Maternal programming and amino acid nutrition in chickens (AgriFutures Consortium #1)

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.

Program 1 (of 6) of the large Chicken Nutrition, Gut Health and Environment Consortium includes a multi-institutional partnership with the University of Sydney and Massey University in New Zealand, amongst other leading research institutions and industry partners. This research program will deliver solutions to current challenges related to the sustainability of chicken production. In particular, an protein/amino acid (AA) precision feeding system will be developed to decrease the reliance on imported soybean meal.  We will study the influence of the nutritional program in the parental generation (maternal programming) on the progeny (the broiler chicks). Thus, this Program will develop nutritional strategies to improve protein utilisation in meat chickens through maternal programming. Nutritional constraints experienced by the previous generation (breeders), such as a scarcity in available protein in the diet, trigger physiological adaptations that improve the growth rate and feed conversion under low dietary protein of the next generation, the meat chickens. In addition, approximately one-third of the commercial meat chicken life is spent inside the egg, which creates an opportunity to influence the chicken’s development through in ovo nutrition interventions. This Program will test specific AA supplements that target the pre-hatching development of the gastrointestinal tract and associated immune system in chicks. The beneficial effects of supplementing for the early development of gut and immune systems will be enhanced by establishing synergies with early feeding immediately post-hatch. To complement this, Program 1 will also test dietary AAs that are essential to the optimal functioning of commensal gut bacteria.

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 science, veterinary science or equivalent and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of poultry 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