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Study the potential of flies (Diptera) as pollinators of tropical and glasshouse crops

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  • Full or part time
    Dr J Grinyer
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to join our Pollination Team to study the potential of flies (Diptera) as pollinators of tropical and glasshouse crops. This PhD student will be part of a major new research program co-funded through Hort Innovation’s Frontiers scheme. Our overall program will explore key aspects of the ecology and behaviour of managed and wild flies for crop pollination.

The successful applicant will have the opportunity to study some of a broad variety of topics relating to fly pollination in important crops, such as mango, avocado and strawberry. Possible areas include pollinator diversity and ecology, pollination and foraging behaviours, life histories, nutrition and mass-rearing techniques.

This project is suitable for candidates with a strong interest and preferably research experience in subjects such as entomology, ecology, horticulture, animal behaviour or pollination biology. Applicants should be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level. A valid driver’s licence, and willingness to travel and work for periods at off-campus field sites (e.g. at farms or with industry partners) are also required.

The student will be based at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury Campus in Richmond, NSW and will join a large and diverse cohort of scientists at all career levels. Fieldwork may include periods at orchards and farms some distance from Richmond, including in Australian tropical crop regions. The student will learn a variety of techniques (in the field and the laboratory) to sample and describe pollinator communities, assess pollination of crops and characterise fly behaviour. The PhD program will also develop candidates’ statistical, analytical and communication skills, and involve collaboration with our wider Pollination Team and industry partners.

You can apply here:


 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.
 All International students are required to hold an Overseas Student Health Care (OSHC) policy covering the duration of their studies in Australia. The HIE will provide funding for a single Overseas Student Health Cover policy.
 The project will also provide 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 key issues in environmental biology. In particular, the project is suitable for candidates with strong interests and previous experience in insect ecology and/or pollination biology. 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 entomology, ecology, animal behaviour, horticulture or pollination biology.
 have an understanding of the importance of pollination services and threats to pollinator populations.
 be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level.
 possess excellent written and verbal communication skills.
 be willing to learn modern sampling and analytical techniques for taxonomy (e.g. microsocopy/taxonomy and DNA barcoding), pollination biology (e.g. pollen and nectar analysis), and insect behaviour (e.g. controlled field experiments).
 International applicants must also meet English language proficiency


 Contact Dr Jasmine Grinyer [Email Address Removed] in the first instance to discuss your eligibility, the project requirements and your intention to apply.
 Complete the application form via the link
 Compile your CV, contact information for two referees and a one-page proposal stating how your research interests align with the project aims.
 Ensure all documentation is certified according to Western Sydney University requirements.
 All applications and supporting documentation must be submitted directly to the Graduate Research School as follows:
 Use the email subject line: Application_2019_104_HIE
 Submit to [Email Address Removed]

Closing date: 7 August 2019

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