Available postgraduate research projects

Robinson Research Institute offers Master's and PhD research projects.

Prospective students interested in pursuing a research degree (PhD, MSc or ME) at the Robinson Institute should contact the named supervisor for further information and guidance before applying for one of these scholarships.

To apply for these projects, or for more information, email the Institute with the title of the PhD scholarship, or ‘ME by Thesis’ in the subject line.

Applicants should include the following: (i) your curriculum vitae; (ii) a copy of your university transcript; (iii) a statement detailing why you are interested in studying at Robinson Research Institute; and (iv) contact information for two potential referees.

Scholarships and stipends

Postgraduate studentships at the Robinson Institute are full-time positions that require the student to be able to financially support themselves for the duration of their study. Scholarships and stipend funding for postgraduate study at the Robinson Institute are available in several forms:

PhD Research scholarships

Several research projects are supported by external research grants which include allocated funding for a research student. Currently available scholarships:

3D fluorescent optical memory for long-term data storage

The candidate will undertake materials preparation using solid-state chemistry, including high-temperature melts and hydrothermal techniques. The materials will be characterised and studied by x-ray diffraction, SEM, TEM, optical absorption, and various luminescence techniques including photoluminescence and stimulated luminescence. The candidate will also assist in the design, construction and implementation of optical experiments involving laser stimulations. Access to additional resources is available through our affiliation with the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology

Optics-based distributed magnetic field and temperature sensor

The candidate will undertake materials preparation using solid-state chemistry and thin film fabrication as well as assist in the setting up of a magneto-optical test rig on the Quantum Design physical property measurement system (PPMS). The materials will be characterised and studied by x-ray diffraction, SEM, TEM, photoluminescence, magnetometer, and physical property measurement system (PPMS). Access to additional resources is available through our affiliation with the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology

Next generation optical-based magnetic sensors using magnetochromic composites

The candidate will undertake materials preparation using solid-state chemistry, thin film fabrication, and ion-implantation, as well as assist in the setting up of a magneto-optical test rig on the Quantum Design physical property measurement system (PPMS). The materials will be characterised and studied by x-ray diffraction, magnetic force microscopy (MFM), SEM, TEM, magnetometer, and physical property measurement system (PPMS).

AC loss in HTS rotor windings

We have a fully funded PhD scholarship available for research into experimental and numerical study of energy dissipation (AC loss) in high temperature superconducting (HTS) rotor windings for fully superconducting rotating machines aimed at aircraft applications. The project will target experimental and numerical AC loss studies in 2G coated conductors, Roebel cables/twisted stacks/CORC cables assembled with coated conductors and operating in the temperature range of 40 K – 77 K carrying DC current while exposed to an AC magnetic field.

Energy dissipation in SMES magnet for space applications

The PhD project will target studies over transient behaviour of superconducting coils for SMES applications.  Activities will be centred around the design analysis and optimisation of the coil, thermal buss and cryogenic system. Special attention will be given to the duty cycle and power loss in HTS coils wound with 2G coated conductors during ramping up and down of the coils within the operating temperature range, using finite element method (FEM). This model will include coupling between temperature and electromagnetic properties of HTS coils due to power loss. The model will be validated by experiments carried out within the liquid nitrogen temperature range.

Wellington Doctoral Scholarship

Victoria University of Wellington awards around 135 postgraduate scholarships per year to individual students based upon academic merit. Victoria University of Wellington doctoral scholarship applications are accepted in March, July and November of each year.

The MacDiarmid Institute PhD research scholarships

Some Robinson Research Institute staff have PhD research scholarships available through their research projects with The MacDiarmid Institute.

Application details are listed under the appropriate research project on the MacDiarmid PhD Scholarships webpage (you will have to scroll down). Currently available research scholarships are:

Superconducting switching in oxide heterostructures

Supervisor: Dr James Storey

Novel low-energy switching elements are needed for the next generation of high-performance computing. This project seeks to develop sandwiches of different materials, known as oxide heterostructures, capable of switching between superconducting and resistive states.The aim is to harness emergent physics that can occur at the interface between dissimilar materials. The research will involve oxide thin-film growth, physical and electrical characterization by multiple techniques, and developing an understanding of the underlying physics.

Topological electronic properties of ferromagnetic Heusler alloys

Supervisor: Dr Simon Granville

Technology built on ferromagnetic thin films gave us the high capacity hard drives that led to the internet and all the huge benefits of modern computing available today. Now, research into magnetic materials is focused on achieving new forms of computing that are ultra-fast and extremely energy-efficient. This materials physics project will build on our recent work controlling the nanoscale magnetic structures and using the quantum electronic properties of ferromagnetic Heusler alloy thin films to understand how to make prototype spintronics memory devices that use topologically interesting electronic states.

This research will involve growth of thin film multilayers, clean room device patterning and characterisation of the basic magnetic, structural and electrical properties to learn how to control these useful characteristics, and to demonstrate all-electrically controlled spintronic memory devices using the spin torque from the anomalous Hall effect.

Masters of Engineering by Thesis

A full-time one-year programme for Honours students from both science and engineering, to spend honing their research skills in a practical research environment.

Robinson Institute – ME by Thesis Fees Scholarship

Full fees scholarships are available for excellent students studying for a one-year Master of Engineering by thesis (ME) degree at the Robinson Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington.

Students studying for a 12 month Master of Engineering by thesis at the Robinson Institute work closely alongside our professional research engineers and scientists, who provide one-on-one supervision to address a specific technical problem. Each project is set within one of our world-class research programmes on: superconducting magnet engineering, electromagnetic sensing or high-temperature materials processing.

Other sources of funding

Students who are able to support their fees and living expenses through other sources of funding are also welcome to apply. International students may also be able to access other, international student scholarship schemes from within their home country. For further information about self-funded postgraduate study at the Robinson Institute, prospective students should contact the named supervisor in the first instance.

Principal Scientist · Postgraduate Research Coordinator (Robinson)
Robinson Research Institute

Principal Engineer · Deputy Director