Research into the sustainable management of floodplains has netted UNSW doctoral student Celine Steinfeld the inaugural $60,000 Peter Cullen Postgraduate Scholarship.

The NSW Water Minister Phil Costa announced the prestigious prize - honouring the work and achievements of the late Professor Peter Cullen - at the recent Australian Water Association Awards Dinner.

"It gives me great pleasure to present the first scholarship to Ms Steinfeld, whose studies into water management in the Macquarie Marshes and Gwydir Wetlands will assist our understanding of NSW floodplains," Mr Costa said.

As the scholarship recipient, Celine will receive $20,000 per annum for three years to help cover the cost of her studies. She will also be invited to participate in a mentoring program run by the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, of which Professor Cullen was a founding member.

It was a "tremendous honour" to receive the inaugural scholarship, Celine said.

"It inspires me to pursue research into the science and management of our precious wetlands and rivers.

"This scholarship gives me an opportunity to access key wetland systems, explore emerging wetland mapping techniques, and engage with the scientific community and specialists within government," she said.

Celine's PhD studies are supervised by Professor Richard Kingsford, of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

The scholarship is co-sponsored by NSW government water agencies including the Department of Water and Energy, Sydney Catchment Authority, State Water, Hunter Water and Sydney Water.

Media contact: Peter McCabe | 0439 707 101