Deakin-Bayreuth Cotutelle - Hybrid spider silk/silkworm silk biomaterials

This is a doctoral Cotutelle project in 'hybrid spider silk/silkworm silk biomaterials' (Deakin University led)

Deakin Project Supervisor

Deakin School or Institute


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus (Australia) and University of Bayreuth (Germany)

Research topic

This is a doctoral cotutelle project between Deakin University (Australia) and the University of Bayreuth (Germany).

The successful PhD Student will be awarded a scholarship from Deakin University with the supervision team being drawn from Deakin University and University of Bayreuth. The PhD Student will graduate with two testamurs, one from Deakin University and one from University of Bayreuth, each of which recognises that the program was carried out as part of a jointly supervised doctoral program. The program is for a duration of 4 years and scheduled to commence in November 2023.

The PhD Student is anticipated to spend at least 12 months of the total period of the program at University of Bayreuth, with the remainder of the program based at Deakin University.

The project will focus on developing new hybrid materials from silkworm silk and recombinant spider silk. Both are exciting natural polymers because of their amazing mechanical properties and because they can be processed into a range of materials. Combining these materials will unlock the advantage of each – silkworm silk’s availability and excellent mechanical properties and recombinant spider silk’s degree of control and ability to be readily functionalised.

Project aim

The project will focus on understanding and controlling the interactions with the aim to develop new materials. These may include:

  • hydrogel bioinks for live cell 3D printing
  • wet spun composite fibres with outstanding mechanical properties
  • porous cell scaffolds for biomedical applications.

The work will involve:

  • Literature review to identify gaps in the research and guide project direction.
  • Dissolution of silkworm silk and development of new formulations of silkworm silk/spider silk.
  • Characterisation of the properties of the mixtures including solution rheology and measurement of molecular weight.
  • Production of materials such as membranes, hydrogels, 3D printed scaffolds or fibres.
  • Characterisation of these regenerated materials using techniques such as ATR-FTIR, mechanical testing (tensile or compression), morphology using SEM and other microscopy, measurements of in vitro enzymatic degradation.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Friday 1 September 2023

Please be aware that screening for this advert will commence immediately and the scholarship may be awarded prior to the closing date.


This scholarship is supported by Deakin University, is available over 3 years and includes:

  • Stipend of $33,500 per annum tax exempt (2023 rate)
  • International students only:  Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.
  • Full Tuition Fee Waiver for up to 4 years

Funding to support travel of PhD Student between Deakin University and University of Bayreuth

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship.
  • meet the PhD entry requirements of both Deakin University and University of Bayreuth, including English language proficiency requirements
  • be enrolling full-time
  • be able to physically locate to both University of Bayreuth (Germany) and Deakin University (Australia)

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page and University of Bayreuth's research entry criteria page for further information.

How to apply

Applicants should firstly contact Dr Ben Allardyce to discuss the project before being invited by Deakin University to lodge a formal HDR application to Deakin.

The successful applicant will also be required to lodge a separate PhD application to University of Bayreuth via the University of Bayreuth application page

Please be aware that screening for this advert will commence immediately and the scholarship may be awarded prior to the closing date.

Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Dr Ben Allardyce: :

Email Dr Ben Allardyce
+61 3 5227 2436