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

Management of black core rot in citrus

Principal Advisor: Professor Andre Drenth

The Australian citrus industry has identified the need for complementary integrated pest and disease management (IPDM) tools for the effective management of citrus black core rot. Black core rot (Alternaria spp.) is a significant and emerging issue in southern citrus growing areas; the internal rot and bitter flavours of infected fruit are often undetected until they reach the kitchen bench or the juicing plant. This project proposes to better characterise the Alternaria species causing the problem, unravel the disease cycle, including sources of inoculum and timing of infection. An in depth understanding of the disease will help to identify potential management options available for black core rot which can be tested and validated prior to integration into the current IPDM program. 

Apply by 8 April 2022

Apply Now

Genomic selection in finfish breeding programs

Principal Advisor: Professor Ben Hayes

Aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry both in Australia and globally, and is recognised as critical to providing a growing population with very high value protein. However, disease wipes out close to 40% of production in some species each year. In this PhD project, you will work closely with the finfish aquaculture industry to accelerate genetic gain for disease resistance (as well as yields) by designing and implementing innovative genomic selection strategies. Genomic selection is a technology that uses genome wide DNA marker information to enable early in life selection of superior broodstock. In the project, you will use Bayesian methods and Artificial intelligence to develop breeding strategies that industry can apply to improve disease resistance and increase yields. This project is part of a large program, the ARC Research Hub for Supercharging Tropical Aquaculture through Genetic Solutions, which will support you and a cohort of other PhDs throughout your project.

Apply by 19 April 2022

Apply Now

Network biology of quantitative traits in sorghum

Principal Advisor: Professor David Jordan

This project will involve research at the nexus of genomics and plant physiology with a primary focus of the research on understanding the gene network controlling stem branching in sorghum and its responses to key environmental factors. The work will involve conducting experiments in controlled environments and in the field where the dynamics of the relevant gene networks will be ascertained by perturbing environmental and genetic factors and evaluating changes in physiology and gene expression. The position will be supervised by Prof David Jordan along with Assoc Prof Emma Mace, Prof Mark Cooper and Prof Graeme Hammer. To be eligible the candidate should have an undergraduate degree in science in a relevant field and have obtained the equivalent of honours or a Master’s degree. Experience in plant physiology, genomics, bioinformatics or expression analysis would be an advantage.

Apply by 2 May 2022

Apply Now

Dissection of genetics and physiology associated with improved transpiration efficiency in sorghum

Principal Advisor: Professor Graeme Hammer

This project aims to develop an understanding of the physiology and genetics controlling transpiration efficiency in sorghum and contribute to an understanding of interactions with environmental factors. This project will utilise plant physiological experiments and mathematical modelling. The biological understanding will be captured with predictive models linking trait variations with the underpinning genetics and crop performance in production environments. The work will involve detailed physiological analysis in controlled environments and in the field, and development and use of crop growth models linked with whole genome prediction approaches. The project is expected to generate new avenues for adapting crops to changing environments and breeding.

Apply by 16 May 2022

Apply Now

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

Apply Now

Point of management assays for early detection of pig enteric and respiratory diseases

Principal Advisor: Dr Conny Turni

The project is the development a smart health monitoring system acting as an early warning alert for the pig industry. This is proposed to be done via screening effluent samples at the shed level. This project will develop tests for one respiratory and enteric pathogen.  It will build the platform to extend this to other pathogens. The aim is to develop isothermal test, but a PhD project will use the samples trying to develop a nanopore method to do this on farm. The challenge being to extract good quality DNA on farm to use for nanopore processing.

Apply by 30 September 2022

Apply Now

How to make antibiotics in pig feed redundant, naturally

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

Apply Now

Deciphering the drivers of dry land crop production plasticity under a variable and rapid changing climate for Australia

Principal Advisor: Associate Professor Andries Potgieter

Accurate and timely production estimates are essential to Australia’s grain producers and industry to better deal with downside risks caused by climate extremes and market volatilities. To address this complex issue, it is important to understand the economic and climatic drivers causing the large fluctuations in crop production across farming businesses of Australia.

The primary focus of this PhD position is to undertake functional research in the exploration, analysis, and disentangling of the mechanisms (e.g, markets, enviro-types) and their causalities on crop production systems across time and space. Thus, leading to a quantitative predictive fused model with increased accuracy and lead time for crop production estimates across Australia. This will be done by developing and application of hybrid Bayesian statistical and artificial intelligence (AI) approaches to determine crop yield, area, and production for main winter and summer crops across Australia. This PhD is part of the four-year project funded and supported the ARC LP-funded “CropVision: A next-generation system for predicting crop production”, a project led by UQ QAAFI.

Apply by 31 December 2022

Apply Now

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

Apply Now

Consumer insights, drivers, and barriers for Australian tropical fruits in domestic markets

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

Apply Now

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cattle using microbiome variation

Principal Advisor: Dr Elizabeth Ross

This project will develop a new tool for methane mitigation from livestock – a saliva-based test that will allow producers to rank animals based on the amount of methane they will produce. The test is called “LESTR” (Low Emission Saliva Test for Ruminants). The key project outcome will be a predictive equation and testing methodology that allows identification of low methane emitting “commercial” animals based on a biological sample (e.g. saliva).

Apply by 31 March 2024

Apply Now

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

Apply Now

Genomic prediction to identify sorghum hybrids with improved lodging resistance

Principal Advisor: Professor David Jordan

When sorghum is subjected to water stress during grain filling, photosynthesis is reduced, and the plant uses stem reserves to fill the grain. In some varieties, this remobilization weakens the stem making it susceptible to stem breakage (lodging) causing yield loss and making mechanical harvesting difficult. This process is influenced by a complex set of environmental, physical and physiological factors making it difficult for breeders to identify superior varieties. This project will develop genomic prediction methods based on molecular information to help breeders to develop new varieties.

Apply by 31 March 2025

Apply Now

Top of page

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.

Top of page

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

Top of page

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.

Top of page