Diffuse to Confuse

Diffuse to Confuse - a novel approach to soil-borne disease management

Degree type


Closing date

10 October 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Powdery scab is a major threat to productivity and profitability of the global potato industries. The disease is particularly prevalent and problematic in Tasmania where our research group are world leaders in studies associated with this disease. The responsible pathogen persists in soil as dormant resting spores germinating in presence of exudates from potato roots. We discovered specific chemical triggers that stimulate resting spore germination and that subsequently attract released zoospores to roots by chemotaxis. Released zoospores need to efficiently find and bind to a host root (within hours) for infection to progress.

This project supports work toward the development of a non-fungicidal soil treatment at planting that confounds soil chemical signals and thus interrupts zoospore taxis and root location. In this research we will investigate mechanisms of action and optimal treatments and formulations to achieve the management of soil-borne inoculum and prevent root infection.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Calum Wilson


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • 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.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applications are open to both Domestic and International applicants
  • Applicants must have been awarded a first-class Honours degree, Masters degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in plant pathology, botany, microbiology or a related discipline
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

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 must have advanced written and oral communication skills
    Applicants must be able to work effectively both independently
  • and as part of a research team

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in field based R&D will be desirable

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, Prof Calum Wilson to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. 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.

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