The Monash node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals is seeking Ph.D. candidates to contribute to this project of National Significance. The candidate must be an Australian resident for tax purposes and hold a first-class undergraduate degree or equivalent.
The green economy, digital revolution, improved health, and living standards all depend on metals supplied at a minimal environmental cost. However, the declining grade of the more accessible minerals, increasing complexity of mineralogy, and the growing need to extract minerals from deeper mines, have reached a tipping point, making current practices technologically, economically, and environmentally unsustainable.
Opportunity to make a difference The Centre will develop transformational technologies for enabling a competitive and environmentally sustainable future for Australia’s minerals industry through:
Understanding the non-covalent interactions between minerals and the polymeric materials used in froth flotation technologies is central to improving the performance of these so-called “collectors”. Through the design and structural engineering of ‘smart’ polymeric materials via the incorporation of responsive chemical functionality, we envisage controlling these interactions by applying an external stimulus or stimuli. Polymeric materials inspired by naturally occurring components that can be modified to respond to temperature, light, and pH will be synthesized and characterized by the candidate within the Monash node of the CoE.
The ARC Training Centre for Green Chemistry in Manufacturing is an interdisciplinary research and training environment centred on green and sustainable chemistry. The Centre will develop new green and sustainable chemical technologies for use in manufacturing. PhD researchers joining this joint program will enjoy the benefits of training and joint supervision from experts from Monash University, Deakin University, Flinders University and Curtin University, together with mentoring from industry partners.
The range of academic leaders can been seen at the website.
The Centre will train industry ready PhD chemists, chemical engineers and material engineers.
Features of the program
Each PhD will have one of the university partners as their home institution. Their PhD degree will be awarded by that institution.
PhD researchers will be supervised by academics with mentoring from an industry partner.
All PhD researchers in the Centre will also undertake an advanced training plan covering a range of topics on green chemistry, sustainability and preparation for working in industry, government and other organisations.
PhD researchers will undertake a period of no less than 12 months industry experience.
The scholarship includes
a full tuition fee sponsorship provided by the relevant university for the course duration (up to a maximum 42 months)
a living allowance (stipend) provided by the relevant university.
We are offering two full-time funded scholarships as part of an Australian Research Council funded research project focussed on the design and characterisation of novel ionic phase change materials (PCMs) for thermal energy storage applications.
PCMs are capable of absorbing energy, by melting upon heating from the sun during the day. Upon cooling, the material can release the energy by freezing. Thus PCMs must have a melting point in the desired range and freeze with minimal supercooling.
This project will aim to design and demonstrate new materials that store thermal energy in the temperature range between 100 - 220°C that is optimal for distributed storage of solar thermal and wind energy. In an effort to design PCMs which can be implemented in technologies used at household and industrial levels, this project will also aim to design materials which are cost-effective and safe
Applicants must have completed a relevant chemistry degree (Honours/Master degree) at a high level (HD1 or equivalent). In addition, they must be familiar with organic synthesis and basic characterising tools (e.g. NMR, FTIR Spectroscopy etc.). Evidence of data analysis and interpretation skills is desirable. In addition to having excellent laboratory skills, applicant must also demonstrate their ability to work independently as well in a team environment.
Impact of personalising student feedback through Learning Analytics
We are interested in using Learning Analytics to optimise student learning. Learning Analytics measure and process student data collected from Moodle (the University Learning Management System). This PhD project will investigate how these data allow us to personalise feedback to chemistry students, which is particularly difficult in large student cohorts. The project will evaluate how students respond to personalised feedback and develop methods to better support students throughout their degree programme.
Raising sustainability awareness through systems thinking and context-based learning
We aim to prepare undergraduate students to tackle global challenges confronting modern society. This PhD project will design and implement context-based learning activities at the university level to encourage students to make links between chemistry, the environment and society. The project will use systems thinking to develop novel methods to help students to learn about fundamental chemistry concepts and relate the concepts to their everyday life, in particular changing their behaviour and actions that impact the environment.
Applicants must have completed, or be soon to complete, a relevant chemistry degree (Honours/Master degree) at a high level (HD1 or 2.1 minimum or equivalent).
Excellent written and verbal communication skills, a strong interest in chemistry education (higher education level), as well as the ability to work independently and in a team environment are essential. Evidence of data analysis and interpretation skills and experience with statistical analysis is desirable.
Applicants will be considered if they fulfil the criteria for PhD admission at Monash University and demonstrate excellent research capability. More details
Interested Candidates that meet the requirements detailed in the previous link should email both prospective supervisors (Dr Sara Kyne, A/Prof Chris Thompson) the following:
Cover letter that includes a brief statement of the applicant's suitability (1 page maximum)
Curriculum vitae, including a list of any published works (2 page maximum)
Statement of University level academic record, supported by scanned copies of relevant certified documentation (including transcripts)
Contact details of two academic referees and/or reference letters
Evidence of English-language proficiency (international applicants only) such as TOEFL or IETLS
Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed, over Skype if necessary. The interviews will be conducted in English.
Remuneration: Successful applicants will receive $27,353 p.a. as a full-time stipend (pro-rata). Applications from exceptional candidates may be granted additional support for international tuition fees (tuition fees are not applicable to the following: Australian and New Zealand citizens and Permanent Residents).
Closing Date: Applications will be accepted until the project has been filled by a suitable candidate.
Luminophores and Photochromes: Towards Molecular Componentry
We recently discovered a new class of highly fluorescent zwitterionic fluorophores, derivatives of which display extreme environmental sensitivity. These exciting molecules have physical properties that make them interesting candidates for utility in a range of technologies. Of interest to us is the possibility that these molecules could be used to correlate conformational changes at G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) which are an important class of drug targets. GPCRs is often activated by several different agonists, both endogenous and as medicines. The significance of this study is that differences in GPCR conformation are thought to be related to the ability of particular agonists to elicit cellular responses. This is because the cellular response is not simply a product of GPCR occupancy, as would be expected in an “on” – “off” switch or indeed to how tightly the agonist is bound.
The project will involve the synthesis of novel fluorophores (School of Chemistry), that will be subsequently conjugated with GPCRs or their signal transducers; G-Proteins. Interaction of these fluorescent, environmentally sensitive, GPCR or G-protein conjugates will then be investigated using single-molecule dynamics with an emphasis on the utility of (Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy – Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer) FLIM-FRET in addition to a suite of other techniques.
A suitable candidate will have broad interests spanning synthetic chemistry, biology, and photo-physics. The candidate will receive all the required training to conduct the project but must have a strong desire to assume ownership of the project and work independently.
We recently discovered that Polyoxometalates (POMs) can be used as sensitizers to trigger the photochemical transformation of diarylethene (DAE) photochromes using visible light, a process that would otherwise require irradiation with higher energy UV. Lowering of the energy barrier for the photochemical reaction results from coordination of the photochrome to the POM, with excitation of POM based electronic transitions promoting the photochemical reaction. This process results in the ultrafast conversion (picoseconds) of the assembly to a more highly conjugated species that results in a dramatic colour change from pale yellow to deep blue. The photoinduced cyclization can be revered by irradiation of the sample with red light.
Extension of this project will involve the synthesis of polyoxometalates with appropriate binding sites for attachment of diarylethene ligands using a range of chemical approaches. The resulting compounds will be structurally characterized with an emphasis on understanding how the POMs impact the steric and electronic properties of the attached DAEs. The photophysical properties of these molecules will be investigated within our international collaborative network.
To achieve these project goals, we are seeking two excellent Ph.D. candidates with a passion for synthetic chemistry and a curiosity to discover new molecular materials with potential application in emerging photochromic technologies. The candidate will receive all the required training to conduct the research but must have a strong desire to assume ownership of the project and work independently.
Interested candidates that meet the candidate requirements detailed in the previous link MUST then submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) AND email me the following:
A cover letter that includes a brief statement of the applicant's suitability
A curriculum vitae, including a list of any published works
A full statement of academic record, supported by scanned copies of relevant certified documentation (including transcripts)
Contact details of two academic referees and/or reference letters
Evidence of English-language proficiency (international applicants only) such as TOEFL or IETLS.
Remuneration: Successful applicants will receive $29,500 p.a. as a full-time stipend (pro-rata).
Relevant Project References
"Visible-Light-Driven “On”/“Off” Photochromism of a Polyoxometalate Diarylethene Coordination Complex", Jingjing Xu, Henrieta Volfova, Roger J. Mulder, Lars Goerigk, Gary Bryant, Eberhard Riedle, and Chris Ritchie*. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2018, 140 (33), 10482-10487, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b04900
This collaborative project will target the preparation of nanoscopic molecular cages constructed from environmentally sensitive zwitterionic dyes. Using recently developed protocols we propose that stable molecular containers will be constructed that will selectively bind Cs+ ions based on recent findings (see references). Incorporation of fluorophores with (Twisted Intramolecular Charge Transfer) TICT properties into structurally similar molecular architectures is anticipated to result in a unique fluorescence response to Cs+ on the binding of the cations within the molecular cage. The solution state dynamics of the resulting “host-guest” complexes will be studied using spectroscopic and x-ray diffraction techniques. The justification for this study is based on the detection of Caesium ions in aqueous media due to the environmental impact of the radioactive isotope 137Cs which is a major component of nuclear waste.
Furthermore, the candidate will be expected to develop and implement new methodologies towards the preparation of novel covalent molecular cages that have the potential to discriminate between other analytes such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the solid state.
To achieve these project goals, we are seeking an excellent Ph.D. candidate with a passion for synthetic chemistry and a curiosity to discover new molecular materials with potential sensing properties. The candidate will receive all the required training to conduct the research but must have a strong desire to assume ownership of the project and work independently.
Key Project Activities: Inorganic and organic synthesis, Single crystal x-ray diffraction, NMR Spectroscopy, Fluorescence Spectroscopy
Faculty / Portfolio: School of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Clayton Campus, Monash University; School of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Parkville Campus, the University of Melbourne; CSIRO Manufacturing, Clayton.