A plane of soil

Sydney soil scientists receive $5.6 million federal grant

29 April 2022
Large grant to fund soil research over three years

Our researchers have received a $5.6 million grant for 3 projects to improve soil condition and plant productivity as part of the national Soil Science Challenge.

Professor Budiman Minasny inspecting soil

Professor Budiman Minasny

The Soil Science group at Sydney have been awarded 3 out of 11 Soil Science projects, a total of $5.6M.

Sydney researchers received funding for 3 projects to  build a new knowledge base to support practices and improve productivity, profitability and climate resilience for Australian farmers.

The First Project

Led by Professor Budiman Minasny, Professor Edward Holmes, and Professor Alex McBratney, will discover the diversity, function, and impact of Australian soils viruses and their links to soil health and productivity.

Remarkably little has been done on the diversity and composition of the soil virome, even though viruses are the most abundant organisms on earth.
World renowned virologists, Prof. Eddie Holmes

This project will, in a world first, characterise soil virus diversity and functions across Australia and unravel the mechanisms behind coupled soil diversity and microbial biodiversity as affected by land use. The understanding will provide a detailed picture of the role played by soil viruses in promoting and maintaining soil health, carbon storage, nutrient cycling and ultimately food production.

The Second Project

Led by Professor Budiman Minasny, Professor Alex McBratney, Dr Mercedes Roman-Dobardo and Dr Alexandre Wadoux, working with soil scientists at CSIRO, will devise a scalable method to understand how soil in Australia has changed across space and time to facilitate tactical and strategic ecosystem management. Budiman says using a new methodology, we will identify the role of land use, management and climatic processes in driving soil change and forecast the future trend of soil change.

The Third Project

Led by Professor Balwant Singh, Associate Professor Feike Dijkstra and Associate Professor Charles Warren, will explore the interaction of various components in soils to better understand linkages and benefit to soil carbon sequestration.


Professor Minasny says, "These new exciting projects will build new knowledge to ensure our scientific understanding soil is at the forefront to meet current and future existential challenges in environmental stewardship and food security."

A field of soil

Research farms at Sydney Uni

Professor Budiman Minasny

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