Genetics of flowering time in chickpea

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Chickpea (Cicer arietinum) is an important grain legume crop and staple food throughout western Asia, northern Africa and the Indian subcontinent, and is a significant export crop for Australia.  The environmental control of phenology (the timing of flowering and related developmental changes) is a key factor underlying chickpea adaptation to different latitudinal, seasonal and climatic environments, both globally and locally. Although the genetic basis for flowering time is increasingly well understood in many crops, including legumes, little is known about the genes and genetic loci that control it in chickpea.

This project sits under the umbrella of a $4.75M UTas-based national pulse phenology program funded by GRDC, which aims to define the genetic basis for phenology adaptation across current and potential future Australian growing regions.  The project will contribute to the genetic dissection and physiological characterization of flowering time control in chickpea, through glasshouse, molecular and computational analyses, focusing in particular on responsiveness to temperature.  It will involve close interaction with the pulse genomics researchers internationally, the Australian pulse breeding and research community. The project is expected to result in fundamental advances in our understanding of an important crop trait, and the development of tools and insights useful for breeding.

The specific aims of the project are:

  • To conduct genome-wide association analyses (GWAS) for flowering and other traits related to reproductive phenology in a global chickpea diversity panel in contrasting controlled environments.
  • To conduct QTL analysis of flowering time in biparental F2 populations, followed by validation and candidate gene evaluation in advanced generations.
  • To use controlled environments to validate variation for flowering time identified in QTL analysis and GWAS

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Jim Weller


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.

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:

  • First class Honours or MSc degree in a relevant discipline such as plant science or genetics
  • Demonstrated ability in the collection, analysis and interpretation of research data
  • Demonstrated knowledge of plant biology and development
  • A proven record of strong written and verbal scientific communication skills

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Research experience in the fields of plant physiology, genetics, molecular biology, bioinformatics
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a research team
  • Motivated interest in plant and crop research

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, A/Prof Jim Weller 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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