Investigating the Adoptability of Industry 4.0 AgTech

Using Research Farms to Investigate the Adoptability of Industry 4.0 AgTech

Degree type


Closing date

22 November 2021



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore


$28,597pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

The adoption of new technology, especially complex ‘smart farming’ or Industry 4.0 technology, is characterised by considerable risk and uncertainty for farming businesses. Finding ways of addressing or overcoming this risk is critical in enabling widespread implementation of Industry 4.0 technology. The broad aim of this project is to investigate how research farms can be used by farmers to trial, test and tinker with Industry 4.0 technologies that are otherwise considered too risky or uncertain to be implemented in commercial operations. Using the University of Tasmania research farms at Forthside (horticulture) or Elliott (dairy) as research sites, the successful applicant will contribute to the co-design of processes for farmer and industry engagement, and provide in-depth analyses of how these actors apply different technologies.

The project is expected to provide critical insights into the adoptability of Industry 4.0 agricultural technologies in animal or plant-based industries, which will assist in improved regional targeting and tailoring of technologies. This in turn will accrue a range of benefits for regional communities including more environmentally sustainable use of resources through strategic use of inputs, improved economic sustainability through higher on-farm productivity and incomes, and enhanced social sustainability through the labour and time savings afforded by new technology.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Vaughan Higgins


The scholarship supporting this project provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years;
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000;
  • a tuition fee scholarship for up to 4 years (successful domestic applicants will be awarded an RTP Fees Offset and successful international applicants will be awarded a University of Tasmania Fees Offset)

The scholarship supporting this project is funded by the University of Tasmania and the Australian Government through the Research Training Program.


The project is open to domestic (Australia and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from International applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the PhD minimum entry requirements and the following additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • An undergraduate degree in sociology, human geography, social anthropology, or a related social science discipline

Applicants from the following disciplines are encouraged to apply:

  • Sociology
  • Human geography
  • Social anthropology

Selection Criteria

The project/scholarship is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional selection criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Qualitative research and data analysis skills

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, A/Prof Vaughan Higgins, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

Apply now Explore other projects

Why the University of Tasmania?

Worldwide reputation for research excellence

Quality supervision and support

Tasmania offers a unique study lifestyle experience