Climate-action scholarships for Pacific Island nations students

The University of Melbourne has launched fully-funded climate-action scholarships for students from Pacific Island nations to support their local communities in addressing climate change.

Nukunonu Atoll in the South Pacific, an area vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Image: UN/Ariane Rummery.

The Melbourne Climate Action Scholarship recognises the disproportionate effects of climate change on Small Island Developing States, many of which are in the Pacific.

The Scholarships will support Masters and Graduate Researchers on courses which engage with sustainability, helping them develop their existing skills and knowledge to address the effects of climate change in their countries.

Scholarships will also be provided at the University of Cambridge, the Universities of Toronto and Montreal and McMaster University in Canada, along with the University of Melbourne.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell said the Scholarships form part of the University’s overall commitment to focus research expertise on Pacific nations which are facing the lived experience of climate change.

“Universities have the resources as well as the world-leading experts to educate and advise students on the effects of climate change,” Professor Maskell said.

“It’s important that universities share this knowledge and make it more accessible, so students from small island nations can learn how to tackle climate change in their own countries.”

The Scholarships, launched to coincide with Commonwealth Day on 14 March, have been endorsed by HRH The Prince of Wales, a life-long supporter of sustainable causes and climate-change action.

Funded by the University of Melbourne’s Future Generations Fund, five Scholarships will be awarded, with the first recipients expected in 2023.

Students from small island countries such as Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Republic of Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu will be eligible.

Examples of courses that students could undertake include Master degrees in Climate Science, Environmental Law, Environmental Science or Public Policy, and research degrees such as the Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy in a relevant field of study.

Part of the University of Melbourne’s commitment to showcasing the depth and breadth of expertise and leadership in climate research was the establishment of Melbourne Climate Futures in 2021.

Melbourne Climate Futures Director Professor Jacqueline Peel said the Melbourne Climate Action Scholarships will help nurture and empower the next generation of climate leaders in Pacific Islands.

“Our neighbours in the Pacific are on the frontline of climate change impacts and are also leading the fight for climate justice,” Professor Peel said.

“These Scholarships will equip Pacific Islands students with the knowledge and skills to shape a sustainable climate future for their communities and the wider Pacific region.”

The Scholarships will be offered to eligible candidates based on their prior academic performance and the quality of their application addressing their experience in and future commitment to the field of climate change.

For more details visit Melbourne Climate Action Scholarship.