The Priestley Scholars

Collaborative research projects with experts from Birmingham and Melbourne

Browse collaborative research projects with experts from the University of Birmingham and Melbourne.

The Priestley Scholars is a research partnership between the Universities of Birmingham and the University of Melbourne. Named after Sir Raymond Priestley, who was Vice-Chancellor of both universities, the program aims to foster research collaboration and nurture the next generation of talent in engineering and the natural sciences.

The program’s joint PhD candidates, the Priestley Scholars, work together with renowned academics across shared areas of priority research like energy storage, biomechanics, artificial intelligence and robotics. Together, researchers and candidates deliver innovative research.

Call for joint PhD projects 2023 – Melbourne Birmingham Priestley Scholars

In 2023, UoM and UoB are calling for proposals across all research areas for new joint PhD projects. This call for proposals will award up to four joint PhD projects across two separate pairs of Primary Investigators (PIs). Each of these pairs will receive funding to support two joint PhD candidates, as well as funding to support collaborative activities.

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Our partner: the University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham boasts a rich heritage as England’s first civic university, a place where students of all backgrounds were accepted on an equal basis. Today, the university continues to embody this spirit with its mission of encouraging and empowering people of all backgrounds to turn ingenuity into reality. The 10 Nobel Laureates counted among Birmingham’s staff and alumni have contributed to some of science’s greatest discoveries, including in recent times the Higgs Boson and Gravitational Waves.

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Project spotlight story

Investigating delusions in early psychosis

To date, delusions have been predominantly studied from the perspective of cognitive psychology, which defines the condition in a rigid and negative manner. Delusions are portrayed as universally negative and inherently dysfunctional experiences. While delusions might contain errors of fact and are often distressing, recent philosophical and psychological literature has suggested that certain delusions can be experienced as enhancing one’s sense of meaning in life. This project aims to advance the research in this area by conducting an unprejudiced investigation into the experience and meaning of delusions in early psychosis.

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Current opportunities

There are currently no available Priestley Scholars projects recruiting joint PhD candidates, however there are many other International Joint PhD opportunities with the University of Melbourne and our global partners.

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Priestley Scholar news

Mo Zhang takes part in Queen's Baton Relay

Seven Batonbearers – athletes and students from the University of Melbourne and University of Birmingham - marked the Queen’s Baton Relay arrival in Australia, running with the Baton across the Parkville campus in Melbourne. Part of the contingent is Mo Zhang, a Priestley Scholar who is currently undertaking his joint PhD with the universities of Birmingham and Melbourne. The event, hosted by the two universities, celebrated the arrival in Australia of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay, of which the University of Birmingham is an official partner.

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It will always be an honour to be a joint PhD candidate at these two great universities. Special thanks for the support through the COVID-19 pandemic. Mo Zhang Priestley Scholar

Meet our academic lead

Professor Amanda Ellis is the Head of Melbourne’s Department of Chemical Engineering. Professor Ellis has held numerous research positions in both Australia and the US, including as an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. Previous projects include research into novel polymer coatings, DNA nanotechnology, functionalised carbon nanotubes and graphene, nanocellulose, and plastic and biomass gasification.

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Meet the Birmingham Director of the Graduate School

Pola Goldberg Oppenheimer is a Professor in Micro-Engineering and Bio-Nanotechnology at the School of Chemical Engineering and the Healthcare Technologies Institute (HTI). Prof. Oppenheimer leads an interdisciplinary research group at the University of Birmingham, closely working with the clinical teams at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Birmingham Enterprise (UoBE), the University’s technology transfer specialists. Professor Oppenheimer is developing cutting-edge Engineering solutions to tackle major medical problems.

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