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Plant and Soil Microbiome Interactions

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, March 31, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) is a research institute within Western Sydney University. HIE has rapidly become a research leader in environmental and ecological research, with a strong reputation for delivering research outcomes of the highest quality. HIE is home to a team of over 50 academic research scientists and more than 60 PhD students, with access to a unique suite of world-class
research facilities.

We are looking for a highly motivated and qualified candidate for a 3-year PhD program of research commencing in 2019. We are seeking to appoint a PhD student to focus on research related to plant / soil microbiome interactions.

This project seeks to identify (a) the links between plant and soil microbiomes and consequences for productivity, (b) the impact of microbial or microbiome amendments on plant physiology, crop productivity and soil health, and (c) the response of soil microbiomes to stress. The successful candidate will utilise a range of analytical procedures including state-of-the-art next generation sequencing (NGS), plant health and soil / plant microbiome measures to characterise how these variables impact microbiomes and their activities. They will be trained in the broad areas of microbiome-technology and should be able
to analyse data from NGS (amplicon and shotgun) sequencing results. Statistical skills for analysing microbiome data are required, and relevant training will be provided to candidates with excellence in other areas of the project.

The successful candidate will be expected to communicate project findings via journal publications, reports and presentations at conferences to both scientific and non-scientific audiences.

Applications are open to international candidates as well as Australian or New Zealand citizens or permanent residents of Australia. The position is based at the Hawkesbury campus of Western Sydney University, Richmond, NSW.


» Domestic students will receive a tax free stipend of $30,000 per annum and a funded place in the doctoral degree.
» International students will receive a tax free stipend of $30,000 per annum. Those with a strong track record will receive a fee waiver.
» The project will also provide substantial benefits in terms of additional operational funding for project field work and data collection, and travel and conference attendance.

As a minimum, the successful applicant should:
» hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following (i) an Australian Bachelor Honours degree, (ii) coursework Masters with at least a 25% research component, (iii) a Research Masters degree or (iv) equivalent overseas qualifications.
» demonstrate strong academic performance in plant and microbial ecology and environmental microbiomes.
» demonstrate data analysis experience including the analysis of NGS sequencing results.
» be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level in laboratory and field environments.
» possess excellent written and verbal communication skills.
» have proven data analysis experience.

International applicants must also demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the English language. Please refer to the English language requirements at international/home/admissions/entry_requirements


» Applicants should discuss their eligibility and interests with Prof Brajesh Singh:
» Contact the Graduate Research School at .
» Please submit an application form, CV, names and contact information of two referees, and a one-page document stating how your research interests align with the project’s aims.

Closing date: 31 March 2019

» The application form can be downloaded:

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