Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

ACIAR Pacific Agriculture Scholarship Support and Climate Resilience (PASS-CR) Program

Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme


Applications are invited for the PASS-CR Scholarship Program from suitably qualified early to mid-career academics seeking to undertake a Masters by Research Degree or PhD in Agriculture at the University of the South Pacific (USP).

Applications open on Friday 21 July 2023 and close on Wednesday 18 October 2023.

Scholarships are available from Semester 1, 2024. 

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is an Australian Government statutory authority within the Australian Government’s Foreign Affairs portfolio. The ACIAR Pacific Island strategy recognizes the importance of agriculture (including horticulture), fisheries (including aquaculture), and forestry across the region.

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. The Program offers the opportunity to study either a Master’s Degree or a PhD.

The Pacific Agriculture Scholarships and Support and Climate Resilience (PASS-CR) 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-CR 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

Under the scholarship, research is aligned to an ACIAR project and addresses a priority research area

Soils is a priority area for USP and students aligned to an ACIAR Soils project will be considered as a priority. Projects which consider other key areas of focus including gender, social systems, youth engagement, food systems, and climate adaptation will also be welcome.

ACIAR also provides an international co-supervisor who is part of the ACIAR project team. Funds to present research results at an international conference are included in the scholarship.

The Australian Centre for Pacific Islands Research (ACPIR) at the University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC), provides additional support to PASS-CR 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 PASS-CR Program to build ongoing industry connections.

Scholarships are available from Semester 1 2024.

Scholarship Eligibility criteria

Please check your 200 level and 300 level GPA with the ACIAR Graduate Officer before applying for the scholarship.

  • 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 must be 35 years or below when applying for Masters and 45 years or below for PhD. Flexibilities on the age criteria will be considered under exceptional cases.
  • 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.
  • Applications must be Pacific Island Country Nationals from ACIAR partner countries (Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and 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 at ‘Third Country Rate’
  • Books Allowance (currently FJD 750 as a one-off payment);
  • Living allowance for MSc (currently FJD 21,450 for unaccompanied and FJD 32,472 for accompanied by qualified family members per year);
  • Living Allowances for PhD (currently FJD 24,000 for unaccompanied and FJD 34,000 for accompanied by qualified 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.

A Research Grant of up to a maximum of FJD20,000 for Masters’ students and FJD45,000 for PhD students is available.

Research Topics

ACIAR and USP have worked together to identify key research topics relevant to the ACIAR project and USP’s research interests.  Applicants must address one of the pre-identified research topics in their application.

Download List of Eligible Research Topics

Next steps

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


Applications, including the research intent, should be completed in consultation with the prospective supervisor at USP and corresponding ACIAR project leader or co-supervisor.

For further information about the ACIAR PASS-CR Program including how to apply and a list of potential projects and research topics please contact:

Mr Josevata Cava
ACIAR Graduate Officer

Application forms and details of the scholarship can be downloaded by clicking on the links below:

Zoom Q&A Session

A Zoom Q&A session will be held on Friday 28 July 2023 at 12pm FJT for anyone interested to learn more. Please register here:

ACIAR Pacific agricultural post-graduate scholarship research options list

Applications close: October 18th , 5pm FJT

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’s Pacific work, please contact: 

Ms Mai Alagcan, Regional Manager Pacific and PNG, Suva, FIJI

USP Chat Service
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