The University of Queensland (UQ) is one of Australia’s leading teaching and research universities. For more than a century. The University of Queensland (UQ) is one of Australia’s leading teaching and research universities.

Project description: Sorghum is Australia’s most important summer cereal and plays a critical role in northern farming systems as well as underpinning a multi-billion-dollar intensive livestock industry. It is one of the most important crops for food security in countries where the impacts of climate change are becoming extreme.

In Australia high temperatures at flowering time can cause sorghum pollen to become sterile resulting in reduced yields and in some cases crop failure. This project will build on previous work to understand the genetic and physiological control of high-temperature tolerance and develop selections systems to rapidly increase high-temperature tolerance via breeding.

This project is an exciting opportunity to work in a large, world-leading multi-disciplinary team linking reproductive biology, genomic selection, transcriptomics, crop modelling and large-scale phenotyping to ensure the resilience of one of the world’s most important food crops.

Research environment: The University of Queensland is one of the highest ranked internationally in the field of Agriculture. With campuses at St Lucia (Brisbane) and Gatton as well as at Hermitage Research Station (Warwick), there are over 250 HDR students researching solutions for agricultural problems.

The successful applicants will be part of the International Research Training Group (IRTG) with The University of Queensland, Justus Liebig University (Giessen), Julius Kuhn Institute (Quedlinburg) and Geisenhem University in Germany.

The IRTG for Accelerating Crop Genetic Gain will commence in July 2023 and is led by Prof Rod Snowdon (JLU Giessen) and Prof Ian Godwin (UQ). Leading scientists from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) and the School of Agriculture and Food Sustainability will be involved in supervising students in the IRTG.

All IRTG students will be supervised at UQ with associate advisors in Germany, with the opportunity to participate in research and research training workshops in both Australia and Germany. We are currently recruiting four PhD students to join a a cohort that will be around 24 PhD students by the end of 2024.


This project is supported by the Research project scholarship.This scholarship includes:

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single overseas student health cover (OSHC) for international students.

Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.We take into account your:

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history

A working knowledge of plant breeding, genetics, genomics, biotechnology, and agriculture would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

How to apply

To be considered for this scholarship, please email the following documents to the principal supervisor Professor David Jordan (

  • Cover letter
  • CV
  • Academic transcript/s
  • Evidence for meeting UQ’s English language proficiency requirements eg TOEFL, IELTS
  • You must contact the principal supervisor for this project to discuss your interest. You should only complete the online application after you have reached agreement on supervision.Always make sure you are approaching your potential supervisor in a professional way. We have provided some guidelines for you on how to contact a supervisor.

Please note the following: Submitting the above documents does not constitute a full application for admission into The University of Queensland’s PhD program. If you are selected as the preferred applicant, you will then be invited to submit a full application for admission.

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