Log in

North Shore District Group


Val Williams Scholarship in Botany

The Val Williams Scholarship in Botany is sponsored by the North Shore Group of the Australian Plants Society. The Scholarship honours the memory of our former esteemed member, Val Williams (1937-2004). There is a wonderful account of Val's life and achievements on the Australian Flora Foundation website here.

Applications are sought firstly from Honours students and also from Masters or PhD students undertaking research at universities in the Sydney region.

The project must contribute to the knowledge of the ecology, conservation or propagation of native plants in the Sydney and surrounding regions.

See below for details of the 2024 winner and a link to earlier years.

Round Sixteen - 2024

Applications for the 2024 Scholarship have closed.

Val Williams Scholarship in Botany $3,500

This scholarship is awarded by the North Shore Group of the Australian Plants Society to Honours, Masters and PhD students of Botany.

Applications for the 2024 scholarship close on 8th March 2024. Scholarship conditions are described in the 2024 scholarship application forms. Application forms for the 2024 scholarship are available as pdf or word files.

VW Scholarship Application Information 2024.docx

VW Scholarship Application Information 2024.pdf

VW Scholarship Application Form 2024.docx

VW Scholarship Application Form 2024.pdf

Please note: No part of this scholarship can be used to cover administration costs.  

Application Time line for Round Sixteen:

  • 8 March 2024 – Applications close
  • 31 March 2024 – Assessment of applications completed
  • 4 April 2024 – Successful applicant is notified
  • 17 April 2024 – Remaining applicants notified

More information: email:, Phone: 0415 043 671 

Val Williams Scholarship in Botany - Recipient 2024 Paola Raupp

I am a second-year PhD candidate working in a collaborative research program at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University, focused on supporting the conservation of the Cumberland Plain.

My passion for understanding natural ecosystems and contributing to their preservation was sparked by biologists featured in documentaries during my childhood in Brazil. Throughout my bachelor’s degree in biology, I estimated the costs associated with direct seeding and tree planting for restoring Brazilian forests and savannas. This was followed by a master’s degree in Ecology and Conservation of Natural Resources, during which I investigated the effects of different levels of herbivory on the survival and regrowth of native shrub and tree seedling species.

Currently, my research centres on exploring aboveground and belowground barriers to succeed in restoring the Cumberland Plain Woodlands (CPWs), one of Australia's most threatened ecological communities. For this project, I aim to understand the relationships between soil properties and native and exotic plant communities across varying degradation conditions within CPW ecosystems. My research addresses key gaps in understanding soil health by analysing soil biota and physicochemical factors and their influence on vegetation composition and abundance in sites ranging from more intact to highly degraded. This can enable the identification of soil constraints to assist land managers and bush regenerators in achieving successful restoration outcomes in degraded landscapes, thereby enhancing native plant diversity and the integrity and resilience of the ecosystem.

The Val Williams Scholarship award will support me in carrying out biological soil analysis, including phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) and DNA sequencing techniques to understand microbial community abundance and composition. These analyses can offer insights into microbial legacies, influenced by factors such as past land use and environmental disturbances, and their effects on native plant diversity. This support will maximise the impact of my research and advance the knowledge of ecology and conservation within the Cumberland Plain.

Previous Recipients of the Val Williams Scholarship in Botany

2023 Sashini Perera

2022 Sarah McInnes

2021 Harriet Simpson-Southward

2020 Shubham Chhajed

2019 Farhad Masoomi-Aladizgeh

2018 Susan Everingham and John Whale

2017 Aaron Phillips

2016 Johanna Wong

2015 Jon Pankhurst

2014 Desi Quintans

2013 Jessica Mowle

2012 Diane Warman and Berin Mackenzie

2011 Nathan Emery and Tanya Bangel

2010 Alison Hewitt

2009 Liza Xian

Details of these winners and their projects can be found here.

Copyright © 2023 The Australian Plants Society - NSW. All Rights Reserved  •  Site by

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software