Balanced Scientist

Project Leader: Assoc Prof Stephen Sarre, University of Canberra

Aim: To produce better, more ‘balanced’ scientists that are attractive to employers and will make a substantial contribution to ecosystem and invasive animal management.

Projects:  11.e.1

Project summary

The Balanced Scientist program prepares graduates for leadership roles in the invasive animal management industry by providing postgraduate education opportunities for students to participate in some of Australia’s most significant environmental issues.

A critical component of the education program is the placement of students within industry, where industry includes education institutions, government and non-government conservation and land-management agencies. The PhD program is complemented by an Honours research program.

Students work in projects that contribute to the goals of the IA CRC. They each learn to conceive, plan and carry out to completion a substantial piece of original research in a specialised area of academic study, under the supervision of at least one industry professional, and a primary supervisor from a CRC-affiliated university.

Students receive training in leadership, management, business and entrepreneurial skills. These skills complement sound research training in ecosystem and invasive animal management. Each student participates in an 80-day training program across a four-year learning plan.

The skill-set will help students:

  • better prepare for the industry workplace
  • develop networks before graduation
  • improve employment prospects
  • match research efforts with industry priorities.

Program targets include:

  • 24 PhD students graduating from an 80-day training program across a four-year learning plan
  • delivering an intensive professional development training camp each year, supplemented by short-courses and conference opportunities
  • recognition of student achievements through the annual student awards.

Key achievements

  • Four cohorts of students inducted, with 28 PhD students enrolled.
  • Delivery of the fourth intensive professional development training camp (June 2010) with customised workshops on Commercialisation and Intellectual Property.
Key achievements Cohort 1 PhDs (2006 intake)
  • All twelve students from C1 PhDs (2006 intake) have completed requirements for the IA CRC Certificate of Achievement in Research Leadership & Management, awarded June 2010.
  • All C1 scholarships given out and in final 8th semester;
  • 8 out of 12 (66%) C1 PhDs submitted;
  • 3 out of 12 (25%) C1 PhDs accepted (others submitted still being marked);
Key achievements Cohort 2 PhDs (2007 intake)
  • 10 out of 11 (91%) remain enrolled (after one dropped out due to illness);
  • All 10 are in or approaching 7th semester with substantial progress in Balanced Scientist Program including having completed their 3rd annual PhD camp (June 2010).
Key achievements Cohort 3 PhDs (2008 intake)
  • Intake of six C3 candidates progressing well and in 4th or 5th semester,
  • All six making strong progress in Balanced Scientist Program, having completed their 2nd or 3rd annual PhD camp (June 2010).
Key achievements Cohort 4 Masters candidates (2009 intake & early 2010 intake)
  • Intake of two C4 Masters candidates as affiliated postgraduate students included in annual postgraduate camp training;
  • 1 out of 2 (50%) completed and accepted; other making strong progress towards completion;
  • 1 took part in 2009 annual postgraduate camp group training prior to completion in early 2010;

Key deliverables for 2010-11

  • Intensive training courses (5th annual PhD camp) to be held in Semester One of 2011.
  • Continued support for student cohorts 2 to 4.
  • Remaining four Cohort 1 PhDs expected to have submitted;
  • All, or most, Cohort 2 PhDs expected to have submitted and met Balanced Scientist Program criteria.
  • Remaining Cohort 4 Masters student expected to have submitted.
  • Balanced Scientist Program Manual expected to be completed, published and launched.
  • First phase (Cohort 1 post-completion questionnaire and interviews) of Balanced Scientist Program longitudinal survey of PhD graduates conducted and results analysed for publication in refereed journal.

Project partners

IA CRC, University of Canberra, University of Newcastle, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, University of Western Australia, project partners included under specific research programs under other goals.

Further information

IA CRC’s ‘balanced scientists’ work within our projects. Refer to the projects within specific goals and program areas.

Also, see our student pages.

For further information, contact us.

Thanks for visiting.

The Invasive Animals CRC finished on June 30, 2017.

The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions is now in its place and has a new website you can visit at

This website will remain active until June 30, 2018, however after this time it will be archived.