PRESS RELEASE\r\n\r\nAn innovative collaboration by eight Australian universities will nurture the next generation of tropical research leaders to ensure the nation plays a leading role in tackling the unique challenges facing the tropics.\r\n\r\nThe 27 PhD students selected for the Graduate Network in Tropical Research will attend its inaugural conference next week, October 29- November 2, at the Cairns campus of James Cook University.\r\n\r\nJCU Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Cocklin said the Graduate Network in Tropical Research annual conference was just one of the many benefits for PhD students selected to participate in the program run by JCU, Charles Darwin University, Curtin University, Flinders University, Griffith University, Murdoch University, Queensland University of Technology and University of Western Australia.\r\n\r\n“The conference gives students the opportunity to discuss their research and listen to world leading tropical researchers,” he said.\r\n\r\n“The keynote address at the Cairns conference will be delivered by Leveni Taholo Kami, the Oceania Regional Director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.”\r\n\r\n“For its inaugural year, the Graduate Network in Tropical Research has recruited 27 PhD students who have been awarded postgraduate research scholarships by their universities and whose research has a tropical focus.\r\n\r\n“JCU has six PhD students included, the highest number of any of the eight participating universities.\r\n\r\n“This number reflects JCU’s research interests in the tropics and our leadership role with the Network.”\r\n\r\nProfessor Cocklin said the Network would next year launch a highly prestigious programme of Tropical Scholarships targeted at PhD students with a special interest in research relevant to the tropics.\r\n\r\n“The Network is designed to increase Australia’s capabilities in tropical research by training a new generation of researchers better informed about the unique challenges facing the tropics,” he said.\r\n\r\n“Students will have many advantages through the Network’s scholarships including access to leading researchers as supervisors at multiple universities.\r\n\r\n“This multidisciplinary approach will help to solve the complex research challenges facing the tropics.\r\n\r\n“Students also will have access to coursework modules taught by world leading researchers aimed at providing them with a comprehensive introduction to the tropical world and the research challenges it faces.\r\n\r\n“One module, for example, will focus on Leadership in the Tropics aimed at enabling students to take on leadership roles in tropical research on completion of their PhDs.\r\n\r\n“Other advantages include access to a range of research facilities owned by the Network’s member universities located across Australia’s tropics and access to travel grants designed to allow students to undertake research in tropical locations.”\r\n\r\nThe Graduate Network in Tropical Research Conference is on October 29- November 2, at the Cairns campus of James Cook University.\r\n\r\nFor more information contact Dr Alan Hauquitz on (07) 4781 6106, 0412767178 or