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Scholarship details

2022 RTP Small-Scale Enterprise and Moral Economies in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific

Status: Open

Applications open: 12/07/2021
Applications close: 30/08/2021

View printable version [.pdf]

About this scholarship

Export cash cropping and marketplace trading are economic activities familiar throughout the developing world. But 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. 
We are seeking an outstanding and highly motivated student interested in developing a research project examining some aspect of the social embeddedness of small-scale enterprise in Papua New Guinea or the Pacific. 
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
• Moral economy 

  • Future Students
  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Higher Degree by Research
  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa
  • 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 $28,597 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

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. The successful candidate will have:
• 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 and to work at the community level in Papua New Guinea, 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

If this project excites you, and your research skills and experience are a good fit for this specific project, you should email the project lead, expressing your interest (EOI) in this project.

Your EOI email should include your current curriculum vitae, a summary of your research skills and experience and the reason you are interested in this specific project.

Enrolment Requirements

Eligible to enrol in a Higher Degree by Research Course at Curtin University by March 2022


To enquire about this project opportunity contact the Project lead (listed below).

Name: Dr Timothy Sharp 


Contact Number:  9266 4985

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