PhD scholarship for managing phytotoxicity of soil-borne herbicide residues in grain cropping systems

Expressions of Interest are being sought from potential PhD students to manage phytotoxicity of soil-borne herbicide residues in grain cropping systems

Murdoch University is a partner of the Cooperative Research Centre for High Performance Soils (Soil CRC), a 10-year, national investment in improving the performance of Australia’s diverse soils (

Herbicides are a critical tool in crop management. They are designed to kill weeds within a defined time fame and then dissipate in soil to negligible phytotoxic activity. Under some circumstances, phytotoxic activity remains in the soil which hampers crop and pasture growth or establishment.

The Soil CRC Project, “Developing knowledge and tools to better manage herbicide residues in soil” aims to predict the factors that affect the residual activity of herbicides in soils. The PhD scholar will develop research expertise on herbicide-soil-crop interactions. Glasshouse experiments will determine soil toxicity thresholds for key crops including wheat, canola, lupin, lentil, chickpea and field peas.

The PhD programme will include laboratory, pot and field experiments, co-located with experiments set up for Soil CRC Projects. The research will involve collaboration with NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) on the ‘bioavailable’ fraction of herbicides in soils, as well as a number of farming groups located in WA, SA and Vic. This work will feed into the development of a predictive model that growers will use to manage the risks of herbicide toxicity from herbicide residues in soils.

The PhD scholar will have opportunities to develop their industry knowledge and relevance, through additional training and networking opportunities associated with the Soil CRC, and will be part of nationwide cohort of Soil CRC postgraduate students. The PhD scholar will also have the opportunity to work with researchers from the NSW DPI, farmer groups and researchers across Australia within the Soil CRC.

Research Environment: Murdoch University is a research-led internationally recognised University, and the researchers here address some of the major challenges of the 21st Century. Murdoch University’s distinctive research agenda informs leaders, nurtures innovative thinkers and inspires problem-solvers who are capable of tackling the most pressing regional and global challenges.

Our world-leading research in food security is applied to some of the most pressing real world challenges of our time, by skilled researchers who perform and deliver in the most highly demanding work environments.

Funding bodyMurdoch University and Cooperative Research Centre for High Performance Soils (Soil CRC)
Study levelPhD
ValueA Full Time Scholarship will carry a stipend of $30,000 per year.
DurationThe scholarship is available from 1 June 2019 for 3 years (with a possible 6 month extension).
RequirementsSelection criteria:
  1. Applicants should already hold an honours degree (First class or 2A) or master’s degree in soil science, crop science or a related field.
  2. Murdoch University and the Soil CRC encourages Australian citizens, and Australian residents or New Zealand citizens to apply but will appoint the most capable candidates regardless of nationality.
Apply by30 June 2019 or until a suitable applicant is appointed.
To applyTo apply, interested candidates should submit:
  1. a detailed CV
  2. a copy of their academic transcript, and
  3. a one-page proposal related to the topic of the scholarship.
Please submit all your application documents to Professor Richard Bell
ContactPlease direct all questions about this scholarship to Professor Richard Bell on 0405131429