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Tailored environments for highly active and stable electrocatalysts

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Alison Downard
    Dr Chris Fitchett
    Dr Aaron Marshall
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Do you enjoy variety in your lab work? Do you want to develop diverse skills in chemistry? If ‘yes’ this project could be for you.

Our project aims to prepare molecular electrocatalysts with improved efficiency and stability. Our big-picture goal is to generate new catalytic systems for reactions that are important for sustainable energy production.

We are looking for a Chemistry graduate with a strong Honours or Masters degree in Chemistry. Experience in organic or inorganic synthesis is highly desirable and very important is your initiative, motivation and enthusiasm to undertake experimental work involving both wet chemistry and instrumental analysis.

The project will develop your skills in:
inorganic and organic synthesis
surface chemistry
advanced spectroscopy and microscopy for surface analysis

You will work alongside a postdoctoral fellow and will be supervised by an experienced team of enthusiastic researchers at the University of Canterbury: Prof Alison Downard and Dr Chris Fitchett from the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, and Dr Aaron Marshall from the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering. You’ll be based in brand new research labs and will become part of the community of MacDiarmid Institute PhD students ( The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology is a NZ Centre of Research Excellence and offers many opportunities for PhD students to broaden their research, entrepreneurial and communication skills.

The University of Canterbury is located in Christchurch, a small city in the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. The city is on the coast and is close to the mountains. It is possible to ski, surf, climb and mountain-bike all in the same day.

The scholarship is available from 1 March 2018 (a later start date may be negotiated)

Your application must include:
- A full Curriculum Vitae, INCLUDING your University transcript (i.e. list of grades).
- The names of at least two people who can act as referees.
- A statement of when you could begin your PhD research.
- Evidence of English language proficiency. If English is not your first language, international applicants must meet the University’s English language requirements (e.g. IELTS ≥ 6.5; TOEFEL ≥ 90).
See for details.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Applications and enquires should be sent to Professor Alison Downard: [email protected])

Funding Notes

The scholarship includes a non-taxable living allowance of $NZ27,500 p.a. plus PhD tuition fees for 3 years.

The project is funded by the Marsden fund, New Zealand's premier fundamental science funding agency.

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