Electronic noses to assess woodsmoke

Application of non-specific sensor arrays to assess wood smoke impacts on ambient air quality

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Woodsmoke impacts both ambient and indoor air quality. Comprised of particulate matter, aerosols, volatile organic compounds, dioxins, and metals, woodsmoke has adverse impacts on human health. Managing the exposure risk requires an understanding of the concentrations of woodsmoke in the ambient environment. As woodsmoke is not the only source of ambient pollutants, source apportionment techniques using specific emissions markers are applied to extract the contribution of specific sources.

Most source apportionment for particulate matter emissions is based on an analysis of the constituents of ambient particulate matter and aerosols. Developing the datasets required for this form of analysis is time and cost intensive, generally limiting data gathering to a few sites. This approach provides catchment level information but does not necessarily represent the localised impacts that can occur due to the distribution of emission sources and the impact of complex geography on dispersion. Achieving higher resolution exposure data requires a cost-effective solution to discriminate woodsmoke emissions from other sources that can be deployed to provide high levels of data coverage from a spatial and time perspective.

A potential solution is a non-specific sensor array (also referred to as an electronic nose). Electronic noses are low-cost sensing solutions with the potential to provide real-time sensing of woodsmoke emissions. This project will focus on developing and training an electronic nose to discriminate woodsmoke from other pollutants in the ambient environment and develop techniques to utilise this data to determine exposure levels. This project will also focus on practical issues relating to deploying this solution, such as sensor response stability and sample conditioning. While this project is rooted in the Tasmanian context (specifically the species of wood burned and typical combustion devices), the techniques and learnings from this project will be applicable to other locations, and of use to broader scientific community.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Eric Sivret


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.

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:

  • The applicant 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:

  • A background in engineering, air quality or related sciences

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in electronics, sensor arrays and data treatment. Background in ambient air quality monitoring.

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Eric Sivret 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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