MSc Scholarship in Cellulose Conversion to Bio-based Chemicals

The transition from fossil carbon to bio-based chemical feedstocks requires the development of new technologies to facilitate the production of platform chemicals. Cellulose is the most abundant biopolymer on Earth and a potential source of bio-based chemical products that do not compete with food production. However, the conversion of cellulose into bio-based chemical products currently requires the use of harsh, energy intensive conditions with reasonably poor selectivity towards desirable platform chemical products.

A one-year MSc scholarship is available under the supervision of Dr Cameron Weber at the University of Auckland to investigate the combination of selected ionic liquids and process technologies such as microwave heating and vortex fluidic devices for the more efficient conversion of cellulose into useful chemical products. Approaches for the isolation of the products and recycling of the solvent systems used will be explored with a view to minimising energy consumption and the production of chemical waste.

The successful candidate will be highly motivated with interests in green chemistry and/or physical organic chemistry.

The scholarship, funded by the Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge, includes a tax-free stipend of $27,500 and a separate contribution of $7,500 towards tuition fees. Applicants must satisfy the requirements for admission into an MSc, specifically a Bachelor of Science (Honours) or Postgraduate Diploma of Science in chemistry with a GPA of 5.0 or above or equivalent qualifications. Further details can be found here.

Candidates from groups underrepresented in the physical sciences are strongly encouraged to apply. The successful applicant must be able to start in Semester 1, 2022 (Monday 28 th February 2022). Applications should contain a resume and academic transcript and be made by email to Dr Cameron Weber at The deadline for applications is Friday 05 November 2021.