Postgraduate Research Opportunities at the Liggins Institute

The Liggins Institute is a large-scale research institute at the University of Auckland. We are a world-leading centre for research on fetal and child health, nutrition, development, genome biology and translational and implementation science. Our mission is to improve life-long health through excellent research into the long-term consequences of early life events.  

Join us and you’ll work across a range of fields to view human health problems from different angles. This unique approach enables us to turn research discoveries into real strategies that will help people to prevent or manage major health problems in the 21st century. 

As a research-only institute, we attract some of the best research students and clinical fellows in the world. You’ll be supported by internationally-recognised staff and you’ll benefit from state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and a dedicated clinical research unit.

PhDs are available in our following key research themes:

  • Healthy mothers, healthy babies:
    Just how important is a mother’s environment, diet and lifestyle prior to and during pregnancy for her child’s life-long health?
  • Nutrition for life-long health:
    From the health of parents at conception, to the effect of diet on muscle health in adulthood, we’re investigating the impact of nutrition on the body at every age and stage.
  • Determinants of a healthy life:
    This ground-breaking area of science has the potential to help us understand why and how non-communicable diseases like obesity develop.
  • Research to Reality:
    Perhaps most important of all, how do we translate research findings into changes in clinical practice that make a real difference to people’s lives?

How to apply
We welcome applications from candidates with a background in biological sciences, clinical medicine and health sciences. You need a BSc (Hons), MSc degree or equivalent, and a strong academic record with a grade point average (GPA) of at least 7.0.

We also welcome applications from practising clinicians: many of our students are healthcare professionals and postgraduate study is a wonderful opportunity to spend time investigating your field of interest.

The University of Auckland offers around 400 scholarships and awards which you can apply for. If you’re an NZ citizen or permanent resident with a GPA of 8.0 or above from your most recent New Zealand university qualifying programme, you’re guaranteed a doctoral scholarship of NZ$27,300 a year, plus tuition fees, for three years.

For more information and to start the application process please contact Professor Mark Vickers at

To find out more about our PhD research opportunities visit

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