Programming and Real-Time Monitoring Light Degradability of Polymers

Synthetic polymers are arguably the class of man-made materials that have most shaped the last century. However, the majority of polymers results from radical polymerization techniques yielding all carbon backbones, which critically prevent their degradation and pose a vital threat to the future of our planet. The truly interdisciplinary project spans design and synthesis of an unprecedented class of light degradable polymers as well as the development of the analytical platform to monitor polymer degradation in real-time.

On the synthetic side, the project will develop macrocyclic monomers containing inherent degradation mechanisms. Upon polymerisation, the cleavable linkages of the macrocyclic monomer will be embedded into the resulting polymer’s backbone, which can be degraded on demand by irradiation with light. These polymers will then be interrogated using advanced mass spectrometry techniques, including ion mobility mass spectrometry and laser photoactivation. The successful PhD applicant will be directly involved in operating the mass spectrometers to make these measurements and take a leading role to develop and implement new mass spectrometry techniques to probe molecular photofolding.

You should have a B.Sc.(hons) or M.Sc. degree in chemistry. A strong background in organic chemistry and mass spectrometry would be highly valuable. Other desirable skillsets would include experience in polymer synthesis, characterization techniques and monomer design, although these are no requirements, if the applicant is ambitious to learn. We are looking for applicants that are highly motivated, demonstrate initiative, and look forward to working in a highly collaborative, multicultural team.

Please contact Dr Berwyck Poad ( or Dr Hendrik Frisch ( for further details
Applications close 31 March 2020

What you’ll receive

A scholarship, tax exempt and indexed annually $28,092 per annum for a period of 3 years will be provided to the successful applicant.

Paid leave is provided equivalent to QUTPRA scholarships. The scholarship does provide access to a student travel allowance but does not cover relocation expenses or paid extensions.

International students will also receive either:

an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Fees Offset (International)
a QUT research degree (HDR) tuition fee scholarship.

As the scholarship recipient, you will have the opportunity to work with a team of leading researchers, to undertake your own innovative research in and across the fields of materials sciences, and to gain an internationally recognised postgraduate qualification.

The scholarship will be governed by QUTPRA rules.

To apply for this scholarship, you must meet the entry requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at QUT, including any English language requirements for international students.
QUT and the Centre are committed to Equity and Diversity among our staff and students, to ensure that we mirror the diversity of the community in which QUT exists. In 2018, this was recognised by QUT receiving a Bronze Award in the inaugural SAGE Athena SWAN gender and diversity program.
Woman and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are encouraged to apply.

The Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry (ANZSMS)

c/o Prof Gavin Reid
School of Chemistry
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Melbourne
Victoria 3010
(+61 3) 8344 2650

ABN: 72 700 688 029    © ANZSMS Inc. 2018