Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Associate Professor Ivan Lee

Main Campus
Mawson Lakes

Applications Close
31 Jan 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate or International Candidate

Tuition Fees:
All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. International students who receive a stipend are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
$29,863 p.a. available to domestic and international applicants

About this Project

Apply cutting-edge technology to undertake agronomy research

Seeking to make a difference in the field of agronomy and interested in participating in a multidisciplined response to current challenges? The University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a hands-on project-based PhD within the UniSA STEM Unit.

This project will build upon existing academic literature to analyse wheat root responses to soil constraints and agronomic practices using machine learning and at the same time investigate plant phenotyping.

The project will review wheat root segmentation, length estimation and biomass estimation to develop algorithms to assist with agriculture production and processes including estimation processes.

In collaboration with the Plant Accelerator and the Australian Synchrotron you use the world’s largest x-ray beam to investigate intact soil cores and record root responses to fertilisation and other agronomic practices.

You will be based within the collegial and dynamic the UniSA STEM Unit and benefit from its world-class facilities and resources. Experience you gain using cutting-edge technology and machinery will give you an enviable advantage when looking for employment.  You will work with world-class researchers within the UniSA STEM Unit and the Future Industries Institute, along with building networks with our industry partners. You will learn from leading researchers specialising in environmental, agriculture, plant, mathematics and soil research.

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will develop software and undertake root segmentation, root length estimation, and biomass estimation. Domestic travel for soil column collection and synchrotron imaging may be necessary.

We will train you in synchrotron x-ray imaging, CT reconstruction, image processing, and machine learning. You will be equipped with all the in-demand skills required to thrive in a career in this area. 

There will be opportunities to visit the Plant Accelerator and the Australian Synchrotron and access major research infrastructures throughout this project.

Where you’ll be based

You will be based in the UniSA STEM Unit. We link engineering, mathematics, science, defence, cybersecurity, construction management, environmental science, aviation, information management, information technology, and project management, harnessing the connections across disciplines to bring big ideas to fruition. 

Our researchers deliver technical expertise and advice to industry, government and community groups to make commercially viable and sustainable impacts. The Future Industries Institute, Innovation and Collaboration Centre and Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments all provide consultancy and access to advanced technology. 

We integrate research into our teaching, with students working alongside researchers in first-class facilities. What’s discovered one day is taught the next.  

In an information-rich world, our people think big, combatting problems, testing solutions and making data-driven decisions. Our graduates are entrepreneurs and trailblazers, who design and build the world they want to live in.  

Supervisory Team

Financial Support 

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses.  Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $29,863 per annum is available to eligible applicants. Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants will be eligible to receive an increased stipend rate of $46,653 per annum (2023 rates). A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included. For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information for domestic students or international students.

Eligibility and Selection 

This project is open to application from both domestic and international applicants.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate.

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and to be based at our Mawson Lakes Campus in the north of Adelaide. Note that international students on a student visa will need to study full-time.

Essential Dates 

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer.  Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close on Tuesday, 31 January 2023.

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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