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Studying Plant Recovery From Drought With Non-Invasive Imaging

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, May 05, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) is one of four institutes within Western Sydney University. HIE has rapidly become a research leader in ecosystem function and environmental responses to changing climate, with a strong reputation for delivering research outcomes of the highest quality. HIE houses a team of over 50 scientists with access to a unique suite of world-class research facilities. The plant hydraulics group at HIE is widely recognised for their work in understanding how plants respond drought in natural and agricultural systems.

We are now seeking a highly motivated PhD student to contribute to an exciting project examining the recovery of plants from drought stress. This project addresses the principal knowledge gap in our understanding of plant water transport; how do plants recover lost water transport capacity after drought? The project is expected to yield considerable environmental and economic benefits in the longer term by providing vital knowledge necessary to predict how the distribution of key plant species will be influenced under different scenarios of future droughts and feed into development of woody crop species with better drought tolerance.

The project will be supervised by A/Prof. Brendan Choat. The PhD candidate will work with some exciting and unique imaging technologies that have only recently been developed and applied to plant biology. This includes the opportunity to travel to Germany to work with Dr Carel Windt on unique Magnetic Resonance Imaging systems housed at the Jülich Research Centre and working at the Australian Synchrotron Imaging and Medical Beamline. The candidate will also receive extensive training in theory and measurement of plant water stress, including field and laboratory based methodology.


We welcome applicants from a wide range of backgrounds, especially those with a strong grounding in plant physiological ecology. The successful applicant should:
» hold qualifications and experience equal to an Australian First Class Bachelor Honours degree or equivalent overseas qualifications
» have an interest in, or be willing to learn, plant biology and ecosystem ecology
» be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level
» International applicants must also demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the English language. Please refer to the English language requirements at:

How to Apply

» Applicants should discuss their eligibility and interests with A. Prof Brendan Choat NB: Applicants must provide written evidence that a Western Sydney University academic has agreed to be Principal Supervisor on the project
» Contact the Graduate Research School at .
» Complete the Higher Degree Research Scholarship Application Form (PDF, 123.42 KB)(opens in new window) and submit it along with any supporting documentation. You must follow the instructions included in the form.
» Review the how to apply for research degrees(opens in new window) page and follow the steps to apply for admission via the Online Application Portal.(opens in new window)

Closing date: May 5th, 2019.
The application form can be downloaded:

Funding Notes

» Domestic students will receive a tax free stipend of $27,596 per annum and a funded place in the doctoral degree.
» International students will receive a tax free stipend of $27,596 per annum. Those with a strong track record may receive a fee waiver.
» Funding is available for project costs and conference travel.

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