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   Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

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  Prof James Cook  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 for a highly motivated PhD candidate to work within a research group focussed on the biology of insect pollinators and their roles in the pollination of fruit and vegetable crops. This industry-linked project is co-funded by Hort Innovation Australia and the Graduate Research School of Western Sydney University.

The PhD will explore the biology of native, blue-banded bees, which are effective pollinators of plants that require sonication (buzz-pollination) to release their pollen. The project will involve a combination of field, glasshouse and laboratory research to address key questions, such as: What are the nesting, floral and nutritional resource requirements of blue-banded bees in the Greater Sydney region? What are the diurnal and seasonal flight patterns of these bees and how do they navigate to resources? What are the best designs for artificial nesting blocks in glasshouses? How can bee biology be manipulated to provide foragers for a longer period of the year than in the wild? How good are blue-banded bees at pollinating key fruits and vegetables? What are the best designs for artificial nesting blocks and artificial food resources in glasshouses? By addressing such questions, the projects will build a stronger understanding of the biology of these charismatic native bees and the potential to use them as managed pollinators in protected cropping.

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. The project will be based at HIE with the opportunity to also work with Australian academic and industry partners as part of a major collaboration on insect pollination of crops.


• 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 entomology, horticulture and environmental biology. In particular, the project is suitable for candidates with strong interests in fields such as entomology, ecology, plant biology, horticulture and animal behaviour.

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) Research Masters degree, or (iv) equivalent overseas qualifications.

• demonstrate strong academic performance in subjects relevant to entomology, plant biology, ecology, and behaviour

• have an understanding of the importance of animal pollination for plant reproduction and food security

• be willing to learn analytical techniques applicable to chemical ecology, DNA barcoding, animal behaviour and pollination biology be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level. International applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency.


Complete the application via the link : 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 James Cook: [Email Address Removed]

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

Use the email subject line: Application RSP2021_48_HIE

Closing date: 7 August 2022

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

Biological Sciences (4)

 About the Project