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Portfolios of crop choices and water licences


Under increased climate variability and increased pressure on water resources, agricultural producers face difficult choices in terms of what corps to grow and which water to buy or hold licences for. The choice of the correct water and crop "portfolios" would depend on the biophysical and economic aspects of the different choices. This project would develop a framework to evaluate such choices and develop a range of case studies under changing and variable climate.


Associate Professor Willem Vervoort, Associate Professor Tihomir Ancev.

Research location

School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Program type



This project will deliver important understanding on possible crop and water licence combinations for producers. In particular it will look at the choice between groundwater versus surface water access and different crop characteristics under strong climatic variability and varying economic returns. It subsequently will develop a tool to allow producers to assess these choices and portfolios of choices for their individual situation.
Specifically the project builds on the integration of biophysical modelling with economic theory. The project will be based on biophysical modelling using SWAT.

Additional information

We are seeking a PhD candidate to work on this project in the area of biophysical and economical modelling. The ideal student would have a strong background in scripting languages, mathematics and computer modelling and a good understanding of both economical and biophysical analyses. Scholarships for domestic students are available from the Faculty of Science and the University.
International students would need to apply and obtain an International Postgraduate Award, Endeavour or similar scholarship that covers both University fees and living allowances.

HDR Inherent Requirements
In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2314

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