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Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship

The Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship offers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students the opportunity to join voyages of RV Investigator.

CSIRO and the Marine National Facility (MNF) are striving to increase access to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. In a new initiative, university students will be given the opportunity to participate in research voyages on research vessel (RV) Investigator through the Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship (ITSS).

ITSS offers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students a unique opportunity to gain experience on a world-class marine research vessel, supporting Australia's atmospheric, oceanographic, biological and geoscience research from the tropics to the Antarctic ice-edge.

ITSS brings students on board RV Investigator to work alongside scientists and technicians to assist with research and gain valuable at-sea research experience. The program will support two students on identified voyages, who will work together, as well as with on-board and on-shore mentors. Students will also be provided with ongoing support, mentoring and the potential for employment opportunities to continue their engagement with CSIRO.

Voyages in the ITSS Program

What do ITSS students do?

Working as part of a world class research team, ITSS students will gain unique experience on an ocean research vessel to facilitate skill development and networking, while gaining exposure to methods and techniques applicable to careers in marine science and the maritime industry.

The main costs of participating in the voyage, including travel to and from commencing and terminating points, accommodation and medicals, will be covered by the program. 

All ITSS students will receive support while onboard and be assigned a “buddy” while at sea. ITSS students will also have regular check ins with shore-based staff of the ITSS program. 

How do I apply?

The ITSS program is open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at an Australian university. Students must be over the age of 18 and must be studying in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) discipline at the time of their voyage.

Opportunities in the ITSS program will be advertised here and on

Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners and Country

The MNF acknowledges Australia's Traditional Owners and pays respect to the past and present Elders of the nation's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We honour and celebrate the spiritual, cultural and customary connections of Traditional Owners to country and its surrounding seas and oceans.

Taking STEM education to the high seas

CSIRO's Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship offers opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students to gain invaluable experience working at sea on RV Investigator.


It’s how we make sense of our world.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People have understood its power for thousands of years.

They see the patterns, the life force through their connection to land and sea.

If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student, it’s time to come on board. I’ve always had a passion for science and how it can be connected to Indigenous knowledge.

That’s something that really inspired me. I’m a second year university student studying science and law and I’ve got a cadetship with the CSIRO.

The CSIRO wants more students like Hannah McLeary to forge a career in science.

This scholarship will give students the opportunity to take part in voyages on board Australia’s only blue water research vessel, working alongside Australia’s top scientists. Voyages travel from the Southern ocean up to the equator performing oceanography, marine biology and geoscientific research.

Olivia and Abigail took part in a voyage to Antarctica studying whales and krill. They talked to Hannah about being on board.

The opportunity to do really nitty gritty science, it was fantastic.

I gained a whole set of new skills.

Being able to go out in the field and actually have hands on experience in collecting the samples that I’m going to analyse later was just excellent.

I also got to see some incredible thing like blue whales, icebergs.

The whole experience was just incredible. Indigenous university students studying science, technology, engineering or mathematics are eligible for this scholarship.

The CSIRO hope these scholarships will kickstart exciting new careers and provide graduates for the CSIRO into the future If you got the opportunity to participate on a voyage, you definitely should do it, because you just never know what you might learn, or what you might be part of, or what you might discover.

Be part of the new wave of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander science leaders. Apply now to join an Investigator Voyage.

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