HDR Scholarship - Determinants of fat metabolism during exercise

Applications now open

A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Determinants of fat metabolism during exercise'.

Project Supervisor

External Supervisor

Prof Jørn Helge, University of Copenhagen


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

This is a unique and exciting opportunity to complete a PhD across two leading laboratories researching exercise and muscle metabolism. This joint PhD scholarship is a collaboration between Dr Chris Shaw (Deakin University, Australia) and Prof Jørn Helge (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) to study the regulation of fat metabolism during exercise.

Endurance training promotes adaptions that enable high rates of fat oxidation during exercise. However, the capacity for fat oxidation varies markedly even amongst individuals who are well matched for aerobic capacity and training status. This variability in fat oxidation capacity remains largely unexplained and its relevance to exercise performance is currently unclear. This project will explore the physiological and nutritional determinants of fat oxidation capacity in endurance-trained individuals and the results will have relevance for guiding nutritional and training approaches to optimise performance.

The scholarship includes approximately 2 years of study at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Deakin University and approximately one year of study in the Faculty of Health and Medical Science, University of Copenhagen.

Project aim

This project will utilise a combination of techniques to examine the interplay between endurance training adaptations, fat metabolism and exercise performance. Techniques include human exercise testing, nutritional interventions, collection of blood and tissue samples and biochemical analysis to assess the fibre type specific regulation of muscle metabolism.

The projects aims are to examine:

  • The impact of fat oxidation capacity on substrate use and performance during prolonged exercise
  • The physiological determinants of maximal fat oxidation capacity
  • The impact of manipulating substrate availability on metabolism during exercise

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Friday 30th August 2019.


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $27,596 per annum tax exempt (2019 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate or overseas
  • International students only: Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for the duration of 4 years

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate
  • meet Deakin's and University of Copenhagen's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component
  • be able to physically locate to both University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and Deakin University (Australia)

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • Experience of human exercise testing and handling of human tissue samples
  • Prior experience of biochemical analysis and nutrition analysis/implementation

How to apply

Interested applicants should email their CV and academic transcript to Dr Chris Shaw.

Applicants invited to submit a full application should follow the instructions on our How to Apply page.


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Dr Chris Shaw or Prof Jørn Helge

Dr Chris Shaw
Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology
Email Chris Shaw
+61 3 522 73394

Prof Jørn Helge
University of Copenhagen
Email Jørn Helge
+45 28 75 75 06