Robinson Research Institute PhD Scholarship: Next generation optical-based magnetic sensors using magnetochromic composites

Study area(s): Engineering; Science
Scholarship level: Doctoral
Tenure: Three years
Number offered: One
Value: A stipend of $27,500 per annum plus full fees


A fully funded PhD scholarship in Materials Engineering/Physics is available for research into developing a new class of magnetochromic composites for fibre-optics based magnetic field sensors. The successful candidate will join the world leading Robinson Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) at Lower Hutt, New Zealand. 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). Access to additional resources is available through our affiliation with the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. This PhD project is part of a newly funded New Zealand Marsden research programme, which involved researchers from Victoria University of Wellington, GNS Science and University of Boudreaux.


The Robinson Research Institute comprises a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers engaged in globally-significant projects in applied superconductivity, ranging from the fundamental science of superconducting materials, to modelling and experimental characterisation of superconducting devices and components, to large-scale engineering builds of MRI magnets, power equipment, and rotating machines.


We are offering the PhD Scholarship, “Next generation optical-based magnetic sensors using magnetochromic composites”, to develop an excellent student in a range of key industry-ready engineering skills whilst pursuing individually-tailored research projects.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to contribute to the fundamental understanding of the intrinsic properties that enable the magneto-piezochromic effect (similar to a magnetoelectric effect) plus investigate ways to optimize the stress-strain transfer between the magnetostrictive and piezochromic phases. There is also the opportunity for the candidate to travel abroad to attend international conferences and work with researchers from other parts of New Zealand.


  • Applicants must satisfy the requirements for admission as a PhD candidate to Victoria University of Wellington.
  • Applicants should have an engineering or science degree equivalent to a 1st class or 2nd class (1st division) 4-year Honours degree in New Zealand, or a Masters or Postgraduate Diploma equivalent with high grades.
  • Only excellent applicants with GPA or CGPA equivalent of 80% and above will be considered for this scholarship.

Application process

Applicants who are interested in applying for this scholarship are required to send an email titled “Re: Robinson Research Institute – PhD in magnetochromic composites” to

Applicants should also include the following in their email:

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. A summary of university grades
  3. A statement detailing why you are interested in this project
  4. Contact information for two potential referees

Selection process

Applications will be considered by the project leaders Dr Shen Chong and Professor Grant Williams.

Regulations and conditions

Candidates should satisfy the requirements for admission as a PhD candidate at Victoria University of Wellington. They will also need to sign a Victoria Research Scholarship contract.


For more information, send an email titled “Re: Robinson Research Institute – PhD in magnetochromic composites” to