Deakin-Coventry Cotutelle - Impact of waste resource recycling on environmental pollution

This is a doctoral Cotutelle project in ‘Impact of waste resource recycling on environmental pollution’ between Deakin University (Australia) and Coventry University (UK).

Research topic

This is a doctoral cotutelle project between Deakin University (Australia) and Coventry University (United Kingdom). The successful PhD Student will be awarded a scholarship from Coventry University with the supervision team being drawn from Deakin University and Coventry University. The PhD Student will graduate with two testamurs, one from Deakin University and one from Coventry University, 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 3.5 years and scheduled to commence in January 2023. The PhD Student is anticipated to spend at least 12 months of the total period of the program at Deakin University, with the remainder of the program based at Coventry University.

Waste resources, repurposed for infrastructure materials such as cements, re-formed plastics and the like, can potentially contain significant levels of emerging contaminants (ECs) that may pose a risk to the local environment in which they are installed. Despite best efforts and considerations, park benches, roads and building products made from recycled materials may unintentionally release contaminants into the environment. Also, the waste streams used to create these products change over time. Understanding the variability and potential risk that these materials provide is essential for the circular economy and chemical safety in urban environments. The project will focus on surveying a variety of infrastructure materials containing recycled components, assessing the potential for contamination from these materials and methods that may mitigate the transfer of contaminants.

Project aim

There are three aims in this project as below:

  1. A survey of the waste stream cycles is required to determine potential repurposed target materials which are at risk of leaching contaminants into the local environment. For example, carpets can contain high levels of ECs and are considered for recycling into concretes and roads.
  2. Targeted chemical analysis of potential contaminants from materials and surrounding areas (eg soil, urban waterways) from in situ materials.
  3. Lab based stability studies to determine leaching rates, partitioning and transfer mechanisms of identified contaminants.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Friday 30 September 2022


This scholarship is supported by Coventry University, is available over 3.5 years and includes:

  • Stipend of £15,000 per annum
  • A Tuition Fee Waiver
  • Travel Support Package to support residency period in Australia
  • Student visa and health insurance costs for period of residency at Deakin University in Australia

Deakin University will also provide a full tuition fee waiver for a duration of up to 4 years.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate currently residing in Australia. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship
  • meet the PhD entry requirements of both Deakin University and Coventry university, including English language proficiency requirements (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)
  • be enrolling full-time
  • be able to physically locate to both Coventry University (UK) and Deakin University (Australia)

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page and Coventry’s research entry criteria page for further information.

How to apply

Applicants should contact Associate Professor Will Gates to discuss the project before being invited to lodge a formal HDR application to Deakin.


If successful, you will be invited by Deakin University to lodge a formal HDR application.
The successful applicant will also be required to lodge a separate PhD application to Coventry University via the 'Making an 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 Associate Professor Will Gates

Associate Professor Will Gates
Email Associate Professor Will Gates
+61 3 924 68373