PhD Scholarships

At the Future Industries Institute we offer a research environment with highly experienced and engaged supervisors, extensive connections to industry, government and communities, and a focus on addressing globally significant issues. You can undertake research in a variety of ways – through a PhD, Masters by Research, or a Professional Doctorate. UniSA is committed to ensuring that research degree candidates experience excellent and contemporary research training and that they graduate with a skill set that improves their employment prospects.

We encourage you to connect with our researchers and explore the possibilities for continuing your pathway into research. Below are details of Scholarships currently available.

PRIF-RCP Scholarship

There are four PhD Scholarships available, working on the PRIF-RCP Unclocking Complex Resouces Through Lean Processing project, funded by the South Australia Premier's Research and Industry Fund.

The Premier’s Research and Industry Fund (PRIF), aims to support South Australia’s research community to compete successfully on a national and global scale. At the Future Industries Institute we believe rresearch and development activity is critical to jobs growth and the emergence of new industries and enterprises in South Australia.

HDR Topic 1 - Mineral and Metal Identification Through the Correlation of Elemental, Mineralogical and Hyperspectral Sensor Data

Principal Supervisor: Professor David Lancaster 

See Details

HDR Topic 2 - Robust and Chemical Specific Sensors for Flotation Reagent Suites

Principal Supervisor: Dr Marta Krasowska

See Details

For more information on how to apply for one of these Scholarships

Please Click Here

If you have further questions on a specific project please contact the Principal Supervisor.


ARC IDEAL Hub PhD Scholarships

The IDEAL Research Hub is focused on improving the sensitivity, selectivity, speed and cost-effectiveness of detecting at low levels to develop next generation diagnostic and testing devices. The ARC IDEAL Research Hub is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Research Hub funding scheme.

Below are details on the scholarships linked to UniSA’s industry projects.

Project 1: Nano-structured Interfaces for Biofluid Capture, Separation, and Detection

Biological fluids are notoriously complex, containing large molecules (e.g. proteins), particulates (e.g. blood cells), and many surface-active molecules that tend to foul interfaces. While handling these fluids is known to be difficult, sampling from humans is problematic due to ethical considerations and practical challenges. This project will address the need for non-invasive and precise capture of biofluids in circumstances far from the laboratory. Micro and nano-structured materials will be prepared to serve the dual purpose of fluid collection/mobility and separation of target molecules via autonomous mechanisms, such as spontaneous transport through nano-forests (e.g., size exclusion or chromatography). Integrated coatings, electrodes, optical readouts will be exploited to enhance sampling, sensitivity and selectivity.

Project 2: Advanced Optofluidic Sensing Modes in Nano-Volume Microsensors

The University of South Australia has recently developed a 600 nL spectroscopy cuvette that relies on spontaneous wicking of a 10-20 micrometre liquid film. The device promises unparalleled ease-of-use and has been proven for high molar absorptivity samples. This project will value-add to the technology by embedding optic waveguides (and other optical materials or sensing modes) into the cuvette to facilitate low-abundance detection of an array of target molecules/ions on a disposable, low-volume platform. Waveguides may be achieved through direct-writing of higher refractive index material in specialty glasses or polymers or using supported liquid filaments/films, as observed in preliminary results. The ability to quickly and easily screen many biomolecules, drugs, and/or environmental contaminants using a tiny droplet of sample using, for example, a visible ‘barcode’ readout with integrated optics.

Project 3: Surface Treatment/Coating Strategies for Non-Invasive Wearable Sensors

Wearable sensors are increasingly common for many physiological parameters; however, the ability to non-invasively track chemical signatures is more difficult due to the necessity of on-board reagents, manipulation of fluids, and appropriate chemical readouts. Passive transport of, for example, sweat can be achieved in the short term by absorbent materials. This project will explore the preparation of novel, flexible micro/nanostructured chips using our industry partners state-of-the-art coating and etching capabilities. The passive fluid sampling will be feasible over long time-scales, under variable humidity and temperature, and on flexible chip materials. Initial targets will include chemical signatures of health, exposure, and disease.

Project 4: Microfluidic Vortex Shedding for CAR-T Gene Therapy

Gene-modified cell therapies such as chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T) represent the most promising therapeutics for many patients with advanced disease. Despite the unprecedented patient outcomes, these therapies are limited to a minute fraction of the diseased patient population due to limited manufacturing scales and cumbersome development processes. Indee Labs is addressing the most problematic manufacturing step, gene delivery, by using microscopic fluid dynamics or microfluidic vortex shedding (µVS) to gently and efficiently porate the cell membrane allowing for gene delivery. The project will explore the development of µVS devices for delivering various constructs to human immune cells while also performing basic research into µVS.

Indee Labs is a seed-stage start-up backed by American (SOSV/IndieBio, Y Combinator, Social Capital & Founders Fund) and Australian (Main Sequence Ventures) investors. The team has also received non-dilutive funding from the Australian Research Council, AusTrade, MTP Connect and the NSW Health Medical Device Fund.

Project 5: Evidential Alcohol Breath Testing Unit

Rapid and cost-effective methods for screening of drugs of abuse (e.g. cannabis, amphetamines, opiates etc.) are required for applications such as roadside and workplace drug testing, most existing methods rely of specific and selective detection of specific compounds but are less effective for related compounds (e.g. synthetic cannabinoids) which are also important targets. Mass spectrometry offers a detection method capable of determining both known drugs of abuse as well as new, related compounds. This project will explore the development of new methods based on portable mass spectrometry and/or other spectrometric methods for rapid, at-site detection of drugs of abuse.


$32,788 per year for 3 years


The scholarship is open to Australian and NZ Citizens and permanent residents of Australia and international students. Applicants must meet the entry requirements for a research degree program at the University of South Australia.

These IDEAL Hub projects will suit students with strong background in one or more of lab-on-a-chip technologies, micro/nanofluidics, analytical and physical chemistry, photonics and laser physics, materials science (including biomaterials and interfaces), and electrochemical sensing. Students with skills in medical devices, biosensors, environmental sensors, and/or advanced micro/nanofabrication techniques will be preferred.

How to apply and closing date

Apply online

Applications are open until filled.  Applicants should submit a CV, Supporting statement and names and contact details for three referees.

For more information contact Prof Emily Hilder:

Phone: (08) 8302 3404


Research Themes PhD Scholarships

The University of South Australia is excited to offer thematically-based scholarships which will not only address local, national and international grand challenges they will also ensure that students work across traditional boundaries within the unviersity and externally with industry and community partners.

Project Title: Antimicrobial resistance burden in migratory and resident bird species in the northern Adelaide coastal zone

Antimicrobial resistance is designated by the World Health Organisation as a global health emergency and it isn’t only a problem for humans. Multidrug resistant pathogens also infect wildlife, livestock, and companion animals, and can be transmitted between different species. The burden of these infections adds an additional challenge to wildlife conservation efforts worldwide.

A scholarship opportunity exists for a PhD student to undertake research into the microbiome and resistance profiles of resident and migratory bird species in the northern Adelaide coastal zone. The Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary National Park provides a key feeding and roosting site for tens of thousands of birds who migrate annually along the East-Asian Australasian flyway. Data will be collected to investigate correlations between local habitat and water quality and bird health. The role of birds in harboring and transporting antimicrobial resistant bacteria and genes to/from natural wetlands and human impacted habitats such as wastewater treatment lagoons will also be assessed. The project will have close links with SA Water and SA EPA.

UniSA is committed to research that aligns with society’s grand challenges by coordinating research across traditional boundaries into a thematic approach. The research aligns closely with UniSA’s research theme of Health Futures, supporting research to create a sustainable and healthier country for all Australians by addressing some of the nation’s most pressing challenges.


$27,596 per year for 3 years


Open to Australian and NZ citizens and permanent residents of Australia. Eligibility criteria for all PhDs can be found here.

How to apply

Contact Erica Donner in the first instance, and then Apply Online:


Phone: (08) 8302 3624