Scholarships and awards

 
Find a scholarship with UQ

The University of Queensland scholarships can help you pursue your goals and develop your research career.

Current Opportunities

Principal Advisor: Dr Inigo Auzmendi

In collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team, we have developed a plant physiology model to simulate macadamia trees growing in an orchard with different management practices such as planting density, tree shape and size. Building on this macadamia model, new models for macadamia, mango and/or avocado will be developed. The PhD student will acquire a strong background in plant modelling techniques, as well as areas of plant physiology and horticultural management, to explore how modelling can be used to better understand and improve orchard productivity. Established field trials at Bundaberg and Mareeba will provide experimental material for initial analysis of tree architecture and determining the growth relationships to include in the modelling of the trees.

Apply by 27 September 2021

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PhD scholarship: Unlocking the potential of crop resource use efficiencies

Principal Advisor: Professor Graeme Hammer

The efficiencies with which crop plants use sunlight and water to produce biomass are fundamental for plant growth and crop productivity. The crop-level traits are under intense indirect selection in plant breeding, while their underpinning mechanisms continue to be unravelled through physiological and modelling research (Wu et al., 2019; van Oosterom et al., 2021). The complementary approaches have the potential to generate integrated novel strategies for lifting whole-crop performance via trait understanding and modelling combined with advanced genomic technologies (Powell et al., 2021). However, this will require research to advance the understanding and quantification of physiological underpinnings of the resource use efficiency traits, plant-environment interactions, and genetic architecture of the traits to underpin such an integrated approach. This project aims to explore a prediction-based approach for crop improvement involving bridging an advanced crop growth model (CGM) with a whole-genome prediction (WGP) model for unlocking the potential of crop resource use efficiency using sorghum as a test bed. The CGM provides a framework for linking the resource use efficiency traits to their physiological underpinnings (Wu et al. 2019; Geetika et al., 2019), while allowing assessment of crop performance consequences of trait manipulation (van Oosterom et al,, 2021). The WGP connection, when implemented with training population phenotyping (e.g. Fu et al., 2020), provides genetic links for traits of interest and opportunities to widen the scope of crop productivity predictions (Powell et al., 2021). In searching for avenues to enhance crop resource use efficiency, a multitude of leaf-level traits such as photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, specific leaf area, and leaf width will be examined.

Apply by 11 October 2021

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PhD scholarship: Genomic analysis of mechanisms of adaptive evolution

Principal Advisor: Professor Robert Henry

The adaptive value of plant size, genome size and the role of reticulate evolution will be evaluated. The Eucalypts will be used as a model system that has a wide range of plant sizes, variations in genome size and extensive reticulate evolution. The Eucalypts have a well know system of reticulate evolution that results in chloroplast genome capture over significant genetic distances. This project will evaluate the contribution of reticulate evolution to the spread of adaptive nuclear genes in Eucalypts and their evolutionary importance. The impact of reticulate evolution on phylogenetic analysis will be investigated. Two closely related spotted gums for which sequence data is available will be used to determine the genetic basis of sympatric speciation based upon plant size. Evolution of genome size will be explored in Australian plants. The relative contributions of polyploidy, whole genome duplications, gene duplications (e.g. tandem duplications), repetitive element expansions and genome rearrangements will be investigated by comparative genomics of species with widely differing genome sizes. This will be achieved by adding survey sequencing of genomes of divergent size to the available high quality reference genomes. The research will use data from the Bioplatfoms Australia  Genomics of Australian Plants program and the Threatened Species Initiative.

Apply by 26 November 2021

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PhD scholarships: Genetics of Fruit Sensory Preferences (3 available) 

The development of new horticulture varieties is a balancing act, delivering selections with high consumer appeal as well as improved characteristics for producers. Funded by Hort Innovations Hort Frontiers Strategic Partnership Initiative, this project  seeks to understand current consumer preferences, purchasing and consumption patterns and the part that fruit sensory qualities (taste, smell, look and feel) contribute to these behaviours. The underlying biological contributors to these sensory qualities will be profiled and the genetics of each explored and developed into a suite of tools that can implemented into active mango, papaya, pineapple and strawberry breeding programs. This will allow the co-development of consumer and producer related traits, adding efficiency to these programs and delivering superior varieties to market sooner. Along the way, new opportunities for premium or niche varieties may add substantial value to industries currently worth almost $670 million annually.
 
Consumer insights, drivers, and barriers for Australian tropical fruits in domestic markets

Principal Advisor: Associate Professor Heather Smyth

Improving selection efficiency for pineapple sensory traits, particularly those influenced by volatiles

Principal Advisor: Associate Professor Craig Hardner

Improving selection efficiency for strawberry sensory traits, particularly those influenced by volatiles

Principal Advisor: Associate Professor Craig Hardner

Apply by 20 December 2021

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PhD scholarship: Higher yielding crops through changes in grain number

Principal Advisor: Professor David Jordan

A PhD scholarship is available to investigate the genetics of grain number in sorghum. Grain number, along with grain size, is a fundamental component of crop yield and is known to vary in response to genetic and environmental factors. Understanding these gene networks and their interactions with environment are fundamental to efforts to improve productivity in sorghum and other cereals and as such will contribute to meeting the food requirements of the anticipated 10 billion people on the planet in 2050. Sorghum is an important crop in Australia and the world’s fifth most important cereal and crop species that is highly tolerant of environmental stress particularly heat and drought. It is a currently a key food security crop for more than 0.5 billion people and its importance is likely to increase as the world becomes hotter and drier.

Apply by 7 January 2022

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Principal Advisor: Professor Eugeni Roura

The use of in-feed antimicrobials are highly questioned by consumers and regulators. Post-weaning is a very sensible stage of piglet's life where anorexia and gut-related diseases produce a high toll on mortality and production cost. New strategies are required to prevent post-weaning diseases that require drug-related management. This is an exciting project with the objective to develop a holistic approach based on novel nutrition strategies that will allow antimicrobial-free diets in pig production. The project aims to stimulate early feed intake by maximising the beneficial effect of maternal conditioning using flavour signature of common sow's dietary cereals and pulses. Early feed intake will also requires the improvement of the digestibility capacity of the gut to prevent undigested material reaching the distal small intestine. On top of that, evolution of the microflora will be crucial to reduce the presence of pathogenic bacteria by stimulating healthy microbiota colonization.

Apply by 31 March 2022

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PhD scholarship: Increasing the pulse of world food security: Innovative phenotyping technologies to harness genetic diversity in tropical crops

Principal Advisor: Dr Millicent Smith

To develop tropical crops best adapted to future environments harnessing genetic diversity is critical. While genebanks have preserved genetic diversity that could be utilised in crop improvement, a major bottleneck is the availability of low-cost, high-throughput methods to identify germplasm with desirable traits such as tolerance to drought or salinity. This project builds on technological advances including the use of drones mounted with sensors, low-cost computing, image analysis and genomics to design novel phenotyping solutions applicable to a range of tropical crops important to Australia and our nearest neighbours. This PhD project is an excellent opportunity for a dedicated student to obtain skills in crop improvement across commodity crops in Australia and contribute to international efforts to strengthen food security through agriculture for development.

Apply by 31 March 2022

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PhD scholarship: Study of the breeding of self-fertile macadamia cultivars

Principal Advisor: Professor Bruce Topp

Macadamia is predominantly a self-incompatible nut crop and this creates complications in commercial orchards with a requirement of cross-compatible cultivars and insect-pollinators. Some level of self-fertility has been identified in macadamia. Incorporation of self-fertility in elite cultivars may reduce production costs and assist in sustainable orchard production. The extent of this variability in our existing germplasm and the mechanism of self-compatibility is unclear. In addition, current trait-phenotyping is time consuming and costly. Exploiting genetic and molecular technologies may assist us in rapid selection of elite self-fertile cultivars.

Apply by 30 September 2022

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Principal Advisor: Dr Conny Turni

The use of in-feed antimicrobials are highly questioned by consumers and regulators. Post-weaning is a very sensible stage of piglet's life where anorexia and gut-related diseases produce a high toll on mortality and production cost. New strategies are required to prevent post-weaning diseases that require drug-related management. This is an exciting project with the objective to develop a holistic approach based on novel nutrition strategies that will allow antimicrobial-free diets in pig production. The project aims to stimulate early feed intake by maximising the beneficial effect of maternal conditioning using flavour signature of common sow's dietary cereals and pulses. Early feed intake will also requires the improvement of the digestibility capacity of the gut to prevent undigested material reaching the distal small intestine. On top of that, evolution of the microflora will be crucial to reduce the presence of pathogenic bacteria by stimulating healthy microbiota colonization.

Apply by 31 December 2022

More info


PhD scholarship: A new horizon for crop protection: dsRNA-based biopesticides to target fungal pathogens

Principal Advisor: Professor Neena Mitter

RNA interference, or gene silencing, offers a significant opportunity to improve fungal disease resistance in plants. The main aim of this project is to assess the efficacy of Bioclay-delivered dsRNA for sustained protection against fungal pathogens. The project will include controlled environment bioassays and molecular investigations on the uptake and responses of selected crops and fungal isolates to the Bioclay-delivered RNAi molecules.

Apply by 30 September 2023

More info


PhD scholarship: Genetics of Fruit Sensory Preferences

Principal Advisor: Associate Professor Heather Smyth

The development of new horticulture varieties is a balancing act, delivering selections with high consumer appeal as well as improved characteristics for producers. This project seeks to understand current consumer preferences, purchasing and consumption patterns and the part that fruit sensory qualities (taste, smell, look and feel) contribute to these behaviours. The underlying biological contributors to these sensory qualities will be profiled and the genetics of each explored and developed into a suite of tools that can implemented into active mango, papaya, pineapple and strawberry breeding programs. This will allow the co-development of consumer and producer related traits, adding efficiency to these tropical and sub-tropical fruit programs and delivering superior varieties to market sooner. Along the way, new opportunities for premium or niche varieties may add substantial value to industries currently worth almost $670 million annually.

Apply by 31 December 2023

More info


PhD scholarship: Calf Alive: Nutritional interventions to increase milk delivery

Principal Advisor: Associate Professor Luis Prada e Silva

Poor nutrition and environmental stress during the last trimester of pregnancy through to early lactation have been identified as major causes of calf wastage. Reducing the mortality rate of cows and calves is an essential step in achieving long-term sustainability for the northern Australian beef industry. This project aims to assess the impact of nutritional interventions and environmental stress around calving on cow and calf mortality, and to validate the use of a practical tool for early detection of more efficient cows. By studying the interaction between nutrition and environmental stress on calf wastage and cow mortality, and by identifying the likely cause of losses on individual properties, this project will develop practical and targeted management strategies to overcome the major issues. Thus, the main purpose of this project is to assess the impact of nutritional interventions and environmental stress around calving on cow and calf mortality.

Apply by 30 September 2024

More info

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Higher Degree by Research scholarships

Are you planning to commence an HDR program at QAAFI? Check if you are eligible to apply for the following scholarship and financial options.

When applying for a UQ HDR program, you need to provide evidence to the Graduate School that you have living and tuition funding to support you throughout your entire HDR program, typically in the form of scholarship. You need to discuss this with your potential HDR advisor when applying for advisor support and potential projects of interest to determine which of the following funding option/s you may be eligible for. Please remember that you need to be invited by QAAFI to complete Graduate School’s HDR admission application and that the outcome of this application will be dependent on whether you successfully secure minimal funding support (the living stipend needs to be at least the RTP base rate that is indexed annually, and the tuition offset will cover the Agriculture Band B rate).

Domestic students may apply at any time for a tuition fee offset with no living stipend scholarship, with the approval of your proposed Principal Advisor.

If you are a current HDR candidate you will need to investigate and discuss which of the following options may apply to you. 

UQ Graduate School Scholarship

Do you have outstanding research potential to be considered for a competitive Graduate School scholarship? Discuss with your potential advisor if they would like to nominate you, or what other funding options might be available.

Scholarship round dates and application process 

External scholarships

You can browse external scholarship opportunities or research other external resources elsewhere, such as country of origin sponsorships.

QAAFI HDR key projects prioritised for UQ Scholarship internal ranking

QAAFI will support UQ scholarship nominees who work on HDR projects that fit within QAAFI’s strategic priority research areas. The Principal Advisor must initiate the UQ scholarship nomination, and the Graduate School needs to approve HDR admission applications to be eligible for preferential scholarship rankings. For more details visit QAAFI HDR priority projects.

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QAAFI HDR Travel Awards

QAAFI offers Travel Awards to QAAFI enrolled and confirmed Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students for travel to international or domestic scientific conferences. The awards will contribute to attendance costs including registration, airfares, accommodation and other transport. Students can apply as often as rounds are available, but will only be eligible to receive ONE award during their entire HDR degree with QAAFI.

QAAFI HDR Travel Awards

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Undergraduate Research Program

The UQ Student Employability Centre's Undergraduate Research Program is available in twice a year. 

Please check the UQ Student Employability Centre website for updates about the program.

QAAFI Undergraduate Research Program projects

QAAFI scholarship eligibility requirements

In addition to UQSEC's eligibility requirements, the applicant must meet the following QAAFI requirements:

  1. Have at least one supervisor who is a QAAFI staff member or affiliate;
  2. Be actively enrolled in an undergraduate or masters by coursework program during the Research Scholarship period and can provide evidence of this;
  3. Credit any and all publications arising from the project to QAAFI.

How to apply

  1. Ensure you have read the QAAFI eligibility requirements under QAAFI Scholarship Eligibility Requirements (above) and you are aware of all eligibility and requirements of the application and program. When you submit your application, you are agreeing that you have read and understood the QAAFI's and UQSEC's eligibility requirements.
  2. Find a project that interests you by browsing the current projects, then secure advisor support by contacting them directly by searching our website.  If a project is missing, you can contact our researchers directly to discuss potential future opportunities. Please do not submit a UQSEC application until you have secured advisor support and have agreed on a research project together.
  3. To demonstrate your invitation to complete the UQSEC application, you must get mandatory written support from your potential Undergraduate Research Program supervisor, which needs to be submitted as part of your application by UQSEC’s specified deadline.  If this evidence is missing, your application will be incomplete and thus will not be assessed.
    The support evidence must contain the following details that can be sent from the researcher's email account (PDF file is accepted) or signed on a QAAFI-UQ letterhead:  
  • Applicant's full name and contact information;
  • Specific recommendations geared towards why the advisor supports this particular student.
  • The Undergraduate Research Program project title that was in the Advisor’s project submission, as it's a compulsory pre-text field in UQSEC online application form;
  • Support is available on the condition that the application is successful in being awarded the research scholarship;
  • Project start date (starting on a Monday or the next working day to avoid public holiday) and expected project period (in weeks);
  • If the SIPCA (Student Intellectual Property & Confidentiality Agreement) needs to be completed and signed before project commencement.
  • If this applicant is unsuccessful in the UQSEC-QAAFI funded assessment round, whether advisor/s can fully or co-fund instead.

      4. Complete UQSEC online application form by the deadline stated on UQSEC website.

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