Marsden PhD Scholarship - Light Responsive Drug Development Systems

Closing date:
Value of Award: Stipend $27,500 plusPhD domestic tuition fees
No. of awards: One
Tenure: Three years (subject to satisfactory progress).


One scholarship is available funded by a Marsden Fast Start grant.

This synthetic chemistry project aims to develop light-responsive organelle-targeted drug delivery systems to control exactly when and where drugs exhibit their therapeutic activity in a cellular setting. Fluorescence will also be used to track in real-time the distribution of the inactive drug before using light to trigger its activation at the desired subcellular location.

Selection criteria:

  • 1. Applicants must have completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) or Master of Science in chemistry. 2. Knowledge and experience in organic chemistry and techniques for characterisation, including NMR spectroscopy, as well as good communication skills in written and spoken English is essential. 3. The successful candidate will demonstrate enthusiasm and have an outstanding academic record and be prepared to conduct the doctoral study at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) based in New Zealand. 4. Preference will be given to NZ Citizens, NZ Permanent Residents or international students currently onshore in New Zealand. 5. Applying for a scholarship and admission into AUT are separate processes at AUT. Applicants must fulfil all conditions for admission to the Doctoral Programme in AUT. These can be found at 6. Requirements for the Doctoral programme include having completed the required academic qualifications for direct entry and meeting the requirements for English language proficiency. Minimum English language requirement for international applicants – IELTS scores of 6.5 overall with 7 in writing and all other bands 6.0 or higher. A high proficiency in English is essential. 

General Information:

How do students apply?
Applicants must apply by email to Dr Cassandra Fleming ( attaching: 1. A cover letter highlighting your research interests and experience. 2. A brief (no more than 2 pages) curriculum vitae. 3. Academic transcripts and certificates for any previous tertiary study completed at a university other than AUT. 4. Details (including phone and email) of two academic referees.   

Decision makers
Selection will be based on demonstrated strength in the following: 1. the applicant’s academic record 2. past research experience and publication record (if appropriate) relevant to this project 3. the referees’ statements. The Selection panel’s decision will be final; if suitable applicants are not available the panel will not award the scholarship. The position may then be re-advertised.

How and when do students learn of the decision?
The successful candidate will be contacted by Dr Fleming and the University Scholarships Office.

What conditions are attached to acceptance of this award?
The successful applicant will be required to sign an AUT Research Scholarship Contract.

Additional information
The anticipated start date is 1st March 2021 but will depend on the completion of AUT enrolment and obtaining a student visa (if required).  The scholarship must be taken up within four months of the offer of scholarship.

Who else has information about this award?
Contact: Dr Cassandra Fleming (

For guidelines, application forms and more information about this award contact:

Auckland University of Technology

Phone: +64 9 921 9837


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