Our Programs

We use your donations in four main ways

Our Foundation’s reason for being is to conduct and support scientific research at the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station (LIRS) and elsewhere on the Great Barrier Reef.

We channel our resources – your donations – into four programs.

  1. Fellowships
  2. Research grants
  3. Research facilities
  4. Education

Historically, providing research facilities at LIRS was our first priority. We have been doing that since the Foundation’s inception in 1978 and it remains a core commitment. The entire research station was either rebuilt or thoroughly refurbished under our 30th Anniversary Development program between 2005 and 2011. The station’s facilities are in excellent condition and our role now is to assist the Australian Museum to keep them that way by replacing equipment as necessary and providing funds for specific large maintenance projects. Development of Lizard Island Field Guide is part of this program.

The next program to be implemented was fellowships. This provides funding for researchers to get into the field to do their research, though a competitive process. The first doctoral fellowship was awarded in 1984 and the first fellowship for early career researchers was awarded in 2008. Now, each year we support up to five new awards for PhD students and up to four new awards for recent postdocs.

Research grants have been awarded periodically since 1998 for projects within specific themes. Current themes include mitigation of the impact of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish on reefs, plastic pollution, long-term change on reefs, and discovering biodiversity though eDNA.

Education is the most recent of our programs. Schools and universities have based educational trips at LIRS for decades and they have all benefitted by our support of the infrastructure there. We are now in the process of supporting education at high school level directly. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has delayed the start of this exciting project.

Our Programs

Researchers in aquarium

Program 1 - Fellowships

We provide fellowships that support field-intensive coral reef research by PhD students and early-career researchers.
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Program 2 - Research grants

We provide grants for critical research that is often time-sensitive and for which funds may not be readily available from another source.
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Some of the new solar panels on the roof of the Kalkhoven Wing and the aquarium

Program 3 - Research facilities

We provide the facilities and equipment that underpin coral reef research and education at Lizard Island Research Station.
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Program 4 - Education

We provide educational opportunities for future researchers and their mentors at Lizard Island Research Station.   
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Recent news from Lizard Island


Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation
c/- Australian Museum
1 William Street, Sydney NSW 2010

Lizard Island Research Station
+61 (0)7 4060 3977

Weather & Ocean Observations

Latest Lizard Island Weather & Oceanic Observations from the AIMS Data Centre

We acknowledge Dingaal and Ngurrumungu Traditional Owners of the lands, seas and skies of the Lizard Island region.