• The University of Western Australia (M080), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 2554 Citations
  • 31 h-Index
1976 …2027
If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


William Erskine is Director of the Centre for Plant Genetics and Breeding (PGB) at The University of Western Australia. He was at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Syria as Assistant Director General (Research) from 2001-2007, Leader of the Germplasm Improvement Program (1998-2001), and Lentil Breeder from 1980 for 18 years. Scottish born, William completed a BA (University of Cambridge) in 1973, a MAg in 1976 in Papua New Guinea, and a PhD from Cambridge in 1979.

Roles and responsibilities

On the Editorial Board of the following journals:

• Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge
• Experimental Agriculture
• Food Security

Funding overview

Since coming to UWA I have received grant funding from Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Council of Grain Grower Organisations Ltd (COGGO), Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC), Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), and the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Prior to UWA I was the recipient of research project grants from International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada; BMZ (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) Germany; Overseas Development Agency (ODA) UK; and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), USA.

Previous positions

2001 - 2007 : Assistant Director General (Research) - International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Aleppo, Syria
1998 - 2001 : Program Leader - Germplasm Improvement Program, ICARDA
1980 - 1998 : Lentil Breeder at ICARDA
1973 - 1977 : Tutor with Agriculture Faculty of University of Papua New Guinea


My research interests are broad within the theme of plant breeding for food security - both nationally and internationally. I currently lead the major project in Timor-Leste funded by ACIAR - 'Agricultural Innovations for Communities for intensified and sustainable farming systems in Timor-Leste', and an ACIAR project on crop intensification with salt tolerance wheat and legumes in rice systems in coastal Bangladesh. I am also involved in MLA-funded project on the pre-breeding of the pasture subterranean clover, which includes its recent sequencing.

Research results

National programs had released a total of 99 lentil cultivars in 31 countries from the ICARDA lentil breeding program that I ran for 18 years by the time I left ICARDA.
Lentil technologies from ICARDA have been adopted on hundreds of thousands of hectares globally, recognized, for example, by an award by the Minister of Agriculture in Bangladesh for the impact of ICARDA's lentil research in that country received in February 2005.
The previous ‘Seeds of Life‘ project in Timor-Leste resulted in the release and dissemination of a range of high yielding varieties of the staple food-crops, one or other of which were being grown by 48% of all rural households nationally by the close of the project in 2016. The ‘hungry season’ was shortened in adopting households.

Research student supervision:

Since coming to UWA in 2008 I have supervised 14 MSc and 10 PhD students.
Prior to UWA I supervised 7 PhD and 8 MSc students variously registered at the Universities of Helsinki (Finland), Durham (UK), Göttingen, (Germany), Konya and Çukurova in Turkey, American University of Beirut (Lebanon), Aleppo (Syria), and Jordan.


  • Plant breeding, germplasm evaluation and genetics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where William Erskine is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 61 Similar Profiles
lentils Agriculture & Biology
Lens Plant Medicine & Life Sciences
East Timor Agriculture & Biology
Lens culinaris Agriculture & Biology
genotype Agriculture & Biology
Lupinus Agriculture & Biology
Seeds Medicine & Life Sciences
Syria Agriculture & Biology

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1976 2019

6 Citations (Scopus)

Adapting legume crops to climate change using genomic approaches

Mousavi-Derazmahalleh, M., Bayer, P. E., Hane, J. K., Babu, V., Nguyen, H. T., Nelson, M. N., Erskine, W., Varshney, R. K., Papa, R. & Edwards, D., 30 Jan 2019, In : Plant Cell and Environment. 42, 1, p. 6-19

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
Climate Change
climate change

Aflatoxin levels in maize and peanut and blood in women and children: The case of Timor-Leste

de Almeida, L., Williams, R., Soares, D. M., Nesbitt, H., Wright, G. & Erskine, W., 11 Sep 2019, In : Scientific Reports. 9, 1, 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Zea mays
Growth Disorders
3 Citations (Scopus)

Comparative Reaction of Camelina sativa to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and Leptosphaeria maculans

Purnamasari, M. I., Erskine, W., Croser, J. S., You, M. P. & Barbetti, M. J., 1 Nov 2019, In : Plant Disease. 103, 11, p. 2884-2892 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Camelina sativa
Plenodomus lingam
Sclerotinia sclerotiorum
lesions (plant)


Clover v3 assembly

Dudchenko, O. (Creator), Pham, M. (Creator), Lui, C. (Creator), Bayer, P. (Creator), Erskine, W. (Creator), Aiden, E. L. (Creator), Zenodo, 7 Dec 2017


Clover v2.0 reference assembly and annotation

Kaur, P. (Creator), Bayer, P. (Creator), Milec, Z. (Creator), Vrána, J. (Creator), Yuan, Y. (Creator), Appels, R. (Creator), Edwards, D. (Creator), Batley, J. (Creator), Nichols, P. (Creator), Erskine, W. (Creator), Doležel, J. (Creator), Zenodo, 27 Oct 2016


Projects 2008 2027