Scholarship details

Study levels

Research

Student type

Future students

Study area

Science, technology and engineering and mathematics

Eligibility criteria

Academic performance

What you'll receive

The successful applicant will receive a scholarship, tax exempt and indexed annually of $28,597 per annum for a period of:

  • 1.5 years for MPhil students, with a possible 3 month extension
  • 3 years for PhD students, with a possible 6 month extension.

Extensions are subject to satisfactory progress.

International students will also receive either:

  • an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) fees offset (International), or
  • a QUT research degree (HDR) tuition fee scholarship.

As the scholarship recipient, you will have the opportunity to work with a team of leading researchers, to undertake your own innovative research in and across the Centre for Materials Science.

Eligibility

To apply for this scholarship, you must meet the entry requirements for a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at QUT, including any English language requirements for international students.

Students must be able to enroll in an internal, full-time capacity.

How to apply

Interested applicants must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for consideration prior to applying for this scholarship, as per QUT's how to apply website.

The EOI must indicate the project title that you are applying for, and must have the correct project supervisor listed as your potential supervisor, as per the below.

Applications will remain open until all projects have recruited students, so students are encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible.

What happens next?

Applications will be contacted directly with an outcome of their EOI.

For questions about the research project, please contact the relevant person listed below under "About this Scholarship".

For questions about the application process, please contact hdr@qut.edu.au

About the scholarship

The School of Chemistry and Physics in conjunction with the Centre for Materials Science has multiple projects currently recruiting students across both our Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

The QUT School of Chemistry and Physics undertakes teaching and research that advances the frontiers of the chemical and physical sciences to solve real-world challenges. The school specialises in research covering diverse topics, including:

  • studies of particles, fields and radiation and their interaction with matter
  • the design, synthesis, characterisation and study of the properties of molecules and materials
  • the implementation of these molecules and materials in various applications.

Research outcomes have included finding cheaper and efficient materials for storing renewable energy, and determining the elasticity of crystals down to the atomic level.

The QUT Centre for Materials Science provides a collaborative environment for curiosity-driven materials research and innovation focusing on outstanding research strengths in:

  • soft matter materials
  • hard condensed matter materials
  • computation, prediction and modelling
  • analytical technique development.

Projects available

Eradicating bacterial biofilms with nitroxide-antimicrobial hybrids (2 projects available - PhD only)

Background

Drug-resistant infections are currently implicated in over 700,000 deaths per year worldwide and this number is projected to reach near 10 million lives per year by 2050 if new solutions to antibiotic resistance are not found. This project aims to develop new antimicrobials to address the rise of drug-resistant infections and resilient bacterial communities called biofilms. Biofilms are resistant to the activity of antibiotics and this project will investigate the use of nitroxides (molecules which interfere with bacterial communication within a biofilm) as an alternative strategy for biofilm eradication.

Research activities

Both PhD projects will involve the design and synthesis of new anti-biofilm agents (small peptide or antibiotic based nitroxide hybrid molecules), their purification and structural characterization. Students will also be given the opportunity to evaluate the antimicrobial properties and mode of action of their prepared compounds. The students will work alongside a number of postdoctoral researchers and PhD students in the synthetic chemistry and microbiology laboratories of Prof Fairfull-Smith and A/Prof Totsika at QUT.

Outcomes

The main outcome of the project will be the development of agents capable of treating biofilm infections with low propensity for the development of microbial resistance. Furthermore, an understanding of their mechanism of action will enable the development of more effective approaches to prevent and treat antibiotic resistant biofilm infections.

Skills and experience

These PhD positions would suit candidates with a background in organic chemistry, inclusive of skills in modern synthetic chemistry, purification and analysis. Skills in microbiology would be advantageous but are not essential. PhD candidates must be capable of working in a team environment and have excellent laboratory record keeping skills. Demonstrated research excellence indicators such as peer-reviewed publication are desirable but not essential.

Supervisory team

Please contact Prof Kathryn Fairfull-Smith or A/Prof Makrina Totsika with any questions about this project. If applying, please ensure you nominate Prof Kathryn Fairfull-Smith and A/Prof Makrina Totsika as your proposed supervisory team.

Keywords

Antimicrobial, nitroxide, synthetic chemistry, biofilm, microbiology

Plasma-assisted on-surface assembly for electrocatalytic hydrogen production and other applications (4 projects available - PhD only)

Background

This project is led by the Academician (Foreign Member) of the European Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Europe, Humboldt Prize winner (2020), and international pioneer and leader in Plasma Nanoscience Professor Kostya (Ken) Ostrikov and involves world-leading Professors across several fields of research, thus offering unsurpassed opportunity for PhD research and career development. The project is at the forefront of plasma nanotechnology, surface and materials science, and electrocatalysis and aims to develop plasma-assisted on-surface nano-assembly of ultra-small, ideally single-atomic-site, catalysts for electrochemical hydrogen production and other applications. Our solution is based on minimising the use of atomic matter by the precise dosing and conversion of precursors into metallic clusters directly on the electrode surface, followed by ultra-fast cluster dispersion and stabilization of the resulting subnano-clusters and single atoms on defect-engineered surfaces, using high-throughput, energy-efficient customised plasma-assisted processes.

Research activities

We offer up to four research projects for PhD students, three experimental (PhD1-PhD3) and one theoretical (PhD4).

  • PhD1’s project is on the development of plasma processes and study of plasma-surface interactions (Prof. Ostrikov as a primary supervisor)
  • PhD2 will study on-surface assembly supported by microanalysis (Prof. MacLeod as a primary supervisor)
  • PhD3’s study will be on the catalysts properties, under the primary supervision of Prof. O’Mullane. PhD4 will focus on theoretical optimization of atomic structure and interfacing of the catalysts using ab initio DFT simulations.
  • PhD4 will be co-supervised by Prof Ostrikov and Prof Du. Profs Ostrikov, O’Mullane, and MacLeod will act as associate supervisors in all the student projects.

Outcomes

The expected outcomes of this multidisciplinary project are: New fundamental insights and mechanisms of synergistic action of plasmas and suitably prepared metal surfaces will bridge advanced materials formation at atomic-scales and digital industrial fabrication at macroscopic scales, thereby impacting physical, chemical, and materials sciences and engineering. This project will establish a novel, multi-purpose, high-throughput, digitally controlled plasma-assisted transformative platform technology for scalable production of advanced functional materials with atomic arrangements and nanostructures tuned for targeted applications.

Skills and experience

The applicants for each of the PhD projects (PhD1-PhD4) should have skills and experience relevant to the key areas of each project, for example:

  • PhD1: operation, design and diagnostics of atmospheric-pressure plasma sources and processes
  • PhD2: structural characterization, surface microanalysis and synthesis of advanced energy materials (e.g., catalysts and electrodes)
  • PhD3: electrocatalysis, electrochemistry, synthesis and characterization of advanced energy materials (e.g., catalysts and electrodes)
  • PhD4: Density Functional Theory (DFT) modelling of electronic and other properties of advanced materials, desirably in the area of energy materials (e.g., catalysts and electrodes).

Supervisory team

Please contact Prof Ken Ostrikov, Prof Anthony O'Mullane, A/Prof Jennifer Macleod or Prof Aijun Du with any questions about this project. If applying, please ensure you nominate the relevant supervisory team as per "Research Activities"

Keywords

Atmospheric-pressure plasma, microplasma, electrocatalysis, catalyst synthesis, water splitting, hydrogen production, surface microanalysis, density functional theory simulations

Materials Discovery and Design from Quantum Mechanics based Computational Approaches

Background

Understanding novel physics in nanoscale materials is critical for the development of modern electronics technology. However, such delicate materials are difficult to manipulate and characterize experimentally because of the tiny size, which raises the conundrum of how to proceed forward quickly with exploration and subsequently design of properties. In principle, materials properties are determined by the electronic structure. Quantum mechanics based computational approaches are able to address fundamental electronic, optical and magnetic properties in such materials. This provides a powerful complement to the experiments, allowing us to envisage innovative ways of designing and exploiting electronic functionality in novel nanomaterials.

We are seeking either a Masters or PhD student.

Research activities

Quantum mechanics-based model Hamiltonian and computational approaches will be used to understand novel physics in nanomaterials, e.g. electronic, optical and magnetic properties. Some specific projects are:

  • Discovery of new 2D materials with unique electronic properties.
  • Predicting new 2D materials using global minimization approach.
  • Predicting novel 2D ferromagnets for low energy spintronics.
  • Electron coupling in twisted 2D bilayer materials.
  • Computational prediction of 2D Dirac half metal.
  • Optical absorption and electron-hole binding in solar cell materials.
  • Computing Lattice thermal and electrical conductivity in thermoelectric materials.
  • 2D ferromagnetism, ferroelectricity and ferroelasticity.

For more details, please check our research activities for this group here.

Outcomes

You will develop new skills in: Understanding novel physics in nanoscale materials Computational physics

Skills and experience

The candidate should have a background in Physics. Experience with computer programming is a great asset to this project

Supervisory team

Please contact Prof Aijun Du with any questions about this project. If applying, please ensure you nominate Prof Aijun Du as your proposed supervisory team.

Keywords

Computational Condensed Matter Physics, Computational Nanotechnology, New 2D Materials, Density Functional Theory, Charge/Spin Transport, 2D Ferromagnetism, 2D Ferroelectricity, Dirac Materials, Van der Waals Heterostructure, Electronic Structure, Spintronics, Optical property.

Discovery and Design of Novel Catalysts from Computational Chemistry

Background

The discovery and design of novel materials as efficient catalysts are critical for the development of innovative clean energy and environmental technology. For example, hydrogen production involves hydrogen evolution and oxygen evolution reactions; Oxygen reduction/evolution reactions are important in fuel cell and air battery technology; Carbon dioxide reduction is related to the mitigation of carbon emission; Nitrogen fixation is linked to the fertilizer production process.

We are seeking either a Masters or PhD student.

Research activities

Computation chemistry will be used to reveal materials’ structure properties relationship to provide theoretical insights on many important electro-and photo-catalytic reactions in industry including CO reduction, N2 fixation, hydrogen evolution, oxygen evolution/reduction reactions. The projects have strong collaboration with experimental group in Australia and worldwide. Some specific topics are as follows,

  • Computational discovery and design of novel electro- and photo-catalysts for water splitting to produce green hydrogen.
  • Computer screening of novel catalysts for CO reduction Computational design of novel catalysts for N2 fixation

For more details on our research activities, please check the publications at the group here.

Outcomes

You will develop new skills in computational chemistry, scientific communications and writing code/scripts if interested. Masters and PhD students will be expected to publish their work in high impact chemistry/materials science journals.

Skills and experience

The candidate should have a background in Chemistry and some basic knowledge in reaction thermodynamics and kinetics. Computational chemistry is not necessary at the application stage but will be trained during the study.

Supervisory team

Please contact Prof Aijun Du with any questions about this project. If applying, please ensure you nominate Prof Aijun Du as your proposed supervisory team.

Keywords

Density Functional Theory, Computational Chemistry, Catalyst Design, Fuel Cell, CO2 Reduction, Hydrogen Production/Storage/Purification, Water Splitting, N2 Fixation, Electrocatalysis, Photocatalysis.

Advanced Materials for High performance perovskite monolithic photocapacitors  (2 Projects available)

Background

We are looking for highly motivated PhD/Master candidates to join our dynamic research team at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) to carry out cutting-edge research on advanced materials for high performance perovskite solar cells, energy storage devices and integrated devices.

Research activities

Successful candidate will work with leading researchers led by Professor Hongxia Wang to design, synthesis and characterize materials with tailored properties for energy conversion (solar cells) and energy storage devices and their integrated systems. The candidates have  the opportunity to access to the advanced spectroscopic and microscopic facility for materials characterisation  at QUT including but not limited to SEM, (in-situ) TEM, FTIR, Raman, SIMS, DSC, XRD, FIB, XPS/UPS etc. You will also have the opportunity to access to equipment for material manufacturing such as sputter, E-Beam evaporator, CVD, spin coater, printing etc.

There are 2 PhD positions available for this project.

Outcomes

The project aims to develop high performance monolithic perovskite photocapacitors. To achieve this, experimental research involving design of materials for perovskite solar cells and supercapacitors as well as the integrated devices, device design, characterisation of materials and devices will be carried out. Expected outcomes include deep fundamental understanding of the underlying mechanism that governs material properties and device performance.

Skills and experience

The an ideal candidate should have background in chemistry, material science or physics. Research experience in perovskite solar cells or energy storage material synthesis/characterisation, device fabrication is desirable. We courage candidates who are interested in R&D of energy materials and devices to apply for these positions

Supervisory team

Please contact Prof Hongxia Wang, A/Prof Deepak Dubal or Dr Chao Zhang with any questions about this project. If applying, please ensure you nominate Prof Hongxia Wang, A/Prof Deepak Dubal and Dr Chao Zhang as your proposed supervisory team.

Keywords

Solar cells, perovskite, energy storage, supercapacitors, batteries, materials

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