PhD opportunities in Science

Make a difference in the world

UWA is furthering scientific understanding with ground breaking research across a range of disciplines. Researchers in Science work collaboratively with other departments, universities and industry in Western Australia and worldwide. Our PhD students have the opportunity to conduct research with supervisors who are recognised experts in their field, have access to state-of-the-art facilities and are encouraged to grow and develop your critical and analytical skills.

Why Science?

Science is about making a difference and it is a great time to be a scientist. As we face the challenges of the twenty-first century, we need to make new discoveries in science and technology to help tackle pressing global problems in health, environment, agriculture and energy. 


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1st in Australia and 16th in the world for Agricultural Sciences (ARWU 2021)

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1st in Australia and 21st in the world for Environmental Science and Engineering (ARWU 2021)

24th in the world for Ecology (ARWU 2019)

22nd in the world for Oceanography (ARWU 2020)

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23rd in the world for Anatomy and Physiology (QS 2020)

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20th in the world for Sports-Related Subjects (QS 2020)

29th in the world for Earth and Marine Science (QS 2020)

Ranked first in Western Australia for Psychology (QS 2020)

The postgraduate community at UWA is a diverse collective of some of the brightest minds from around the world. My experience at UWA has been very positive. The University provides an excellent environment for higher-level academic research and is home to a number of renowned research centres and individuals. Importantly, UWA strives to foster a diverse international research community and provides the opportunity to maintain a healthy balance between study/research and other aspects of life.

Jordan A. McDivitt - PhD student

Browse our projects

Here you can browse a selection of PhD projects across Science with project descriptions, supervisor details, scholarship information and more.

  • Application of machine learning to plant genomics

    The project aims to apply the latest machine learning methods to understand plant genome structure and function.

  • Quantifying ecosystem services of Dung beetles across Australia

    PhD projects are offered as part of a large-scale initiative funded by Meat and Livestock Australia and the Australian Federal Government to quantify dung beetle activity.

  • Escape responses in fiddler crabs

    This UWA research project investigates how fiddler crabs use visual information to assess risk and start their escape from predators.

  • Using no-take marine reserves to study the effects of fishing

    This research project assesses how marine ecosystems can be sustainably managed and will develop novel metrics of the effects of fishing using no-take marine reserves.

  • Fisheries ecology and oceanography to inform management of the western rock lobster

    This UWA research project is proposed to repeat sampling conducted in the region during late 1980's in the region and investigate linkages to rock lobster life-history dynamics and productivity.

  • Choosing to persist: sexual selection and conservation in the wild | UWA | PhD Project

    Sexual selection appears to have solved one of the central questions of evolutionary biology: how living organisms remove deleterious mutations.

  • Ecosystem resilience of Shark Bay under changing ocean climate

    Understanding the ways marine ecosystems respond to changes in climate is critical to the future of our oceans. This UWA project studies the consequences of climate-driven changes in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area.

  • Sexual selection in a complex and changing world

    This UWA project investigates how environmental and ecological factors shape patterns of sexual selection in fish, by studying the range of sexually selected traits and mechanisms exhibited under different ecological, temporal, social and physical conditions.

  • Reproductive and behavioural ecology of guppies

    This UWA research project examines the principles driving sexual selection in guppies.

  • Kelp forests of Australias Great Southern Reef

    Defined by the iconic forests of golden kelp (Ecklonia radiata), the Great Southern Reef (GSR) is an interconnected underwater system fringing more than 8000 km of Australia’s southern coast; from Kalbarri, Western Australia to the NSW/Queensland border.

  • Comparing attractive and competitive males

    This project aims to use evolution experiments to disentangle the conflated aspects of male-male competition and female choice, and determine what effects they have on the genome.

  • Application of machine learning to plant image data

    The project aims to apply the latest machine learning methods to understand plant growth and performance from image data.

  • Social and economic valuation of no-take marine reserves

    This research project aims to demonstrate the social and economic value of establishing no-take marine reserves.

  • Saving seagrass from climate change

    This project will test whether enhancing genetic connectivity in range edge seagrass meadows increases their resilience to climate change.

  • Vocal communication in the cooperatively breeding Western Australian magpie

    This UWA research project investigates the complexity of vocal communications within a group of cooperatively breeding Western Australian magpies.

  • Using strong genotypes to boost resistance and restore threatened kelp forests

    This project will use cutting edge genetic analyses to identify strong genotypes in natural ‘bright spots’ where surviving kelps have resisted or adapted to degraded conditions

  • Modifying Plant Sterol Metabolism to Combat Insect Pests for Crop Protection

    A novel biotechnological approach to protect agricultural crops from insect pests

  • Computational genomics: Understanding the genome

    This UWA research project collects and analyses plant genome data and how these adapt to pests, pathogens and environmental change.

  • Metabolic physiology of dormant and resting seeds

    Little is known of the metabolic rate of seeds of various plant species and how much it is depressed during dormancy. This UWA project will explore the diversity in metabolic rate for a variety of species of plant seeds.

  • Using satellite data to enhance our understanding of fisheries

    This research project integrates data from different research groups to gain a greater understanding of high seas fishing.

  • Understanding sperm-egg interactions in broadcast spawning marine invertebrates

    This UWA project uses quantitative and molecular genetics to understand how egg chemoattractants function, and how the fertilization environment influences sperm egg interactions in broadcast spawning marine invertebrates.

  • Animal patterns and 3D camouflage

    This project integrates behavioural ecology, animal vision and 3D computer imaging to understand whether animal patterning can generate 3D effects that enhance camouflage.

  • The role of sexual selection in the evolution of Australias most diverse mygalomorph spider genus (Aname)

    This project aims to investigate sexual selection in Aname – a remarkably diverse genus of mygalomorph spiders (funnel-webs, tarantulas and their relatives) that has radiated across the Australian continent.

  • Understanding the evolution of plant disease resistance genes for crop improvement

    Climate change will have an, as yet, unknown impact on pathogen populations, with the potential for disease pressure to increase/change, however in this project analysis of gene diversity and evolution provides a valuable resource for the identification of genes for enhanced crop protection.

  • Using big-data science in fisheries and marine conservation

    This research project uses fisheries big-data to address strategic policy questions and national needs of Indian Ocean Rim countries.

  • Going with the flow: population genetic connectivity of coral-associated reef fishes

    This project will explore patterns of dispersal and connectivity in coral-associated fishes along the World Heritage Ningaloo Reef. It will apply cutting-edge genetic sequencing techniques to unravel patterns of genetic connectivity among discrete habitat patches using a spatially nested sampling design that explores both fine- and broad-scale patterns of dispersal across the seascape.

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  • Climate-driven behavioural flexibility in the Pilbara pebble-mound mouse (Western Australia)

    We will study a native mouse that lives in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and provide new information on the limitations, demographic effects and fitness implications of climate-related behavioural responses.

  • Improving seagrass restoration from the ground up

    This project will determine how seagrass-sediment feedbacks can be harnessed to improve success of seagrass restoration.

  • Conservation of WAs marine benthic habitats using environmental genomics

    This project will explore novel methods in environmental genomics for assessing marine health of critical coastal habitat across Western Australia

  • Regulation of insensible evaporative water loss in birds and mammals

    We know that birds and mammals can regulate insensible evaporative water loss, but we do not understand how or why. This UWA project investigates the regulation and control capacity of insensible water loss in Australian birds and marsupials.

  • Data science behind broad-scale animal movement analyses

    The main goal of this project is to develop computer-based algorithms to assist the collation, storage and analyses of marine megafauna movement at global scale

  • Ejaculate-mediated paternal effects in guppies

    This project will explore whether a male’s experiences can be translated to future generations via messages carried in his ejaculate.

  • Securing the future of our groundwater resources in the face of uncertainty

    This project will focus on addressing the trade-off often observed between the demand for drinking water and the need to maintain groundwater-dependent ecosystems, a delicate balance plagued by uncertainty and jeopardized by climate change.

  • Understanding basin-hosted mineral systems using geophysical datasets

    Based on analysis of data from Australia, Europe and North America this research concerns how to best use geophysical methods to detect key components of basin-hosted base-metal mineral systems.

  • A radiometric renaissance: making better use of an under-utilised geophysical-geochemical dataset

    The research concerns how to use radiometric data to map geology and detect mineral deposits.

  • Capturing 3D structural architecture of a mineral system through drill hole data

    Many mineral deposits are structurally controlled and incorporating structural information into 3D geology models is critical to constraining the geometry and volume of the deposit.

  • Process-oriented reconstruction of Proterozoic basin evolution in North Australia

    Sedimentary basins are sensitive recorders of tectonic events and also host resources, including ore-deposits. A better understanding of how basins form is needed to understand past tectonic events and inform models of ore-deposit genesis.

  • Thermal structure and evolution of Proterozoic sedimentary basins in Northern Australia - a numerical study

    This modelling project will study the development of sedimentary basins of Northern Australia and associated mineral systems with complex thermal structure

  • Numerical detrital analysis of sedimentary systems in East Antarctica

    Developing ways to more accurately understand the glacial history of East Antarctica from minerals found in sediments.

  • Data richness and the impact on geospatial data acquisition (apply by August 2022)

    Developing knowledge of the varying distribution and quality of key data across the nation, with applications to improve decision making in several industries.

  • Effect of faults and barriers on groundwater flow and solute transport

    This project will focus on the nature of hydraulic structures within aquifers that can either impede, or act as conduits for groundwater flow, potentially having significant implications for water resources management.

  • 3D geology modelling and inversion

    This UWA research project is part of the Automated 3D Modelling module in the MinEx CRC and the Loop Consortium, an international effort to develop an open source solution to the next generation of 3D modelling tools.

  • Integrated geophysical-geological-petrophysical studies of mineral systems and mineralised terrains

    This project explores how to use geophysical data to detect components of various mineral systems at depth and under cover

  • Mining without digging

    Metals are currently almost exclusively extracted from their ore via physical excavation, making metal mining one of the foremost CO2 emitting activities and mine waste to be the single largest waste form by mass.

  • How did phosphorus control the co-evolution of life and Earth?

    This project will use a novel geochemical tool to reconstruct changes in ocean phosphate during mass extinctions, global ice ages and environmental upheaval. Our goal is to understand how the critical nutrient phosphorus controls feedbacks between life and Earth.

  • Mechanotherapy for cancer patients using novel hydrogels

    This UWA research project aims to encapsulate cancer tissues to prevent them from migrating away while hydrogel materials release anti-cancer drugs.

  • Promoting muscle strengthening exercise among adults with obesity during rapid weight loss

    Drawing on insights from multiple sources (i.e., consumers with obesity; exercise experts; and the scientific literature), this project aims to design, implement and test adherence to muscle strengthening exercise programs among adults with obesity during a severely energy-restricted total meal replacement diet for rapid weight loss.

  • Testosterone and Exercise study

    This UWA research project investigates the effects of testosterone administration and exercise training on cardiovascular health outcomes in men.

  • Technical changes in the tennis serve during match play and training

    This project will evaluate and recommend a scalable technology-led approach to monitoring of service mechanics of elite tennis players

  • The Brain Breaks study

    This UWA research study investigates the effect of exercise and breaks in sitting time on cognitive function in older, overweight/obese adults.

  • A new type of exercise to improve the health of patients with heart failure

    The purpose of this UWA research project is to comprehensively investigate the effectiveness of eccentric exercise training in patients with heart failure using a novel training paradigm.

  • Building strong and healthy young people through exercise

    Broadly, this research program is investigating the impact of evidence-based exercise on improving the physical literacy and in-turn the health outcomes of young people with complex conditions.

  • Mental Health and Exercise Research Group

    Improving the health outcomes of those experiencing mental illness through exercise and physical activity

  • Innate defense regulator peptide for immunomodulation

    We will use a novel preterm sheep model of preterm human infants to evaluate how IDR-1018 alters the ontogeny of immune development, its efficacy in preventing development of late-onset sepsis and its ability to protect different organs in the preterm subject from the sepsis and tissue injury responses that are common in premature infants.

  • Fixing the ailing heart

    This UWA research project seeks to develop therapies to improve heart function in animal models of cardiomyopathy.

  • The Preventia study

    This UWA research project looks at whether manipulation of arterial shear stress enhances cerebrovascular function and cognition in the ageing brain. The project will follow healthy participants over 50 to investigate the benefits of land-based walking and water-based walking on memory and cognition.

  • Investigating the role and formation of sub-nuclear bodies in disease

    This UWA research project investigates the role and formation of sub-nuclear bodies in disease.

  • Stem cell mechanobiology

    This UWA research project focuses on controlling stem cell fate by providing different microenvironments.

  • Behavioural Ecology of Chimpanzees in a Montane Forest in Rwanda

    This project addresses how ecological challenges of a high-altitude environment have prompted evolved or plastic responses in chimpanzee behaviour.

  • Filling the risk factor gap

    This UWA research project looks at the beneficial effects of exercise on vascular function and health, with a focus on blood flow and blood pressure.

  • The biology of circadian and ultradian rhythms in animals

    Over one day, most biological functions fluctuate following circadian (~24 hours) and ultradian (~4 hours) rhythms. You will study the control and the adaptive importance of these rhythms.

  • Improving tennis player on-court movement

    When technology meets tennis, novel ways to assess and improve the movement performance of elite tennis players

  • Protein turnover to measure the role of degradation in the costs of cell function and the acclimation of plants to environments

    This research project considers which protein features are responsible for degradation rates and builds evidence for changing protein turnover.

  • Deciphering chemical signaling processes during plant development

    This UWA research project investigates how plants use chemical signals to control their growth and development in response to different environments.

  • Smoke alarm: Discovering new signalling compounds that operate in plants

    The aims of this UWA research project are to investigate diverse sources of biological material for karrikin-like activity using existing bioassays and develop new bioassays, and characterise them with karrikins to determine their performance .

  • Secondary metabolite biosynthesis

    This UWA research project uses functional genomics to identify gene clusters in the fungal pathogens that may encode secondary metabolites.

  • Unveiling the biosynthesis and biological roles of cryptic metabolites and peptides encoded in fungal genomes

    Fungal genomes encode vast untapped capabilities for biosynthesis of diverse bioactive metabolites and peptides, which serve as a source for drug and agrochemical discovery. Some fungal metabolites are also known to function as virulence factors for plant and animal pathogens.

  • Structure-property relations in molecular crystals

    A large proportion of molecular compounds exist in crystalline form. This project aims to explore structural chemistry of crystals towards designing efficient solid-state forms of drugs and functional materials.

  • Chemical design of new herbicides using structural guidance

    This project involves using information from large-scale docking experiments and chemical synthesis to guide herbicide design.

  • Understanding and controlling defect formation in optoelectronic materials through atomistic simulations

    Computer simulations will be used to identify, explore, control and reduce the generation of dislocations in optoelectronic materials so that we can aid in design of optoelectronic materials.

  • Unravelling the mechanisms of macromolecule trafficking

    This project will unravel the underlying mechanisms of protein import and macromolecule targeting to organelles such as the mitochondria, chloroplast and peroxisomes

  • Applications of NanoSIMS analysis on biological studies

    This UWA research project will develop imaging techniques using novel methodology and biological applications with the state-of-the-art SIMS lab in UWA.

  • Tracking evolution and biosynthesis of cyclic peptide natural products

    This project involves de novo transcriptomics and peptide mass spectrometry to accelerate the discovery of interesting cyclic peptides from plants and other sources.

  • Tackling bacteria head on

    Developing new antimicrobial compounds using organic and medicinal chemistry methodologies to treat serious bacterial infections.

  • Computational antioxidant design

    This research project will provide an innovative basis for the development of new antioxidants to alleviate or circumvent the damage resulting from HOCl-induced oxidative stress.

  • Synthetic biology tools for biosynthesis

    This UWA research project investigates novel molecules from sequenced fungal genomes for application in medicine and agriculture.

  • Preparation of reactive metal complexes and their application as catalysts

    This UWA research project will develop chiral and non-chiral auxiliary ligand systems for metal-based catalysts used in bond-forming transformations.

  • Exploiting natural variation to understand molecular evolution

    This research project aims to understand the molecular events responsible for the evolution of C4 photosynthesis.

  • Developmental functions of oxygen and redox cues in plants

  • The design, synthesis and study of molecular materials for electronics and thermoelectrics

    This project combines synthetic chemistry, scanning –probe microscopy, computation, theory and nanofabrication to design and study molecules demonstrating properties from single molecule conductance and gated transistor-like response to the high Seebeck coefficients necessary to convert waste heat to electric power.

  • Phytochemistry of hybrid Anigozanthos kangaroo paw flowers

    In this project we will uncover the chemistry behind the colourful flowers present in new cultivars of kangaroo paws

  • Validation of a dried milk spot card

    This project aims to simplify sampling and storage of human milk from collection into tubes to be frozen to placing drops of milk on a card.

  • Nickel catalysis in natural product synthesis

    This UWA research project focuses on the discovery and application of new methods for organic synthetic chemistry and exploiting the reactivity of transition metal complexes.

  • Combatting superbugs by cracking their resistance networks

    Through the development of transmissible CRISPRi technologies we will interfere with gene expression of critical resistance determinants, thereby testing novel strategies to disarm Gram positive bacteria and to re-sensitize them to existing antibiotics

  • Engineering an ultra-fast-growing marine bacterium as novel chassis for Synthetic Biology

    Through the construction of state-of-the-art genetic tools, we will exploit the wide substrate spectrum and exceptional metabolic activity of Vibrio natriegens for various applications in Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology.

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  • Structure-based design of new herbicides

    This project involves large-scale docking experiments done in silico that guide ab initio herbicide design that are validated by testing the compounds selected against a model plant, A. thaliana.

  • More than just nutrition - the synergistic effects of the immune components in human milk

    This project aims to explore relationships of immune components with infant growth, health and development.

  • Deciphering organelle transport mechanisms in plants

    This project undertakes a multidisciplinary approach to investigate and identify key transporters involved in regulating mitochondrial biogenesis

  • Proposing a new mechanism of dust formation around carbon-rich stars

    Computer simulations will be used to explore the temperatures required for aggregation of polyaromatic hydrocarbons and through analysis of the structures that are formed we will propose a new mechanism for dust formation in space.

  • Discovering the roles for mitochondrial metabolite transporters in plants

    This UWA research project analyses mutant plant lines, metabolic analysis of responses and transporter studies to define transport protein function.

  • Effects of maternal prebiotic supplementation on breastfeeding, breastmilk composition and infant growth

    Dietary fibre (prebiotics) promote health and well-being via the gut microbiome therefore, maternal supplementation in pregnancy and during breastfeeding may be beneficial for the baby. Prebiotics may change the maternal gut microbiome which then impacts maternal breast milk composition and in turn influences the baby’s growth.

  • Optimisation of a novel class of trypanosomacidal compounds towards new treatments for African Sleeping sickness and Chagas disease

    This medicinal chemistry project is aimed at the discovery of drugs for tropical diseases that affect millions of the world's poorest people, and for which current treatments are inadequate

  • Fortifying human milk with human milk derived components for preterm infants and those with special needs

    Preterm babies require concentrated nutrition as they are unable to consume large volumes of milk. Fortifiers added to human milk are currently bovine- based. This project aims to create a fortifier from human milk

  • Exploiting chemical signals to boost plant performance

    Understanding how plants perceive and respond to changes in their environment is fundamental to improving the performance of crops in the field. This UWA project aims to define the function of the karrikin signalling pathway in plant physiology and establish how it interacts with that of other plant hormones.

  • Tackling carbohydrate processing enzymes head on

    This research project investigates the role of carbohydrate-processing enzymes implicated in human disease, antibiotic resistance and digestion.

  • What are the wheat proteins that define wheat quality, enable disease resistance and tolerate harsh environmental conditions?

    This UWA research project will assess metabolic pathway expression in wheat tissues to develop protein markers for industry.

  • Probing the roles bacteria play in infant health

    This research project investigates the glycoconjugates found in human milk and the role how these bacteria are beneficial to infant health.

  • Genome mining of virulent small molecules in human fungal pathogens

    Using the synthetic biology platforms available in the lab, this UWA research project uses functional genomics to discover new strategies for novel diagnostics and therapeutics.

  • Insect technology - taking a bite out of plastic pollution

    This project will investigate the potential for insect technology to convert plastic waste, with a particular focus on polystyrene, into high value protein products

  • Design and development of novel therapeutics for multidrug resistant bacteria

    This project aims to use a molecular structure-guided approach to identify and optimise high potency inhibitors of a key virulence determining enzyme in bacteria for development into a novel antibiotic.

  • A translational approach to determine how our immune health is under breastfeeding influence

    This research project investigates how breastmilk affects our immune health.

  • Understanding how salinity damages wheat and barley crops

    This research project will build a more complete picture of global protein expression changes in salt-stressed wheat or barley seedling roots.

  • Designing functional molecules and materials with supercomputers

    This research project uses powerful supercomputers to solve problems of chemical structure and mechanisms and for designing better catalysts, drugs and functional materials.

  • Metal complexes with carbon-rich ligands

    A variety of ‘all-carbon’ and ‘carbon-rich’ fragments can be stabilised through coordination to a suitable metal complex, enabling studies of the structure and chemical reactivity of these extraordinary species.

  • Discovering how respiration affects plant development

    This research project uses knockout and overexpressing lines of plant specific complex II subunits to characterise their functions.

  • Genetic analysis of ascorbate and glutathione functions in grapevine

    From studies in annual plants we know that the antioxidants ascorbate and glutathione are immensely important regulators of plant growth and stress response, however we know very little about their function in perennial life cycles.

  • Alexithymia - Assessment and Intervention

    This UWA project looks at the assessment and intervention of Alexithymia, the inability to identify or describe ones emotions.

  • Mindfulness in clinical psychology

    This research project will focus on the effects of mindfulness on emotional processing

  • New tools to improve surgery

    This UWA research project addresses the need for better surgical devices by looking at the technologies available to assist surgeons.

  • Understanding and modifying risk of suicide

    This UWA research project is investigating the trajectories of suicidal ideation and the predictors and results of being in these different groups.

  • Think Learning Think Young

    The primary objective of this research project is to advance our understanding of age-based stereotypes as they apply to the older worker

  • Learning in automated environments

    This UWA research project investigates automation-induced complacency as a consequence of learning in complex work environments.

  • Clustering in episodic memory

    This UWA research project is extending and further testing previously developed theories of clustering in episodic memory.

  • Economics and effectiveness of wetland restoration responses in urban environment

    Wetland degradation in urbanized landscapes has affected the environmental, social, and economic benefits provided by wetlands to society, demanding a range of restoration actions; however, the effectiveness of these restoration actions, from multiple perspectives, remains under studied, limiting optimal policy choice and restoration actions.

  • Agricultural and native vegetation systems in the Wheatbelt

    The West Australian Wheatbelt is an important ecosystem under threat from environmental change. This UWA project investigates how agricultural and native vegetation systems in the Wheatbelt respond to climate change.

  • Understanding the biodiversity of living non-marine thrombolites of Lake Clifton

    There is a significant threat to the ongoing growth and survival of the Lake Clifton thrombolites potentially due to increases in groundwater extraction and altered groundwater flows in addition to increased nutrient inputs from adjacent agricultural and residential properties.

  • Valuing mine site restoration and biodiversity offsets

    This UWA research project investigates the public benefit and value of mine site rehabilitation and biodiversity offsets.

  • Systems of beef production from irrigated fodder production in northern Western Australia

    There is an opportunity to improve the efficiency and sustainability of beef cattle production in northern WA by making use of new opportunities presented by irrigation from groundwater sources and mine dewatering.

  • Harnessing the power of plants for enhanced tailings remediation

    This project will identify which crop and grass species can survive and thrive in the tailings-based soil, and develop a novel ‘vegetation reinvestment’ approach which involves returning plant biomass to the tailings after each growing cycle, thereby enhancing tailings transformation to soil through accumulation of organic matter, nutrients, and improving pH, salinity, and aeration and drainage.

  • Agent-based modelling of land use policy effects

    Combining whole-farm economic modelling and hydrologic models, this UWA project investigates the effects of government policies on land use, farm profitability and environmental outcomes.

  • Exploration of alternative synthetic production platforms for bio-synthetic pathways using microbial cell factories

    Many studies recently estimated that the demand for energy at its current speed is going to escalate 50% by 2030, demonstrating the urgent need for non-conventional, renewable and sustainable energy resources.

  • New microbial inocula and carriers for fast tailings remediation (microbial biotechnology)

    This project will develop additional new microbial inocula and bioremediation technologies to accelerate tailings remediation.

  • Soil quality assessment and hydrogeochemical modelling during tailings remediation

    This project aims to create a high quality soil material from tailings, to remove the need to import soil material during closure of tailings storage facilities.

  • Predicting China's peak carbon emissions and compliance costs

    This UWA research project aims to predict the timing and magnitude of peak emissions and quantifying the environmental compliance costs in China.

  • Characterisation of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, herbicides and novel fertiliser interactions for sustainable agriculture

    This UWA research project investigates how soil microbes contribute to nutrient cycling and the efficiency of fertiliser use.

  • Mechanisms of microbial release of nitrogen and phosphorus for nutrient recovery from waste resources

    This research project will investigate soil microbial mechanisms of nitrogen and phosphorus release from organic soil amendments and fertilisers.

  • Revisiting Mendels peas in the age of genomics

    This UWA research project will generate a gene pool for field peas, as a model for efficient genomic selection in crop plants.

  • DNA Zoo - Understanding evolution

    With the climate emergency exacerbating natural disasters, as evidenced by the Australian wildfires having killed >1 billion animals, we have a very short time to characterize, record and support our unique biodiversity.

  • Restoration of degraded pasture exposed to localised salinity and erosion

    This research project will investigate implementing novel regenerative agriculture practices during the restoration of degraded pasture exposed to localised salinity and erosion.

  • Spatial complexities in modelling marine and coastal habitat

    Develop and apply a suite of tools and methods to improve monitoring and current understanding of ecological and physical processes in coastal environments of Western Australia. It will assess the impact of tropicalisation, and heat waves on primary productivity how these relate to areas of change and vulnerability.

  • Using urban waste to store carbon in farm soils

    This project will investigate how to engineer urban waste, particularly biosolids, into a soil amendment with ratios of key nutrients that will enhance microbial transformation of organic matter into stable, stored carbon forms

  • Investigating adoption methodologies and marketing principles to accelerate sheep reproduction best practice

    This project aims to contribute data on relevant adoption pathways and marketing principles to inform the development of an extension methodology that will drive implementation of best practice sheep reproduction to 2000 producers across Australia.

  • Environmental stress as a threatening process for the western ringtail possum

    This UWA research project investigates whether a stressful environment affects western ringtail possum reproduction.

  • Estimating the values of nature’s contributions to people (ecosystem services) of urban forests and parks

    Urban forests and parks provide a range of ecosystem service benefits to society but their values are not fully understood from a holistic perspective to make informed policy decisions on developing and managing urban forests and parks.

  • Biomarkers of positive animal welfare state

    The viability of the animal production industries is dependent on their ability to demonstrate to the broader community that the welfare of production animals is being rigorously assessed using indicators that reflect the animals’ positive experience.

  • Improving decision making for crop pest biosecurity

    This UWA research project investigates ways of controlling the biosecurity risk to crop production by pests and disease without using environmentally damaging pesticides.

  • Development of novel methods for measurement and monitoring of blue carbon

    It is estimated that Australian coastal ecosystems make up ~11% of global Blue Carbon reserves. This project will develop a comprehensive spatial inventory and spatial variance of above ground biomass and standing carbon estimates for coastal mangrove, seagrass or saltmarsh systems.

  • Implications of virtual herding for cattle management

    Cattle in the rangelands are roaming over vast lands, making it difficult to manage them using a classical farm setup, so alternative approaches are being sought and investigated.

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  • Gene editing for climate smart crops

    The United Nations continues to raise the alarm on climate change. The UN’s International Panel on Climate Change released their latest report, this time focusing on agriculture’s impact on the environment and the need to make the most use out of our current farmlands to prevent further damage.

  • Investigating the hydrology of the Fitzroy River to protect the iconic sawfish

    Climate change and agricultural projects within the Kimberley threaten the river habitat of the iconic largetooth sawfish. This project examines these threats to the Fitzroy River, to protect the largetooth sawfish.

  • Subterranean clover genomic resources: Building a comprehensive platform for molecular breeding

    This UWA research project seeks to develop a comprehensive pre-breeding research and development plan for annual legumes.

  • The biology of circadian and ultradian rhythms in animals

    Over one day, most biological functions fluctuate following circadian (~24 hours) and ultradian (~4 hours) rhythms. You will study the control and the adaptive importance of these rhythms.

  • Water flow fast and slow during tailings remediation

    This project will evaluate the effects of microbial and plant biotechnologies on the physical properties of tailings at field scale to better characterise water flow and movement, and then use this to optimise remediation processes and inform improved geochemical models to predict remediation outcomes.

  • Role of soil microorganisms

    This research project will investigate the roles of soil organisms in nutrient cycling in horticultural and agricultural production systems.

  • The economics of recreational fishing management

    This UWA research project uses recreational fishing data to develop models that identify the determinants of anglers’ site choice and their values to provide useful information for resource managers and others concerned about how fish stocks are managed.

  • Optimising industrial hemp as a new fiber crop in evolving agriculture in Australia

    Industrial hemp, or iHemp, is increasingly gaining attention as a potential fiber crop in Australia. This UWA project investigates the effects of iHemp on subsequent crop productivity.

  • Productivity and efficiency analysis

    This UWA research project investigates relative performance and productivity change in the agricultural, manufacturing and service industries.

  • Rope bridges to restore gene flow and reduce road fatalities of western ringtail possums

    This UWA research project is investigating the success of rope bridges over Caves Road for reducing road fatalities of western ringtail possums.

Featured projects

Stipend scholarships

Some PhD projects will support students with stipend scholarships, see projects below for further details.

How to apply

Step 1 - Find a supervisor

Domestic students (including New Zealand citizens)

International students

This form is for international students wishing to undertake postgraduate research in the Faculty of Science only. It is not an application for admission to a course at The University of Western Australia. The enquiry form helps us identify an appropriate supervisor for your application to undertake a higher degree by research (HDR).

Our HDR Enquiries Officer will work with researchers across the Faculty of Science, using the information you provide, to identify the most suitable potential supervisor.

Contact if you need help completing the form.

The process will be quicker if you have the following documents ready (where applicable to your current and prior studies):

  • a brief statement of your proposed area of study (maximum 250 words)
  • all academic transcripts and certificates
  • a PDF copy of your thesis, if available
  • a list of your journal publications
  • proof that you satisfy English Language Competence requirements
  • a copy of the photo page of your passport
  • your Curriculum Vitae

Interested in engineering, medicine, or business research? To find a supervisor outside the Faculty of Science, visit the list of graduate research coordinators for all faculties across the University.

Complete the form

Step 2 - Submit application

Non-scholarship applications

Submit an application to the HDR support team. Your application should include:

  • A completed research application form (see below)
  • All certified documents as listed on the application form
  • A brief outline (250 words max) of your proposed research project

Application form 


Scholarship applications

Submit an application via the online form on the Scholarships website.


Domestic students

All domestic students may apply for Research Training Program and  University Postgraduate Awards (UPA) scholarships.

Indigenous students

Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for Indigenous Postgraduate Research Supplementary Scholarships.

International students

A range of scholarships are available from international organisations and governments.

In addition, all international students may apply for International Research Training Program scholarships. 

The China Scholarship Council (CSC) and The University of Western Australia (UWA) are offering postgraduate research scholarships each year to students from the People's Republic of China who intend to undertake a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at UWA.

Prestigious postgraduate research scholarships

Prestigious postgraduate research scholarships support graduate research training by enabling students of exceptional research promise to undertake higher degrees by research at the University.

Joint PhD Program with Nagoya University


Welcoming our Science PhD cohort for 2018

Contact HDR support

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