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Research Scholar - Australia's Native Sorghums

Apply now Job no:501612
Area:Qld Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
Salary (FTE):Research Scholar BAND
Work type:Full Time - Scholarship
Location: St Lucia

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture & Food Innovation

The Federal Government’s 2010 Excellence in Research for Australia survey confirmed The University of Queensland as one of the nation’s top two universities, measured on a combination of research quality and breadth. The Times Higher Education-QS table ranks UQ in the top 100 universities globally, and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University World Rankings names UQ as a top 20 Asia-Pacific institution.

UQ’s 44,000-strong student community includes 10,000 postgraduate scholars and almost 10,000 international students from 134 countries. Its main campus is at St Lucia, in Brisbane city. The University has six faculties and eight institutes. The institutes — funded by government and industry grants, philanthropy and commercialisation activities — have built scale and focus in research areas that UQ regards as strategically important.

The Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) is a unique research institute in Australia, jointly funded by UQ and the Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF). The Institute’s strengths are reflected in its four research centres – the Centre for Crop Science, the Centre for Horticultural Science, the Centre for Animal Science and the Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences. QAAFI brings together scientists from UQ and DAF to conduct high-end science that delivers higher impact outcomes for industry and the community. Details of the research interests of the Institute may be accessed on the Institute’s web site at

Organisational Environment

This PhD student will be based primarily at the St Lucia Campus of the University of Queensland, Brisbane. The successful Research Scholar will undertake PhD studies with a multi-disciplinary, international collaborative team of scientists from the University of Queensland, Monash University, and the University of Copenhagen. The team is a unique and world-class research collaboration funded by the Australian Research Council Discovery Projects scheme. The PhD candidate will interact closely with research collaborators working on the project, and other students and staff located at QAAFI at the University of Queensland’s main campus in St Lucia, Brisbane.

The project:

Australia’s native sorghums: discovering new wild crop relatives

The diversity of wild plant populations reflects their evolutionary history and adaptation to different environments. Sorghum, domesticated in Africa and with a sequenced genome, is adapted to high temperatures and dry environments and ranks in the top five cereal crops in the world. However, most relatives of wild sorghum species are restricted to Australia. Analysis of the genome sequences of the Australian wild populations together with new phenotyping techniques will be used to explore their evolution and adaptation to diverse Australian environments. The evolution of cyanogenic glucosides to combat biotic stress in some species will be explored in relation to differences in the Australian environments in which they are found.

Wild crop relatives are an important source of traits for improving their cultivated counterparts. Analysis of diversity and evolution at the whole genome level in Australia’s 17 native sorghum species will provide new understanding of how plants have adapted to environmental challenges across diverse Australian environments. This will identify traits to support the development of resilient crops in the face of global environmental change. The successful PhD candidate will centre on establishing reference genome sequences for Australian sorghum species and determining variation by re-sequencing. This will support analysis of the evolution of the sorghum genus.

The PhD Scholarship Applicant:

Applications are invited from outstanding and enthusiastic graduates with relevant backgrounds. Students must be of high scholarly calibre, possessing a First Class Honours Degree, Masters Research Degree or equivalent, with at least one peer reviewed publication.   Applicants must meet the requirements for admission into the UQ Graduate School PhD program ( and should also be eligible for a UQ Graduate School Scholarship (UQGSS) ( 


The base stipend will be at the rate of AUD $27,082 per annum (2018 rate) tax-free for three years with the possibility of two six month extensions in approved circumstances.


For specific questions please email


To submit an application for this role, use the Apply button below. All applicants must supply the following documents:


11:55pm 31 January 2018 E.Australian Standard Time

The successful applicant must be able to make their full on line application to the UQ graduate school by:

Friday 20th April 2018 for domestic applicants.

If successful in gaining the UQ Scholarship the applicant will begin Research Quarter 3 (July) in 2018.

Applications close: E. Australia Standard Time

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