Scholarships

View the range of scholarships available to students in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences.

PhD positions available

Immunoglycomics Group: 'Mining Mincle: How Mincle ligands can lead to more effective vaccines.'

A PhD position is available at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, within the Immunoglycomics group of Assoc. Prof.s Bridget Stocker and Mattie Timmer. This position is for three years and is funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand, as a Marsden fund.

We are looking for a hardworking and motivated student with either an Honours or Masters level degree in Chemistry to undertake a PhD on the synthesis and biological evaluation of vaccine adjuvants. The project will involve organic synthesis (carbohydrate chemistry) and may also include the provision for the candidate to perform their own biological experiments, pending the experience and/or skill set of the successful applicant and their research interests.

All applications must include a cover letter, a copy of the applicant's Academic Transcript and summary of the laboratory research undertaken by the candidate (noting any relevant publications).

The start date for the PhD is flexible, though we would anticipate that the candidate commences their study by the start of the New Year (2018).

Applications close Friday 1 September 2017. We will re-advertise if a suitable candidate has not been found.

For further information, and to apply, please contact Assoc. Prof. Bridget Stocker at bridget.stocker@vuw.ac.nz.

Portable THz imaging device

We propose to build a portable terahertz spectral imaging tool that operates in the time-domain. Here, we will use THz pulses to construct 3D images of samples by correlating their return times with the distance they travel. Using existing methods, we can capture an entire THz wave in a ‘single shot’ – essential capability for 3D imaging ­– by using a standard spectrograph to resolve how THz pulses interact with probe pulses in a non-linear optical crystal. In this project, we aim to translate these methods from operating with large amplified lasers, to portable (and less expensive) unamplified lasers from which industrial instruments could be built. Potential applications of such an instrument include primary industries, border security, building materials, and manufacturing production lines. In order to achieve sufficient spectral, temporal, and spatial resolution using weak laser pulses, this project will challenge us to develop new ways of efficiently generating and detecting THz pulses and rapidly processing the data towards real-time applications.

We are seeking a highly motivated person with an excellent academic record and a good understanding of experimental physics, engineering, or physical chemistry. Experience in optics and spectroscopy research is considered favourably. Applicants should have a physics, chemistry, or engineering degree equivalent to the 4-year BSc (Honours) degree in New Zealand, with 1st class Honours, or an MSc.

The scholarship provides a generous non-taxed stipend of NZ$27,000 per annum plus the PhD tuition fee for three years.

To apply, please send a CV, academic record, and the names and contact details of two referees to: Justin.Hodgkiss@vuw.ac.nz with “PhD THz” in the subject line.

Ultrafast spectroscopy of perovskite PV materials

School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington and The MacDiarmid Institute

Hybrid organic inorganic halide perovskite materials have generated immense interest for photovoltaics applications in recent years. They exhibit strong optical absorption throughout visible wavelengths, direct photocarrier generation, and their photovoltaic efficiencies already approach that of silicon cells. Many of the exceptional properties of these materials have been shown through ultrafast spectroscopy, while questions remain about carrier cooling dynamics, polaron formation, photorefractive effects, the nature of role of defects, and a number of other topics. In collaboration with world-leading materials and device groups, we will develop and exploit ultrafast optical spectroscopy measurements that can address some of these questions.

We are seeking a highly motivated person with an excellent academic record and a good understanding of physical chemistry or experimental physics. Experience in optics and spectroscopy research is considered favourably. Applicants should have a chemistry or physics degree equivalent to the 4-year BSc (Honours) degree in New Zealand, with 1st class Honours, or an MSc.

The scholarship provides a generous non-taxed stipend of NZ$27,000 per annum plus the PhD tuition fee for three years.

To apply, please send a CV, academic record, and the names and contact details of two referees to: Justin.Hodgkiss@vuw.ac.nz with “PhD perovskite” in the subject line.

Ultrafast spectroscopy to resolve the origin of UV photoprotection in eumelanin

The natural brown skin pigment eumelanin protects us from UV light by intercepting photons and dissipating their energy before proteins and DNA are damaged. Eumelanin’s photoprotection mechanism is masked by its extreme chemical and physical complexity, which may in fact be essential to its function. In this project, we aim to understand how eumelanin so effectively dissipates UV energy by interrogating this process using ultrafast optical spectroscopy. We will use three complementary broadband ultrafast methods – ultrafast fluorescence, ultrafast transient absorption, and femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopies – to elucidate the electronic and structural relaxation pathways in eumelanin.

We are seeking a highly motivated person with an excellent academic record and a good understanding of physical chemistry or experimental physics. Experience in optics and spectroscopy research is considered favourably. Applicants should have a chemistry or physics degree equivalent to the 4-year BSc (Honours) degree in New Zealand, with 1st class Honours, or an MSc.

The scholarship provides a generous non-taxed stipend of NZ$27,000 per annum plus the PhD tuition fee for three years.

To apply, please send a CV, academic record, and the names and contact details of two referees to: Justin.Hodgkiss@vuw.ac.nz with “PhD eumelanin” in the subject line.

PhD Scholarship in Physics

Experimental study of complex quantum fluids

A PhD scholarship in physics is offered for experimental research into complex quantum fluids with a focus on topological insulators and iron-based superconductors. The scholarship is funded by the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, which is a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence. It will provide a generous non-taxed living allowance of NZ$27,500 per annum plus the PhD tuition fee for three years. The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr Grant Williams and Dr Shen Chong.

The thesis research involves material preparation using our high temperature synthesis equipment and specialised gloveboxes at Robinson Research Institute (RRI) [1] and School of Chemical and Physical Sciences [2] at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW). The structures will be characterised and studied by x-ray diffraction, SEM, and TEM. The magnetic and electronic properties will be researched up to 9 T and down to 2 K using our physical property measurement system (PPMS) and our magnetic property measurement system (MPMS). The vibrational properties will be studied at different temperatures using the Raman spectrometers at VUW. Optical and FTIR measurements will be undertaken using our spectrometers at RRI and VUW. Access to additionally resources within New Zealand is available from the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology [3] where the PhD supervisors are investigators.

Applicants should have a physics degree equivalent to the 4-year BSc (Honours) degree in New Zealand, with 1st class Honours, or an MSc or postgraduate Diploma with high grades. We are seeking a highly motivated person with an excellent academic record, a good understanding of condensed matter physics, and able to work well in a team. Candidates should ensure that they satisfy the requirements for admission as a PhD candidate at VUW [4] and ensure that they can satisfy the English language requirements. Please email a resume, academic record, and the names and contact details of two referees.

References

[1] http://www.victoria.ac.nz/robinson

[2] http://www.victoria.ac.nz/scps

[3] http://macdiarmid.ac.nz/

[4] http://www.victoria.ac.nz/fgr/prospective-phds/qualifications-required