Carbohydrate and protein precision feeding in chickens (AgriFutures Consortium #2)

Project opportunity

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

This project relates to Program 2 (of 6) of the large AgriFutures Consortium which includes partnerships with the University of Sydney, Massey University and other leading research institutions and Industry partners in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America. Carbohydrates (starch) and proteins are the two major components in chicken feed and provide the energy and components needed for efficient muscle mass development in meat chickens. However, the chicken itself is not the only thing that benefits from feed - the resident commensal bacteria that inhabit the chicken gut, particularly the large intestine, also get energy and nutrients from any feed that is not digested and absorbed by the bird before reaching the large intestine. A healthy bacterial community in the large intestine reduces the chance and severity of pathogenic colonisation by unwanted bacteria such as Salmonella or Campylobacter. Program 2 in the Chicken Nutrition, Gut Health and Environment Consortium will identify feed options for meat chickens that promote the growth of resident bacteria in the large intestine that can limit infection by Salmonella or Campylobacter. However, any feed that is used to achieve this may be at the expense of cost-efficient development of chicken muscle. As such, Program 2 also aims to maximise the efficiency with which meat chickens can convert carbohydrates and protein in feed into the sugars and amino acids that are used to build muscle mass. This will be achieved through laboratory evaluation of designed changes in feed formulation, processing and enzyme addition, to predict digestion rates of both starch and protein. Through these approaches, this Program will identify dietary options that are predicted to maintain weight gain whilst reducing pathogen colonisation and test these predictions in vivo. The feed options identified in Program 2 will be combined with dietary approaches identified from Programs 1, 3 and 4 of the Consortium to define commercially-relevant feeds to achieve the overall consortium goal of identifying sustainable precision feeding for meat chickens.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Professor Eugeni Roura

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation


Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of nutrition, animal or veterinary sciences or equivalent and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of non-ruminant nutrition is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 4, 2024. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

If you are an international applicant, you may need to apply much earlier for visa requirements.

How to apply

You apply for this project as part of your PhD program application.

View application process