Deakin - Coventry Cotutelle - Recycling of metals from e-textiles using microbiology-based approaches

This is a doctoral Cotutelle project in ‘Recycling of metals from e-textiles using microbiology-based approaches’ between Deakin University (Australia) and Coventry University (UK).

Deakin Project Supervisor

Additional Supervision

Assistant Professor Eva Pakostova (Coventry)

Professor Andrew Cobley (Associate Supervisor, Coventry)


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus (Australia) and Coventry University (United Kingdom)

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 September 2023.

The PhD Student is anticipated to spend at least 6 months of the total period of the program at Deakin University, with the remainder of the program based at Coventry University.

The project aims to develop sustainable microbiology-based approaches to recover metals from e-textiles in an environment-friendly way.

Project aim

The project aims to develop sustainable microbiology-based approaches to recover metals from e-textiles in an environment-friendly way. Metallized textiles are well established in electromagnetic interference shielding and static dissipation, but also their application in wearables is gaining increasing attention. E-textiles can be used instead of traditional wiring technology, enabling exciting applications such as pressure sensing, heating textiles, integration of electronics, ‘soft circuits and others. High electric conductivity desirable for e-textile applications can be achieved by plating metals on the surface of the textile, printing metal loaded inks, incorporating metallic wires and threads into the textile, PVD etc.

The World’s deposits of base and precious metals are rapidly depleting, while the global demand is increasing. Recycling of metals from electronic and urban wastes (including e-textiles) is a sustainable way to protect our natural resources and secure the global metal supply. Current metal recycling processes include pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy, with high costs and energy consumption and potential negative impacts on the environment. Bioleaching, which uses microorganisms to solubilize metals, has been shown to be an economically sustainable and environment-friendly alternative to the conventional techniques.

Bioleaching will be an integral part of the low-waste recycling technology developed within this project in agreement with the principles of the circular economy. The technology will comprise (i) solubilisation of metals from e-textiles using microorganisms (including strictly controlled microbial processes in bioreactors), and (ii) recovery of dissolved metals using electrochemical (and other) methods. The main objectives are to assess different e-textiles for metal recycling (including their type and structure), develop a sustainable bioleaching design (with high e-textile loads and high metal solubilization rates), and recover high-quality products from metal-rich leachates. The cross-institute project will bring together expertise from Coventry University (UK) and Deakin University (Australia).

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, 27 May 2023


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

  • Stipend of £17,000 per annum
  • A Tuition Fee Waiver
  • Travel Support Package including one return economy airfare to Deakin University 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:

  • meet the PhD entry requirements of both Deakin University and Coventry university, including English language proficiency requirements
  • 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 firstly contact contact Associate Professor Maryam Naebe to discuss the project before being invited to lodge a formal HDR application to Deakin.


The successful applicant will also be required to lodge a separate PhD application to Coventry University via the Coventry University 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 Maryam Naebe
Email Associate Professor Maryam Naebe
+61 3 5227 2783