PhD scholarship: Electrochemical removal of contaminants from groundwater for drinking water production in remote and Indigenous communities

Summary

Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Engineering and Computing
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship, Tuition Scholarship
Scholarship value $28,854 per annum (2022 rate), indexed annually
Scholarship duration 3.5 years with the possibility of 1 extension in line with UQ and RTP Scholarship Policy
Number awarded 2
Opening date 2 September 2021
Closing date 4 October 2021

Description

The ACWEB and its utility and technology provider partners have recently formed a national R&D consortium to develop the next generation of water treatment technologies for the provision of safe drinking water to regional and Aboriginal communities. This UQ-developed technology consists in a novel electrochemical treatment approach that utilises no consumables (other than electricity), requires little maintenance and produces minimal amounts hazardous wastes. The project will engage 2 PhD students to conduct fundamental and optimisation research of this technology.

Your role – PhD position 1 out of 2

Supervisor – Dr Pablo Ledezma

The primary role of the first PhD student will be to investigate and optimise the fundamental electro-physico-chemical mechanisms that allow for the removal of Nitrate (NO3), Arsenic (As) and Uranium (U) from target groundwaters. The candidate will also focus on the removal of secondary contaminants of importance such as: Fe, Mn, Si, Ca, amongst others. Finally, the candidate will undertake research and performance evaluation into periodic cleaning/regeneration strategies and/or complimentary treatment technologies, which can be combined with electrochemical process system to achieve effective pre-treatment, treatment and disinfection requirements.

Your role – PhD position 2 out of 2

Supervisor – Dr Gilda Carvalho

The primary role of the second PhD student will be to focus on the transformations of organic and biological matter during the electrochemical treatment and subsequent potabilisation of target groundwaters. The candidate will investigate the fate of naturally occurring organic matter, as well as the fate of disinfection by-product precursors. The formation of DBPs, including trihalomethanes (THMs), haloacetonitriles (HANs) and brominated DBPs during electrochemical treatment and subsequent chlorination/chloramination will be studied. Finally, the candidate will also undertake research and performance evaluation of the electrochemical process’ ability to conduct microbiological inactivation and/or lysis of bacteria (e.g. E. coli, Bacillus spp.), and other pathogens such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia spp., nematode eggs and potentially viruses (e.g. MS2 phage).

The Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Microbiology

The candidates will work across the Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Microbiology and the various physicochemical characterisation facilities across the University such as the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis and the Australian National Fabrication Facility – Queensland node.

The Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Microbiology (ACWEB) is an internationally recognised centre of excellence in innovative water technology and management. The Centre has an outstanding worldwide reputation in urban water management and related fields, and an award-winning multidisciplinary team delivers practical technological solutions underpinned by fundamental scientific discoveries. The Centre has six interlinked programs namely, next generation urban water technologies, integrated urban water management, sewer corrosion and odour management, nexus of urban water, health and environment, resource efficient agri-industry and environmental biotechnology.

Eligibility

To be eligible, you must meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research.

This scholarship is open to Australian citizens, permanent residents and International students who are currently in Australia at the time of application and commencement.

Before you get started

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them.

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow this link. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will have the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Before submitting an application you should:

When you apply, please ensure that under the scholarships and collaborative study section you:

  1. Select ‘My higher degree is not collaborative’
  2. Select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'.
  3. Select ‘Other’, then ‘Research Project Scholarship’ and  for Position 1 type in ‘DRINKING WATER-POSITION ONE’ in the 'Name of scholarship' field, and for Position 2 type in 'DRINKING WATER-POSITION TWO' in the 'Name of scholarship' field.

See an example of what you have to do

Learn more about applying for a higher degree by research at UQ

Selection criteria

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

Position 1

A working knowledge of electrochemical engineering and/or physicochemical characterisation techniques would be an absolute advantage. Finally, experience with the operation of electrochemical reactors and/or microscopy/spectroscopy instruments for the characterisation of salts/oxides is highly desirable.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field/s of electrochemical engineering and/or physicochemical characterisation techniques and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of operation of electrochemical reactors and/or microscopy/spectroscopy instruments for the characterisation of salts/oxides is highly desirable.

Position 2

A working knowledge of chemical characterisation techniques such as Gas Chromatography and HPLC would be an absolute advantage. Finally, hands on experience in microbiology and/or virology is also highly desirable.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field/s of chemical characterisation techniques such as Gas Chromatography and HPLC and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of microbiology and/or virology is highly desirable.

Contact

Dr Pablo Ledezma
+61 7 3346 3220

Terms and conditions

Read the policy on UQ Research Scholarships.

A domestic part-time student with carer’s responsibilities, a medical condition or a disability, which prevents them from studying full time may be eligible for scholarship consideration, on a case by case basis.