Scholarship details

Study levels


Student type

Future students

Study area

Science, technology and engineering and mathematics



What you'll receive

You'll receive:

  • a living allowance of AU$28,597 per annum for three years, indexed annually, to be used to support living costs.

A six-month extension to the scholarship is also possible, subject to approval by QUT.


You must:

  • meet the QUT academic and English language entry requirements for QUT's Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • have a recently completed degree in science
  • preferably have received first-class honours (H1) or equivalent, or a minimum of second-class honours (H2A)
  • be able to study full time.

How to apply

Step 1: Contact the supervisor

Send your CV and a cover letter detailing your interests and motivations for applying for this opportunity to Professor Rob Harding.

Step 2: Apply for our PhD

If you're a suitable applicant, you will be invited to apply for a PhD at QUT. You must be accepted into our PhD program to receive the scholarship.

How to apply for a research degree

You'll need to submit an expression of interest to study a PhD. Indicate your interest in this scholarship by nominating Professor Rob Harding as principal supervisor, and include the name of this scholarship in the financial details section.

Contact Professor Rob Harding for more details.

What happens next?

Applications will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.

Applicants will be assessed against the eligibility criteria for our Doctor of Philosophy.

You must be accepted into QUT’s PhD program to receive this scholarship.


The conditions for retaining the scholarship are set out in the rules of the QUT Postgraduate Research Award (Domestic).

About the scholarship

Bananas are an important crop and a multi-billion dollar industry in Australia, Asia and South America. In Australia, the two most popular cultivars are Cavendish and Lady Finger. However, the banana industry is under threat from Fusarium wilt/Panama disease caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc). The Cavendish banana is susceptible to Foc subtropical race 4 (STR4) and tropical race 4 (TR4), while Lady Finger is susceptible to both STR4 and TR4 as well as Foc race 1 (Foc R1).

This is causing substantial financial loss to the industry. One of the strategies to save the industry is to express resistance genes in stable transgenic plants. However, due to negative public perception against GM crops, the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system is an attractive alternative.

We are seeking applications from highly motivated students to work on our banana biotechnology program to develop resistance to Foc R1 using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tools.

This project has two components:

  1. Initially a plant regeneration system will be developed using single cells, which includes single intact cells, partial protoplasts and full protoplasts in Lady Finger banana.
  2. Once a high frequency regeneration system is established, it will be used for gene manipulation with CRISPR/Cas9 and generation of non-GM edited plants.

The student will use currently available software and our banana genomic resources to:

  • identify at least three candidate genes
  • design sgRNA for the target sequences for successful edits
  • confirm the edited events using molecular techniques.

Glasshouse trials will be conducted to screen the gene-edited plants for resistance against Foc R1.

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