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Interested in joining our research group? 


We have just advertised two three-year postdoc positions. Both positions are aimed towards candidates with a strong publication record, with 3 or more years relevant experience, post-PhD (“Level B”, in Australian terminology). For someone truly exceptional there is possibility to appoint as a “Senior Research Fellow” (Level C). One position is for an experienced field ecologist or physiologist with expertise in photosynthesis. The other is for someone with a flare for data analysis, not necessarily with a plant background (though that would help). Below are the links to the position descriptions on our university website. The closing date for applications is 12th April.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Data Analysis and Modelling (plant functional ecology) – level B/C

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Plant Functional Ecology (field ecophysiologist) – Level B/C



Two 3-year PhD scholarships are available for bright and energetic candidates to join our group. These scholarship are open to Australian or international applicants.  One scholarship (ref. 2018446 here) is for a project that fits within the framework of “plant functional ecology” (see our Welcome and Projects pages to see what that means to us), with the topic to be arrived at through discussion. Depending on the successful candidate’s research strengths the project could involve field-based ecological or physiological studies, glasshouse-based experiments, analyses of trait-environment relationships, theory development – or (ideally) some combination of these approaches. The focus should be on understanding the ecological strategies of species in non-agricultural and non-horticultural settings, and on elucidating broad trends across species, not within single species.  The second scholarship (ref. 2018445 here) is associated with the project, Optimal photosynthetic traits on ecological time-scales. This position will include a substantial fieldwork component, measuring ecophysiological traits in natural vegetation at sites in eastern Australia. Possible topics include (1) The role of soil nutrition in shaping photosynthetic trait variation; and (2) The interplay between plant hydraulic and photosynthetic strategies. Within that framework, the PhD candidate would be expected over time to develop their own research directions. Previous experience in measuring plant physiological properties would be highly regarded.

Essential criteria for both positions include (1) Demonstrated ability to conduct high quality, independent research as part of a completed Masters-level research degree with substantial thesis component. (2) Clear record of academic excellence as an undergraduate. (3) Excellent verbal and written communication skills. (4) Must be able to commence at Macquarie University before 15th December 2018. Experience in writing up previous research for journal publication will be highly regarded.  From people meeting all of these criteria (more details at Rating Scholarship Applicants website) we can invite some number to discuss detailed research possibilities with a view to applying for the scholarships via the Online Application System. Initial inquiries should be directed to Professor Ian Wright (


Postgrads – PhD

I am always keen to recruit good PhD students! PhD opportunities arise from time to time with dedicated scholarships associated with particular grants. Also there are also various government- and university-funded scholarships available each year, both to domestic (Australia) and international students (see information below). Finally, there is also potential for hosting international PhD students who hold an overseas scholarship.

  • Key criteria for all potential students are: (1) Strong academic track record (including research, data analysis & write-up); and (2) Ideas for a potential project.
  • Your research background might be in one or more of plant ecology, ecophysiology, botany or perhaps vegetation modelling.
  • All  PhD students have two supervisors within the university, and very often an external (“adjunct”) supervisor too.
  • All lab members participate in frequent research discussions, and are encouraged to broaden their horizons via collaboration with other researchers both in Australia and elsewhere.


Lots of information about scholarships for postgraduate higher degrees by research (“HDR”) at Macquarie University can be found here and here also. In short, every year there are :

  • Government-funded scholarships such as the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) for domestic candidates and the International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) for international candidates. Applications for APAs usually close in October each year, while applications for IPRS usually close in July or August. This may vary from year to year.
  • Applicants applying for an APA or IPRS may be automatically considered for a Macquarie University Research Training Program Scholarship (MQRTP) in the same round (i.e., with the same closing dates).
  • Co-funded international MQRTP scholarships may be available at any time of year to cotutelle and joint PhD candidates (i.e., for students simultaneously enrolled in PhD programs at Macquarie and at an overseas institution, spending approx. half their time at each). Note: “co-funded” means that scholarship and research support must be available from both universities.
  • Australian Government Endeavour Scholarships can support citizens of the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas to undertake a PhD or Masters (Research) program in Australia. Applications usually open around April each year, for scholarships starting the following calendar year.
  • See here for information about some other international scholarship opportunities that may allow HDR study at an Australian institution.

Please note, competition is intense for all of these opportunities!  E.g., to be competitive for a MQRTP PhD scholarship you would normally have completed a Masters degree with strong research component in a relevant field, obtained high marks as an undergraduate, and (ideally) have either relevant work experience or be a lead- or co-author on an academic publication. Please note, I only sponsor candidature/scholarship applications once we have discussed a potential project.


Postdoctoral opportunities arise from time to time, associated with particular grants. On top of that, I am always keen to support talented early-career researchers to come to Macquarie University as a postdoc, e.g. via a Macquarie Research Fellowship. These “MQRFs” are for candidates up to 3 years post-PhD, and include three years wages plus modest research funding ($50k). Closing dates for Expressions of Interest are normally in June (with Full Proposal due in August). Another possibility is an Australian Research Council DECRA fellowship, for candidates up to 5 years post-PhD. The closing date for the next round is likely to be in March.

Notes: These schemes are very competitive (you definitely need to have a strong CV, including first-author publications). You should allow 1-2 months to prepare a full application. “Time-since-PhD” takes into account career interruptions such as parental leave.

cropped-img_0336cropped.jpg[Wright lab, mid 2014: Ian, Emma, Allyson, Rachael,Saskia, Vincent, Marina]macquarie_university_logo