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Evaluating the benefits of ultra-low emission wood heaters

   Menzies Institute for Medical Research

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  Prof Fay Johnston  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Evaluating the potential air quality, carbon, health, and economic gains from moving from standard to ultra-low emission domestic wood heaters

Wood burning is a popular choice for home heating in Tasmania. The consequence is unacceptably high concentrations of air pollution during the colder months in many regions of the state, which has been clearly associated with increased rates of mortality, heart and lung diseases. Newer design ultra-low emissions (ULE) wood burning heaters could potentially offer a solution for regions where wood is a readily available cheaper heating option.

Several ULE heaters are commercially available in other countries (eg New Zealand), but have not had uptake in Australia, where heater standards are not as stringent, and there is scepticism about ULE performance with hardwoods (like eucalypts) typically burnt in Australia, compared with softwood timber (like conifers) that are typically burnt in Europe, North America and New Zealand.

This inter- disciplinary program of work will use the emissions testing facility being constructed at the University to evaluate how ultra-low emission (ULE) wood heaters perform when burning Australian hardwoods. It will apply emissions data to model potential reduction in air pollution by region, health outcomes and economic gains. And it will characterise policy options for addressing this avoidable cause of ill health in the community.



Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research 

Applicants from the following disciplines are encouraged to apply:

  • Statistical modelling, air quality science and engineering, epidemiology, health economics, carbon accounting

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Applicants  for this project/scholarship must have a strong background in at least one of the areas below:

  • Advanced statistical modelling, health impact assessments, or economic modelling
  • Air pollution measurement, atmospheric sciences or environmental engineering

Application process

After checking and ensuring that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria contact the project supervisor.

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