Australian Native Seaweed for Diet Diversification PhD scholarship (UAF)


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Agriculture and Environment, Science and Mathematics
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship
Scholarship value $33,413 per annum tax-free (2019 rate), indexed annually, for three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances.
Scholarship duration 3 years
Opening date 17 July 2019
Closing date 4 August 2019

Scholarship description

The University of Queensland led Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre (ITTC) for Uniquely Australian Foods (IC180100045) aims to transform the native Food and Agribusiness Sector through development of selected crops, foods and ingredients using an Indigenous governance group to oversee the process of converting Traditional Knowledge into Branded Products.  

Native foods represent a major opportunity for premium Australian products in both domestic and export markets, capitalising on consumer interest in the provenance and traditional heritage characteristics of foods.  The outcomes of the Training Centre will include the testing of market opportunities, the development of appropriate social and business models, and the identification of future opportunities for Uniquely Australian Foods.  Economic and quality of life benefits through job creation and benefit sharing arrangements will be secured for Indigenous communities through sustainable business models which will help to Close the Gap, and the development of supply chain partnerships to reduce the risks involved in taking products to market.

This PhD project –focussed on Australian native seaweeds for diet diversification – will form part of the Training Centre as a collaboration between The University of Queensland and Venus Shell Systems (Industry Partner).

The role

There is an opportunity for a highly motivated PhD student to join the QAAFI team within the Training Centre aiming to develop the Australian native food industry. They will work directly with indigenous and non-indigenous enterprises and be involved in the various activities of the Centre. The position will interact with the project collaborators in Australia and may visit collaborating scientists in Canada and Germany.

Research area

Australian native seaweed (macroalgal) and derived products can be a rich source of micro- and macronutrients as well as bioactive compounds. There is a growing demand for seaweed derived extracts, ingredients and food products worldwide. However, there is not much known about the effects of different processing technologies on the nutritional and sensory properties of seaweed and derived products and subsequently potential health benefits.

Research into the nutritional properties of raw/unprocessed food sources and processed food products traditionally involves compositional profiling, but more recently, digestive models mimicking the human gut have been used to better understand the bioaccessibility (release from the food matrix) of food components after consumption and their digestive fate. In addition, fermentation of undigested food/food components using a model for the human large intestine can provide insights into effects of food/food components on the gut microbiome, now recognised as a key mediator of nutritional value and preventative health benefits from a healthy diet.

This PhD project will explore the compositional, nutritional and sensory properties of Australian native seaweed and derived products to assess their potential nutritional value. This will include compositional analysis, bioaccessibility, digestion and fermentation studies focusing on select micro- and macronutrients, vitamins and other bioactive compounds relevant in seaweed/seaweed products. The flavour/sensory properties of the seaweed products will be also assessed. Knowledge from this project will be used to overcome barriers to product formulations and identify new market opportunities and applications for native seaweed.

The PhD student will gain hands-on experience working with the Industry partner and developing commercial seaweed food products and will develop strong skills in food chemistry, sensory science, human physiology and statistical evaluation. The project seeks to develop a strong and capable future leader for the seaweed industry.


To be eligible to apply you must meet the entry requirements for Higher Degrees by Research at UQ, please visit the Graduate School's website.

Applications are closed.

Before you apply

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them before applying.

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow the online application link. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will be given the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Prior to applying, check your eligibility and prepare your documentation.

In the online application, please ensure that you:

  1. select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'
  2. enter in the free-text field ‘UAF06'
  3. list the enrolling unit as Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI)
  4. enter Dr Michael Netzel as your supervisor

You should also contact Dr Michael Netzel ( to discuss your suitability for this scholarship prior to submitting an application.

Selection criteria

Applicants will have a First Class Honours degree or equivalent. Advanced expertise and experience is required in one or more of the following areas: chemistry/food chemistry, biochemistry, biotechnology, nutrition science, chemical engineering, food science, food technology, plant science or related discipline.

A keen interest in the health and nutrition, food product development and/or food processing is highly desirable as well as hands-on operational experience. The successful applicant will have an interest in working outdoors, be able to travel for short periods, and be willing to work with the industry partner in regional New South Wales.

Strong academic performance demonstrated through publication output in high impact peer-reviewed international journals is highly desirable.

Please unsure you include a cover letter in your application, which details how you meet the selection criteria.

Applications are closed.


Dr Heather Smyth
(07) 3443 2469
Applications are closed.

Terms and conditions

Read the policy on UQ Research Scholarships.

A domestic part-time student with carer’s responsibilities, a medical condition or a disability, which prevents them from studying full time may be eligible for scholarship consideration, on a case by case basis.

Applications are closed.