Photo: Kristian Bell

PHD scholarship – Harnessing Microbes to Boost Drought Tolerance in Grasses (Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment)

Closing 31 March

Grasslands are vulnerable to increasing intensity and frequency of drought and new adaptation and resilience building approaches are required to protect the wealth of ecosystem services provided by grasslands. Soil microbes offer an untapped opportunity to enhance drought survival in grasses. Yet, to harness this potential, we first need to identify the key microbial functions that contribute to plant tolerance to drought.

The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) within Western Sydney University is seeking an ambitious candidate for a 3-year PhD program of research to commence in 2021 in the multi-disciplinary and fast-developing field of plant-microbial interactions. The 3-year PhD program of research will commence in 2021 and is based at the Hawkesbury campus of Western Sydney University, Richmond, NSW.

The PhD candidate will conduct research implementing manipulative experiments and field surveys to identify those microbial taxa that drive drought-survival traits in grasses. The successful candidate will have the unique opportunity to learn, develop and apply a range of cutting-edge experimental techniques, including a suite of advanced -omics technologies. They will also contribute to dissemination of results through scientific publications, conference presentations and group meetings. The successful candidate will be immersed in a cutting-edge, fast-paced research environment, and will have to opportunity to interact with world-class collaborators from many different disciplines.

We welcome applicants from a range of backgrounds who are keen to apply their skills to the project topic. The successful applicants should:

  • hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following

(i) an Australian Bachelor Honours degree,

(ii) a coursework Masters with at least a 25% research component,

(iii) a Master of Research degree or

(iv) equivalent overseas qualifications.

  • demonstrate strong academic performance in in microbial ecology and/or plant ecology.
  • have a strong quantitative background.
  • be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level.
  • possess excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Contact Dr Eleonora Egidi ( to discuss your eligibility and interests.

More information can be found here.

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