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NANCY ROMA PAECH POSTGRADUATE SCHOLARSHIPS
A full-time postgraduate scholarship to undertake research studies leading to a PhD in Agriculture, is available for a suitably qualified candidate with an interest in the disciplines pertaining to agricultural science.
The aim of the scholarship will be to support research that benefits pastoral industries and the sustainable management of rangeland, pastoral and related inland Australian landscapes. In particular it will be supporting research into the types of low-impact, broad-acre agriculture that are the future of sustainable land management for a large proportion of the Australian continent.
The research and associated activities supported by the Paech Bequest will be conducted through the Centre for Carbon, Water and Food of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, at the Camden campus of the University of Sydney.
Students with a background in agricultural science with a strong undergraduate record (Honours 1) or equivalent are encouraged to apply. Applicants are not restricted to Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or New Zealand citizens, however this scholarship does not cover any tuition fees payable by international students.
The scholarship is valued at $30,000 per annum (tax exempt) and may be renewed for three years, subject to satisfactory progress. An additional sum of $5,000 per annum may be available for further research purposes.
Research Scholarships will be considered for applicants who have submitted a formal application for candidature, and been offered postgraduate candidature in the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment.
Click below for the application form in:
word version or pdf version
Projects with Postgraduate Scholarships Available
Carbon Partioning (NEW)
Australian agriculture faces immense challenges to satisfy demand for food, fuel and fibre whilst simultaneously coping with the effects of climatic change. Improvements in yield must come from both improved germplasm as well as management based upon a sound understanding of plant processes. Great focus has been placed on improving yield via improvements in the fundamental processes of plant growth.
Legumes are thought to hold great potential under future climates due to their relative independence from nitrogen supply. If we are to understand how plants acclimate to changes in resource availability, we must understand the mechanisms that govern the central conduits of carbon partitioning. This information is central to improving the efficiency of legume production but more broadly provide tools for increasing food, fuel and fibre production across a range of crop species.
Detailed information about this research project is available here.
ARC Discovery Grant - Global space-time soil carbon assessment
Soil carbon is a key component of functional ecosystems and is crucial for food, water and energy security, and for climate change mitigation. The project will contribute to global understanding of soil carbon and its management for sustainable wellbeing.
Causal connections between the climate anomalies and world agricultural production and prices.
Global climate anomalies affect world agriculture and prices through, so called, teleconnections. The teleconnections imply that local weather events in many regions can be linked and respond to global climate phenomena. One such phenomenon is known as El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Extreme ENSO events have been correlated with shifts in world agricultural production, commodity prices, and even social unrests and civil conflicts. World economies could also be affected by other, less studied climate phenomena such as, for example, North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), etc. The research objective is to quantify economically meaningful causal connections between the climate anomalies and world agricultural production and prices.
Mesophyll conductance and water-use efficiency in pea
Efficient use of water is the most pressing environmental issue facing the Australian grain industry. While significant research effort has been employed to improve water-use efficiency (WUE), a number of leaf traits that influence leaf intrinsic WUE (A/gs; the ratio of photosynthesis to stomatal conductance) have strong potential to provide WUE gains. Our recent study on Barley genotypes has revealed considerable variation in the ease with which CO2 diffuses within a leaf (mesophyll conductance; gm), and genotypes with high gm had enhanced A/gs and WUE. Using state-of-the-art stable isotopic laser-based approaches, this project will:
- screen existing Australian pea genotypes to determine the degree of variability in gm, and its influence on A/gs, under controlled-environment conditions;
- determine the degree of sensitivity of gm in pea genotypes to environmental parameters such as temperature, irradiance, water and nitrogen availability;
- determine the degree to which leaf-level changes in gm affect crop-scale WUE and yield in the field.
Barbour MM, Warren CR, Farquhar GD, Forrester G, Brown H. 2010. Plant, Cell & Environment 33, 1173-1185.
Nocturnal stomatal conductance and its water-use efficiency cost in wheat
Recent experiments have revealed that stomata of most plants do not fully close in the dark, so that substantial water loss can occur if the relative humidity is significantly lower than 100%. There is no possibility for carbon gain in the dark, so nocturnal stomatal conductance can be seen as a water-use efficiency ‘cost’. Wheat production in Australia is strongly dependent on water availability and occurs in regions prone to warm, low humidity nights when nocturnal water loss is expected. This project will assess the level of genotypic variability in nocturnal stomatal conductance and water-use efficiency cost among existing wheat cultivars, and quantify the stomatal response to environmental conditions (vapour pressure deficit, temperature, drought, CO2 concentration) in the dark.
Barbour MM, Buckley TN (2007) Plant, Cell and Environment 30: 711-721.
Leaf respiration in the light and the dark, and links to nitrogen assimilation
Plant respiration is a key component of the global carbon cycle. Of considerable global concern is that plant respiration (and resulting emissions of CO2) can provide a strong positive feedback to rising temperatures, thereby reinforcing the consequences of human-induced increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration. The process of plant respiration is highly complex - at least six different biochemical reactions may produce CO2 in leaves. Despite the importance of respiration there is little consensus between researchers working at different scales on the relative importance of physiological, genetic and environmental drivers of respiration. The project will introduce a novel technique: a coupled system to allow on-line, real-time measurements of exchange of CO2, O2, and 13CO2 exchange to quantify the relative importance of the different biochemical pathways involved in leaf respiration, test the proposed link between leaf nitrogen metabolism and respiration, and provide a more complete understanding of the carbon substrates for respiration.
Tcherkez G, Mauve C, Lamothe M, et al. (2011) Plant, Cell and Environment 34, 270-283.
Mesophyll conductance in C4 plants
To meet the challenge of increasing crop yield for a burgeoning world population, it has become apparent that photosynthetic efficiency and yield capacity must be increased per unit leaf area. Photosynthetic CO2 fixation rate is constrained by CO2 diffusion inside leaves (mesophyll conductance) in species with either C3 or C4 photosynthetic pathway. By understanding and quantifying these internal diffusion limitations, novel strategies to manipulate and enhance leaf photosynthesis and water use efficiency through genetic engineering can be identified. This project will apply a newly-developed, real-time, laser-based technique to quantify mesophyll conductance in the C4 crop maize, and determine the response of mesophyll conductance to both long-term growth conditions (drought, temperature, light, nitrogen availability) and short-term changes in environmental conditions (temperature, light, CO2).
FACULTY POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH SCHOLARSHIPS (NEW)
Applications are invited for the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment postgraduate research scholarships. The awards are for full-time postgraduate study leading to a higher degree by research and thesis and are tenable for up to two years for a Master of Philosophy, and three years for a PhD candidate. Applicants must be graduates, graduands or persons holding equivalent qualifications who are eligible for admission to candidature for a higher degree. The scholarship is paid at the APA rate.
In addition, under the University's Postgraduate Research Support Scheme, funds will be made available each year to assist postgraduate research students to, amongst other things, attend conferences or visit specialist libraries and laboratories. The funds under this scheme will be awarded on a competitive basis and an application will be required.
Faculty Postgraduate Research Scholarship applications are available from the Administrator, Postgraduate Services, , phone: +61 2 8627 1002.
- Candidature must commence in February or March
Waratah Research - Postgraduate Scholarship Available
Postgraduate research opportunity is now available working with the iconic Australian flower, the waratah. The Faculty of Agriculture and Environment has places and scholarships (equivalent to an APA) available for PhD students. Applications are now open. Please email for more information.