Plant growth promoting microbes PhD opportunity

Managing grape and wine quality using plant growth-promoting microbes in soil biofertilisers (UoM)

This project aims to benefit viticulture by delivering a new class of plant growth-promoting microbes (PGPM) as biofertilisers designed to address the challenges of climate change while maintaining grape quality. It is intended to generate new knowledge and valuable intellectual property using PGPM to alter vineyard soil microbial community to manage abiotic and biotic stresses and to enhance quality important metabolites in grapes. This project will contribute to the newly established large ARC Research Hub for Smart Fertilisers (, theme 3 developing biofertiliser, led by Prof Chen. The outcome will help industry to increase climate resilience for Australia’s viticulture and wine industries and increase our research profile and build stronger collaboration with Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU).

This project will be mainly conducted in Australia and in collaboration with SJTU, successful candidate will have a chance to visit SJTU University for up to 12 months in the course of PhD.

Supervisory panel:

Prof Deli Chen,

A/Prof Kate Howell,

Dr Pangzhen Zhang,

More information about the research centre:


  • All students must meet the minimum entry requirements for PhD programs at the University of Melbourne
  • Preferred candidate should have background in plant physiology and/or molecular microbiology and/or analytical chemistry.
  • Preferred skills include 16s rRNA sequencing, qPCR, metabolomics using HPLC-DAD, QToF MS or QQQ MS analysis
  • Relevant publication is highly recommended

Scholarship and benefits

  • Living allowance of $31,200 per year pro rata (2021 full-time study rate)  for up to 3.5 years with funding to support research activities and opportunities to apply for additional funding.
  • Full tuition fee offset for up to four years for students undertaking a doctoral degree.
  • Relocation grant of $2000 for students moving from States or Territories other than Victoria or $3000 for students moving from outside Australia.
  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) Single Membership for international students who require a student visa to study in Australia

How to apply: The first step in the application process is to complete an online expression of interest. Expressions of interest being sought now.

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