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PhD scholarships: Genetics of Fruit Sensory Preferences

Enrolment status
Future UQ student
Student type
Study level
Postgraduate research (HDR)
Study area
Agriculture and Animal Sciences
Scholarship focus
Academic excellence
Funding type
Living stipend, Tuition fees
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
Number awarded
Applications open
21 January 2022
Applications close
4 February 2022

About this scholarship

Supervisor: Associate Professor Heather Smyth

The development of new horticulture varieties is a balancing act, delivering selections with high consumer appeal as well as improved characteristics for producers. Funded by Hort Innovations Hort Frontiers Strategic Partnership Initiative, this project seeks to understand current consumer preferences, purchasing and consumption patterns and the part that fruit sensory qualities (taste, smell, look and feel) contribute to these behaviours. The underlying biological contributors to these sensory qualities will be profiled and the genetics of each explored and developed into a suite of tools that can implemented into active mango, papaya, pineapple and strawberry breeding programs. This will allow the co-development of consumer and producer related traits, adding efficiency to these programs and delivering superior varieties to market sooner. Along the way, new opportunities for premium or niche varieties may add substantial value to industries currently worth almost $670 million annually.

4 PhD scholarships are available as part of the project Genetics of Fruit Sensory Preferences (AS19003) and in collaboration with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Griffith University. The project also boasts strong links to the relevant fruit breeding programs. 2 PhD projects will focus on linking molecular markers with consumer-preferred flavour components of strawberry, and pineapple and passion fruit. One PhD project will study the flavour chemistry of tropical fruits (such as papaya and passion fruit), and another PhD will focus on consumer insights and market opportunities for tropical fruits in Australia. As part of the project, Griffith University are offering 2 additional PhD projects in this area on papaya and mango fruits (see Griffith University website for more details on those scholarships).

Available projects

Research environment

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 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’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.


You're eligible if you meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research.

How to apply

Before submitting an application you should:

You apply for this scholarship when you submit an application for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). You don't need to submit a separate scholarship application.

In your application, under the 'Scholarship and Collaborative study' section select:

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


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.


Associate Professor Heather Smyth