Incitec Pivot Fertilisers

Incitec Pivot Fertilisers

Project name

Increasing nitrogen use efficiency with micronutrient coatings for urea fertiliser.

Project description

The inefficiency of Nitrogen (N) fertiliser use by crops is a key weakness that if addressed has significant economic and environmental benefits. Recent research has identified that the use of zinc coating on N fertiliser can achieve increased N use efficiency in wheat crops. Experiments under controlled conditions have found that there is a modification in the rate of conversion of urea through to nitrate that is likely to drive this enhanced efficiency. This 4 year PhD project will involve exploring mechanisms for modifying the reactions of N fertilisers in soil for enhanced N use efficiency. It is expected that the starting point will be combinations of N and trace elements in fertilisers tested for the conversion of N forms under controlled conditions in soil incubations.  The assumed N use efficiency effect of fertiliser N with delayed conversion to nitrate will be confirmed using wheat plants in soil pot culture.

Ideal candidate

  • A passion for and experience in real world applications of chemistry with some experience in Soil Science and an awareness of the applications of these disciplines to Agricultural productivity.
  • Must be adaptable, resilient, and a good communicator.
  • An ability to work in an integrated research team (Industry-University-CSIRO) on a multi-disciplinary project.

There will be interstate (Incitec) and international travel (Kansas State University), which the candidate needs to be willing to undertake.


The student would be Waite based, with 60% in University office/labs and 40% in CSIRO office/ labs. There will also be international travel (Kansas State University).


The placement will take place at Geelong, with some field trial work and the possibility of interstate travel.


CSIRO Partner Industry Partner University of Adelaide Partner
Business Unit:
Agriculture and Food
Incitec Pivot Fertilisers
Faculty of Sciences
Research Program:
Integrated Agricultural Systems
  School or Centre:
Agriculture, Food and Wine (Soil Science)
    UofA Supervisor(s):
Dr Ron Smernik and Prof Ganga Hettiarachchi

Application instructions

To apply for the Industry PhD program, you need to apply for Admission and Scholarship using the University of Adelaide’s online application form.

Apply now

The deadline to apply is Wednesday, 31 October 2018.

  • Please review the generic process for submitting an application.
  • In addition you will need to submit an additional information form for each project that you want to apply for.
  • Specific notes on completing the online application form sections “Study Preference” and “Research Interests” are outlined below.

Study preferences

Add a Study Preference
Step 1-4:
Study type: Doctor of Philosophy
Award: Doctor of Philosophy in (relevant study area)
School: As per the Industry project outline
Research Area: Choose from available drop down menu
Study Conditions
Proposed study load: Full Time
Proposed attendance mode: Internal
Proposed start date: Between 1/1/19 and 31/3/19 as agreed with supervisor

Research interests

Please list the titles of the projects for which you wish to apply. For exact titles, please refer back to the Adelaide CSIRO Industry PhD.

Continue completing all other sections of the online application form and upload all required documents.


If you require assistance with the online application process please contact:

Adelaide Graduate Centre Senior Scholarships Officers
Phone: +61 8 8313 3044

For any other enquiries about the CSIRO Industry PhD Program please contact:
HDR Industry Enquiries
Tel: +61 8 8313 9127
Free-call: 1800 061 459