PhD Opportunity: What’s all the Buzz? Managing competing interests in developing Western Australia’s beekeeping industry

This is a call for a PhD candidate for our PhD project: “What’s all the Buzz? Managing competing interests in developing Western Australia’s beekeeping industry”

Innovative and motivated PhD candidates needed to examine how to best develop the WA beekeeping industry in ways that achieve harmonious and sustainable co-habitation of wild bees with commercial apiaries, native wildlife, and natural bush environments. This project is part of the new UWA Cooperative Research Centre for Honey Bee Products. The programme is a new UWA Cooperative Research Centre for Honey Bee Products (BeeCRC). We need PhD candidates for various BeeCRC subprojects. Successful candidates will be working at a leading Australian university and living in a spectacular landscape rich with cultural history. The University of Western Australia is one of Australia’s leading research-intensive universities and the premier research institution in WA (<>).

Insight into the context and problem are shown at, and below.

Working with beekeepers, conservationists, and scientists, this project will contribute to the bee hive sites programme to increase productivity and profitability of beekeepers, and to increase understanding of the competing interests in the management of honey bee hive sites in WA. These honey bee sites are usually in public lands and may be remote. Currently, there is little understanding of the distribution, impact, and measures for managing bee sites, wild bees, declining honey yields, climate stressors, and competing land uses and resources. As such, this project will provide economic and health value to these bee hive sites, and inform state agencies and stakeholders for planning consideration especially for forestry, mining and bush-fire regulation.

This PhD project, over the course of 3.5 years, will identify solutions for competitive and harmonious co-habitation between wild, commercial species and a range of anthropogenic factors across spatially and ecologically-diverse native environments and commercial beekeeping arrangements that are distinctive to WA.  This may include qualitative and mixed methods research. This project will examine the geographies of apiary site management and the demands of competing interests to better understand their impact on Western Australia beekeeping productivity and profitability. Through mixed-methods research this project will develop the process of resolving the relevant policy issues (see Gill, 1996) based on sound science: toward developing a decision-making framework and/or decision support tool for honey bee hive sites.

There are three project objectives:

1.  Identify the challenges and trade-offs facing the beekeeping industry and beekeeping practices across Southwest WA.
2.  Identify interventions and strategies to promote securing a sustainable future for native bushland, wildlife, and farming communities, that promotes a healthy commercial beekeeping industry.
3.  Develop a decision-making tool for honey bee hive sites development to optimise trade-offs between apiary activities and competing interests.

Specific readings that will help inform your thinking include:

Gill, R. (1996). The Benefits to the Beekeeping Industry and Society from Secure Access to Public Lands and their Melliferous Resources (97/026).  Honeybee Research and Development Council of Australia Armidale NSW.
Manning, R. J. G. (1992). Honey production, economic value and geographical significance of apiary sites in Western Australia: final report (from a natural resource questionnaire for beekeepers). South Perth, W.A.: Apiculture Section, Western Australian Dept. of Agriculture.

Contact the research team leaders:
Clare Mouat is a Geography and Planning Lecturer in the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment (SAgE). Her multi-disciplinary research extends from political economies of community development to political ecologies of healthy environments; aiming to manage conflict and generate equitable outcomes where humans and non-humans interact and compete for space and resources. She is a registered bee-keeper and qualified queen-bee breeder interested in the urban wild and post-humanism.
Bryan Boruff is a Geographer and Senior Lecturer in the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment (SAgE). His expertise lies in the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing technologies to the study of environmental hazards. Over the past decade, his research interests have expanded to encompass a range of environmental management issues including agricultural and renewable energy production, population health, sustainable livelihoods, geographic information delivery, and development of spatially enabled eResearch tools.

How to apply:
The requirements of a UWA PhD and the application process are found at <>
Submit your application  (by 5 February, 2018) directly to both myself ( and Mei Han (  or to an authorised UWA representative<>. This application should include:

*   A completed research application form
*   All certified documents as listed on the application form
*   A brief outline of your proposed research project*
* Note that we will use our Faculty of Science standard here for 750 words (not the 250 words it says in the application form and online).

We look forward to hearing from interested candidates.

Noho ora mai  | Stay well, goodbye

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