GRDC Research Scholarship

A Grains Research Scholarship (GRS) supports PhD candidates in delivering innovative research that addresses constraints or builds opportunities for Australian grain growers to help improve their farm business sustainability and profitability.

The three-year scholarship, worth over $35,000 per year, provides high-achieving students with the financial and industry support to complete their PhD in an area aligned with our RD&E Plan 2023-28.

The GRS program is an important component of GRDC’s investment in developing researcher capacity and ability to ensure we have the best researchers with the skills and expertise working on problems or opportunities relevant to the grains industry.

A GRS is primarily a top-up scholarship for students already receiving a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or equivalent.

If you don't have an RTP or equivalent scholarship but excel at what you do and your PhD topic addresses grains industry problems or opportunities, we still encourage you to apply.  GRDC will consider areas where research capacity is lacking and needs to be built.

However, you must demonstrate exceptional ability and potential to positively impact the Australian grains industry.

This year, we would love to see applications aligned with the following focus areas of our RD&E Plan 2023-28:

  • Optimise crop nutrition and improve soils (Harness existing potential)
  • Step-changes in soil and water productivity (Reach new frontiers)
  • Lower post farm gate costs (Grow markets and capture value)
  • Sustainable, responsible production systems (Thrive for future generations)
  • Support communities and social licence (Thrive for future generations).

Our research partners deliver world-class R&D for Australian grain growers and the broader Australian community. We’re looking for applicants whose contributions continue this legacy of innovation.


Please read all information before applying, we strongly recommend you have a good understanding of GRDC’s RD&E priorities and consider future trends affecting the Australian grains industry.

Applications must be submitted via the Grains Investment Portal by 5pm AEDT Monday 16 October 2023.

All applications must address the eligibility and evaluation criteria. Please attach documents e.g. referee reports, BEFORE submitting the application.

Applicants need to read the GRDC Research Scholarship Agreement prior to applying. We require applicants to identify in their application, any clauses they may not comply with.  This should be done in consultation with an applicant's research institution and any concerns highlighted in the contract compliance statement of the application.

Please also identify in the contract compliance statement, any intellectual property (IP) that has been created from the research if you have started your PhD.

While GRDC will not own any IP created during the scholarship agreement, we do request a non-exclusive right to use IP for internal purposes.  Please refer to Clause 6. of the scholarship agreement for details.

Key dates

  • Friday 1 September 2023 - Applications open
  • 5pm AEDT Monday 9 October 2023 - Deadline for submission of enquiries
  • 5pm AEDT Monday 16 October 2023 - Applications close.

Conditions for Participation

The applicant must be the student undertaking the PhD, a supervisor cannot apply on behalf of a student.

  1. The applicant must be admitted into full-time PhD study. Please include the PhD start date, applicants who have already commenced their PhD may apply.
  2. The applicant must submit at least two referee reports on the GRDC template, including from the proposed principal supervisor.
  3. The applicant must identify their PhD topic's Pillar and Focus Area alignment from GRDC’s RD&E Plan 2023-28.
  4. The applicant is awarded a Research Training Programs (RTP) scholarship or equivalent. International students must be awarded a university tuition fee waiver and living allowance.

Applicants need to show proof of scholarship.  If the outcome of their RTP application or equivalent is unknown at the time of application, successful applicants will be asked to confirm they have been awarded an RTP or equivalent prior to contracting.

Applicants who do not currently meet this criterion must demonstrate exceptional ability in their chosen field and how their PhD topic addresses grains industry problems or opportunities.

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Technical: The extent to which the application meets the Technical Requirements.
    1. Proposed Research Topic: In 500 words or less, describe the research project that would be undertaken if this application was successful.  We strongly urge applicants to consider our priority areas of research and indicate how the PhD research aligns with our RD&E Plan (weighting 35%).
    2. Industry Impact: In 300 words or less, demonstrate how your PhD will impact the Australian grains industry and contribute to grower profitability. For example, define the path to market, or how the research outputs will be taken up by industry to progress research or technology (weighting 35%).
    3. Student academic record and research ability: Attach a copy of your most recent academic record. In 250 words or less, explain why you should be awarded a GRDC Research Scholarship (weighting 30%).
  2. Risk: Risks inherent in the application. For example, the degree of compliance with the Draft Contract (provide feedback from your research institution on the proposed contract), and any actual or perceived conflict of interest.

Scholarship value

The GRS is primarily a top-up scholarship.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3









Travel up to*




*Scholars receive up to $5,550 for travel to attend conferences, workshops or skills development over life of scholarship.

Relevant documents


Please contact K’trie Coster - [email protected]

Questions and Answers

Part 1

Part 2