Nanocomposites for improved waterways

Synthesis of encapsulated magnetic nanoparticle composites for environmental remediation

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

18 July 2022

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International

About the research project

Water contamination is a key environmental concern faced around the world. The introduction of heavy metals from industry as well as the degradation of plastics into tiny particles (1-1000 nanometres) from natural weathering results in species that persist in the environment for hundreds of years. Contamination is not contained to urbanised areas, with these species being detected in some of the most remote parts of the world as well as in our food chain. Their removal is a priority and represents a significant scientific challenge. This project aims to develop new magnetic nanocomposites that can be used in the removal of fragmented microplastics or heavy metals from the environment. Specifically preformed magnetic nanoparticles will be encapsulated with a porous metal-organic frameworks or a polymeric system.  These composites are highly tuneable and combine the functional behaviour of the nanoparticle with the porous behaviour of the encapsulating matrix. Specifically, the magnetisation will provide the mechanism for the separation of the contaminant from the environment, while the coating will be used for the absorption of the pollutant species. Original novel materials will be designed and synthesised, the core shell particles produced will allow the development of materials which are more selective and provide efficient extraction and separation of contaminants from the environment.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Rebecca Fuller

Funding

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.

Eligibility

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

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • The scholarship is open to Australian and New Zealand (domestic) candidates and to International candidates currently residing in Australia.
  • Research must be undertaken on a full-time basis.
  • Applicants should 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.
  • 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:

  • Knowledge of synthesis of materials.
  • Experience with structural characterisation techniques, such as XRD/TEM/SEM/FTIR/BET.

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, Dr Rebecca Fuller 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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