Opportunities (arranged newest to oldest)

MSc Project Opportunity (180pt)

Title: Sugars of the sea – internal distribution and chemometric model validation of polysaccharides in Lessonia variegata

This project builds on research previously conducted by the UoW team and will firstly quantify the distribution of specific polysaccharides within Lessiona plants, and secondly test the applicability of a chemometric model developed for another species of kelp to Lessiona. This project is laboratory based at the University of Waikato Coastal Marine Field Station in Tauranga and suitable for a student with an interest in (bio)chemistry and modelling. Undergraduate studies in chemistry is a pre-requisite.

Project includes an annual stipend for 18 months (pro rata): $22,000 (plus annual fees)

Please send a letter of motivation and CV (including contact information for 2 referees) to [email protected]. Your letter of motivation should describe why you are interested in the specific project. The position is available until filled but needs to commence before the end of 2023.


PhD Opportunities

Title: Aquaculture methods for the seaweed Lessonia variegata for NZ open ocean conditions

This multidisciplinary PhD project will determine the effects of growth conditions on natural and farmed stock of the kelp Lessonia variegata and consists of a blend of field and laboratory work. The project includes broad sampling of seaweed in the field, aquaculture methods for early life history stages in the hatchery, and field and laboratory work to quantify effects of growth conditions (novel open-ocean structures) on the productivity and biochemistry of the seaweed, with a focus on polysaccharides and bioactives. While based at UoW in Tauranga, the project includes frequent travel to Nelson and surrounds for on-water work with Cawthron and collaborating aquaculture farmers.

Applicants will be independent and highly motivated with:

  • An Honours or MSc degree in a relevant subject (biology, biochemistry, chemistry)
  • Experience with relevant laboratory and/or field experiments
  • Sound skills in analysing data
  • Excellent communication skills in English (spoken and written)

Project includes an annual stipend for 3 years: $32,000 (plus annual fees)

Please send a letter of motivation and CV (including contact information for 2 referees) to [email protected]. Your letter of motivation should describe why you are interested in the specific project. Closing date 31st Jan 2023. The position will start between February and May 2023.


Title:  Testing the efficacy of enhanced rock weathering for large-scale carbon capture

To avoid devastating climate impacts globally, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) removal is required over the next century. Yet, few tenable large-scale CO2 removal applications exist. Enhanced rock weathering (ERW) of primary silicate minerals (e.g., olivine) has been proposed as a viable strategy for global-scale carbon capture, with a notable net 0.5-5 Gt CO₂ yr-1 potential proposed by recent modelling work. Despite the massive potential, there are currently no natural field data to corroborate the rates of carbon dioxide capture deemed possible in model space. As part of this project, the PhD student will perform ERW trials on agricultural land (e.g., permanent pasture), using both dunite and basalt. This work will be tackled with a toolbox consisting of geochemical (elemental and mineralogical) analysis, reaction transport models and machine learning techniques in  collaboration with a well-rounded supervisory team. This project constitutes only a portion of the PhD thesis, there is room for the candidate to lead the way in shaping the remainder of it.

  • Prior experience in any of the following areas: geochemistry, carbon cycling, geospatial analysis, reaction transport modelling, machine learning is highly valued.
  • The PhD candidate will be based at the Tauranga campus, as part of the Earth-Life Interactions Research Group (
  • This 3-year scholarship covers stipend and fees.

Please send CV (including information for 2-3 referees) and a cover letter to [email protected]. In cover letter, please include information such as: a description of why you want to undertake a PhD, how your previous experiences have prepared you for the research project that you are applying for, and what your passions are within or outside of academia. Review of applications will commence on 30th June 2022 and continue until the position is filled.

Full details available here.