£6,000 PhD Scholarship | APPLY NOW £6,000 PhD Scholarship | APPLY NOW

Fungal biosynthesis of compounds for enteric methane mitigation

   Ferrier Research Institute

   Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Thirty-five percent of New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gas emissions are a result of methane production in our grazing sheep and cattle. The reduction of these agricultural methane emissions to meet our obligations under the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Climate Accord is a significant priority of the New Zealand government, with millions of dollars invested into methane mitigation research including improved livestock genetics, vaccines, and methane production inhibitors. New Zealand is at the forefront of research identifying compounds that can be used as inhibitors of enteric methane production, with currently known compounds providing up to 80% reduction in methane production in ruminant animals. Despite the potential of these compounds to reduce methane emissions when used as feed additives, the ability to deliver such compounds to our ten million hectares of dairy, sheep, and beef farms remains a critical challenge. These projects, funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, will make significant advances in providing dual manufacturing methods for natural methane inhibitor compounds - both in a fungal factory system as well as a significant step change in the form of a novel pasture-based delivery system.

We are seeking two enthusiastic PhD students to join the project teams, with one student based primarily at Victoria University of Wellington and one student based primarily at the University of Canterbury. The students will be responsible for performing laboratory-based synthetic biology research, utilizing molecular biology and analytical chemistry techniques to understand and manipulate fungal biosynthetic pathways for the production of statins, bacteriocins, and other compounds for enteric methane mitigation. 

Funding Notes

We are offering a tax-free stipend plus tuition fees for three years. Funding is also available to cover research project consumable costs. Note: the successful candidate will need to apply to enrol at the Victoria University of Wellington or University of Canterbury and must meet university entry criteria. International candidates will also need to meet the English language requirements and, once given an offer of place, arrange for a NZ student visa.


You will have a Master's or an Honour's (first class) degree in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Chemistry, or a related discipline. The ideal candidate will have an interest in and demonstrate understanding of natural products biosynthesis, analytical techniques, molecular biology, and/or fungal genetics, and have the ability to apply this knowledge to create biological systems that support the manufacture of bioactive compounds. Experience that demonstrates research planning as well as experience with preparation and delivery of quality written and oral presentations is advantageous.
Due to current border restrictions and visa processing delays, NZ-based applicants are preferred, but all qualified applicants will be considered. All applicants must fulfil the entry requirements for admission to PhD study at the University of Canterbury/Victoria University of Wellington.
Applications for these positions will be reviewed on a rolling basis. For VUW applications, please apply to our Postgraduate Coordinator Dr Alison Daines ferrierPGC@vuw.ac.nz. For UC applications, please apply to sarah.kessans@canterbury.ac.nz
When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:
* All degree certificates and transcripts (undergraduate AND postgraduate MSc—officially translated into English where necessary)
* Detailed CV
* Details of 2 academic referees
* A statement of your research interests

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