Long Term Prospects

These topics have multiple intersections with Macquarie University's future-shaping research priorities:

ONE: HEALTHY PEOPLE - Pioneering health, integrated healthcare, and life-long learning for wellness in our aging world

TWO: RESILIENT SOCIETIES - Understanding cultures in our changing world and building ethical, just, and inclusive communities

THREE: PROSPEROUS ECONOMIES - Strengthening economic productivity to promote prosperity in our diverse world

FOUR: SECURE PLANET - Sustaining our interdependent world and exploring our place in the universe

FIVE: INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES - Advancing our interconnected world with frontier technologies, systems, designs, and creative practice

Students are encouraged to collaborate with the Big History Institute during the application process to identify and develop their research topic.


 The Big History Institute Scholarships are Cotutelle scholarships that include:

  • Tuition fees for up to 3 years
  • Financial stipend as per 2016 APA rate of $26, 288 p.a. This is payable while at Macquarie University only. 
  • Airfare provided between two institutions


 PhD candidates must be engaged in a full-time research workload.
The scholarship is for Cotutelle research between Macquarie and an existing or prospective partner institution. At least 1 supervisor will come from Macquarie, at least 1 supervisor will come from the partner institution, in addition to an associate supervisor from the Big History Institute.
Candidates are welcome to propose an interested supervisor from a university outside Australia. Alternately applicants can apply for a scholarship without a proposed international supervisor and the Big History Institute will assist in the process of securing a supervisor from a university outside Australia whose expertise best suits their project.
For Macquarie supervisors, the student is welcome to suggest whom they would like or the Big History Institute will similarly assist on securing a supervisor whose expertise is most appropriate for the project.
PhD candidates must be academically qualified to enroll for a PhD at both Macquarie and the selected partner institution.

Application Process 

The Big History Institute is currently seeking expressions of interest in the scholarship from current and prospective PhD candidates. PLEASE NOTE: students who are currently PhD candidates at an international university are also eligible to apply.
Expressions of interest should include: details on academic background, research interests, and an attached Curriculum Vitae and list of any publications. Attachments should be in word or pdf format.
Please email expressions of interest to Dr. David Baker at
Following the reply to your expression of interest, you may be asked to send along a draft project proposal outlining (1) the significance of the topic; (2) the major research questions; (3) the methodological and theoretical approaches; and (4) a three-year progression plan. While these aspects do not have to be worked out in their entirety, and many of them can be developed in conjunction with the Big History Institute, preliminary ideas are highly sought after and valued.
Following these discussions, you may be directed to begin the formal enrollment process.
The deadline for expressions of interest is: 31 July 2016


If you have any questions about the scholarships, research topics, or any other concerns please contact:

Dr David Baker, Associate Lecturer, Big History Institute
+61 2 9850 8839