Available Scholarships

HDR scholarships available for domestic and international students interested in applied bioactives research in close collaboration with industry.  As a successful candidate you will benefit from an innovative training programme in technical and transferable professional skills that prepare you for an exciting career in bioactives research and development. You are also expected to spend time (up to 12 months) in placements with industry partners.

You will be part of a diverse multicultural team of students and academics and work closely with industry partners on their bioactives R&D needs. As we are an ARC Training Centre, building the capacity of the future research workforce is core to FAAB activities which means you are expected to participate in professional learning that may or may not directly relate to your research topic but gives you the skills required to succeed in the modern R&D workplace. This includes placements in the industry of no more than 12 months. Domestic students are particularly encouraged to apply.

You may apply for one of the following projects on offer.

Project. High-throughput screening of new bioactive peptides

Bioactive peptides are specific small amino acid fragments capable of causing physiochemical changes in normal body processes. Nature is a rich source for a wide variety of biologically active peptides expressed. Accordingly, it is an excellent first source for peptide discovery and exploration. In this project, peptide libraries from new and unusual natural sources will be screened through an affinity-based and bioactivity selection strategy against specific targets. This project will combine high-throughput screening with mass spectrometry, spectroscopy and chromatography to identify new bioactive peptides for multiple applications (e.g., antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-viral). 

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD student with background in one of the following areas: mass spectrometry, proteomics, protein biochemistry. 

  • Location: Macquarie University, Sydney
  • Contact: Prof. Anwar Sunna (anwar.sunna@mq.edu.au)

Project. Substrates to produce insect meal

The search for alternative and sustainable feed sources for aquaculture production is a major industry concern, making insect-based diets an increasingly attractive option. Bioactives based on fly larvae have been shown to be rich in nutrients with prebiotic and antibiotic effects. However, insect-meal products affect key nutritional qualities (protein and micronutrient content). Another issue is the difficulty in producing standardised batches which is critical for use in commercial aquafeed. In this project, we will evaluate how different waste substrates can be used to optimise the bioactive potential of insect meal for high value species e.g. Barramundi and Yellowtail Kingfish. Using various techniques, the effect of insect meal will be measured on consumer compositions (especially vitamin and mineral content).
We are looking for a student with skills in one or more of the following: biochemistry, entomology and/or aquaculture. The successful candidate will gain experience with nutritional research, entomology and aquaculture practise including both experimentation and data analyses. In addition to building a diverse skill set, as part of an academic-industry collaborative project, students will also have many opportunities to form new collaborations and contribute to applied research.

  • Location: Macquarie University, Sydney
  • Contact: Dr. Fleur Ponton (fleur.ponton@mq.edu.au)

Project. Molecular simulation of bioactives

In this project, molecular dynamics simulations will be used to provide practical guidance into experimental studies of various bioactive systems of relevance to the Centre. Simulations will be used to predict the structures and properties of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. The outcomes of the project will complement parallel experimental programmes in the Center and will provide practical guidance into the next experimental steps to realise the overall goals of the work.

We are looking for candidates with a strong background in physical chemistry and a strong undergraduate degree in Chemistry, Materials Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Molecular Physics or similar, preferably with experience in molecular simulation or computational chemistry.

  • Location: Deakin University, Waurn Ponds campus
  • Contact: Prof. Tiffany Walsh (tiffany.walsh@deakin.edu.au)

How to apply

All applicants should informally contact Professor Alison Rodger (faab@mq.edu.au) and/or the relevant project-specific contacts listed above, to discuss eligibility and project choice before formally applying to the university. Please send your CV and cover-letter to faab@mq.edu.au explaining why you are suitable for the proposed project(s). The closing date for applications has been extended to 30 April 2023.

If successful you will be invited to apply for an MQRes FAAB Scholarship.

Candidates with an MRes or equivalent will enter directly into a 3.5 year PhD programme. Candidates with an Honours degree or who have completed the first year of an MRes programme (or equivalent) will be offered a 1+3 year funding bundle leading to dual MRes and PhD qualifications. The scholarship stipend (not taxable) is $36,161 per annum (2023 RTP rate). Tuition fees for domestic students are covered by the Australian Government's Research Training Program (RTP) tuition fee offset.