Master of Research Elevate Scholarship - CQUniversity and Peanut Company of Australia Partnership (External)

To investigate the production potential of peanuts for dual purpose including the characteristics of the peanut plants physiological system and how different treatments may influence them Peanut biomass provides a high protein feed source for livestock and therefore the opportunity exists to produce peanuts for dual purpose (kernel and fodder). Preliminary studies have shown single biomass removal of fodder during the growing season has had minimal impacts on kernel yield and grade. This project will investigate the opportunity for repeated biomass removal in the peanut crop in northern Australia. The peanut plant production capacity and physiological response will be investigated. The effect of biomass cutting on the distribution of peanut yield and grades will be evaluated. Some basic nutritional values such as protein and fibre are standard markers used in animal feed quality testing. Intrinsically, there are other compounds found in leaf matter as well as the peanut skin, hull, and kernel. These compounds can be biosynthesized due to the plant being under stress in response to environmental conditions such as lack of water, and heat stress, along with other factors including infection by pathogens and infestation by insects. Some of these compounds have functionality in both animal and human health, applying different treatments could cause stress to the peanut plant which can affect both the concentration and activity of these compounds. In some cases, the synthesis of new compounds can also occur. Such compounds could be of a high interest and value to both agricultural industries and medical science. This project will combine both the agronomic assessment of the crop and biochemical assessments of the plant products. As such, the candidate will work in both field and laboratory settings.

Scholarship Value: $30,000 stipend per year (total value of scholarship $72,000 including operational support of $12,000)

Length of Scholarship: 2 years

Number Available: 1

Opening Date: 05 January 2023

Closing Date: 31 January 2023

Study LevelPostgraduate (Research)
Year of StudyFuture; First year
Study RegionRockhampton Queensland
Study ModeOn-campus
Study LoadFull time

The candidate must be prepared to relocate to Rockhampton (Queensland, Australia) for the duration of the award and be eligible for enrollment as a Master of Research candidate at CQUniversity.

Applications are invited from candidates who have, or can demonstrate:
  • A CQUniversity recognised Bachelor and/or Postgraduate qualification in agriculture, biological chemistry or equivalent;
  • Potential in quantitative biochemical sciences research including design, methodological approach and analysis;
  • Ability and willingness to work in field conditions in northern Australia, particularly during summer;
  • Ability to review and critique literature extensively and systematically;
  • Excellent communication skills and able to engage with community organisations and stakeholders;
  • Strong planning and organisational skills, with the ability to work systematically, prioritise tasks and meet deadlines;
  • Well-developed computer skills, including experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, a bibliographic referencing system and statistical software.
  • In addition, previous experience relevant to analytical laboratory related work will be highly desirable but not essential.

Lack of affordable protein feed source is a constraint on herd productivity and turn-off weights, which prevents the northern beef industry from diversifying and accessing higher value meat markets.  Protein rich fodder production could enable the development of finishing operations and processing industries, instrumental for improved breeding herd efficiencies in northern Australia.  Dual purpose peanut cropping has the potential to provide good quality feed for cattle in northern Australia, where obtaining sufficient feed of good quality can be challenging. The use of peanut biomass (above ground) for grazing, collection for silage (cutting and fermented to maintain protein and carbohydrate) or bailing for hay are all viable alternatives as a substitution for traditional feed. The harvested peanuts (underground nuts) can be shelled and graded into different market classes which can be used for human consumption and /or extracted for its oil with byproducts used as cattle feedstock.

Please attach certified copies of any qualifications to your application. If available, examples of your scientific writing (e.g., published scientific articles, research reports, thesis) should also be included in your application.

The application should be submitted by email to Dr Mani Naiker ( no later than close of business on the 31/01/2023. The successful candidate will be required to commence their study as soon as it is feasible. Please contact Dr Mani Naiker for any questions regarding this project. Please include in the application:

  • Your relevant qualifications;
  • A letter of motivation describing your skills and research expertise;
  • A clear response to the selection criteria is essential;
  • Your current resume and a list of any research publications/projects that you have been involved in;
  • A list of three references together with contact information; and
  • If available, examples of your scientific writing (e.g. published scientific articles, research reports, thesis)
Applicants will be notified via email to their nominated email address as soon as the application outcome is available.
CQUniversity and Peanut Company of Australia