CBCS 2023 Small Grants Scheme: outcome announced

Every year, the CBCS Small Grant Scheme aims to promote research collaboration, inclusion, mentorship, leadership and teamwork within and beyond CBCS.

The scheme has been extremely successful, funding a range of activities largely led by early career researchers and HDR students. This year we received 11 proposals and, after careful consideration, decided to fund the following seven, presented here in alphabetical order by proposal title.

We can’t wait to see how these exciting activities develop.

Collaborating with Moreton Bay’s commercial fisheries to develop solutions to reduce trawling impacts on threatened biodiversity

Project lead: Leslie Roberson

The proposed workshop aims to address pressing local conservation issues by bringing together industry, government and researchers to take a first step towards finding effective solutions. The workshop aims to: 1) promote collaboration among commercial fishers, industry representatives, researchers and managers to investigate the bycatch issue in Moreton Bay’s prawn trawl fishery; 2) raise awareness of bycatch issues and determine which bycatch species are problematic and when, where and why they are problematic; 3) identify any bycatch reduction strategies that are already used by fishers; 4) discuss potential solutions and next steps required to advance those solutions; and 5) identify opportunities for research collaborations between UQ students and Moreton Bay fisheries, including upcoming funding opportunities.

Conservation visual storytelling and outreach using animation and documentaries workshop

Project lead: Karlina Indraswari

Through two workshops, the first aim of this project is to broaden CBCS knowledge with regards to how visual tools such as animation and documentaries can be used to communicate science, engage the public, and even appeal to donors, increase visibility and changes for successful grant writing. The second aim is to allow CBCS members to have an interactive engagement with experienced animators and film-makers, where members can ask questions, request input, and even potentially develop collaborations with the speakers that can benefit any future needs.

Developing megavertebrate conservation research and teaching at Heron Island

Project lead: Lily Bentley

This workshop will develop a new program of megavertebrate conservation research (and associated teaching activities) at Heron Island, southern Great Barrier Reef. It will develop a tracking and monitoring program covering sea turtles, seabirds, elasmobranchs and marine mammals. Key objectives include: 1) to identify opportunities for new research and collaboration between UQ marine vertebrate conservation researchers at the Heron Island Research Station; 2) to develop a draft program of work in megavertebrate tracking and monitoring on Heron Island; 3) to identify elements of the research program to develop into teaching and learning activities for undergraduate, visiting international, Honours, Masters and PhD students; and 4) to draft a large bid for central strategic funding to support the project moving forward.

Exchanging experiences in conservation between Mexico and Australia

Project lead: Evelyn Gómez Juárez

The proposed conference will be organised through the coordination of two leading institutions in their countries, The University of Queensland and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The conference will: 1) facilitate a virtual space for an exchange of experiences in diverse areas of conservation between Mexico and Australia; 2) showcase cuttingedge projects in conservation that are creating a high impact in each country; 3) connect researchers and practitioners in conservation of two of the top 10 most biodiverse countries; and 4) break cultural and language barriers to foster communication and collaboration in conservation science.

Nature photography competition to showcase Australian nature and CBCS  photographers

Project lead: Christina Zdenek

The objectives of this photography competition within CBCS are not only to showcase Australian wildlife and promote learning about species but also to highlight the photography skills of CBCS members and beautify the indoor common areas in which we work. Such a competition will promote inclusion, leadership, aesthetic decoration beauty and community-building within CBCS.

Synthesising experimental design principles for understanding ecosystem service provision in agricultural landscapes

Project lead: Rhiannon Bird

This project aims to develop experimental design principles for south-east Queensland that are broadly applicable outside our region. The workshop will develop experimental design principles to assess ecosystems services while accounting for confounding factors such as farming practices and landscape context. It will also train ECRs and HDR students in transferable skills, including organising and running a workshop, experimental design, leadership, grant writing, collaborative networking and liaising with people from diverse backgrounds.

Understanding the support needs of multicultural HDR students when studying in Australia

Project lead: Jaramar Villarreal Rosas

This project will collect data to identify gaps in HDR students’ support needs in Australia. This will serve as a baseline to understand the multicultural needs of students and tailor support systems accordingly. As an outcome, the project will propose a framework for university departments for the implementation of multicultural support system programs for HDR students.


Teaser image: Mexican–Australian collaboration is the goal of the project led by Evelyn Gómez Juárez.

Image above: Precision agriculture in Australia, the theme of the project led by Rhiannon Bird. Photo: CSIRO


Project members

Dr Tatsuya Amano

ARC Future Fellow
School of the Environment
Deputy Director – Research
Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science

Dr Alice Twomey

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of the Environment
Lovelock Mangrove and Blue Carbon Lab
ECR Representative – Research
Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science

Dr Leslie Roberson

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of the Environment
Ocean Conservation Lab

Dr Karlina Indraswari

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of the Environment
Maron Ecology and Conservation Policy Lab

Dr Lily Bentley

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of the Environment
Applied Marine Biogeography Lab
ECR Representative – Education
Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science

Evelyn Gómez Juárez

Research Assistant
School of the Environment
Wenger Lab

Dr Christina Zdenek

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of the Environment
Venom Evolution Lab

Rhiannon Bird

PhD student
School of Agriculture and Food Sustainability
Smith Lab Group

Dr Jaramar Villarreal Rosas

Research Fellow
Australian Rivers Institute
Griffith University