Exmouth Research Lab

Expressions of INterest

Minderoo Foundation invites researchers to apply to conduct high-impact research, conservation, and educational projects at the Exmouth Research Lab.

The current research allocation has been filled. A new round will be opened in 2022.

In the meantime, please familiarise yourself with the following information about expressions of interest:

Support provided & costs

Successful applicants will have access to the Exmouth Research Lab facilities, equipment and support services on terms to be agreed between the applicant and Minderoo Foundation. This may include:

  • Use of the laboratory facilities
  • Use of research vehicles
  • Use of the research vessel with skipper
  • Accommodation
  • Assistance from laboratory staff

Minderoo Foundation support will not extend to specific project costs including consumables (including lab reagents), equipment, travel costs, salary costs, food, provisioning or freight. Research permits and licensing costs are also the responsibility of the successful applicant.

Eligibility & project criteria


Applicants who will be conducting bona fide scientific research are eligible to use the Exmouth Research Lab facilities and equipment.

Applicants must provide sufficient detail about their proposed project to satisfy Minderoo Foundation that the research is genuine. Applicants must have the capacity to contribute towards a scientific publication or a postgraduate thesis, or it must be a requirement of an undergraduate course. Applicants will generally have a university or research institute affiliation.

Project criteria
  • Projects must align to Minderoo Foundation’s research priorities.
  • Projects must demonstrate a clear path to impact.
  • Project proposals must be well developed, concise and high quality and researchers must have a good track record.
  • Minderoo Foundation will view favourably projects that (1) leverage multiple sources of funding/support; (2) are collaborative, for example, projects that include researchers from more than one institution and collaborate across multiple disciplines; (3) meaningfully add value to other Minderoo Foundation initiatives; (4) develop future capacity, new technology or methods; and (5) demonstrate research impact to the Ningaloo Coast region and the Indian Ocean.
  • Projects must ensure that destructive sampling is avoided wherever possible.
Ethics approvals & permits

Any ethics approvals and permits required are the responsibility of the applicant and must be in place before the project commences.

Research reporting and & metrics

Successful applicants will be required to provide Minderoo Foundation with progress reports and a final report on the project and the findings.

Communication & promotion

By submitting an application, applicants consent to being contacted by Minderoo Foundation for (but not limited to) operational feedback, public relations opportunities (such as commentary and interviews) and for inclusion on websites, social media, media releases and mentions in Minderoo Foundation announcements.

Communication of research findings through media, social media, conferences, forums and communication with Minderoo Foundation staff is expected in connection with all research carried out with Minderoo Foundation support. Wherever possible, academic journal publications of research findings should be on an open access basis.

Data use & sharing

Minderoo Foundation is committed to openly sharing data collected through collaborative projects run from our facilities. Nevertheless, we recognise that there may be legitimate concerns surrounding the publication and potential misuse of some types of data. Minderoo Foundation aims to balance the key objectives of obtaining maximum scientific benefits from open access to data against the unintended consequences of sensitive ecological information falling into the wrong hands.

Minderoo Foundation:

  • Expects data to be shared between researchers and institutions participating in the project and on open access data platforms where possible.
  • Aims to foster collaboration between projects and researchers are expected to share data with participating institutions and identify further areas of research and analysis.
  • Expects that data is made fully open access within one year of the end of the project.
  • Expects applicants to published a high impact journal article within two years of the end of the project.
  • Expects that all papers prepared in connection with the project be published in open access form.

Evaluation Criteria

The research project must:

  • Align to one or more of the research priorities [20%]
  • Be highly likely to create impact or influence the research topic and issue [20%]
  • Deliver the proposed outcome (includes quality and clarity of the proposal; suitability of methods/approach; proponent’s track record and capacity, etc) [30%]
  • Involve strategic partnerships and collaborations, with other disciplines, institutions or countries) [10%]
  • Link to other Minderoo Foundation initiatives [10%]
  • Develop future capacity, new technology or methods [10%]

Research Priorities

Priority theme 1: Fish distribution, abundance, population structure and movements


  • Identifying areas of high conservation value
  • Understanding and predicting responses to climate change(s)
  • Oxygen metabolism and behavioural responses to changes in oceanic oxygen regimes
  • Understanding impacts of fishing
  • Developing options for rebuilding overfished populations
Priority theme 2: Human impacts on ocean ecosystem health and resilience


  • Understanding habitat and community condition and changes
  • Performance and requirements of Marine Protected Areas and other conservation tools
  • Developing habitat conservation and rehabilitation solutions
Priority theme 3: Plastic pollution


  • Measuring, mapping and identifying sources of ocean plastic pollution
  • Assessing impacts of ocean plastics to wildlife, economies and human health
  • Developing solutions for mitigating impacts of ocean plastic pollution

Demonstrating impact

Research impact is the contribution that research makes to the economy, society, environment or culture, beyond the contribution to academic research.

Applicants are strongly advised to ensure the project has a clear and well-articulated impact with respect to the following:

  • Management: Management-based outcomes and results that will meaningfully contribute to understanding of the research priorities
  • Environment: Have direct implications for improved management, conservation, and potentially restoration in the region
  • Research: Use cutting edge technology, or lead to technological advances
  • Community: Contribute positively to the community through direct or indirect impacts, as marine resources play a vital role for multiple sectors of the community in the local area