AUT PhD Scholarship - High Value Nutrition

Closing date: Open until position is filled
Value of Award: Fees $7500 contributionStipend $27,500 per annum
No. of awards: One
Tenure: The tenure is for two years only, subject to satisfactory progress.

Application Form


The GreenshellTM mussel (GSM) Perna canaliculus is an iconic New Zealand seafood product that is highly valued by consumers in New Zealand and overseas for its unique flavour and visual appeal, and increasingly for its anti-inflammatory properties.  This project aims to develop a new GSM product supplemented with Fucoidan, a sulphated polysaccharide extracted from Undaria pinnatifida that contains bioactive compounds that have the potential to confer metabolic health benefits.    Undaria pinnatifida – otherwise known as Wakame - is a species of kelp that is native to Japan and forms a core part of the Japanese diet.  In New Zealand Undaria pinnatifida is classified as an ‘unwanted organism’ under the Biosecurity Act 1993 and as a pest in many regional pest management strategies due to its ability to grow invasively on any hard surface, including GSM mussel lines.  

In this project we will develop a new GSM-Fucoidan food product and scientifically validate its health benefits relating to anti-inflammatory properties, immune stimulation and glycaemic control in people with pre-diabetes or experiencing joint pain by conducting a clinical study in a Chinese population resident to New Zealand.  China is a major export market for GSM and the results from this study will provide the evidence needed to differentiate the product in the crowded Chinese market based on its established health benefits.  This project seeks to further elevate the status of GSM as a high-value food product for export and to support the development of a new Fucoidan industry in New Zealand by transforming what is currently a waste product into a high-value food with health benefits.    The project is delivered in partnership with Beyond Capital MedTech Management Ltd, who have co-funded the research and will produce the functional food product needed for the clinical study.  The research team is led by Professor Jun Lu and consists of a biomedical scientist, a clinical endocrinologist, a biostatistician, a physiotherapist, a rehabilitation health specialist from Auckland University of Technology and the University of Auckland, and an overseas food science expert from National University of Singapore.   Results are expected to be published by mid-2022.

Selection criteria:

  • 1. Applicants must be residing (located) in New Zealand at the date of application. 2. The successful candidate will demonstrate enthusiasm and have an outstanding academic record and be prepared to conduct the doctoral study in Auckland, New Zealand.   3. High proficiency in English is essential. Applicants who have completed tertiary and/or postgraduate education in English will be prioritised.   4. Knowledge in the areas of biochemistry, biomedical science, human physiology, chemistry, and clinical trial would be an advantage.  

General Information:

How do students apply?
Applicants must complete the AUT PhD Scholarship application online.  It is not possible to submit incomplete scholarship applications through the online application process. In order for the application to be submitted applicants must complete all sections and request the required support statements. Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the selection panel. The following will need to be uploaded and submitted with the on-line Application Form:   1. A cover letter describing your research experience and your interest in this project   2. Curriculum vitae including the names and contact details of two referees. 3. Reports from two academic referees must be sent directly and confidentially to the Scholarships Office. Reference statements: Two academic reference statements are required.  Applicants must not submit referee’s reports directly; nominated referees will be sent a request directly from the On-line application system. Please advise your referees that they will be receiving an email requesting a reference statement. Applicants can submit the application without referees’ statements. However, the application will be considered ineligible and will not be released to the selection panel without the required reference statements. 
Application Form

Decision makers
Applications will be considered by the principal investigator of the High Value Nutrition project and will be based on demonstrated strength in the following:   - the applicant’s academic record; - the applicant’s past research experience and publication record (if appropriate);  - the referees’ statements. The Selection panel’s decision will be final.  The scholarship will not be awarded if the selection panel is of the opinion that the applicants are not of sufficient merit; the position may then be re-advertised.  

How and when do students learn of the decision?

What conditions are attached to acceptance of this award?
The scholarship is to be taken up in 2020 with the preference for early October enrolment.

Additional information
The holding of this scholarship is conditional on acceptance into the AUT doctoral programme. Applicants must fulfil all conditions for admission to the Doctoral Programme in AUT University, which can be found on the AUT University website This includes having completed the required academic qualifications for direct entry and meeting the requirements for English language proficiency. Minimum English language requirement for international applicants – IELTS scores of 6.5 overall with 7 in writing and all other bands 6.0 or higher. For information on how to commence your application for admission to the PhD programme, contact the Graduate Research School 

Who else has information about this award?

For guidelines, application forms and more information about this award contact:

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