Traditional Chinese Medicinal herbs as new crops

Traditional Chinese Medicinal herbs as new crops: Growing systems and quality

Degree type


Closing date

29 October 2021



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

Quality and provenance are key attributes desired by the market for Traditional Chinese Medicinal (TCM) Herbs. Wild resources are depleted and in rapid decline. Herbs are cropped domestically but these are relatively less desirable by the market.

The aim of this project is to understand the ecophysiology of new crops in order to develop growing systems for quality product, with particular reference to phytochemical components. Such understanding can inform growing systems that might include manipulation of light, soil moisture and fertility via site selection, infrastructure and cultural management. Understanding will be developed by investigating plant photosynthesis, water relations and/or nutrition physiology and informed by cultural manipulations that will produce quality desired by the market. Significant field trials will be established at TIA’s Forthside Research Farm. Quality will be assessed via the phytochemical profile and physical attributes such as form, texture, color and size.

This project will sit within the UTAS ‘Research Hub for Chinese Medicinal Herbs’ and will involve close collaboration with our industry partner W&E Health as well as research partners South West University and Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine.

There are four PhD projects available – each to focus on a different species as a potential new crop.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Dugald Close


Applicants will be considered for a scholarship which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years;
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


The project is open to domestic (Australian 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 Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements and the following additional eligibility criteria specific to this project:

  • Research must be undertaken on a full-time basis
  • 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
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills

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.

Selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Understanding of the general philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicines
  • Skills and experience in horticulture
  • Experience in plant chemistry and analysis
  • Applied statistics

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, Prof Dugald Close, 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 long 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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