Bespoke Sustainable Metal Catalysts

Sustainable carbon dioxide reduction and transformation by bespoke non-precious metal-based catalysts

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Atmospheric greenhouse gases are one of the major concerns facing the modern world. One strategy to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) is to transform it into feedstocks for new materials including energy storage molecules and value-added organic compounds. CO2 is a very stable molecule and requires tailor-designed catalysts for its activation and transformation. Nature employs enzymes (biological catalysts) centred around earth-abundant metals such as iron, nickel and cobalt to achieve similarly challenging chemical transformations with extremely high efficiencies.

This project aims to develop new catalysts inspired by enzymes for CO2 valorisation. It will generate new knowledge in understanding CO2 activation by organometallic complexes and provide innovative strategies to transforming CO2 into value-added materials. These strategies will be applicable to other stable small molecules such as nitrogen (N2) resulting in new nitrogen activation catalysts.

Outcomes will enhance the capacity to utilise CO2 as a carbon feedstock for the production of fuels and materials which ultimately provides significant economic and environmental benefits through CO2 recycling and upcycling.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Curtis Ho


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.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


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

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus
  • The scholarship is open to Australian and New Zealand (domestic) candidates and to International candidates
  • Research must be undertaken on a full-time basis
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills

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:

  • Skills and experience in organic, inorganic and organometallic synthesis, including Schlenk techniques
  • Skills and experience in standard spectroscopy characterisation techniques including but not limited to NMR and IR spectroscopy

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • X-ray crystallography

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Curtis Ho to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • 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.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the 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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