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   Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

   Thursday, June 30, 2022  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


The majority of plant species, including most agriculturally important species, form partnerships with mycorrhizal fungi. These fungi exhibit diverse life histories, with evidence that this diversity drives ecosystem functioning in grasslands, woodlands, forests and arable systems. Similar to plants, mycorrhizal fungi may be adapted to nutrient-limited conditions by possessing traits associated with ecological strategies and, in particular, the use of resources. If so, these traits may indicate whether those fungi are good or poor partners to plants in a variety of ecologically and economically important contexts.

The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) Western Sydney University is looking for a highly motivated and qualified candidate for a 3-year PhD commencing in 2022. This studentship is part of an exciting program of research associated with a recently funded ARC Future Fellowship (‘Understanding mycorrhizal phenotypes using functional traits’). The successful candidate will work together with the project lead and collaborators, both within the HIE and external to the university. The team includes other early career researchers and several opportunities for career development.

This project will integrate a variety of ‘omics’ and trait-centric approaches in a way that shows promise for understanding partnerships in environments where nitrogen and phosphorus are limiting. As such, the successful candidate will have opportunities to develop skills related to plant and fungal ecology, phenomics, molecular biology and physiology, and to learn these skills from experts in each of these fields.


• Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs, supported by the Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset.

• International candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs. Those with a strong track record will be eligible for a tuition fee waiver and an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) Single Policy.

• Substantial benefits in terms of additional operational funding for project fieldwork and data collection, and travel and conference attendance.


We welcome applicants from a range of backgrounds, who are keen to apply their skills to the project topic.

The successful applicant should:

• hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following (i) an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree, (ii) coursework Masters with at least 25% research component, (iii) a Research Masters degree, or (iv) equivalent international qualifications.

• demonstrate strong academic performance in ecology, mycology, botany or related disciplines.

• be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level.

• possess excellent written and verbal communication skills.

• be capable of conducting experiments in controlled environments and in the field, including remote environments.

• have good numerical skills and an interest in ecological statistics.

• provide a CV, contact information for two referees and a one-page proposal stating how your research interests align with the project aims. International applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency.


Complete the application via the link : http://bit.ly/2E5Ff0r. Follow the step-by-step instructions on the how to apply for a project scholarship.

• Note: You do not need to complete 'Step 5: Submit an online application for admission' when applying for this scholarship. You must complete 'Step 6: Submit an online application for a project scholarship'.

Incomplete applications or applications that do not conform to the above requirements will not be considered.

For questions and advice about the research project, please contact the Lead Researcher; Professor Jeff Powell:

For questions and advice about the application process, please contact the Graduate Research School: .

Use the email subject line: Application 2020_026_HIE

Closing date: 30 June 2022

*Applications close at 11.59pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)

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