MacDiarmid Institute PhD Internships (Round 2 – Closed)

We are excited to introduce a major new component of the MacDiarmid PhD experience.  We have developed a PhD internship programme in collaboration with New Zealand-based organisations working in the High Value Manufacturing (HMV) sector.

By taking up this opportunity you will spend 3-6 months, most likely during the second year of their PhD, working in a HMV organisation (note that you will suspend your PhD studies during that time but will continue to be supported on your PhD stipend – it will be extended for the duration of your internship).  During the internship you will utilise your skills that you have developed during your initial PhD training to work in the organisation to advance specific goals/projects/solution finding of the organisation.

In participating in the programme you will significantly broaden and extend your own skills and learn how to adapt and adopt your research experience in a commercial environment.  This will have multiple benefits including developing your understanding of and exposure to the high value manufacturing commercial sector, the utilisation and application of your specialised skills in a different context that will directly benefit the organisation, and have an enhanced awareness of how you can participate in, be challenged and stimulated by actively working in this sector.

The organisation will also greatly benefit from having you work with them.  They will be working directly with you – one of the highest calibre PhD students in New Zealand and they will learn exactly how PhD graduates can significantly enhance and advance their industries.  You personally will engender greater trust and a stronger working relationship between the industries the institute and your home organisations.

Lewis Gradon, Senior Vice President Products and Technology, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare said that through participation in this programme F&P Healthcare would definitely significantly increase the number of PhDs they employ.

Working together in this way will result in our alumni finding rewarding careers in New Zealand industry.

In order to maximise the benefit of participation in this opportunity those students who have completed an internship will be expected to share the knowledge they have gained, the experiences they have had and in doing so ensure that our emerging scientist cohort gain a better understanding of the diversity of roles in which they can utilise their skills and expertise.

CI logo

Callaghan Innovation offers 2 internships based in Auckland and Wellington.

You’ll be working on a joint project of Callaghan Innovation and their partners Pyrotek and a soft wound care company.

Pyrotek offers one position in either of these projects:

  • Acoustic Damping Ceramic Tiles

Modern city life often means individuals are exposed to a multitude of sounds day and night, much of which is unwanted noise.  Pyrotek Products Ltd is seeking to develop a durable ceramic tile designed to dampen traffic noise.  To date Pyrotek have developed a novel cost competitive and extremely durable tile fabricated from recycled materials that displays very good acoustic damping properties.  However the acoustic properties of the tiles needs to be tailored to the specific acoustic characteristics of traffic noise, which will require correlating the level of porosity and the pore architecture with the frequency and amplitude range displayed in traffic noise.  The project will be carried out with Pyrotek in collaboration with Callaghan Innovation (Wellington) and Canterbury University.  The project work will be completed largely at Pyrotek’s factory in Auckland but may also involve periods at Callaghan Innovation (Advanced Materials Group) in Wellington.

  • Freeze Casting Refractories for Glass

The technique of freeze casting is currently experiencing a renaissance, with the approach being applied to metals, ceramics and polymer/ceramic composites, particularly in the area of biomaterials.  Pyrotek Products Ltd produce a range of high temperature (>1000 C)  refractories for molten glass handling and forming industries globally.  Recently Pyrotek have developed a process for freeze cast zirconia/mullite composite ceramics, however the process requires further optimisation of the recipe and process parameters in order to maximise the density and strength of the sintered body,  while also eliminating any surface defects.  The focus of this project is on understanding the interrelationship between the chemistry of the ceramic pre-mix and the physics of freezing rates, ice crystallisation, sublimation/drying and the resulting stresses induced in the ceramic body.  This project will be completed largely at Pyrotek’s factory in Auckland but may also involve periods at Callaghan Innovation (Advanced Materials Group) in Wellington.

In the soft wound care company, which specialises in the development of new materials for surgical reconstruction, you will be working on the interface of artificial and biological materials as for example in soft tissue wound repair.

The Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory (HCL) was established in 1989 as an embedded laboratory within the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, with the aim of creating new concepts of advanced electronic and optoelectronic devices. This collaboration brings outstanding parties together, with the HCL offering advanced measurement and characterisation techniques that expands the experimental research capability in the Cavendish Laboratory, while the University, through collaborative projects, makes state-of-the-art micro- and nano-devices accessible to Hitachi researchers.

Hitachi mainly works on electron microscopy, quantum information, quantum optics and spintronics. The topic of your internship at Hitachi depends largely on you and will be tailored to your skills and expertise.

F&P logo

Fisher and Paykel Healthcare offers a PhD internship with focus on mechanical engineering and materials science. The 3-month project will include one or more of the following categories:

  • Design a filter with lower pressure drop than conventional systems – investigate materials and structures for application in sleep apnoe and infant respirators
  • Develop a heating tub for water which worksquickly and efficiently with minimal losses and minimal cost. Ideally made from a mouldable bio-compatible plastic with high thermal conductivity and high heat deflection temperature.
  • 3D printing: Use Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) for developing, optimising, and prototyping injection mould tools. In more general words, compare additive manufacturing to standard production methods, taking economical aspects and mechanical performance into account.
  • Polymer characterization – Investigate temperature and humidity effects, effect of organic solvents on fatigue properties and stress relaxation of various polymers. The project involves generating data experimentally and developing a mathematical model.

publons logo

At Publons our mission is to speed us science by unleashing the power of peer review.

We’re a venture backed team of five looking for an intern to join us at our Wellington-based office for the next six months. You can learn more about what we do at our blog and on

You’ll be following on from Pablo Hernandez (our current MacDiardmid intern — read about his experience here) in learning how a high growth startup works from the inside. You’ll have the opportunity to work on the software we use to run, and work with our fast growing community of reviewers and publishing partners.


Your application 

To apply, please check your eligibility and send an email to until Friday 23rd May.


  1. You should be fully enrolled in your PhD (your proposal should be accepted) and ideally you are 15-27 months into the PhD and not yet in the last stage and writing up.
  2. Your primary supervisor needs to be a MacDiarmid Institute investigator.


  1. State your name, university and supervisor
  2. List (at least) 2 preferences of the projects

I.            Callaghan Innovation – Ceramics

II.            Callaghan Innovation – Soft tissue

III.            Hitachi Cambridge laboratory – Quantum information and microscopy

IV.            Fisher & Paykel Healthcare – Engineering and materials

V.              Publons

  1. Email or equivalent showing the approval of your supervisor with you doing an internship
  2. Residency/Visa status, as this will decide the length of your internship (3-6 months)
  3. Your current CV


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