General News

Help us make research data FAIR

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ANDS, Nectar and RDS have launched a short survey on the FAIR data principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) and would like to ask everybody working with research data to help make it a success. Please take five minutes to fill out the survey and contribute towards making data FAIR.

The survey is suitable for everyone, whether you know a lot about FAIR data or nothing. There are also prizes on offer for participants. For more information and to complete the survey, visit ands.org.au/FAIR.

 

Plant Biology 2018 travel grants for early-career scientists

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ASPB is offering a limited number of $575 travel grants to attend Plant Biology 2018 in Montréal, Canada. This program aims to increase attendance of early-career scientists at the annual meeting by providing travel funds for those in financial need; increasing diversity among Plant Biology attendees is another important goal. Undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and professionals beginning their careers in plant science are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applications are due December 6, 2017. Students and postdocs must include a research abstract, two letters of recommendation, and a statement that expresses why attending Plant Biology 2018 would enhance their career. (Faculty applicants do not need to submit letters of recommendation; however, they are required to indicate current and pending support.) Full details are available at the Travel Grant website.

The award consists of $575 and a partial waiver of the Plant Biology 2018 registration fee for each of the 80 recipients.

Applications are due December 6, 2017, so please visit the Travel Grant website promptly to start creating your application packet.

For more information on global plant science events, go to the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility’s events calendar.

CSIRO Postgraduate Scholarships – Agriculture and Food

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Are you passionate about a career in science? Want to access CSIRO’s world-class facilities and staff? Apply for a CSIRO PhD Scholarship now!

CSIRO invites applications for top-up Postgraduate Scholarships in a number of priority topic areas for funding commencing in 2018.

CSIRO’s Postgraduate Scholarship Program provides enhanced opportunities in science and engineering for outstanding graduates enrolling each year at Australian tertiary institutions as full-time postgraduates for research leading to the award of a PhD.  Scholarships are being offered in 46 priority research areas. Students are co-supervised by researchers in an Australian university and CSIRO.

Top up Postgraduate Scholarships are available to postgraduate students who have gained (or expect to gain), first class honours or equivalent in relevant research areas.  They must also expect to receive a Research Training Program (RTP) or equivalent scholarship commencing in the year of the scholarship.

Applications close Tuesday, 31 October 2017 (10.59pm AEDT).

For more information, including how to apply, go to CSIRO.

Applications open for 2018 Science and Innovation Awards

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Grant applications are now open for the 2018 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in agriculture, fisheries and forestry. If you’re 18-35, this is your chance to apply for a grant of up to $22,000 to fund your project on an innovative or emerging scientific issue that will benefit Australia’s primary industries. ​

The awards encourage young scientists, researchers and innovators with original projects that will contribute to the ongoing success and sustainability of Australia’s agricultural, fisheries and forestry industries.

There are eleven industry award categories open for applications, each with a $22,000 grant: cotton; dairy; established, new and emerging rural industries; fisheries and aquaculture; grains; health and biosecurity; meat and livestock; pork; red meat processing; viticulture and oenology and wool.

Visit the 2018 Science and Innovation Awards website for more information.

Applications close 5pm AEST Friday, 13 October 2017.

Need advice? Contact the Science Awards team at Science Awards or phone (02) 6272 2303 / (02) 6272 2260.

The hunt for high salt tolerant barley crops gets closer

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Soil salinity severely impacts crop growth and yield. Within minutes of exposure to salt, cell expansion, leaf expansion, photosynthesis, transpiration and tillering are reduced. When salts accumulate to toxic concentrations in the shoot, especially in older leaves, a secondary inhibition of growth occurs through damage to the plant’s metabolism and ion imbalances. These effects occur weeks to months following salt application.

Plants have evolved numerous mechanisms to detect and respond to the effects of salt stress including a range of signal transduction mechanisms. However, investigating the maintenance of growth under salt stress has been limited by the lack of techniques that allow nondestructive measurements of plant growth through time. The resources and technologies now exist to phenotype many genotypes and identify those with high shoot ion-independent and shoot ion-dependent tolerance under greenhouse conditions.

Barley is one of the more salt-tolerant crops, able to grow in higher concentrations of salt than wheat, rice or maize. However, the growth of barley is still significantly affected by salinity. A better understanding of the genetic variation for salinity tolerance mechanisms within barley cultivars is required for future breeding improvement.

In a study by Stuart Roy and his international collaborators, nondestructive and destructive measurements are used to evaluate the responses of 24 predominately Australian barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) lines at 0, 150 and 250 mM NaCl. Considerable variation for shoot tolerance mechanisms not related to ion toxicity (shoot ion-independent tolerance) was found, with some lines being able to maintain substantial growth rates under salt stress, whereas others stopped growing. Hordeum vulgare spp. spontaneum accessions and barley landraces predominantly had the best shoot ion independent tolerance, although two commercial cultivars, Fathom and Skiff, also had high tolerance. The tolerance of cv. Fathom may be caused by a recent introgression from H. vulgare L. spp. spontaneum.

This study shows that the most salt-tolerant barley lines are those that contain both shoot ion-independent tolerance and the ability to exclude Na+ from the shoot (and thus maintain high K+:Na+ ratios).

Read the full paper, ‘Variation in shoot tolerance mechanisms not related to ion toxicity in barley’, here (Functional Plant Biologyhttps://doi.org/10.1071/FP17049).

To find out how the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility can help facilitate your plant science research visit our website.

Time to think outside the pot… oops, box! Apply for an APPF postgraduate internship award.

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The next round of Postgraduate Internship Awards at the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility (APPF) will close 30 November, 2017.

Internships are offered at the three APPF locations in Adelaide and Canberra for enthusiastic, highly motivated postgraduate students with a real interest in our research and technology. Current postgraduate students in the following areas are encouraged to apply:

  • Agriculture
  • Bioinformatics
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science
  • Genetics
  • Mathematics
  • Plant physiology
  • Science
  • Software engineering
  • Statistics

Interstate? We can help!

We offer postgraduate internship grants which, in general, comprise:

  • $1,500 maximum towards accommodation in Adelaide or Canberra, if required
  • $500 maximum towards travel / airfare, if required

PLUS

  • $10,000 maximum toward infrastructure use!

Multi-disciplinary opportunities

The APPF has identified a number of priority research areas, each reflecting a global challenge and the role that advances in plant biology can play in providing a solution:

  • Tolerance to abiotic stress
  • Improving resource use efficiency in plants
  • Statistics and biometry
  • Application of mechatronic engineering to plant phenotyping
  • Application of image analysis techniques to understanding plant form and function

Students proposing other topics will also be considered.

APPF postgraduate internship grants involve access to the facility’s phenotyping capabilities to undertake collaborative projects and to work as an intern with the APPF team to learn about experimental design, image and data analysis in plant phenomics.

Selection is based on merit. Applications are assessed on the basis of academic record, research experience and appropriateness of the proposed research topic. Interviews may be conducted.

Postgraduate students are encouraged to contact APPF staff prior to submitting their application to discuss possible projects.

For more information and to apply click here.

Bumper funding to enhance national infrastructure and grains research

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Dean of the Waite Mike Keller, GRDC Managing Director Steve Jefferies, and GRDC Chairman John Woods in a greenhouse with DroughtSpotter system at the APPF’s Adelaide node.

 

National infrastructure at the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility’s (APPF) node at the University of Adelaide Waite Precinct will be enhanced as part of a $1.1 million grant announced by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) today.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the funding was another important measure supporting the productivity and profitability of Australia’s grain industries through the development of more drought-resistant crops.

Almost $1 million will be invested at the APPF to build a specialised heat and drought phenotyping facility consisting of two new controlled environment rooms (CERs) fitted with LED lighting and gravimetric watering (DroughtSpotter system), and add further LED lighting in the facility’s greenhouses. The specially fitted CERs are the first of their kind in Australia, and will boost research into improving stress tolerant crops.

GRDC Chairman John Woods said the GRDC Grains R&D Infrastructure Grant was part of $15 million the GRDC Board had agreed to invest in key infrastructure, in a strategy to build national research capacity and to create enduring profitability for grain growers.

A co-contribution from the University of Adelaide supported the GRDC grant which will also add a polytunnel and birdproof enclosure to the Waite Precinct, expanding grains research capabilities.

These investments are expected to improve trait selection and increase trait delivery to breeders, facilitate simultaneous drought and heat experiments, expand bulking and selection capacity, reduce research costs and improve energy use efficiency.

For more information, visit grdc.com.au and the APPF.


What are CERs? CERs enable plants to be grown within precise temperature, light, humidity and other environmental parameters.

What is the DroughtSpotter system? DroughtSpotter is a fully automated gravimetric platform that was made to assess the transpiration dynamics of plants with a precision of up to 1 g. The integrated irrigation units allow precise and reproducible water application for drought stress or related experiments requiring accurate control of water volume to 1 ml.