The Research & Innovation Office


Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

ACIAR- Pacific Agriculture Scholarships Support Program (PASSP)

Applications are now CLOSED!

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is an Australian Government statutory authority within the Australian Government’s Foreign Affair portfolio. The ACIAR Pacific Island strategy recognizes the importance of agriculture (including horticulture), fisheries (including aquaculture), and forestry within these countries and across the region. ACIAR is committed to support research and development (R&D) and capacity building in the Pacific to address three main thrusts:

  • improved food and nutritional security;
  • integrated and sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry resources management and development; and,
  • improved biosecurity and increased trade in agriculture, fisheries and forestry products.

As part of the commitment to R&D capacity building, ACIAR in partnership with USP established the ACIAR-USP Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme in 2007. The Scheme provides the opportunity for partner country students to become involved in ACIAR-supported collaborative research projects while obtaining postgraduate qualifications at USP. Currently, the Scheme includes the disciplines of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, agricultural economics and agribusiness, offering either a Master’s Degree or a PhD.

The Pacific Agriculture Scholarships and Support (PASS) Program provides scholarships and support to postgraduate students in agriculture, forestry and fisheries at The University of the South Pacific and Fiji National University. Since 2008, these ACIAR-supported research scholarships have achieved significant results, strengthening agricultural innovation systems in the Pacific.

ACIAR’s Pacific post-graduate scholarships are offered in the Pacific to Pacific Islanders.  This enables scholars to research agricultural problems within the context that the solutions need to work, to build professional networks which will be relevant post-study and remain close to family and culture.

The PASS Program aims to strengthen the Pacific agricultural innovation system through building on the strengths of Pacific universities and their regional partners.  It sits within ACIAR’s Pacific Capacity Building Strategy and is part of ACIAR’s Pacific Step-up.

Scholarship program outline

ACIAR Pacific Scholar research is aligned to an ACIAR project and addresses a priority research area.  ACIAR also provides an International co-supervisor who is part of the ACIAR project team. Funds to present research results at an international conference included in the scholarship.

Scholarships include PhD and MSc by research at USP and the student research grants cost is shared between ACIAR and USP.

The Australian Centre for Pacific Islands Research (ACPIR) at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), provides additional support to PASS scholars and academic staff including professional development, peer-to-peer learning, research collaboration, and higher degree research supervision training. Student work placements and career development are included under the Program to build ongoing industry connections.

Scholarships are advertised annually in September through The University of the South Pacific and Fiji National University for commencement the following year.

Pacific priority research areas

ACIAR’s 2019 Pacific Island Country consultations identified key priority research areas.

  • Gender equity and women’s engagement in Pacific agriculture, forestry, fisheries
  • Forestry and agroforestry that supports sustainable livelihoods and land management
  • Climate Change resilient production and food systems
  • Soil fertility, and integrated management of water resources and wastewater
  • Aquaculture and horticulture products and systems for improved nutrition
  • Agribusiness, including post-harvest management and food processing and innovative products
  • Coconut-based systems for economic, social, and environmental resilience
  • ‘One Health’ approaches (integrating human, animal, and environment health) and biosecurity (for crop, livestock and environmental health). Includes crop and plant protection and animal health.

Scholarship Eligibility criteria

Outline and Criteria

  • Applicants to have a relevant Bachelor degree with a GPA of 4.0 or above (for students wishing to apply for Master’s degree after Bachelors), or a relevant Post Graduate Diploma & Bachelors with a GPA of 3.5 or over for both to be admitted into the Masters by Research Program
  • Applicants to have a relevant Bachelor degree with a GPA of 4.5 or a Master’s degree by research to be admitted to the PhD program.
  • Applicants must be a citizen of and currently reside in Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu or Vanuatu
  • Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for postgraduate study at USP.
  • Applications must be aligned to active or upcoming ACIAR research project and must address a nominated thesis research question from the supplied list.
  • Applicants must be able to meet government and university mandated requirements for travel to Fiji for study at USP, Laucala, or Samoa for study at USP, Alafua.

Scholarship Benefits

Scholarships will be awarded on an 18-month basis for Masters’ students and over 3 years for a PhD candidate.  Each successful recipient will be entitled to:

  • Full Tuition coverage for the relevant program of study.
  • Books Allowance (currently FJD 750 per annum);
  • Living allowance (currently FJD 21,450 unaccompanied, and FJD 32,472 accompanied by qualifying family members, per year);
  • Medical insurance (at prevailing rate); and
  • Establishment allowance (currently FJD 1,900, as a one-off payment, if applicable).

Allowances for students based at USP Samoa, are paid in local currency.

Next steps

Below is a summary guide to your application for the scholarship.

ACIAR Pacific agricultural post-graduate scholarship research options list

Applications close: November 7th, midnight AEST

How to Apply?

For more information, including application forms and research proposal templates, please contact:

The University of South Pacific

Mr Josevata Cava, ACIAR-USP Graduate Officer

For further information about ACIAR(from 2 October):
Ms Mai Alagcan, Regional Manager Pacific and PNG, Suva, FIJI