Analysis of biosolvent process samples

Characterisation of biosolvents and derivatives thereof using hyphenated analytical technologies: Towards optimised production processes

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

The toughest analytical science challenges typically require advanced analytical technologies to acquire the desired solutions. In the field of separation science this inevitably involves hyphenated separation technologies, specifically the combination of chromatography and mass spectrometry.

To advance this technology to its full capability our ARC Training Centre for Hyphenated Analytical Separation Technologies (HyTECH) utilises the collaborative strength of academic, industry and end-user partnerships.

We are seeking outstanding graduates with an interest in solving fundamental and technical challenges in analytical science, with a focus on delivering analytical solutions and impact to technology end-users. HyTECH students will receive a competitive post-graduate stipend, contribute to a program of cutting-edge industry focused research, be supported with a substantial annual program of early career researcher professional development, and over the course of their candidature spend a minimum of twelve months placement within the facilities of one or more of the project's supporting partner organisations.

Levoglucosenone has been described as a "bio-privileged molecule" that can be efficiently converted to a diverse range of novel and drop-in chemical products, including dihydrolevoglucosenone (CyreneTM). Sustainable manufacture of levoglucosenone and CyreneTM from lignocellulosic material therefore provides a platform for making a plethora of compounds. The recent construction and operation of Circa's pyrolysis-based FuracellTM process to manufacture levoglucosenone/CyreneTM within Norske Skog has catalysed the need for development of advanced analytical techniques for a better understanding of the chemical nature and structure of its derivatives and a diverse array of by-products and residues associated with its manufacture. Control of the manufacturing process for these novel and complex derivatives and by-products demands analytical techniques that span a range of volatilities and molecular mass, thereby requiring the application of advanced analytical techniques using chromatography and mass spectrometry. The student involved in the project will undertake research into efficient approaches to sample extraction, chromatographic method development, coupled with quantitative and/or high-resolution mass spectrometry solutions for molecular identification.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Brett Paull


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.


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

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

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:

  • Advanced laboratory and analytical instrumental skills
  • Collaborative and team-player mentality
  • Technically skilled in use of advanced instruments

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Demonstrable research communication skills e.g. research thesis, published papers, conference presentations

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Prof Brett Paull to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • 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.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application 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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