Training Opportunities

Innovation and Training

The Centre will provide an unparalleled opportunity for Higher Degree Research Students and Early Career Researchers to obtain world-class university-industry integrated research training with invaluable industry exposure.

The training program is designed to be highly innovative with four major integrated components of the skills and capacity building:

(a) Research training

(b) Industry placements

(c) Annual symposium

(d) Industrial training.

Scroll down for current OPPORTUNITIES listed below.


Are you interested in a PhD with an industry focus?

We are looking for highly motivated, passionate and competitive candidates for 3.5-year fully funded PhD positions in the Transforming Biosolids Training Centre. Successful candidates will join the Centre and will be working in multidisciplinary research teams within the Centre as well as working closely with our industry partners to advance functional and translational biosolids research, leading to novel applications and new market opportunities for the Australian biosolids industry.

About the PhD positions

PhD positions (known as ICHDR roles) are available within the three research themes which form the research focus of the Centre:

RESEARCH THEME 1: Improving Technologies

In this theme we will be looking at improving existing wastewater treatment processes/technologies and current beneficial routes as well as investigating new alternative technologies to reduce biosolids volume and transform them into high-value products.  Existing processes such as anaerobic digesters and advance treatment methods such as drying, thermal hydrolysis, pyrolysis, gasification and hydrothermal liquefaction will be studied in depth for benchmarking to realise their techno-commercial potential in different scenarios (i.e.urban versus regional water utilities).

RESEARCH THEME 2: Enhancing Product Applications

In this theme, we will investigate the transformation of biosolids into carbon based fertiliser/growing media/advance materials for its use in commercial farming systems (such as horticulture, agriculture and greenhouses) and non-farming systems (such as construction, energy, animal feed) to develop sustainable water treatment and farming systems by closing carbon and nutrient cycles.

RESEARCH THEME 3: Ensuring Sustainability

Developing technical solutions for biosolids transformation will not lead to enhanced and sustained industry opportunities if environmental regulations, policy frameworks and public perceptions are out of step with the science.  To this end, this theme will consider a number of topics that are central to the successful implementation of improved management of biosolids or related products relevant to water and agriculture industries and Environmental Protection Agencies (EPAs). These include facilitating an understanding of biosolids and tackling odour to improve community acceptance, developing national guidelines, developing a framework for evidence-based risk assessment of biosolids and its related products, and measuring public perception of the social and environmental benefits of biosolids transformation. (Go to the OPPORTUNITIES  section below for possible Theme 3 PhD projects)

Within these three themes, ten (10) research projects have been designed by a team of leading researchers and industry experts.  The expected outcomes of the Transforming Biosolids Training Centre are to develop a group of new, highly trained, industry-ready researchers as well as advanced solutions across the three major themes: this will provide significant benefits in the economic value of new applications and market opportunities as well as deliver cost savings – all in an environmentally friendly manner.

A Transforming Biosolids Training Centre research degree is designed to prepare graduates for a wide variety of careers by building professional development activities into the degree program.  The first professional appointment after graduation will be determined not only by the research-specific technical skills gained during candidature but also the transferable generic skills and personal attributes.  The Transforming Biosolids Training Centre will therefore make available an extensive skills development program and requires all ICHDR candidates to develop a program of Professional Development as part of their degree candidature, in consultation with the Supervisory Team.

Who are we looking for?

Applications are invited from outstanding and enthusiastic graduates with relevant backgrounds (engineering, microbiology, chemistry, soil science or equivalent).

General recruitment and requirements

Interested candidates should have the following attributes:

  • Hold an Honours degree in a relevant discipline or will receive this before the appointment date
  • Does not hold a previous equivalent degree
  • Analytical thinking, data analysis and critical problem-solving
  • The ability to work in a multidisciplinary team in an international environment and to work independently
  • An interest in and/or experience working with industry partners
  • Fluency in written and oral English.

In accordance with the requirements of the ARC ITTC program, all ICHDR students will be required to complete 12-months in industry placements during their candidature.

How do I apply?

If this sounds like you, then please submit a formal Expression of Interest (EoI) which must include the following:

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter*
  • Academic transcripts
  • 2 referees

*Please identify your program/project areas of interest within your cover letter and provide 150 words on why you are interested in this program/project area.

Expression of Interest

Any inquiries are strongly encouraged and welcome as places are still available.  Please contact the Centre Manager at



University of Queensland


The following positions are based at the internationally recognised Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology (ACWEB) at the picturesque St Lucia campus, working on projects in conjunction with researchers and industry partners in the ARC Biosolids Training Centre.


Application deadline: Rolling

Details on these opportunities can be found HERE

The research programme contributes to projects associated with the ARC Biosolids Training Centre’s Theme 1 Improving Technologies and Theme 2 Enhancing Product Applications. All projects involve collaboration with University partners (RMIT, UNSW and UWA) and include placements with industry partners across Australia.

For information on all these positions, contact Professor Damien Batstone by email:


University of New South Wales



Four PhD positions are currently available within the UNSW Water Research Centre (WRC) and the ARC Transforming Biosolids Training Centre program (Theme 3B): “The role of biosolids management in preserving Earth’s resilience”.

For further information on how to apply, visit the UNSW website HERE.

Applications should be submitted to Dr Soo Huey Teh (email: ) – subject heading “ITTC PhD 3B”.


For interested applicants, these four projects, and an additional three projects relating to Theme 3, are listed below.


Below are possible PhD project summaries that the Biosolids Training Centre CIs and industry partners are interested in. If you are interested in pursuing a PhD in any of the listed topics, please email your CV and a copy of your academic transcript to the project contact noted in the pdf. file. (Click on the heading for the detailed project information contained in the pdf. attachment)

We will review your information and your eligibility to enrol in a PhD in our Centre. Interested students should be willing to apply for an RTP scholarship or equivalent. (For UNSW scholarships, see HERE)

1. Co-digestion of organic substrates in Australian WWTPs: This PhD project aims to:

  • develop a national ‘”substrate map’ of waste types, availability, reliability and volumes for the water industry to use for planning and implementing co-digestion;
  • investigate potential substrate security risks associated with losing substrate supplier(s) in the future and the availability of sufficient volumes to make co-digestion viable;
  • undertake a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) for the ‘priority substrates’ to understand their potential environmental benefits and drawbacks.

2. Hybrid life cycle assessment of biosolids processing technologies: This PhD project aims to:

  • develop a hybrid life cycle assessment model that combines bottom-up process data and top-down input-output data to represent the biosolids processing technologies utilised across Australia to evaluate the impacts of biosolids treatment options in multiple dimensions
  • utilise the Industrial Ecology Virtual Laboratory within the UNSW Sustainability Assessment Program for hybrid life cycle assessments and environmental footprint analysis.

3. Life cycle assessment of biosolids processing technologies: Project no longer available.

4. Modelling nutrients and substances in wastewater treatment plants and biosolids:  This PhD project aims to:

  • track and model carbon and nutrient flows in sludge and biosolids composition using bottom-up approaches for the systems scale and top-down approaches for the national scale;
  • investigate sustainability on a national scale by benchmarking nutrient flows against critical planetary boundaries
  • utilise the Industrial Ecology Laboratory within the UNSW Sustainability Assessment Program for hybrid life cycle assessments and environmental footprint analysis.

5. Fate of emerging contaminants following biosolid application?  This PhD project aims to:

  • determine the fate and persistence of CECs (contaminants of emerging concern) following land application through biosolids application;
  • develop a fugacity model to quantify the fate and transformation potential of CECs applied to land through biosolids across the wide range of Australian environments.

6. Siloxane mapping and behaviours in energy recovery from anaerobic digestion: This PhD project aims to:

  • examine the sources and behaviours of siloxanes in wastewater treatment plants with a focus on enhancing energy recovery;
  • use substance flow analysis to track flows of silicon and understand siloxanes loads in wastewater treatment plants in Australia
  • examine siloxane compounds behaviour in terms of emission rates, behaviours and stability in liquid and gas phases.

7. Community engagement to improve biosolids acceptance: This PhD project aims to:

  • assess means by which to investigate community interpretations of environmental malodour;
  • research effective community engagement tools;
  • provide efficacious, useable community communication tools for industry partners.