Phd Scholarship - Wheat Quantitative Genetics/Breeding University of Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation Australia

Phd Scholarship - Wheat Quantitative Genetics/Breeding

Job no:507370
Area:Qld Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
Salary (FTE):School Schol (RTP Rate) NONBAND ($27,596.00 - $27,596.00)
Work type:Full Time - Scholarship
Location: St Lucia

The Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation

QAAFI is a unique research institute in Australia as it is a jointly funded initiative of UQ and Agri-Science Queensland and Biosecurity Queensland, part of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF). QAAFI conducts research and development to benefit the food and fibre sector both nationally and internationally.


The Institute’s strengths are reflected in its four research centres – the Centre for Horticultural Science, the Centre for Crop Science, the Centre for Animal Science and the Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences. QAAFI brings together scientists from UQ and DAF to conduct high-end science that delivers higher impact outcomes for industry and the community.


Details of the research interests of the Institute may be accessed on the Institute’s web site at

Research area

The human population is expected to reach nine billion by the year 2050 and will strain global resources. The efficiency of crop breeding must improve to develop resilient varieties that maintain productivity and meet future demands under increasing climatic constrains.


Genomic selection (GS) is a modern animal and plant breeding technology which uses very large genomic data sets to accelerate genetic gains for key traits like yield, disease resistance and drought tolerance.  This PhD project will take genomic selection to the next level.  By developing machine learning and artificial intelligence approaches to identify optimal crosses to rapidly stack genome segments, the PhD student will make a significant contribution to future  breeding of higher yielding, more resilient wheat varieties. 


Under the supervision of Prof Ben Hayes, the co-inventor of genomic selection, (, Drs Kai Voss-Fels and Lee Hickey, the PhD student will develop these new approaches using large-scale commercial data sets from one of the leading Australian wheat breeding companies.  The student will gain experience in working with industry scientists, as well as having the ability to interact with world-leading crop scientists at QAAFI.

The award

There is an opportunity for a highly motivated PhD student to join the QAAFI team working on developing and implementing innovative genomic selection strategies in wheat, one of the most important crops of the world. The student will be based at the University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane. The role requires a strong background in genetics (plants, animals or humans), statistics and/or computer science.


Selection criteria

Applicants will have a First Class Honours degree or equivalent and should be eligible for a Category 1 scholarship or equivalent.  Basic expertise and experience is required in one or more of the following areas: plant, animal or human genetics, plant/animal breeding, quantitative genetics, statistics. Applications from related life science disciplines, like mathematics and/or statistics are strongly encouraged. Expertise in one or more scripting/programming languages like R, Python, C++ and/or experience with Linux is a plus.


Strong academic performance demonstrated through publication output in peer reviewed international journals is highly desirable.


To be eligible to apply, you must also meet the entry requirements for Higher Degrees by Research at UQ. Please visit the Graduate School's website.


Prospective students will be provided with assistance to apply for a scholarship. Domestic students will be expected to apply for an APA or equivalent scholarship, while international students will be expected to apply for UQ scholarships for international students for stipend and tuition support.

The 2019 Research Training Program (RTP) living allowance stipend rate is AUD$27,596 per annum (indexed annually), which is tax-free for three years with two possible extensions of up to 6 months each in approved circumstances (conditions apply).  For further information on this scholarship refer to:

How to apply

Applicants should contact Dr Kai Voss-Fels  ( to discuss the project and their interest in it. All applicants should supply the following documents:

  • Cover letter that addresses how you meet the requirements for participation in the project
  • Detailed academic CV with a focus on past research and laboratory skills and details of two referees
  • Complete tertiary academic records (with grades/GPA scores, and official grading scale details)


Please DO NOT use the Apply button below. 

Advertised: 10 Apr 2019

Applications close: 08 May 2019 (11:55 PM) E. Australia Standard Time

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Bioloxy


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