An opportunity is available for an energetic PhD student to participate in the Australian Research Council funded Project: Transition from phosphate mining to an economically, environmentally and socially viable agricultural industry on Christmas Island (LP140100690). The student will work under the supervision of Professors Giles Hardy, Jen McComb, Graham O’Hara and John Howieson, in the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences at Murdoch University. Whilst the project is Murdoch-based, travel to Christmas Island will take place on a regular basis.


Domestic students will receive a tax free stipend of $25,849 per annum. Additional funding is available for project costs and conference travel:

  • Length of Scholarship: 3 years
  • Number Available: 1
  • Starting Date: ASAP

A large scope of ecological/ agricultural projects are available, including:

  • Plant Growth Promoting Microorganisms to increase yields in agricultural crops
  • Edible mushroom production
  • Plant nutrition including crops, forest trees, or horticultural crops (e.g. coffee, perfume trees)
  • Plant symbioses (mycorrhiza and root nodule bacteria)
  • Biopertubation: Ecosystem services provided by digging animals
  • Plant pathogens

All of these projects will lead to considerable experience in agriculture, ecology and restoration and involve engaging with national and international experts, local government, industry, and the community. The successful candidate will become part of the Centre for Rhizobium studies at Murdoch University, an internationally renowned research group.


The successful applicant should:

  • demonstrate excellent academic performance related to the research proposed
  • hold qualifications and experience equal to an Australian First Class Bachelor Honours degree, Masters by Research, or equivalent overseas qualifications
  • be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level
  • possess a background in agriculture or ecology.

For more details please contact Prof. John Howieson (, Dr. Graham O’Hara (, or Prof. Giles Hardy (

Further information and applications are available here