6 FUNDED PhD Scholarships 2021-2023 on Clean Water Technologies

Funded PhD Header

We seek highly motivated applicants to join our ambitious and multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research programme. In collaboration with our Māori partners, we will engineer novel biomaterials for sustainable water treatment. We will take advantage of recent advances in 3-D printing (and other biofabrication methods) to create bespoke treatment media from biological wastes. We will then use these sustainable products to clean-up wastewater and stormwater in Aotearoa NZ.

Fields of research:

1- Environmental Engineering

2- Environmental Chemistry

3- Materials Science

The deterioration of freshwater quality is a critical global environmental challenge that is already driving a multi-billion dollar industry. While there are a plethora of wastewater treatment technologies available, the materials used by these technologies have significant shortcomings, such as being non-biodegradable. Recent advances in 3D printing can help overcome these limitations. Our research team will develop novel composite biomaterials for use as biodegradable adsorbents and/or bio-carriers during wastewater treatment. These novel materials will be designed to minimise environmental impacts through their entire life cycle, be easy to regenerate, and/or valorise to support a regenerative (circular) economy.

More information and how to apply

PhD Applicant criteria:

  • Excellent academic record (Bachelor of Hons, 1st in Eng/Science for domestic students and a Masters for International students)
  • Strong written skills
  • Outstanding ability in either materials science, synthetic chemistry, lab-based microbiology, water quality engineering or Life Cycle Assessment Modelling applied to engineering.
  • Skills in Additive Manufacturing such as 3D printing an advantage for the material science position.
  • Candidates who can start within New Zealand by mid 2021.

For a complete summary of the research opportunities and project summary, please click here

Funded available research positions and locations include:


Project #1: Engineering novel biomaterials for absorption during wastewater treatment. Environmental Engineering Lab, Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering, University of Canterbury and NIWA

Contact: aisling.osullivan@canterbury.ac.nz or ricardo.bellomendoza@canterbury.ac.nz

Project #2: Life Cycle Assessment Modelling of wastewater treatment using novel biomaterials. HydroEco Engineering Lab, Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering, University of Canterbury

Contact: aisling.osullivan@canterbury.ac.nz

Project #3: Design and manufacture of complex geometries from bio- and waste materials using 3D printing technologies. UC School of Product Design, University of Canterbury and Waikato University

Contact: tim.huber@canterbury.ac.nz

 Project #4: Engineering novel biomaterials to support biological N removal. Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering Department, Massey University

Contact: B.J.Guieysse@massey.ac.nz

Project #5: Chemical functionalistion of waste materials for enhanced water pollutant absorption. Synthetic Chemistry Lab, University of Auckland

Contact: d.barker@auckland.ac.nz

Project #6: Development of modified 3D printed materials for water purification. Synthetic Chemistry Lab, University of Auckland

Contact: d.barker@auckland.ac.nz

Contact the academic associated with the project you’re interest in to find out how to apply.

What we offer :

We’re offering a competitive tax-free PhD stipend of $27,500 per year for three years. Funding also covers tuition fees, research project consumable costs and related research funding for conferences/workshops. You can also earn additional income for teaching assistance opportunities.

Our multi-institutional research team will stretch the boundaries of biofabrication capabilities in the manufacturing of more efficient and benign engineered materials designed specifically for different water treatment applications. We will do this by capitalising on our combined physical, chemical and biological STEM expertise. We’re passionate about making a real difference and creating a pathway for more sustainable clean water solutions – we invite high calibre PhD and research assistants to join us in this endeavour.

Depending on your skillset, combined with your research and career ambitions, we have opportunities based in Christchurch, Auckland, Palmerston North, and Hamilton. Opportunities will be also available for PhD students to spend some domestic exchange time at the various partner institutions and attend (inter)national conferences.
We strongly encourage Māori and other minority STEM candidates to apply to join our dynamic team.

Apply by 15th February 2021

Applications have now closed and applicants will be advised of the outcome soon.

Aisling O'Sullivan

Associate Professor
Civil & Natural Resources Engineering Rm E443
Internal Phone: 92045

Please click here if you would like to learn more about the project the exciting funded PhD Scholarships available



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