Turning waste into value using biotechnology

Study level


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Professor Robert Speight
Professor (Microbial Biotechnology)
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Waste has become a key challenge in society for economic, social and environmental reasons. QUT has a long history of converting waste to more valuable products in agriculture industries and is now also focusing on livestock, fashion and domestic waste. We bring together transdisciplinary teams of researchers to solve the complex challenges associated with accessing, sorting, processing and transforming wastes with teams including scientists, engineers, designers, business people and lawyers.

Research activities

Multiple projects are offered as part of transdisiplinary research programs looking to transform waste into products. A particular focus will be the use of biotechnology (enzymes, microbes) to transform waste and process engineering to investigate scaling up the developed solutions. Projects may involve discovery, characterisation and optimisation of a biological system and the associated manufacturing process.

Projects may also involve close interactions with industrial partners.


Outcomes of the project may include a detailed understanding of the biological waste transformation system, process designs, techno-economic assessments for industrial feasibility and prototype products.

Skills and experience

Candidates should have a passion for solving problems associated with waste and a strong interest in science and/or engineering in general. You should be dedicated and enthusiastic as well as self-motivated and be able to solve problems and address challenges individually. You should also be able to work effectively as part of a team. A background in biological sciences, chemistry, process engineering or mechanical engineering would be ideal.


Contact the supervisor for more information.