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).

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

Carbon nanotube network field effect transistors as a sensing platform

AMF image of a carbon nanotube

Applications are invited for a PhD position in the group of Dr Natalie Plank at the School of Chemical and Physical Science, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand in collaboration with Dr Colleen Marlow at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, USA. 

The project will focus on the synthesis, fabriction and electrical characterisation of carbon nanotube field effect transistor devices with controlled morphology. The candidate
will be expected to travel regularly to Cal Poly SLO to conduct detailed transport measurements on the carbon nanotube networks. A particular emphasis will be on employing these devices integrated with DNA aptamer recognition elements for electronic biosensors. Previous experience in nanofabrication techniques, scanning electron microscopy, transistor characterisation and atomic force microscopy is highly desirable. The successful candidate will work in collaboration with 2 other PhD students on the larger project, and will be working within the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology.

Applicants should be ambitious and demonstrate a high level of initiative. Applicants should ideally have a First-Class Honours Physics or Electrical Engineering degree (or an equivalent 4-year degree qualification) and satisfy the Victoria University (http://www.vuw.ac.nz) requirements for PhD study. Non-native English candidates must have an appropriate English qualification (TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge).

The scholarship provides a non-taxed living allowance of NZ$27,000 per annum, which is a very comfortable living salary in Wellington, plus the PhD tuition fee for three years. The commencement date can be from now until 1 January 2018.

To apply email a copy of your CV to Dr Natalie Plank with “Marsden CNT FETs 2018” in the subject line. Your cover email should indicate what specific experience or interests you have relevant to this position. 

Contact:
Dr. Natalie Plank
School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Victoria University of Wellington
New Zealand
natalie.plank@vuw.ac.nz