Wheat responses to different sources of nitrogen as affected by phosphorus in 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.

Wheat is a major crop produced in the northern grain’s region of eastern Australia. However, wheat yields in this region are often reduced due to an insufficient supply of soil nitrogen. The decline in soil organic matter over time has meant wheat growth has become increasingly reliant on the addition of mineral fertiliser to overcome nutrient deficiencies and maximise yield. However, primary producers have been hesitant to add mineral fertiliser due to increasing costs, which results in greater crop removal of soil nutrients for subsequent crops. The addition of nitrogen and phosphorus has often improved wheat growth, but direct information is limited, and to what extent the crop recovery of fertiliser nitrogen can be improved based on phosphorus management remains unclear.

The overall aim of this project is to understand how wheat growth and recovery of fertiliser nitrogen can be improved by differences in soil phosphorus status and fertiliser phosphorus management. This will involve a dual labelling approach using stable (e.g., N-15) and 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)


Professor Michael Bell

School of Agriculture and Food Sciences

Email: m.bell4@uq.edu.au

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, 2024. 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