Pink rot of potato, a reemerging problem

Pink rot of potato – a re-emerging problem – Epidemiology, control and the complexity of interactions with other soil-borne pathogens

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

10 October 2022

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International

About the research project

Pink rot is an important, but understudied global potato disease. In recent years pink rot has re-emerged as one of the most critical impediments to the Australian potato processing industry. Approximately 10% of the current seasons crop is estimated to have been lost to this soilborne fungal pathogen which causes infection late in the season both in-field and in storage. Recent epidemics have been promoted by conducive environmental conditions and the decreasing effectiveness of key fungicides. Epidemics can occur quickly and rapidly but knowledge surrounding what triggers sustained pathogen growth and infection is poorly understood. Certain soil environmental parameters are thought to impact pathogen success. There are also intriguing linkages between occurrence of pink rot and other important potato soil borne disease.

There are major knowledge gaps in our understanding of the epidemiology of this disease; what role do alternative hosts play in pathogen survival? How does the soil environment drive pathogen proliferation and infection events? What are the mechanisms of interaction with other important soil-borne pathogens? How can we use this knowledge to develop novel, sustainable controls?

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

Funding

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.

Eligibility

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

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus
  • Applications are open to Domestic (Australian and NZ) candidates and to International candidates
  • Applications are open to applications from plant pathology, plant molecular biology, plant physiology, microbiology discipline background only
  • English language score must be above minimum entry requirements for this project

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:

  • 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

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Fieldwork and glasshouse trial experience highly desirable

Additional essential selection 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

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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