Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD scholarship to explore feedback between humans, living things and artificial intelligence (AI).

Researchers are increasingly seeking to solve complex problems using computer generated predictions. These predictions are often applied to living things such as crops for productivity, or pests or diseases for their management. However, we rarely consider how living things will further adjust in response to the changes caused in their environment by the application of the outputs from the AI. This project will develop tools to explore how management methods based on artificial intelligence can lead to unexpected consequences when applied to living things.

You will tackle these problems by integrating diverse sources of information. This could include quantitative methods, mathematical modelling, fieldwork and interviews with end users.


This scholarship is only open to current residents of New Zealand and Australia. We are happy to consider students from a diverse range of fields. At a minimum, some university level of mathematics familiarity with scientific computation is expected. An interest in ecology will be an advantage for this project, but no prior knowledge is required. The successful candidate will hold, or expect to complete soon, a masters degree, or similar, in a relevant discipline.

Applicants from all backgrounds are actively encouraged to apply. Members of underrepresented groups are very welcome, as are students with families. Our research group aims to achieve work-life balance within a productive scientific environment.


The best place for you to be based during your studies is Lincoln University (near Christchurch), New Zealand, although we can be flexible on this. You will be jointly supervised by William Godsoe (Lincoln, Bioprotection Research Centre), Claire Postlethwaite (Auckland, Mathematics) and Emma Sharp (Auckland, School of Environment).

You will be part of Te Pūnaha Matatini, the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence for Complex Systems. Te Pūnaha Matatini brings together different disciplines, ways of thought, methods, and people to define and solve society’s thorny interconnected problems.


Informal enquiries are welcome by email:

Financial details

  • Full tuition fees
  • Stipend of NZ$28,500 per year (tax free)

Start date

Start date is flexible but would preferably be between August 2021 and March 2022.

How to apply

Send an email expressing your interest, along with a CV, academic record, and list of three potential referees to William Godsoe at

Due date

Applications will be considered until the position is filled. Applications received by 30 July 2021 will receive full consideration.