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


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

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Indoor Farming for Tropical and SubTropical crops

Principal Advisor: Professor Paul Gauthier

Our Food supply chain system is challenged by unpredictable weather and crop production seasonality. With climate change, these challenges have increased in frequency and threatened our agriculture system. Indoor Farming and Protected cropping are high-technology solutions that allow us to tackle some of these challenges but much remains to be explored and learned on how to make it energy efficient and economically viable. This project aims to explore the impact of Indoor growing on the fundamental physiology of tropical and subtropical crops. Through the study of Carbon balance allocation, the candidate will study environmental and biological mechanisms to enhance the production of flowers and accelerate the grown and yield of crops grown indoor. Areas of research can include: (1) Enhancement of flowering and crop yield through manipulation of environmental conditions in berries and other future crops; (2) Understanding the impact of indoor environmental factor on carbon allocation in fruit crops; (3) Challenging the law of the minima to accelerate plant growth under indoor environments; (4) optimizing resource use efficiency as a way to optimize profitability of indoor cropping; (5) Development of hydroponic methods to develop at-scale solutions for Australian Native crops, and (6) Optimizing crops yield through the evaluation of different growing methods in Protected Cropping.

Apply by 18 October 2022

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Diversity and evolution of phytoplasmas infecting banana and coconut in Papua New Guinea

Principal Advisor: Professor Andre Drenth

Phytoplasmas are insect-vectored bacteria that affect many plant species, causing devastating yield losses in crops worldwide. Their transmission occurs through insects, planting material and seeds. Phytoplasmas are non-culturable, have small genomes and they require part of the machinery in cells of their hosts (plant and insect) for multiplication.

This project proposes to better understand the diversity of phytoplasmas infecting coconut and banana in PNG and banana in the Solomon Islands, define a genome-based phylogeny and hypothesise the most parsimonious ancestor host. We also propose to measure the genetic diversity of phytoplasmas associated with the same host at different time points and distinct geographical locations to estimate how fast this pathogen is evolving.

Appy by 31 December 2024

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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

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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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