Molecular Sciences Bldg 21, James Cook University,
Townsville, 4811, Queensland, Australia
Telephone: 61-7-4781 6265 Fax:  61-7-4781 6078

        The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology incorporates the Comparative Genomics Centre and is one of the most research-active Departments at James Cook University. Both basic fundamental and applied biotechnology research are conducted within the department. The research activities of the Department are supported by grants from national and international funding agencies such as the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Research Council, the March of Dimes Foundation, Sugar Research and Development Corporation, Welcome Foundation, Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Foundation as well as industry.  These grants permit the Department to engage in research that is at the cutting edge of the field. 
        The Department has a very strong commitment to research and the students who have completed postgraduate studies have had no difficulty in finding employment.  An active seminar program that brings distinguished scientists from Australia and overseas to JCU is another unique feature of the Biochemistry Department, and the honours and graduate students benefit immensely from this activity. 

       A Ph.D. in the Discipline of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology offers an opportunity for self-motivated,  mentor-guided research, providing the ideal training for a professional career in the biomedical and molecular sciences. Projects are largely determined by the interests of the individual students and their supervisors and you are requested to speak with potential supervisors regarding projects of interest. It is particularly useful for prospective students to consult with as many staff members as possible, so that an informed decision can be made regarding the choice of project(s). Positions are awarded competitively and, in almost all cases, are dependent on successful application for a postgraduate scholarship.

Supervisors within the Discipline:
Jim Burnell
Alan Baxter
Gerald Münch
Heiner Körner
Bill Warren.
David Miller
David Yellowlees

If a student has a specific project in which they are interested they are encouraged to speak with relevant potential supervisors to investigate the possibility (and feasibility) of conducting research to investigate the specific research of interest.

Postgraduate Research Scholarships
Students interested in undertaking a PhD or Masters project in the Medical Genomics Group should contact Alan Baxter to discuss projects of mutual interest. Most higher degrees students would be expected to eligible for a scholarship through the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) scheme, the James Cook University Postgraduate Research Scholarship or an equivalent national or international scholarship.

The Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) and James Cook University Postgraduate Research Scholarship (JCUPRS) are open to applicants with, or who expect to hold, a first class honours degree or equivalent by the end of the year and who wish to undertake full-time research Masters or PhD program. In 2005 the stipends for an APA were $18,484 pa (full time) or $9,906 (part-time). Additional funds are available for relocation expenses, travel and thesis preparation. APA applicants must be Australian citizens or have been granted permanent resident status and lived in Australia continuously for 12 months prior to 31 October of the year of application. Information and application forms can be obtained from the Research Scholarships Officer or from the following website:
Closing Date: 31 October of each year

       International students are charged tuition fees to study at the James Cook University. These fees vary depending on the degree studied and are revised each year. Currently (2005) the fees for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences are  $22,440 (AUD) per year and the Ph.D. program takes a minimum of three years to complete. The University also requires that foreign national students pay for Overseas Health Cover and Student Association Fees before they arrive, and that they  are the recipients of an appropriate stipend or living allowance (of approximately $18,484 per annum).

The International Postgraduate Research Scholarship
       The International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) is a scholarship funded by the Australian Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST). The main objective of this scheme is to attract top quality international postgraduate students to areas of research strength in higher education institutions and to support Australia's research effort.
       The James Cook University IPRS will be awarded to outstanding students who will bring skills and expertise that will enhance the University's research activities or who will work within the University's recognized areas of research strength. Applications are assessed on academic merit and research potential.
       You are eligible to apply if you are a citizen of a country other than Australia or New Zealand (Australian permanent residents are not eligible). You must be accepted for admission to a research degree program on a full-time basis at the University as an international student. You are NOT eligible to apply if you are:

The IPRS Covers: IPRS holders within the Discipline of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will also be awarded a living allowance from the University and the School to the value of approximately $18,484 per annum (maximum 36 months). No separate application is required.
       Applications are open from 1 May and the closing date for the IPRS applications is 30 September each year.

For further information on the IPRS scholarship is available at: or email the Research Scholarships officer. For additional scholarships opportunities please go to:

How to apply to study at JCU
Application must be in writing and all hard copies of certified original transcripts and any additional documentation must be included. You can download an application form at under Application Forms. Do not do this until you have discussed the nature of your proposed project with your potential supervisor and there is agreement that an application is appropriate.

Further information on completing postgraduate studies at James Cook University is available on:

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