Evaluating the benefits of ultra-low emission wood heaters

Evaluating the potential air quality, carbon, health, and economic gains from moving from standard to ultra-low emission domestic wood heaters

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Wood burning is a popular choice for home heating in Tasmania. The consequence is unacceptably high concentrations of air pollution during the colder months in many regions of the state, which has been clearly associated with increased rates of mortality, heart and lung diseases. Newer design ultra-low emissions (ULE) wood burning heaters could potentially offer a solution for regions where wood is a readily available cheaper heating option.

Several ULE heaters are commercially available in other countries (eg New Zealand), but have not had uptake in Australia, where heater standards are not as stringent, and there is scepticism about ULE performance with hardwoods (like eucalypts) typically burnt in Australia, compared with softwood timber (like conifers) that are typically burnt in Europe, North America and New Zealand.

This inter- disciplinary program of work will use the emissions testing facility being constructed at the University to evaluate how ultra-low emission (ULE) wood heaters perform when burning Australian hardwoods. It will apply emissions data to model potential reduction in air pollution by region, health outcomes and economic gains. And it will characterise policy options for addressing this avoidable cause of ill health in the community.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Fay Johnston


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.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

Applicants from the following disciplines are encouraged to apply:
Statistical modelling, air quality science and engineering, epidemiology, health economics, carbon accounting.

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:

Applicants for this project/scholarship must have a strong background in at least one of the areas below:

  • Advanced statistical modelling, health impact assessments, or economic modelling
    Air pollution measurement, atmospheric sciences or environmental engineering

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 Fay Johnston 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.

Apply now Explore other projects

Why the University of Tasmania?

Worldwide reputation for research excellence

Quality supervision and support

Tasmania offers a unique study lifestyle experience