Are you interested in pursuing a PhD in one of Australia’s premier Plant Science departments? Do you want to work in a world-class, culturally diverse, department alongside world-leading researchers and in a vibrant, liveable (non-congested) city? Then check out the Division of Plant Sciences at the ANU.
Our Science: We provide a broad range of outstanding research opportunities in plant biology at ANU and through collaborations with the broader Canberra scientific community (e.g. our CSIRO neighbours). The plant science community is highly interdisciplinary and contains many world leaders. Our research seeks to understand, across a range of scales, the fundamental biological processes that control plant growth, survival and reproduction, and to translate that knowledge in applied outcomes. The department has four interconnected areas of expertise; plant cell signaling and development; photosynthesis and energy; plant-microbe/pathogen interactions; ecophysiology and ecosystem function. Our science seeks to determine how plants function in managed and natural systems. Our expertise spans gene and protein regulation; signaling, metabolism and cell biology; organ, whole plant, forest and ecosystem biology and how to apply these discoveries in innovative Ag-biotech and environmental management applications.
Our staff, together with visiting global experts, provide students with opportunities to work in world renowned research teams and on cutting edge research projects that are directly or indirectly related to problems in Australian and global biotechnology, agriculture and natural ecosystems. Our PhD program enables students to establish contacts with researchers elsewhere in Australia, overseas and with industry – providing stimulating scientific opportunities within a leading research division. Annual graduate student events, conference travel awards, graduate training workshops and a seminar series enrich the student experience.
Our facilities: are modern and cutting edge. Plant sciences students enjoy the finest research facilities available in Australia. In addition to modern research laboratories, there are expansive state-of-the-art plant transformation, culture, and phenotyping facilities; extensive new glasshouse facilities; advanced microscopy, mass spectrometry and next-generation sequencing facilities and an inhouse computing support unit.
Our values: We pride ourselves on providing high-quality supervision and research training to our students. Our PhD students go on to highly productive careers in academia, industry and other professional activities outside of science. We value diversity and inclusivity and have active policies to prevent discrimination. Our faculty and their research teams comprise a thriving community of people from all over the globe and from all walks of life.
Our Location: The ANU is a research-intensive university situated in Canberra, Australia’s capital city. Canberra is a well-resourced regional city (population ~460,000), set amongst beautiful mountains and eucalypt forests. Bike riding and hiking are everyday activities, and we are a two-hour drive away from both winter snowfields and beautiful coastal beaches. Canberra’s birdlife is stunning and its inner city kangaroo population expansive. Despite its regional setting, Canberra is a vibrant, multicultural city and home to many National attractions and centres. There are frequent cultural evenings, festivals, art exhibits, music events, and world-class restaurant and coffee scenes.
If you are interested in doing a PhD: then check out the Prospective supervisors and research area list below. Once you identify a topic of interest, email the lead researcher (prospective supervisor) to find out more detail on what projects are available. In your email attach a copy of your CV, a copy of you academic transcripts (a downloaded “non-official” version is sufficient at this point) and include in the email a few sentences on what your research interests are and what you like about the research area of the prospective supervisor. Once you have organised a project and supervisor you will work with them to write a 1-2 page research project outline that you will need to submit with your application (see below for details on how to apply online). If you are an international student and have the possibility of applying for PhD funding from your home country or other source please ensure you include this information in the initial email to your potential supervisor.
Am I eligible to apply for a PhD?: Entry into the PhD program is open to applicants with a Bachelor degree that have also completed (or are in the process of nearly completing) an Honours or Masters research (as opposed to coursework) degree. The degree must comprise at least a half year, full time research component and a thesis (8,000-10,000+ words). Applicants with significant years of research experience and publications may be deemed eligible if their achievements can be justified as completing a body of independent research equivalent to that of an Honours/Masters research graduate. Ensure you tick the scholarship box in your PhD application to automatically be considered for a stipend scholarship. Stipend scholarships are highly competitive, especially for international students. Only students awarded a 1st class thesis (or with H1 equivalent research experience) will be considered for an ANU PhD stipend scholarship. An initial evaluation of how competitive you are for a stipend scholarship can be made by sending a copy of your CV and transcript to the Plant Science HDR convenor Professor Spencer Whitney.
How do I apply for a PhD?
The application form is here, along with general information on how to apply and the details about the Doctor of Philosophy program. Applications are due by 15th April (midyear round for both international and domestic student applications), 31st August (international student application round) or 31st October (domestic student application round). If you have any questions or problems with your application send an email here.
Prospective supervisors and research area
- Atkin Group - Plant respiration in a changing world
- Borevitz Group - Plant genomics for climate adaption
- Byrt Group – Engineering plant membrane proteins and solute transport to increase yield security
- Farquhar Group – Coordination of CO2 fixation and transpiration in plants
- Furbank Group – Improving photosynthesis and crop yield
- Masle Group – Environmental sensing, systematic signalling and development
- Mathesius Group - Root microbe interactions - symbionts to parasites
- Millar Group - Plant RNA biology
- Nicotra Group - Plant physiological ecology, plant evolutionary biology, reproductive ecology
- Pogson Group - Chloroplast to nuclear signalling: light, drought and carotenoids
- Rathjen Group - Plant immunity
- Schwessinger Group - Plants, fungi, evolution
- Solomon Group - Wheat biosecurity
- Whitney Group - Synthetic Photosynthesis - bioengineering enzymes to adjust carbon fixation
- Williams Group - Plant structural immunology