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Scholarship details

CSIRO Industry PhD (iPhD) on Bioelectrochemical organics destruction and caustic recovery from alumina refinery liquor

Status: Open

Applications open: 8/01/2024
Applications accepted at any time

View printable version [.pdf]

About this scholarship

The CSIRO Industry PhD Program (iPhD) is a four-year research training program, focusing on applied research that benefits industry by solving real-world challenges. It aims to produce the next generation of innovation leaders with the skills to work at the interface of research and industry in Australia.

The Program also includes:

a)       Supervision by the participating university, CSIRO, and an industry partner.

b)      A three month industry engagement component with the industry partner.

c)       A structured professional development and training program to develop your applied research skills.

Project description:

Alumina is produced from bauxite ores via the Bayer process. However, Australian bauxite ores contain high content of organics, which, if not effectively managed, can impact the Bayer process and alumina product quality. A key organic impurity in the Bayer process is oxalate (C2O42-), which due to its high concentration and impact on hydrate crystal formation, is often targeted for removal from the refining circuit to ensure process efficiency.

This project will evaluate the oxalate removal and caustic recovery rates of a bioelectrochemical system (BES) process developed at CSIRO. The project will provide critical knowledge on the feasibility of using BES for oxalate removal and recovery of caustic soda in alumina refining, which will then be used to inform pilot-scale prototype design and techno-economic evaluation of the process

  • Future Students
  • Faculty of Science & Engineering
    • Science courses
    • Engineering courses
  • Higher Degree by Research
  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa
  • Merit Based

The iPhD Program Scholarship consists of a four year scholarship package totalling $46,000 per annum (2024 rate) and a four year Project Expense and Development package of $13,000 per annum.

Scholarship Details


Any HDR student wishing to undertake a PhD project in the Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Biology, Biotechnology or Microbiology fields.

Eligible applicants must:

  • Meet PhD enrolment eligibility requirements and not have already completed a PhD
  • Meet the citizenship criteria listed above
  • Successful recipients must also not be in receipt of any other primary scholarship
  • Be able to commence studies in the year of offer
  • Be able to enrol as a full-time PhD student
  • Be situated at the agreed project location(s) and, if required, comply with the host university’s external enrolment procedures.


Essential skillsets:

  • MSc or BSc (Honours) degree in a relevant field: biology; biotechnology; chemistry; chemical or environmental engineering, electrochemistry; environmental science, microbiology; or similar.
  • Knowledge in designing and conducting experiments, conducting chemical analyses for samples, analysing data, preparing reports/ journal manuscripts, and delivering outcomes in agreed timeframes.
  • Ability to work independently and effectively as a team member towards driving project outcomes.

Desirable skillsets:

  • Knowledge in operating bioreactors, where microorganisms or other bio-based catalysts are integrated to facilitate the degradation of target chemical compound(s).
  • Knowledge in electrochemistry or bioelectrochemistry.
  • Good analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Successful students are subject to the policies, procedures and guidelines of the participating university in addition to the CSIRO Industry PhD Program terms and conditions.

Application process

Applicants are required to submit an expression of interest (EOI) via the EOI form following the instructions as described therein.

Enrolment Requirements

When enrolled, PhD students must:

  • Maintain satisfactory progress in all PhD academic requirements of the university (Confirmation of Candidature, Research Progress Reviews, etc.)
  • Participate in the career and professional development training delivered by CSIRO
  • Undertake an Industry Engagement component with the industry partner
  • Seek approval for Personal Leave longer than that outlined in the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017 from the host university, CSIRO, and the industry partner.

Additional details for PhD students are outlined in the CSIRO Industry PhD Program’s Scholarship Terms and Conditions available on our website.


For more information regarding the scholarship please contact A/Prof. Franca Jones:

Or Prof. Damien Arrigan:

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