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   Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

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  Prof J Powell  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) is offering a research scholarship to a highly motivated PhD candidate to work within a team aiming to maintain the diversity, extent and habitat (vegetation and soils) of threatened Hygrophoraceae at priority sites. The project is co-funded by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and by Western Sydney University’s Graduate Research School. It is apparent that cryptic speciation is common in fungi, with some morphologically similar species well-separated by DNA sequence characters, and conversely, some fungi are very variable in morphology. Modern approaches to species delimitation combine information from morphology and DNA sequences. Once species limits are established, DNA sequences of barcode regions can assist in rapid and accurate identification, including of environmental samples. The PhD project will build upon an existing collaboration aiming to establish a DNA biobank for Hygrophoraceae with a focus on clarifying the existing taxonomy and delimiting species and on understanding their population structure and trophic behaviour.

The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) is a research institute within Western Sydney University. The HIE has rapidly become a research leader in environmental and ecological research, with a strong reputation for delivering research outcomes of the highest quality. The project will be based at the HIE with the opportunity to work with other members of the team including the Research Officer with NSW DPE leading the SOS project (Meg Hinds), the Curator of the Plant Pathology & Mycology Herbarium for NSW DPI (Jordan Bailey) and the Curator of the fungal collection at the National Herbarium of Victoria (Tom May).


• Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000(AUD) 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(AUD) 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.

• Support for conference attendance, fieldwork and additional costs as approved by the Institute.


We welcome applicants from a range of backgrounds, who are keen to apply their skills to key issues in plant ecophysiology in an urban environment. In particular, the project is suitable for candidates with strong interests in mycology and/or conservation.

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 subjects relevant to mycology, microbiology and/or molecular biology.

• have an understanding of the importance of taxonomy for the conservation of species.

• have excellent organisational skills, demonstrate a keen eye for detail and be able and willing to conduct fieldwork in native bushland.

• be willing to learn analytical techniques applicable to taxonomy, systematics, phylogenetics and ecological statistics/modelling.

• be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level. International applicants must also meet English language proficiency.


Complete the application via the link : https://bit.ly/3yD4VOP

Scholarship reference code: RSP2021_25_HIE

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 : [Email Address Removed]

For questions and advice about the application process, please contact the Graduate Research School: [Email Address Removed].

Closing date: 31 July 2022

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

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