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  Analytical chemical methods in the development of high-value marine products

   Department of Chemistry

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  Prof K. Gordon  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


Due to pressure on marine environments from climate change, pollution and overfishing, there is a strategic emphasis in New Zealand away from total catch volumes towards improvement in utilisation of marine biomass and development of increased value products with minimum carbon footprints.

Research project:

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to join our team at the University of Otago for an interdisciplinary project that involves collaborating with several other New Zealand universities and Crown Research Institutes. The research project is part of a New Zealand government funded program called ‘Cyber-physical seafood systems: intelligent and optimised green manufacturing for marine co-products’ led by Plant and Food Research. There are two components to the project:

1) Determination of the extent to which various marine biomass compositions can be determined from in-line measurements, and the development of real-time monitoring of processing and purification of marine products (e.g. marine lipids, collagens and protein hydrolysates); this marine biological chemistry will be characterised using a wide range of standard (GC-MS, LC-MS and NMR) and spectroscopic (Raman, MIR and NIR spectroscopies) analytical techniques combined with multivariate analyses and AI.

2) Investigation of vibrational spectroscopic properties of lipids in different states. The initial focus will be on developing novel solvent systems (deep eutectic solvents) and probing their molecular interactions/physical properties under a variety of conditions using Raman, MIR, NIR, DSC and NMR. The final stage will involve characterisation of the solvent-lipid systems and probing their viability for lipid extraction.

Further details of this project can be discussed upon application.


Applications accepted all year round

Competitive Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

A yearly stipend of $30,696 NZD (not taxed) plus full tuition fees waiver for 36 months

Funding for conference travel is available.


The candidate will hold a BSc (Hons) or MSc in Chemistry. Alternatively, the candidate can hold a BE(Hons) or Me in Engineering. The candidate will have completed a practical chemistry or engineering project (i.e. not a taught Masters) and will be enthusiastic and passionate about research. A GPA equivalent to an Otago GPA of 7 (A-) on a 9 point scale or greater is expected for the application.

Experience in the mentioned techniques is advantageous but not necessary.

Chemistry (6) Engineering (12)

 About the Project