Pathogen interactions - in the soil

Pathogen interactions - an investigation into positive and negative interactions within the potato soil system

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Multiple soilborne diseases often occur in combinations with one pathogen creating a weakness or entry point in the potato tuber/root for another pathogen to exploit. Evidence indicates that the presence of powdery scab may induce greater propensity to other diseases including nematode damage and/or pink rot. Likewise, the presence of stem canker/rhizoctonia provides entry points for other opportunistic pathogens.

Improved clarification as to what specific pathogens are causing the initial infections or whether rotting organisms are acting in synergy with other pathogens to create more severe disease epidemics would provide greater certainty to industry for managing these soilborne diseases and/or complexes.

Additionally, the interaction of pathogens with newly emerging biological beneficial products requires further independent investigation and represents an area with significant knowledge gaps but increasing industry interest.

This PhD will work within a dedicated potato pathology research team in close collaboration with major international industry partners to seek answers to some of these critical questions and identify novel disease solutions.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Robert Tegg


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 $31,500 per annum (2023 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:

  • The scholarship is open to Australian and New Zealand (domestic) candidates and to International candidates
  • 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
  • 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:

  • Experience with plant pathology, plant molecular biology, plant physiology, microbiology

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Fieldwork and glasshouse trial experience highly 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, Dr Robert Tegg 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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