Professor William Erskine has spent much of his life carrying out agricultural research in regions marred by conflict, where his work is crucial to the process of rebuilding the lives – and livelihoods – of those affected by the ravages of war.
After spending 27 years in Syria, running programs in Iraq and Afghanistan for the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), Professor Erskine came to UWA in 2008 as Director of the Centre for Plant Breeding and Genetics, where his role is to coordinate Australia’s involvement in the Seeds of Life program in Timor-Leste.
The Seeds of Life project aims to improve food security in Timor-Leste by ensuring farmers have access to genetically-superior (but not genetically-modified) seeds, leading to an increased crop yield – sometimes by as much as 120%. The project is a collaboration between the Timor-Leste Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, AusAID and UWA.
UWA is a science-focused university. More than 50% of our undergraduates and over 40% of our postgraduate students study the sciences.
We are ranked 1st in Australia for Life and Agricultural Sciences.
From Astronomy to Zoology, UWA is a multidisciplinary melting pot of expertise and research capabilities.
Many other major research projects across the Faculty are making a difference to people’s lives.
UWA is very much ‘in the zone’, meaning we’re ideally situated within the Asian time zone that’s home to 60% of the global population and many of the world’s emerging economic powerhouses. It’s a region that’s playing an increasingly influential role in international business, innovation and industry, and we’re at the heart of it. Find out more about why being ‘in the zone’ is so important
We are also located close to an international biodiversity hotspot in Australia’s South West – an area of 300,000 square kilometres, with 13,500 kilometres of coastline. In addition to 1,500+ plant species and a host of endemic mammals, we also have World Heritage-listed Shark Bay and Ningaloo Reef – one of the world’s largest fringing reefs – on our doorstep. Read more about our unique environment and some of the myriad research opportunities it presents.
As one of Australia's Group of Eight research-intensive universities, we have an exceptionally strong research culture that’s widely renowned.
UWA is ranked as the top university in Australia for Life and Agricultural Sciences by the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities, (2014). Psychology and Earth and Marine Science are ranked in the world's top 40 institutions (QS World University Rankings by subject). We are ranked 18th in the top 100 most international universities in the world (Times Higher Education).
UWA is one of only two Australian universities to belong to the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) which is a partnership of 18 research-led universities from Europe, North America, South East Asia and Australia. This alliance fosters and encourages collaboration between members, bringing together the experience, equipment and expertise necessary to tackle the big issues currently facing societies, governments, corporations and education.
The Faculty of Science has more than 5000 students and more than 800 staff members, including ten Highly Cited Scientists, three Federation Fellows, six Premiers Fellows, four Australian Laureate Fellows and winners of numerous national and international prestigious science awards, such as:
Find out more about the groundbreaking research being carried out within our schools and centres.
Discover some of our current PhD research projects.
Domestic students, for information on how to apply for a postgraduate research degree, visit the Future Students website.
International students, if you wish to apply for a postgraduate research degree in the Sciences, you will first need to find a supervisor. To assist you in finding a supervisor, we ask you to complete the online enquiry form. For general questions about undertaking a postgraduate research degree in the Sciences, contact HDR Enquiry.
Find out what our postgraduates are researching.