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Scholarship gives marine science students real world opportunity

Two outstanding James Cook University (JCU) marine science students have been awarded Bachelor of Science scholarships – equipping them with unique real-world experience on the Great Barrier Reef under the guidance of leading marine researchers.

Jordan Wells and Indus Fisher will receive financial support throughout each year of their degree, in addition to the chance to work alongside researchers and port industry managers, thanks to a partnership between JCU and North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP).

JCU’s Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER) Principal Researcher Dr. Nathan Waltham said the scholarship would be invaluable for the budding marine scientists.

“Every year Jordan and Indus will have financial support, plus get hands-on experience in understanding how environmental science can tackle real marine industry issues,” he said.

“Marine science can be a very competitive field and this scholarship gives these promising students valuable real-world experiences, beyond just the classroom.”

Indus Fisher, who relocated to Townsville from Mackay, said he had grown up in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and loved the marine environment from a young age.

“With a hope to help protect this beautiful ecosystem, I couldn’t think of a better place to learn the knowledge and skills to do so than at the world’s leading university in marine science,” he said.

“Thanks to the generosity of North Queensland Bulk Ports and JCU TropWATER, this financial burden has been greatly reduced, allowing me to focus more fully on my studies and achieve the very best possible results I can."

“The real opportunity lies in the industry connections, placement possibilities, and real-world experience this fantastic partnership makes available to us.”

The two students will join last year’s scholarship recipient, Amy Cantrill, and intern students who will complete placement in the environmental team at NQBP. Together, the student programs are building the next generation of marine scientists to be job-ready.

NQBP CEO Nicolas Fertin said the port authority is proud to provide university students real-world experience in port environmental management.

“With JCU, we have created one of Australia’s most comprehensive port marine ambient monitoring programs while training the next generation of industry and job-ready science graduates,” Mr. Fertin said.

“The marine environment is central in our everyday planning and port operations. Informed environmental management ensures trade keeps flowing to service the Queensland economy.”

JCU offers the world’s best marine and freshwater biology degrees, and NQBP is the only port authority in the world with three priority ports, of Hay Point, Mackay, and Abbot Point, located on the shores of a World Heritage Area.

The scholarship program is part of NQBP’s broader five-year partnership with JCU, where researchers monitor the local marine environment surrounding four ports.

Jordan Wells (left) and Indus Fisher (right) have been awarded Bachelor of Science scholarships for 2022, joining 2021 recipient Amy Cantrill (centre).


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