Marine Inequality

Opportunity with funding
Closing date No closing date

DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)

SupervisorDr Fiona McCormack

About this opportunity

This is a call for applications for full-time research scholarships for two PhD students to engage in anthropological study on the topic of marine inequality. The successful candidates will undertake a doctoral thesis as part of Dr. Fiona McCormack’s Royal Society of New Zealand’s Marsden Grant-funded project entitled “Marine inequality and environmental demise: Identifying imperial borders in ocean governance”.

Situated at the intersection of marine anthropology and critical anti-colonial studies, the project employs a comparative ethnographic framework to investigate four case studies – marine aquaculture in Aotearoa, the aquarium fishery in Hawaii, and the wild, angler and farmed salmon fisheries in Iceland and Ireland. More broadly, drawing on the concept of ‘border imperialism’, the research investigates how marine regimes and economies travelled via the complex machinations of European worldviews, to re-imagine and re-direct localised relations to fish. That is, how does marine governance include or exclude local and Indigenous marine culture? What transnational attributes shape contemporary ocean governance?

As well as contributing to the broader Marsden Grant-funded study, PhD students are encouraged to develop their thesis topic on any aspect of the overall project. Thesis research could revolve around, for eg., marine governance, Indigenous claims, marine culture, revitalisation of Indigenous marine practices or marine livelihoods and environmental demise. It is expected that PhD projects will focus on one of the 4 research sites.

Scholarship details

The Doctoral Student Scholarship is available for three years (2024-2026) and covers a tax free stipend of NZD $35,000 per year for each of the three years plus tuition fees.

Please email expressions of interest to with

  1. a cover letter
  2. a CV;
  3. copies academic transcripts
  4. a one-page statement of proposed topic
  5. the names and contacts of two referees.


The general Higher Degrees admission criteria apply.

This vacancy has additional eligibility criteria:

  • Masters degree broadly in the Social Sciences or Humanities, preferably in Anthropology, Indigenous Studies or cognate disciplines
  • Interest in issues around marine environments and the generation of inequality
  • Experience in conducting qualitative research, preferred excellence in academic writing and familiarity with the social context of one of the field sites

The application process


Applications for the scholarships will be received on a rolling basis until the positions are filled. Review of applications will begin on 1 March 2024.

How to apply

If you are interested in this vacancy, please email the supervisor. Please include evidence that you meet the eligibility criteria for this vacancy.


The supervisor will let you know whether they have shortlisted you for this vacancy and will advise you of next steps.


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Questions about the process?

If you have any questions about the process, you can contact the School of Graduate Research.

School of Graduate Research