Applications for this PhD have now closed.
Location University of Queensland, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
App. deadline 26/02/2017
  • Scholarship available
Project ID 500239
Eligibility Open to international applicants

PhD - Research Scholar - Sugarcane

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture & Food Innovation
The Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) is a research institute of the University of Queensland (UQ) which was established in 2010 and comprises of three research centres - the Centre for Plant Science, the Centre for Animal Science, the Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences.

QAAFI's team of 450 researchers, postgraduate students and support staff undertake high impact science for agriculture and food industries. The institute's strong partnership with the Queensland Government provides our researchers with a direct link to the agriculture industry in Queensland, and world class field research facilities throughout Queensland. Agriculture is one of UQ's highest ranked research fields nationally and internationally and QAAFI is a global leader in agricultural research in subtropical and tropical production systems.

QAAFI scientists are driven to make a difference to the agriculture and food industries and have over 150 collaborators worldwide.

Details of the research interests of the Institute may be accessed on the Institute's web site at

Organisational Environment
This PhD candidate position will be based primarily at the St Lucia Campus of the University of Queensland, Brisbane. The successful candidate will work with a multi-disciplinary, international collaborative team of scientists from the University of Queensland, Sugar Research Australia, and the Joint BioEnergy Institute (USA). The investigators leading the project have expertise in genomics, bioinformatics, proteome and metabolome analyses, biomass composition, biomass conversion, biofuel production. The research team is a unique and world-class research collaboration funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage 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.

Research area
Sugarcane is a highly efficient crop for the capture of carbon in plant biomass. Sugarcane stores carbon as sucrose (sugar) and in cell walls. The biochemical and molecular genetic control of carbon partitioning into the major components of sugarcane biomass will be investigated using genomic and metabolomic tools. Key genetic controls of sucrose, cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin biosynthesis will be identified. The composition of sugarcane biomass influences the value of sugarcane by determining the yield of sugar and other co-products and the efficiency of their extraction or production. Strategies for genetic selection of sugarcane genotypes with enhanced content of sucrose and other desirable biomass components will be established.

Through this PhD project we seek to identify key determinants for the development of enhanced sugarcane varieties which will support the production of sugarcane as an optimized industrial crop with higher sugar content and other biomass components designed for high value end uses such as bio-energy or bio-material production. This will allow diversification of the sugarcane industry ensuring ongoing profitability of production and creating regional employment in processing of a wide range of new products.

The Role
There is an opportunity for a highly motivated PhD candidate to join the QAAFI component of the Australian Research Council funded Linkage Project titled: Manipulation of carbon partitioning to enhance the value of sugarcane. The successful candidate will be enrolled at the University of Queensland, and must meet the requirements for entry to the University of Queensland Graduate School PhD Program, the successful candidate will also be required to interact closely with collaborators in both Australia and the USA and candidature may also involve some domestic and international travel.

The Person
Applicants will have a First Class Honours degree or equivalent with a relevant research component to meet the entry requirements for the PhD Program at the University of Queensland (link with details provided below). The successful applicant will require basic expertise and experience in one or more of the following areas: genomics, bioinformatics, proteome and metabolome analyses, biomass composition, biomass conversion, and biofuel production.

Demonstrated, relevant industry experience and/or strong academic performance demonstrated through publication output in peer reviewed international journals is highly desirable.

Both domestic and international students are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be eligible to enrol into the PhD Program at the University of Queensland, and must fulfil the PhD admission criteria, including English language requirements, and demonstrate an excellent capacity and potential for research. For a complete list of the university's minimum entry requirements please refer to:

The successful applicant will receive a scholarship stipend at the rate of AUD $26,682 per annum (2017 rate) tax-free for three years with the possibility of a six-month extension in approved circumstances.

Further information regarding the project can be obtained by contacting Mrs Annie Morley, Executive Assistant to Professor Robert Henry

To submit an application for this role, use the Apply button below. All applicants must supply the following documents: Cover letter, Academic Records (indicating GPA scores/grades, and grading scale details) and Resume/CV.

For information on completing the application process click here.

Application closing date:
26 February 2017 11:55pm E. Australia Standard Time

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Further Information / Application Enquiries

Mr Annie Morley