Adelaide-CSIRO iPhD: Ageing, Dairy intake and Cognitive Health

Applications open
Applications close
25 January 2021
Payment per year
$41,092 tax free
4 years
Adelaide-CSIRO iPhD Program
Postgraduate Research
Australian Citizens
Australian Permanent Residents
New Zealand Citizens
Permanent Humanitarian Visa Holders
Type of Scholarship
Financial Need
Available In
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Available To

The Adelaide-CSIRO iPhD PROGRAM 

Our 4 year Industry PhD Program includes a minimum six month industry placement offering you an enhanced opportunity to work in an industry-defined research area with support and supervision through a partnership between the University of Adelaide, CSIRO, and an Industry Partner.

In addition, you will have the opportunity, along with your supervisory team, to engage in training and professional development activities. By building your abilities, skills, understanding, and encouraging professional growth, the iPhD will prepare you to hit the ground running after completion.

Within this unique program, the University and CSIRO will:

  • administer and support the program
  • provide a $41,092 tax free per annum scholarship
  • provide project research support funds of $10,000 per annum.

Please visit the Adelaide-CSIRO iPhD website for more information on the program itself. 

The exciting project with Fonterra Co-operative Group is described below.

Project Name

Ageing, Dairy intake and Cognitive Health

Project description

The maintenance of cognitive performance and mental health are increasingly becoming important public health priorities across the lifespan. Similarly, poor sleep quality is now recognised as a risk factor for a range of psychological conditions including mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, and perhaps even cognitive decline. Nutritional interventions have significant potential to impact on health outcomes, including cognitive health. Milk and dairy products contain several key nutrients associated with maintenance of cognitive health such as B vitamins, calcium, protein and the milkfat globule membrane (MFGM). The MFGM is a bioactive dairy component that has become widely known for its impact on cognitive function on infants, with increasing interest on benefits to the ageing adult. 

This project will seek to leverage existing longitudinal datasets that have collected information on nutritional intakes alongside cognitive health measures. Modeling of such datasets will elucidate the association between dairy/MFGM intakes and trajectories of cognitive health. Additional activities might also include the PhD student undertaking a range of relevant studies within the CSIRO clinical trials unit incorporating different methodological approaches, including traditional psychometric approaches as well as neuroimaging (e.g., EEG, MRI etc.), to explore different aspects of cognitive health. 

Ideal candidate

The PhD candidate will:

  • display a strong interest in the role of nutrition in supporting healthy cognitive ageing and, more broadly, psychological wellbeing
  • have undergraduate training in a relevant discipline (Psychology, Nutrition, Neuroscience, etc.)
  • demonstrate ability to undertake independent research (e.g. an Honours thesis).
  • have knowledge of statistics and a willingness to learn advanced statistical models for the purpose of analysing longitudinal data (training will be provided)
  • have strong communication skills and experience collecting data, which will be important for undertaking the clinical trial.

Scholarship, Funding and Eligibility

This project is open to domestic students who are currently onshore in Australia. The successful applicant may receive a scholarship of approximately $41,092 tax free per annum. This consists of a University funded Research Training Program Scholarship of $28,092 per annum (2020 rate), alongside a CSIRO scholarship of $13,000 per annum.

In addition, research support funds of $10,000 per annum will be provided for the project as a whole, alongside funding for travel and accommodation during the overseas placement. 

Primary Location

This PhD project will primarily be conducted at CSIRO’s SAHMRI and Kintore Avenue sites in Adelaide, Australia.

Industry Placement Location 

Fonterra Research and Development Centre, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

The candidate will be provided the opportunity to undertake an industry placement with the sponsor in the final year of the program. The placement will involve working within the sponsor's facilities which are based in Palmerston North, New Zealand. 

As part of the placement, the student will work within the sponsor's nutrition research team. The student will work on data analysis and reporting in collaboration with the sponsor's scientists. In addition, they will communicate their science with various industry stakeholders including senior management, marketing and other science groups. The placement will provide the opportunity to learn about product development, marketing and Innovation within the sponsor's business.


CSIRO Partner Industry Partner University of Adelaide Partner
Business Unit:
Health & Biosecurity
Fonterra Co-operative Group
Faculty: Health Sciences, 
School of Psychology
Dr Ian Zajac   UofA Supervisor(s): 
Dr. Leonie Kaye Heilbronn

Application instructions

The first step in being considered for this iPhD is to provide a copy of your CV and academic transcripts to the relevant supervisor of the project you are interested in before 25 January 2021. Following this, suitable applicants will be invited to apply for admission and scholarship. Candidates should include the title of the advertised project in their application. 

For this project the relevant supervisor/primary contact is Dr. Ian Zajac

**Note: This project is open to domestic students who are currently onshore in Australia. That being said, please ensure to include your current address in Australia in order to be considered. 


For any other enquiries about the CSIRO Industry PhD Program please contact:
HDR Industry Enquiries
Tel: +61 8 8313 9127
Free-call: 1800 061 459