A Postgraduate Internship Award is an exciting opportunity not to be missed. If you are an enthusiastic, highly motivated postgraduate student who wants to be exposed to world-class, cutting-edge research technology and knowledge in AgTech and Food Innovation areas, get your application in before the end of May.

Ali Gill has just completed her Postgraduate Internship (PIA) at the APPF’s The Plant Accelerator (TPA) at the University of Adelaide Node. Her project aimed to determine the water use efficiency and drought tolerance of potentially commercially relevant varieties of industrial hemp. Ali used the DroughtSpotter to accurately measure water application and water use of the hemp plants, and coupled this with photosynthetic, water potential and biomass measurements.

“I also used the Smarthouse facility, with the LemnaTec conveyor belt and imaging to create growth curves of the hemp. We also took hyperspectral images to distinguish between male and female plants, as well as to characterise the water stress levels.”

“Bettina, Lidia, Nicky and Fiona guided me a lot during the project. I also received help from many other staff members including Guntur, Paul and Darren. It was a fantastic experience! I learnt so much about plant phenotyping and really enjoyed it. So much so that we’re already planning a second experiment at TPA for later in the year! The top-quality facilities and staff really elevated the research I was able to conduct.”

In Canberra at the ANU Node, Yogesh Chaudhari from the University of Western Sydney used his PIA for his PhD project to determine how sugar sensing regulates C4 photosynthesis and how this regulation differs from C3 photosynthesis. His study involves genetic modification of the sugar signalling pathways in the model C4 plant species Setaria viridis. The highly controlled conditions with digital imaging software technology at APPF played a significant role in speeding up Yogesh’s experiment.

“Using growth chambers at the APPF ANU facility, the transformed S. viridis plants were grown through the next generations to obtain homozygous lines. At the same time, I was also able to perform the phenotypic screening of these plants such as external appearance and gas exchange measurements in order to compare them with wild type plants.”

Yogesh says this work would not have been possible without the workspace, robust expertise and technical support provided by Dr Richard Poire-Lassus and his team at APPF.

“I would like to especially thank Richard for all his help throughout the pandemic and for ensuring my plants survived and seeds were harvested. Without Richard’s support, the project would not have continued.”

Yogesh is currently undertaking detailed phenotypic and molecular analysis of these transformants at WSU to finalise work for his thesis.

This round of Internships is being offered at our Canberra Nodes (CSIRO and ANU) and at the University of Adelaide Node – The Plant Accelerator for postgraduate students with a real interest in plant phenomics research and technology.

Our postgraduate internship awards, in general, comprise:

  • $1,500 maximum towards accommodation, if required
  • $500 maximum towards travel/airfare, if required

Please note COVID 19 restrictions must be observed, including for travel. Please contact APPF staff to discuss arrangements prior to submitting your application.


  • $10,000 maximum toward infrastructure use

Opportunities are multi-disciplinary within several 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 awards involve access to our phenotyping capabilities to undertake collaborative projects and the experience of working as an intern with the APPF team where you’ll learn about experimental design, image analysis and data analysis in plant phenomics.

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

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

For more information and to apply click here.