Water deficit and phenology in pulses

Examining effects and interactions of water deficit and phenology in pulses

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Phenology, or the timing of developmental changes during the growth cycle, is the single most important trait for crop adaptation. Large yield losses typically occur when critical periods for grain set and filling coincide with environmental stresses, chiefly drought and extreme temperatures in Australia. Photoperiod and temperature are the main drivers of phenology but recent evidence indicates that soil water content can also modulate progress of flowering in grain legume (pulse) crops. For example, both faba bean and chickpea show genotype-dependent effects of soil water content on flowering, and accounting for these can improve prediction and modelling.

This project sits under the umbrella of a $4.75M GRDC-funded national pulse phenology project and will explore the physiological mechanisms that underlie these effects. Specifically, it aims to:

  1. Quantify the effects of water on reproductive phenology chickpea and lentil.
  2. Quantify interactions between water, photoperiod, temperature and genotype.
  3. Explore the physiological and genetic basis for effects of water on pulse phenology.

The candidate will gain skills in field and laboratory phenotyping, crop physiology and genetics.

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 $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:

  • 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 from the following disciplines are encouraged to apply:

  • Crop Physiology
  • Agronomy
  • Plant Biology

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:

  • Ability to undertake regular work outdoors and in remote locations
  • Current drivers license

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Research experience in the fields of crop physiology, agronomy, plant biology
  • Excellent written and verbal scientific communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a research team
  • Quality of academic record

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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