PhD scholarship: Higher yielding crops through changes in grain number


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Agriculture and Environment, Science and Mathematics
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship, Tuition Scholarship
Scholarship value $28,854 per annum (2022 rate), indexed annually
Scholarship duration 3.5 years with the possibility of 1 extension in line with UQ and RTP Scholarship Policy
Opening date 8 September 2021
Closing date 11 October 2021


Supervisor – Professor David Jordan

A PhD scholarship is available to investigate the genetics of grain number in sorghum. Grain number, along with grain size, is a fundamental component of crop yield and is known to vary in response to genetic and environmental factors. Understanding these gene networks and their interactions with environment are fundamental to efforts to improve productivity in sorghum and other cereals and as such will contribute to meeting the food requirements of the anticipated 10 billion people on the planet in 2050. Sorghum is an important crop in Australia and the world’s fifth most important cereal and crop species that is highly tolerant of environmental stress particularly heat and drought. It is a currently a key food security crop for more than 0.5 billion people and its importance is likely to increase as the world becomes hotter and drier.

This project aims to develop an understanding of the gene networks controlling grain number and to contribute to an understanding of their interactions with environmental factors. The student will be supervised by Prof Graeme Hammer, Dr Emma Mace, Prof Mark Cooper and Prof David Jordan who are world leaders in sorghum physiology, genomics and genetics. The project will be part of a large well-resourced team working on sorghum crop improvement which is linked to the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture.

The student will be an integral part of a cross disciplinary team and will be exposed to a range of research methods including bioinformatics, genomics, crop model-based trait dissection and high throughput phenotyping which will provide the candidate with an excellent platform to launch into a career in science or agriculture. The project will be based at the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Hermitage Research Facility at Warwick Queensland.

A working knowledge of plant breeding, genetics or plant physiology would be of benefit to someone working on this project.


To be eligible, you must meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research.

This scholarship is open to Australian citizens, permanent residents and International students who are currently in Australia at the time of application and commencement.

Before you get started

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them.

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow this link. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will have the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Before submitting an application you should:

When you apply, please ensure that under the scholarships and collaborative study section you:

  1. Select ‘My higher degree is not collaborative’
  2. Select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'.
  3. Select ‘Other’, then ‘Research Project Scholarship’ and type in ‘GRAIN-JORDAN’ in the 'Name of scholarship' field.

See an example of what you have to do

Learn more about applying for a higher degree by research at UQ

Selection criteria

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field/s of breeding, genetics or plant physiology and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of genomics is highly desirable.


Professor David Jordan
+61 7 4542 6722

Terms and conditions

Read the policy on UQ Research Scholarships.

A domestic part-time student with carer’s responsibilities, a medical condition or a disability, which prevents them from studying full time may be eligible for scholarship consideration, on a case by case basis.