High Protein Peas: Alternative protein

Understanding and manipulating protein synthesis in peas to produce high protein peas for an alternative protein future

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

The nutritional value of plant-based protein sources has gained significant attention in recent years due to the increasing demand for sustainable and healthy food options. As meat consumption declines and consumers seek alternative protein sources, it is important that we identify and cultivate high protein vegetables. Many vegetables contain only a small amount of protein but some, such as green peas (Pisum sativum) contain more substantial amounts. The protein content of green peas is typically around 2% by weight. This, combined with its economic value, environmental adaptability and high level of consumer acceptance, make pea an excellent candidate for protein enhancement.

However, the factors controlling the synthesis of proteins in pea are not well understood. In this project, we will investigate molecular, biochemical and ecophysiological factors that contribute to protein synthesis and explore novel approaches to increase the protein content in peas, thereby enhancing their nutritional value and contributing to a more sustainable food system. We will determine management strategies that could be applied to boost pea protein content and trial these strategies in controlled field trials. We will also determine which genes could be targeted for manipulation and modify these genes using modern molecular techniques. Furthermore, we will make this information available to the plant breeding industry to aid in the development of high protein commercial pea cultivars.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Nigel Swarts


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • The scholarship is open to Australian (domestic) candidates
  • The PhD must be undertaken on a full-time basis

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Applicants must already have been awarded a first class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Nigel Swarts to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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