HIE: Urban Forest: Testing Tree Performance to Future Hotter and Drier Conditions

Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

Scholarship code: 2019-058

The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) is a research institute within Western Sydney University. HIE has rapidly become a research leader in environmental and ecological research, with a strong reputation for delivering research outcomes of the highest quality. HIE is home to a team of over 50 academic research scientists and more than 60 PhD students, with access to a unique suite of world-class research facilities.

About the project

We are looking for a highly motivated and qualified candidate for a 3-year PhD program of research at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, commencing in 2019. This studentship is part of an exciting research programme established under Hort Innovation’s “Green Cities” initiative (Which Plant Where project), investigating the performance of urban trees under climate change.

This project aims to test fundamental ecological principles to inform the selection of trees in urban areas across Australia. The studentship will explore questions relating to whether trees are adapted to their climate-of-origin and the extent to which climate and traits are good predictors of tree performance in different urban contexts. The PhD research program will focus on a large Urban Forest Experiment established with a wide range of tree species in the hot and dry conditions in Western Sydney (Richmond NSW) – a future climate scenario for much of metropolitan Sydney. The inclusion of a watering treatment will allow evaluation of the extent to which irrigation can alleviate drought and heat stress under field conditions. The applied outcome of the Urban Forest Experiment will be a robust field test of climate suitability for Sydney’s future urban forest.

Applications are open to international candidates as well as Australian or New Zealand citizens or permanent residents of Australia. The position is based at the Hawkesbury campus of Western Sydney University, Richmond, NSW and is in collaboration with the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University. Candidates will work with Western Sydney University’s partners and the horticulture industry to achieve key applied outcomes in plant and soil science.

What does the scholarship provide?

  • Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs, supported by the Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset.
  • International candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs. Those with a strong track record will be eligible for a tuition fee waiver and an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) Single Policy.(opens in a new window)
  • Substantial benefits in terms of additional operational funding for project field work and data collection, and travel and conference attendance.

Eligibility criteria

The successful applicant should:

  • hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following (i) an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree, (ii) coursework Masters with at least 25% research component, (iii) Research Masters degree, or (iv) equivalent overseas qualifications.
  • demonstrate strong academic performance in ecological data analyses with a focus on plant biology.
  • be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level.
  • possess excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • have relevant fieldwork experience, including a driving license.

Experience in the plant physiology, functional traits and/or UAV-spectral analyses will be viewed favourably.

International applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency.(opens in a new window)

How to apply

1. Contact Doctor Paul Rymer (p.rymer@westernsydney.edu.au), Professor Sally Power (s.power@westernsydney.edu.au) or Professor Mark Tjoelker (m.tjoelker@westernsydney.edu.au) to discuss your eligibility, the project requirements and your intention to apply.

2. Review the research scholarships frequently asked questions.(opens in a new window)

3. Submit an online application for admission.(opens in a new window)

4. Complete the project scholarship application form (PDF, 89.74 KB).(opens in a new window)

5. Compile your CV, contact information for two referees and a one-page proposal stating how your research interests align with the project aims.

6. Submit your scholarship application form and any supporting documentation to the Graduate Research School as follows:

  • Use the email subject line: Application_2019_058_HIE
  • Submit to grs.scholarships@westernsydney.edu.au
  • All attached documents must be submitted as PDF.
  • In the body of your email, include your full name, your student ID (if you are a current or previous Western Sydney University student) and the full title of the scholarship.

Applicants who do not submit an online application for admission will not be considered.

Incomplete applications or applications that do not conform to the above requirements will not be considered.

Please contact the Graduate Research School via email at grs.scholarships@westernsydney.edu.au for more information.

Applications close 31 March 2019

*Applications close at 11.59pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT).