Project description: Declining crop yield and quality from heat stress, is likely to increase in frequency with climate change, and threatens the resilience of our farming systems. This project aims to unravel the physiological basis of heat stress tolerance in chickpea and faba bean.

The student will access diverse genetic material from genebanks and utilise state-of-the-art phenotyping facilities such as the Plant Growth Facility and Digifield. Working with the wider UQ community and international research collaborators, the successful candidate will develop experience and skills in plant physiology, crop physiology, plant phenotyping and quantitative genetics to develop important insights into the basis of adaptation to increased temperatures.

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. Scholarship 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.

SupervisorPrincipal supervisor Dr Millicent Smith, School of Agriculture and Food Sustainability, 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.

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 physiology, crop physiology, plant phenotyping and quantitative genetics 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 Dr Millicent Smith (

  • Cover letter
  • CV
  • Academic transcript/s
  • Evidence for meeting UQ’s English language proficiency requirements eg TOEFL, IELTS

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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