Scholarships

Read about current scholarships offered by the Ferrier Research Institute for postgraduate study in chemistry.

The Ferrier Research Institute is seeking applications for the following scholarships to support our current research programmes. More information about the scholarships (their value, how to apply and who is eligible) is available on the scholarships database. Note: put "chemistry" in the search box.

A Master of Drug Discovery and Development Scholarship

The Ferrier Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington, is leading the delivery of an exciting taught master’s programme, the Master of Drug Discovery and Development.

This programme will equip graduates with the tools to enter the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and agrichemical sectors. The programme has been designed in consultation with international leaders in the pharmaceutical and related fields. In addition to a research project, students will benefit from coursework in a series of interdisciplinary subjects ranging from medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutical analytical chemistry and the formulation of drugs, to the regulatory framework in which pharmaceutical and similar companies operate and strategies to protect intellectual property. This degree is designed to provide students with a broad grasp of the pharmaceutical environment and can lead to PhD study in a related field.

Enzyme Transition State design - PhD project (Professor Peter Tyler)

Project Description

We have 2 scholarships available for prospective PhD students. They will join an established team of academic staff and professional scientists working on the development of enzyme inhibitors as new therapeutic drug candidates. The team have a strong record with three compounds in clinical trials and one compound (Mundesine) on the market

The team employs transition state design technology to discover exceptionally powerful inhibitors of target enzymes. Current enzymes being studied are in the areas of cancer and bacterial resistance. 

The Kef Prasit Scholarship is for a student with an organic chemistry/organic synthesis background. The student will contribute towards the synthesis of isotopically labelled materials for kinetic isotope effects and enzyme transition state structure determination and/or the design and synthesis of prospective transition state analogue inhibitors of an enzyme. 

Funding Notes

Prospective applicants should apply to Professor Peter Tyler at ferrierpgc@vuw.ac.nz for the Kef Prasit Scholarship. The vacancies will remain open until suitable applicants are found. 

The Stipend is $27,500 pa and full fees will be paid. Those applying should attach their CV, full academic transcript, statement of research interests and the names of three referees to their letter of application.

Enzyme Transition State design - PhD project (Professor Emily Parker)

Project Description

We have 2 scholarships available for prospective PhD students. They will join an established team of academic staff and professional scientists working on the development of enzyme inhibitors as new therapeutic drug candidates. The team have a strong record with three compounds in clinical trials and one compound (Mundesine) on the market

The team employs transition state design technology to discover exceptionally powerful inhibitors of target enzymes. Current enzymes being studied are in the areas of cancer and bacterial resistance. 

The scholarship funded by the Maurice Wilkins Centre, would suit a student with a background in organic chemistry or biochemistry who is interested in enzyme mechanism. The project will tackle key enzymes associated with the antibiotic resistance.

Funding Notes

Prospective applicants should apply to Professor Emily Parker at ferrierpgc@vuw.ac.nz for the Maurice Wilkins Centre Scholarship. The vacancies will remain open until suitable applicants are found. 

The Stipend is $27,500 pa and full fees will be paid. Those applying should attach their CV, full academic transcript, statement of research interests and the names of three referees to their letter of application.

Synthesis of potential drug candidates from dendrimers - PhD project

A PhD position is available for an international or New Zealand candidate to work on the design and synthesis of dendrimer based drug candidates. Dr Phillip Rendle’s team at the Ferrier Research Institute have designed, synthesised and patented a novel dendrimer scaffold that is suitable for use in pharmaceutical applications. 

This PhD project will further ongoing work on taking this dendrimer scaffold and elaborating it to synthesise potential drug candidates. This will include attachment of peptides to the dendrimer and modification of the dendrimer for drug delivery applications. It will involve the design and multi-step chemical synthesis of targets using techniques such as anhydrous reaction conditions, column chromatography, NMR, MS and HPLC. Some practical experience of multi-step organic synthesis in a laboratory and an appreciation of good practice health and safety and record keeping are essential. The candidate will receive full training and guidance through all aspects of the project. Collaborators will biologically evaluate synthesised compounds. 

The candidate will hold a BSc (Hons) or MSc in organic or medicinal chemistry, synthetic drug discovery or a related discipline with significant practical organic chemistry experience, and will be enthusiastic and passionate about research. 

To apply: Please contact our postgraduate coordinator Dr Alison Daines to explain your interest in this project and how this relates to your previous experience. Please include a copy of your CV, academic transcript, and the names of three referees. 

Funding Notes

The applicant must be eligible for admission to the PhD programme at VUW and apply for and be awarded a Victoria Doctoral Scholarship.

A GPA of 7.5 or greater (on a 9 point scale), first class honours grade and demonstration of proficiency in English are essential. 

The PhD scholarship provides a contribution of up to NZ$8,000 tuition fees and a tax-free stipend of NZ$23,500 per annum for three years. 

International candidates receive the same package as NZ residents provided they reside in New Zealand for the duration of the project and study under a New Zealand student visa.

Semi-synthetic drugs from natural products  - PhD project

Natural products have provided the inspiration for a number of drugs currently used to treat a wide range of ailments. One of the most well-known and widely used examples is aspirin, originally extracted from willow bark in the form of a glycoside. To ensure optimum efficacy with minimum side effects, synthesis chemists produce analogues of the lead compound, which are subjected to appropriate biological and toxicity assays.

This PhD project will use selected natural products as substrates for advanced chemical manipulations that will lead to structurally diverse materials in multi-step syntheses. This will require good synthetic skills and will expose the successful candidate to a range of different chemical transformations, including stoichiometric chemistry and catalysed processes. There will be the opportunity for the successful candidate to work alongside colleagues in the Biological Sciences to perform some of these assays in person.

Applicants must have a background in chemistry with synthesis skills, preferably organic synthesis.

Dr Simon Hinkley has extensive experience working with and modifying natural product substrates towards the production of biologically active molecules.