Can better wood burners improve health?

Evaluating ultra-low emission burners for improved air quality and community health

Degree type


Closing date

1 July 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International


$31,500pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

Wood burning is a popular choice for home heating in Tasmania and many other parts of Australia. However, the consequence is increased community wide air pollution, which causes increased community rates of mortality, heart, lung and other diseases. Newer design ultra-low emissions (ULE) wood burning heaters could potentially offer a solution for some lower population density regions where wood is a readily available 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 skepticism about ULE performance with hardwoods (like eucalypts) typically burnt in Australia, compared with softwood timber (like conifers) that are typically burnt in New Zealand, Europe and North America.

This inter-disciplinary program of work will use the joint Menzies/COSE emissions testing facility to (1) evaluate how ULE wood heaters perform when burning Australian hardwoods; (2) Evaluate and improve the design of existing ULE appliances using techniques such as computational fluid dynamics; and finally (3), It will apply emissions and other data (such as remote sensing products, empirical measurements, and atmospheric transport models), to predict and model air quality and health improvements under different ULE replacement and other policy options for reducing air pollution.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Fay Johnston


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which 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.


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

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:

  • Knowledge of predictive modelling techniques, geospatial analysis, and health impact assessment for air pollution

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Prof Fay Johnston 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 1 July 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.

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