Improving pyrethrum plant health

Improving pyrethrum disease tolerance though mitigating the impact of abiotic stress

Degree type

MRes

Closing date

29 October 2021

Campus

Cradle Coast

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

Scholarship

$28,597pa for 2 years

About the research project

Expressions of interest are invited to undertake Masters by Research studies as part of the project team investigating the management of fungal diseases that significantly limit crop yields of pyrethrum in Tasmania.  The Australian pyrethrum industry, the majority of which is situated in Tasmania, is the largest supplier of the natural insecticides, pyrethrins, into the world market.  Disease management in pyrethum is a major concern.  Diseases such as ray blight and tan spot represent a major risk to yield and the industry’s ability consistently meet market production requirements.  Managing that disease also represents a major financial and environmental cost.

This project will evaluate the impact of typical commercial cropping practices on the physiological health of pyrethrum plants, and their interaction with plant tolerance to fungal diseases attacking the crop during spring. Anecdotal observations from industry partners suggests that healthier plants are better able to tolerate the attacks from fungal pathogens.  Conversely, it is possible that abiotic stresses from herbicide applications, sub-optimal irrigation and similar practices may exacerbate the impact of fungal diseases and ultimately reduce crop yields.  This project will aim to test these theories and provide evidence to the industry to enable better management decisions and underpin the sustainability of pyrethrum cropping in Tasmania

The successful candidate will join an established research team with a collaborative relationship with the Australian pyrethrum industry that has been ongoing for 20+ years.  The candidate will have the opportunity to conduct both controlled environment and field studies with regular interactions with industry.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Jason Scott

Funding

The scholarship supporting this project provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 2 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 and the Destination Australia Program.

Eligibility

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:

  • Applicants must be commencing a new course of study with the University of Tasmania in the 2021 academic year
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a first-class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector
  • Excellent written and verbal English language skills
  • Driver’s license

Selection Criteria

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

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills
  • Applicants will need excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Applicants will need to be able to work independently and as part of a team

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience with intensive horticultural production and/or plant pathology

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Jason Scott, 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.

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