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   Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

   Thursday, June 30, 2022  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


Drought has a defining impact on plant performance, including the productivity of agricultural systems and the health of native forests and woodlands. This includes broad scale mortality events seen across a range of forest biomes as well as massive crop losses in forestry and dryland agriculture. Extreme drought events have dramatic effects on biodiversity, carbon sink / source dynamics and the hydrological cycles, as well as socio-economic impacts associated with agricultural industries. The impacts of drought are also expected to be greatly worsened by climate change, with the combined effects of increasing temperatures and stronger rainfall anomalies leading to more extreme drought events. In order to confront this potential crisis with the most effective adaptation and mitigation strategies, we require a detailed understanding of plant response to extreme drought and heatwaves. This project will draw together experimentalists and modellers to address key knowledge gaps in our understanding of plant response to drought and leverage new insight in models suitable for large-scale analysis of ecosystem vulnerability.

The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment within Western Sydney University is seeking a highly-motivated candidate for a 3-year PhD program of research to commence in 2022 in the field of global change ecology. The successful candidate will conduct model drive experimental work along side model development and parameterisation for SurEau and LPJ-GUESS models. The PhD candidate will join a vibrant research team with opportunities to interact with a group of world-class collaborators in an inter-disciplinary environment. The project will involve close collaboration with plant ecophysiologists and vegetation modellers. The candidate is expected to take leading roles in disseminating research results through scientific publications and conference presentations. The PhD program is based at the Hawkesbury Campus of Western Sydney University in Richmond, New South Wales, Australia.


• Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000(AUD) per annum for up to 3.5 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 3.5 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 the project topic.

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 plant ecology or plant physiology.

• demonstrate a willingness to undertake field-based research in remote areas.

• be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level.

• possess excellent written and verbal communication skills. International applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency.


Complete the application via the link : https://bit.ly/3w22q6n. 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 Brendan Choat:

For questions and advice about the application process, please contact the Graduate Research School: .

Use the email subject line: Application 2022_035_HIE

Closing date: 30 June 2022

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

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