Grains R&D Postgraduate Scholarships and Development Program

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

The Boosting Grains Research and Development Project  aims to re-energise and build a lasting regionally based research and development (R&D) capability to boost the productivity and international competitiveness of Western Australian grain growing businesses.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, through the Boosting Grains project will establish and fund the Grains R&D Postgraduate Development Program. A key aspect of this program will be to build and maintain research capacity through a skilled cohort of regionally based scientists to drive the effective delivery of R&D outcomes to benefit the grains industry and WA economy.

Priority will be given to WA students and universities and those who possess a strong academic capability in the relevant science areas.

Other Australian and overseas universities may be considered to fill science or expertise gaps unavailable in WA, ideally via a local university linkage to further grow relevant WA academic capability.

Appropriate academic supervision in the relevant discipline area will be required from the participating university.

Students will be required to have linkages to the Department through a co-supervisor and/or a technical research expert.

Research proposals should address one of the key research areas.

  • Crop nutrition
  • Crop protection (weeds, pests and diseases)
  • Digital / precision agriculture
  • Genetic improvement and field phenotyping
  • Grain product integrity / traceability
  • Soil management
  • Systems agronomy
  • Agricultural economics

Collaboration and/or linkages with major research initiatives such as the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI, based at University of Western Australia); the Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM, based at Curtin University) and plant breeding activities within WA, are encouraged but not essential.

All projects will be required to have a significant field-based research component. Work place integration is encouraged at the Department and work stations can be provided at Department facilities (metropolitan and regional locations) to assist you in your study.

It is encouraged that prospective applicants contact Alex Douglas or Michael Francki (contact details below) to discuss postgraduate program/research opportunities prior to completing the on-line application form.

Scholarships are available for four (4) years and are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, the topic of the proposed research program and the likelihood of the applicant’s on-going involvement with the grains industry. Priority will be given to applicants that secure a base scholarship such as a Research Training Program (RTP) or equivalent, that is, a University Scholarship. However, a Grains R&D Scholarship (Grains RDS) may still be considered if the applicant is unsuccessful in obtaining a base scholarship but demonstrates a strong research project aligned to a key research area in the Department.

Scholarship funding

  • Applicants who have obtained a university studentship or similar (RTP) will receive a top-up to a total of $45 000 per annum (p.a.)
  • There will be further consideration of a scholarship if the base scholarship is unsuccessful but demonstrates a strong research proposal.
  • A stipend of $25 000 p.a. will be available for students without an APA.
  • Students will be supported with project operating costs up to $20 000 p.a. to cover research project costs and enable regional and field based trial work.
  • Conference Travel Allowance of $5000 will be available over the life of the study period.
  • Additional skills development assistance of $2500 is available over the life of the studies.

Funding breakdown

  $ Years 1-3 p.a $ Years 1-3 p.a $ year 4 $ year 4
Funding component RTP student non RTP student RTP student Non RTP student
Scholarship 17 000 25 000 45 000 25 000
Operational funding for student projects (up to) 20 000 20 000 20 000 20 000
Conference travel 500 500 3500 3500
Additional training 500 500 1000 1000
Total 38 000 46 000 69 500 49 500

Workplace based support

Beyond the provision of a competitive student stipend, the Department will provide a range of support mechanisms including:

  • suitably qualified co-supervisors and/or mentors
  • access to the Department's grainbelt field research facilities and infrastructure
  • opportunities for internships and active embedment in its work programs
  • development of field experimentation and research techniques
  • introduction to scientific and private sector linkagesnetworks and potential internships
  • top-up funds for project operational costs and travel.

To further enhance the industry-ready skills of students, support may be provided in one or more of the following areas:

  • Project management
  • Public-private partnering practices
  • Intellectual property management and commercialisation

The application closing date for full time study is 5pm WST, 31 October 2018.


To be eligible for a Grains R&D Postgraduate Scholarship:

  • The candidate must be an Australia citizen or permanent resident
  • The candidate must undertake full time postgraduate study
  • The candidate must receive acceptance at a recognised research institution
  • Priority will be given to candidates that gain a Research Training Program or an equivalent base scholarship through a host university. A Grains RDS may still be considered if the applicant is unsuccessful in obtaining a base scholarship but demonstrates a strong research project aligned to a key research area in the Department.

Selection criteria

The main criteria used in selecting successful applicants include:

  • Expectation of first or high second class honours
  • A strong academic record as demonstrated through academic transcripts
  • Demonstrated research ability of the applicant
  • Quality and relevance of the project to the Western Australian Grains industry needs
  • Scientific credibility of the supervisor and institution in the area being studied
  • Three satisfactory referees reports attached and submitted with the online form
  • Applications will be assessed and rated based on eligibility criteria and quality of application

The Department and partnering university will jointly conduct a rigorous student and project selection process.


Applicants are required to complete the Grains R&D Postgraduate Scholarship Form available on the SmartyGrants website.

Applicants must also arrange for three completed referee reports to be attached to the electronic submission.

Applicants will be advised of the outcome of their application in December 2018.

For further information on the Grains R&D Postgraduate Scholarships please contact:


Page last updated: Monday, 28 March 2022 - 2:16pm