Novel dietary protein formulations, skeletal muscle metabolism and performance - Sport and Health Sciences – PhD (Funded) Ref: 3276

About the award


Dr Benjamin T Wall, University of Exeter

Dr Francis B Stephens, University of Exeter

The University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences, in partnership with Marlow Foods, is inviting applications for 2 fully-funded PhD studentships to commence in January 2019.  For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £14,777 for 4 years full-time.  The student would be based in Sport and Health Sciences in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the St Luke’s Campus in Exeter.

The mass production of animal proteins to support population dietary protein requirements carries a large economic and environmental cost. Consequently, there is growing scientific and commercial interest in investigating the efficacy of alternative dietary protein sources to support human nutrition. A key application of dietary protein is to support muscle anabolism. Aside from normal muscle mass maintenance, this of particular relevance to support muscle tissue reconditioning as a goal of exercise training. Healthy muscle protein metabolism is also associated with the maintenance and improvement of insulin sensitivity and metabolic health across various populations. The present work will address the utility of mycoprotein as an alternative source of dietary protein in these avenues of nutrition (i.e. sports nutrition and metabolic health). The project will be split into two studentships which will work closely together; 1) Using stable isotope methodologies to assess the effect of mycoprotein ingestion on muscle protein metabolism; and, 2) Applying hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamp approaches to determine the impact of acute and chronic mycoprotein ingestion of insulin sensitivity. In your application please indicate whether you wish to be considered for one or both of these studentships. In the case of both, please indicate your preferred project (i.e. PhD 1, or PhD 2). In addition, there is the possibility of further PhD studentships which would also apply stable isotope approaches to investigate the metabolic and exercise performance effects of other novel dietary protein sources that you may be considered for.

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend.  For students who pay UK/EU tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £14,777 per year tax-free stipend.  Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee and no stipend.  The studentship is also subject to confirmation of funding.

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 4 years of full-time study to commence in January 2019. The collaboration with the named project partner is subject to contract.  Please note full details of the project partner’s contribution and involvement with the project is still to be confirmed and may change during the course of contract negotiations.  Full details will be confirmed at offer stage.

Entry requirements

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in sports science, nutrition, physiology, biochemistry or related discipline. 
If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5  in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.  Alternative tests may be acceptable (see

How to apply

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents. 
• CV
• Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
• Two references from referees familiar with your academic work. If your referees prefer, they can email the reference direct to quoting the studentship reference number.
• Names of two referees familiar with your academic work. You are not required to obtain references yourself. We will request references directly from your referees if you are shortlisted.
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 31 October 2018.  Interviews will be held on the University of Exeter St Luke’s Campus the week commencing 05 November 2018.   Applicants invited to interview will be asked to prepare a 5-minute presentation outlining their research proposal in line with the provided background information.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email or phone +44 (0)1392 722730 or +44 (0)1392 725150.  Project-specific queries should be directed to the main supervisor.


Application deadline:31st October 2018
Value:£14,777 per year for 4 years
Duration of award:per year
Contact: PGR Support Office +44 (0)1392 722730 / 5150