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Tapping into non-English-language science in tackling global environmental challenges

Project summary

St Lucia
Research area
Environmental sciences, Language, communication and culture

Project description

This PhD project is a part of our translatE project, which aims to understand and overcome consequences of language barriers in science.

To date our work has revealed the critical importance of scientific evidence that is available only in languages other than English, in efforts to address the biodiversity crisis (see e.g., References 1 and 2 below). Our next step is to understand the importance of non-English-language science in different sub-disciplines within biodiversity conservation science, and in other disciplines related to global environmental challenges, and to explore effective ways of identifying important non-English-language science.

More specifically, the objectives of this PhD project are fourfold.

  1. Understanding trends in non-English-language studies on different topics in biodiversity conservation: We will investigate how the number of non-English-language publications has changed over time in different sub-disciplines within conservation science.
  2. Conducting a multilingual systematic literature review on nature-based solutions for climate adaptation: We will conduct a systematic multilingual literature search for scientific evidence on the effectiveness of nature-based solutions for climate adaptation.
  3. Conducting a multilingual systematic literature review on the emergence of zoonotic diseases: We will conduct a systematic multilingual literature search for scientific evidence on the effects of environmental changes on the emergence of zoonotic diseases (animal-origin infectious diseases affecting humans).
  4. Testing the validity of using machine translation in systematic literature searches: As a potentially effective way of accessing non-English-language science, we will test the validity of using machine translation in systematic literature searches.

As a whole, this PhD project will demonstrate the potential importance of non-English-language science in a wide range of environmental science disciplines, while providing a promising and valid way of making non-English-language science accessible to everyone around the world.


Amano et al (2021) Tapping into non-English-language science for the conservation of global biodiversity. PLOS Biology 19(10): e3001296.

Amano et al (2023) The role of non-English-language science in informing national biodiversity assessments. Nature Sustainability.

Research environment

The student will belong to the School of the Environment and the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science (CBCS) at The University of Queensland, a globally-renowned hub of conservation scientists. The CBCS is a solution-oriented research centre, hosting 34 academics, 15 postdocs, and over 100 students in a wide range of disciplines related to biodiversity conservation and sustainability science. This interdisciplinary environment provides an excellent opportunity for the student to develop a range of skills, meet a diverse range of people from around the world working towards the same goal, and build their career in relevant disciplines.

The student will be a part of the translatE project, which has established an extensive network of over 150 collaborators around the world, and Kaizen Conservation Group, where the student can meet fellow HDR students (see each website for what we do). Our group also organises biweekly lab meetings with Prof. Richard Fuller’s group.

The PhD project will also be based on international collaboration with the University of Cambridge in the UK and Peking University in China, as well as some other world-leading researchers.


This is an Earmarked scholarship project that aligns with a recently awarded Australian Government grant.

The scholarship includes:

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • your tuition fees covered
  • single overseas student health cover (OSHC).

Learn more about the Earmarked scholarship.


You must contact the principal supervisor for this project to discuss your interest. You should only complete the online application after you have reached agreement on supervision.

Always make sure you are approaching your potential supervisor in a professional way. We have provided some guidelines for you on how to contact a supervisor.

Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your:

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of systematic literature review, and map evidence-based conservation would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

You will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of conservation science, evidence synthesis, and meta-science and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of at least one non-English language where we identified a high number of conservation-related scientific papers (e.g., Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, etc) is highly desirable.

How to apply

This project requires candidates to commence no later than Research Quarter 3, 2024. To allow time for your application to be processed, we recommend applying no later than 31 March, 2024 31 December, 2023.

You can start in an earlier research quarter. See application dates.

Before you apply

  1. Check your eligibility for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
  2. Prepare your documentation.
  3. Contact Dr Tatsuya Amano ( to discuss your interest and suitability.

When you apply

You apply for this scholarship when you submit an application for a PhD. You don’t need to submit a separate scholarship application.

In your application ensure that under the ‘Scholarships and collaborative study’ section you select:

  • My higher degree is not collaborative
  • I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship
  • UQ Earmarked Scholarship type.

Apply now