The quality of life now enjoyed in advanced countries is based on cheap energy and materials from fossil hydrocarbons. As the world population surpasses 7 billion people, the pressure on a finite land area for food and fibre productivity is becoming immense.

Developing nations are determined to escape energy poverty and share this quality of life. Demand is growing exponentially, but supply is finite. Present consumption rates are severely damaging our global environment. This creates the most dangerous environmental and political scenario in human history.

From it grows the greatest scientific challenge ever faced by humanity: the transition to sustainability within a single generation. The urgency of this challenge has swept the consciousness of people around the world within a few years. The transition requires dramatic change in both supply and consumption of energy and materials. The magnitude of the challenge is still being understood and it is redefining the expectation from great research institutions.

Plants are the renewable source of energy and materials on earth. Biotechnology can increase the yield and reliability of supply and the diversity of materials harvested from plants. Sustainability involves the entire production system including inputs (water, fuel, fertiliser) and competing demands (food, fibre, timber and conservation). Economic viability depends on government policy and market factors that determine when and how the real costs of sustainability are paid. Only by combining the best across these areas of expertise can we meet the defining challenge in the available time.

Plant biology

Graduates can find employment in:

  • Australian and overseas universities
  • Research Institutes (both agricultural and medical)
  • Local, national and foreign government agencies such as:
    • State Departments of Agriculture and Environment
    • CSIRO (Australia)
    • US Department of Agriculture
  • Agricultural companies
  • Pharmaceutical and drug manufacturing companies
  • Life science and biotech companies

The University offers students the following study options:

Plant Biology research within the School:

UQ is unequivocally one of the premier plant science education, training and research universities in Australia. UQ obtained the maximum 5 classification in plant biology in the last ranking of the ‘Excellence for Research in Australia Initiative’ (ERA). Plant Science research at UQ is continuously delivering important advances in discovery science and frontier technologies and plant researchers at UQ are collaborating with many of the world’s leading universities. Plant Biology research at UQ is a significant institutional asset and has attracted outstanding levels of extramural cash funding, with $9.2 million dollars in 2010 and a total of $108 million dollars in the last 15 years. The recently created Queensland Alliance for Agricultural and Food Innovation (QAAFI) will provide a new and outstanding capability in Translational Research that will bridge the gap between fundamental research and applied outcomes.

School academics in this field:

Key research collaborators with the School include:


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