PhD Scholarship Part of Agrifutures Mechanisation – Planting and Harvest (Research)

$30,000 stipend per year
3 years
June 19, 2023
September 14, 2023
Sesame is a high value emerging crop in Australia. This crop is traditionally grown, harvested, and processed manually by small-scale overseas producers due to labor-intensive hand-harvesting. With the introduction of indehiscent varieties, sesame can be mechanically harvested, which is crucial for sustainable sesame production in Australia with high productivity. Literature on sesame cropping is limited and is mostly related to traditional dehiscent sesame. The knowledge gap of mechanisation of sesame planting/harvesting/threshing is significant, particularly for broad scale production of sesame in Australia. This project, therefore, aims at developing optimized sesame planting, harvesting and post-harvest operations with current combines to ensure effective and efficient mechanisation of the key processes of operations of sesame. The purpose of this project is to develop optimised planting and harvesting guidelines for sesame production in Australian farming systems. The outcome of the project will deliver practical solutions for the current barriers for the mechanisation of sesame crop in Australia, therefore, will contribute to the commercial opportunities for growing sesame crop in northern Australia.

An applicant will need to hold either a) a Masters degree either by research or with a substantial element (typically one-third) of research work within it, from a university or any other approved institution, or b) a Bachelor degree in an appropriate discipline with first class or second class honours conferred by a university or any other approved institution.


  1. A Masters or Honours degree and have a strong interest in the field of Mechanical or Agricultural Engineering.
  2. Experience in Research and Development in designing and developing mechanical systems.
  3. Good teamwork and collaboration skills.


  1. Experience in machinery development (kinematic, dynamics, and structural analyses) and numerical analysis methods (FEA and DEM).
  2. Agricultural knowledge (planting, harvesting, agricultural equipment).
  3. Good project management skills

 The PhD candidate is expected to be interested in the interdisciplinary area of Mechanical Engineering and Agriculture. It is expected that the candidate will be involved in equipment trials and data collection from agricultural producers and analysing secondary data from multiple sources. This work will be done in parallel to other project work carried out in the field in other themes of the national sesame program. Bundaberg campus is also an option as a base campus for a successful candidate.

Applications must include all necessary supporting documents. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applicants will need to supply the following supporting documentation: 

  1. Cover letter addressing the Selection Criteria
  2. Updated CV
  3. A copy of the Masters or Honours thesis
  4. Contact details of two referees

Please submit your application to Dr Ramadas Narayanan Email:

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an online interview before the final selection in writing via email.