Phosphorus in soils: Increasing agronomic efficiency and food production

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.

Food production is limited on the two-thirds of global soils that are deficient in phosphorus, with long-term cropping reducing these levels even further. This project aims to unravel changes in the concentration, availability and speciation of phosphorus in agricultural soils after use for up to 100 years. Using novel approaches and integrating previously separate research streams, the project is expected to provide an understanding of how agricultural production affects the behaviour of soil phosphorus. Given global phosphorus reserves are the smallest of all essential nutrients, this will enable improved management of soils and the dwindling phosphorus resource, leading to increased productivity required to maintain food sufficiency. Such outcomes would have vital societal and environmental benefits by assisting to sustainably increase food production, improving our ability to feed a growing population, while efficiently managing phosphorus reserves.

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)


Professor Peter Kopittke

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 soil science or environmental chemistry 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