PhD scholarship: Regulators of female reproductive development in cowpea


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Agriculture and Environment
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship
Scholarship value $28,092 per annum (2020 rate), indexed annually
Scholarship duration Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances
Opening date 9 November 2020
Closing date 31 January 2021


Overall Research Project

The Hy-Gain project (Hy-Gain), funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is a multi-party international research project comprising seven world leading teams aiming to develop a novel technology to increase seed yield and productivity in sorghum and cowpea crops for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. This exciting 5-year project, is led by QAAFI with the project director, Prof Anna Koltunow, based in the Centre for Crop Science. Hy-Gain aims to ensure the technology is compatible with plant breeding to support the future, rapid delivery of new high yielding sorghum and cowpea hybrids and improved varieties. Hy-Gain involves research work at multiple sites in Queensland (Hermitage at Warwick; Gatton and St. Lucia) and collaboration with five international research organisations and a multinational seed company. The project has some fundamental discovery work, however its key aim is building and testing the utility of the technology in plants under controlled glasshouse and field conditions with evaluations involving input from African sorghum and cowpea breeders. The research objectives span molecular work in the laboratory to field work involving genetic, genomic and transgenic technologies and testing reproductive productivity of plants in glasshouse and in the field. Communication and collaboration between the parties to efficiently achieve goals, protection of discoveries, dissemination of data to the public via scientific publications and web-based media are important outcomes of the project.

PhD Scholarship Project

The formation of the female gametophyte is a regulated sequential process in plants. Meiosis, cell death and mitosis are involved in the elaboration of this important structure, the progenitor of the seed. Previous work has led to the development of a set of female cell-type specific transcriptomes via laser capture microdissection. This has identified a suite of genes for further functional analyses. This project will involve the characterization of a repertoire of genes with the opportunity to examine their functions in transgenic plants. The genes under examination would involve those that impact on pre-fertilization gametophyte development and post fertilization seed initiation. The latter is of particular interest for legume seed yield and quality. This PhD is based at St Lucia, Brisbane.


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

Before you get started

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them.

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow the link on the upper right of this page. 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 ‘COWPEAin 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


Associate Professor Brett Ferguson
+61 7 3346 9951

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.