Improving the cotton response to nitrogen and phosphorus in Vertosol soils of the northern grain’s region of eastern Australia

Project opportunity

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Cotton is a major crop grown for fibre production in the northern grain’s region of eastern Australia. In general, there is limited direct information on the response of cotton to the addition of nitrogen and phosphorus, and how fertiliser use efficiency can be improved through agronomic/fertiliser management. There is supporting evidence to suggest that cotton nitrogen uptake increases with the addition of phosphorus fertiliser. However, cotton responses to phosphorus have been variable, which may be due to differences in placement, nutrient availability, and soil moisture.

The overall aim of this project is to understand the cotton response and recovery of fertiliser nitrogen and phosphorus, and how this can be improved by modifying soil phosphorus status and fertiliser phosphorus management. This will involve a dual labelling approach using stable (e.g., N-15) and/or radioactive isotopes (e.g., P-33) to track the fate of nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil-plant system. The successful candidate will gain skills in a broad range of experimental designs, analytical techniques, and research environments. Project outcomes will greatly benefit primary producers, and lead to improved outcomes for agriculture and the environment.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Dr Tim McLaren

School of Agriculture and Food Sciences


Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of agriculture or environmental science would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of agronomy, soil science, or plant nutrition and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of soil chemistry is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 3, 2023. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

If you are an international applicant, you may need to apply much earlier for visa requirements.

How to apply

You apply for this project as part of your PhD program application.

View application process