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Scholarship details

RTP2021 R2 Small-Scale Enterprise and Moral Economies in PNG and the Pacific

Status: Open

Applications open: 15/07/2020
Applications close: 1/09/2020

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About this scholarship

Export cash cropping and marketplace trading are economic activities familiar throughout the developing world. However, the way people produce, transact, arrange and remunerate labour, distribute, accumulate, possess, and consume, are shaped by the different socio-cultural contexts in which they occur. This means, for example, the structure and dynamics of food markets and coffee production in Papua New Guinea are not identical to their counterparts in, say, Peru.  Thus, the socio-cultural context of development initiatives has an important bearing on development outcomes.

The student will join researchers in Curtin University’s Pacific Livelihoods Research Group including geographers George Curry, Gina Koczberski and Tim Sharp. This strong and expanding research program examines, and seeks to improve, the livelihoods of both rural and urban people in Papua New Guinea (see An important focus of the group’s research is on the way introduced economic forms, such as trade stores, marketplaces and cash crop production, have both contributed to social change but have also been reimagined and remade in different places. The focus of our research includes:

·         The diverse motivations and challenges faced by small businesses such as trade stores and trucking enterprises

·         The organisation, remuneration, and valuing of labour in cash cropping, subsistence gardening and market trading

·         People’s access to land for export cash cropping and subsistence gardening

·         The interaction between cultural obligations and market participation

·         The gendered dimensions of economic activities

·         Trade networks and trading practices in marketplaces

·         The moral economy governing livelihood activities

The student will need to be willing to conduct long-term socio-economic fieldwork at the community level in Papua New Guinea or the broader Pacific.

  • Future Students
  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Higher Degree by Research
  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa
  • International Student
  • Merit Based

Total value of the annual scholarships (stipend and fees) is approx. $60,000 - $70,000 p.a.

Curtin PhD Stipends are valued at $28,092 p.a. for up to a maximum of 3.5 years.

Successful applicants will receive a 100% Fee offset.

Scholarship Details


All applicable HDR courses

·         English language IELTS level of: 7

·         Future Higher degree by research applicants

·         A Research Masters degree, or a Bachelors degree with first class honours, or equivalent, in geography, anthropology, development studies, agricultural studies or another relevant discipline. (Essential)

·         Willingness to undertake long-term fieldwork at the community level in Papua New Guinea or other Pacific Island states, and to learn Melanesian Pidgin. (Essential)

·         Demonstrated ability to work independently and within a team. (Essential)

·         Demonstrated research experience in a relevant field. (Essential)

·         Demonstrated fieldwork or work experience (or equivalent) in a developing country or cross-cultural context (Desirable)

Application process

To apply for this project opportunity applicants must submit an email to the contact Project lead listed below. The email must include their current curriculum vitae, a summary of their research skills and experience and the reason they are interested in this specific project.

The Project Lead will select one preferred applicant for this project and complete a Primary reference on their behalf. 

After confirmation from the Project Lead that they will receive a primary reference for this project the applicant must submit an eApplication for admission into the applicable HDR course no later than 1st September 2020.

All applicants must send an external referee template to their chosen external reference. 

All references are confidential and must be submitted by the referee directly to no later than 1st September 2020.

Scholarship applications submitted without a primary reference or a completed application for admission will be considered incomplete.

For further information on the application process or for more RTP2021 Round 2 scholarship project opportunities visit:

Enrolment Requirements

Eligible to enrol in a Higher Degree by Research Course at Curtin University by March 2021


To apply for this project opportunity email your current curriculum vitae, a summary of their research skills and experience and the reason you are interested in this specific project to:

Name: Prof George Curry


Contact Number: +61 8 9266 3310

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