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How can we perform experiments in real landscapes?


This project addresses the fundamental environmental issue of land degradation in Australia.  Current management practices are unsustainable as evidenced by the decline in our soil and water resources.  The project will develop an approach to designing and analysing experiments that allows us to estimate production functions as they vary across a landscape.  The functions will incorporate both economic and environmental concerns.  The approach will enable us to make more informed decisions about how best to manage the environment in both an economically and environmentally sustainable manner.


Associate Professor Thomas Bishop.

Research location

Sydney Institute of Agriculture - Australian Technology Park

Program type



This aim of this project is to develop a new approach for performing experiments in real landscapes, where we have no control over the natural variation.  Rather than seeing natural variation as something to be neutralised when designing and analysing experiments, this project starts from the premise that this natural variation should be managed.  In particular the aims are to:

  • develop new statistical approaches to enable prediction of local treatment effects as they vary across an experimental area. -develop an algorithm for designing experiments based on statistical AND environmental-economic criteria. 
  • illustrate the approach with two case studies; an agricultural and a forestry experiment. The PhD student will gain expertise in advanced statistical methods and undertake field work in regional Australia.

Additional information

The project requires potential students to apply for competitive scholarships.

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.

Want to find out more?

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 1803

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