Biosolvents from Cellulose: Chemical Characterisation of Production processes

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

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 on the site of Norske Skog’s Boyer Newsprint Mill in Tasmania has catalysed the need for development of advanced analytical techniques, hand in hand with skilled and highly trained analytical chemists, for a better understanding of the chemical nature and structure of its derivatives and a diverse array of by-products associated with its manufacture, and their potential applications. This presents some highly complex analytical challenges, particularly as the sample matrices and residues are typically highly complex mixtures. 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. This project will involve 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 $28,854 per annum (2022 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.

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:

  • First Class BSC Hons in chemistry or closely related field
  • Experience in analytical science, as applied to natural products

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in chromatography
  • Experience in wood product chemistry

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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