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National PhD Leadership Program in Horticulture

National PhD Leadership Program in Horticulture

The University of Tasmania is proud to be coordinating the National PhD Leadership Program in Horticulture which is co-funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) Ltd under its Hort Frontiers Leadership Fund.

Driving research innovation

The objective of this program is to drive research innovation and develop future leaders of the Australian horticultural industry via a national PhD scholarship scheme. Six national scholarships will be awarded annually in 2017, 2018 and 2019 for PhD projects that meet the program criteria.

We are now seeking project proposals from potential supervisors from Australian Universities or other appropriate R&D organisations. Projects must be cross sectoral and transformational in nature (see below for the working definition of transformational) in addition to being industry embedded (actively engaged and working with industry) and collaborative.

Applications from potential candidates will be sorted in the beginning of 2018. Candidates will need to be Australian citizens or permanent residents, have a commitment to industry engagement and collaboration, demonstrated communication and technical skills, and clear leadership potential. We encourage supervisors to highlight to candidates the generous stipend conditions and leadership development opportunities. An Advisory Committee will assist UTAS in identifying potential projects and candidates that align with the selection criteria.  The Advisory Committee will comprise representatives from UTAS, Hort Innovation, the University of Queensland and Murdoch University.

Project Selection Criteria
Six national scholarships will be awarded annually
  1. Within or appropriate to scope? Projects may include pre- and post-farm gate horticulture, value adding (processing or provenance), food safety, marketing and innovation, and value chain analysis. Across-industry horticulture relevance is required, that is, the project is not specific to any one commodity and project outcomes will be applicable across the horticultural sector.
  2. Potential for transformation – defined as:
    1. Research that looks beyond today's needs and requirements, challenges conventional program structure, and produces change at the systems level with potential to radically improve the understanding of production or processing systems and technologies.
    2. The project should challenge the status quo of research approaches and applications.  Projects will lead to major rather than incremental improvements in profitability, productivity and/or environmental sustainability.  (In contrast, incremental R&D focuses on refining existing technology, fits relatively easily into established programs, and tends to produce change at the process and material level, rather than the systems level).
  3. Industry embedded and collaborative approach. This refers to the need to collaborate and engage with industry stakeholders through, for example, consultative research plans, trials in commercial settings, and input into the interpretation of findings where appropriate.

Download the Project Application Template (doc)

Key dates

Project proposals for funding in 2018 are OPEN NOW.

We encourage project supervisors to work with potential candidates on projects so that candidates are available when successful projects are announced. Applications are due with by 12 November 2017.

Please note that a maximum of only 3 projects may be submitted per organisation

Project proposals due Successful projects announced Potential PhD Candidates applications due PhD Candidates announced Projects funding commences
12 November 2017 20 December 201729 April 2018 TBC TBC
Projects must be cross sectoral and transformational in nature

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the funding structure of the PhD scholarships?

Stipends of $35,000 will be offered and funded through co-investment. Universities, government agencies, industry or others proposing a PhD project will be required to fund 73% of the stipend ($25,550). Hort Innovation will co-invest 27%, contributing the remaining $9,450.

The PhD project will also be required to fund the operating costs. Operating costs should be appropriate for the successful operation of the project (generally at least $10,000 per annum). Hort innovation will co-invest up to a maximum of $1,350 of the operating costs per PhD project per annum. Universities should budget an extra six months of stipend to accommodate a potential extension past three years.

Is there a proposal template I can follow?

Yes – the proposal template can be found here (Doc)

Developing future leaders of the Australian horticultural industry

Who funds travel and accommodation for candidates to attend biennial conferences?

The Program will provide leadership development and networking opportunities via biennial conferences. The costs of travel and accommodation will need to be met by project operating budgets.