Skip to toolbar

Summer Research Scholarships are a great way to gain valuable research experience, work with leading researchers at the University of Auckland, enhance your career opportunities and help you think about pursuing postgraduate study.

  • Conduct a research project under supervision for 10 weeks over the summer months.
  • Receive a tax-free stipend of $6,000.
  • Open to high-achieving domestic and international students who are enrolled in a New Zealand and have the potential to succeed in postgraduate study.
  • Due to the ongoing travel restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are not accepting applications from students currently residing outside of New Zealand.

Application process

Please ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements listed here  

To apply, please email: catherine.qualtrough@auckland.ac.nz.  Please include the following:

  • Your CV details
  • Your official academic transcript (current University of Auckland students can print their unofficial transcript from Student Services Online; non-University of Auckland students will need a copy of their official transcript)
  • Any project-specific information that has been requested by the faculty (as noted in the project description)
  • If you identify yourself as of Māori or Pacific Island descent in your application, you will need to complete details of your whakapapa or lineage and nominate a certifier to verify the details you have provided. We will email your certifier and you will receive an email when this request has been completed.

NOTE: If you are interested in applying for more than one project, please rank the projects in order of preference. Please include the full project name on your applications.

Available Projects 

Biodegradable power source for sub-Antarctic shelf sensor mesh network

Supervisors

Nicholas Rattenbury (Physics)
John Cater (Engineering Science)
Craig Stevens (Physics)

Discipline

Te Pūnaha Ātea – Auckland Space Institute (Faculties of Science and Engineering)

Project code: SCI001

The interaction between circulating warm water into the region under the Antarctic ice-shelf is of particular interest to climate modellers and theorists. However, returning high resolution time and spatial data for measures of water temperature and salinity is difficult and expensive. One solution is to distribute a disposable sensor network comprised of tens to hundreds of free-floating sensors, interconnected through an efficient communication mesh network. Powering these sensors is a challenge, as most conventional batteries comprise materials that are ecologically damaging.

Recent work, however, has found a battery solution that is ecologically benign:

Huang, Xueying & Wang, Dan & Yuan, Zhangyi & Xie, Wensheng & Wu, Yixin & Li, Rongfeng & Zhao, Yu & Luo, Deng & Cen, Liang & Chen, Binbin & Wu, Hui & Xu, Hangxun & Sheng, Xing & Zhang, Milin & Zhao, Lingyun & Yin, Lan. (2018). Biodegradable Batteries: A Fully Biodegradable Battery for Self-Powered Transient Implants (Small 28/2018). Small. 14. 1870129. 10.1002/smll.201870129. https://doi.org/10.1002/smll.201800994

This project will be to replicate this type of battery and investigate the extent to which they may be incorporated into a sensor network that can be deployed in ecologically sensitive environments.

Required

Applied physics, experimental physics, electronics experience, Remote sensing development.

Not required, but desirable

Embedded programming experience.

Stare and chase for refining orbital trajectories

Supervisors

Nicholas Rattenbury (Physics)
John Cater (Engineering Science)
Laura Pirovano (Mechanical Eng.)
Oliver Sinnen (ECSE)

Discipline

Te Pūnaha Ātea – Auckland Space Institute (Faculties of Science and Engineering)

Project code: SCI002

We will experiment with a modern tracking mount (ioptron CEM40G) to construct a prototype optical imaging system which can provide accurate positional information for on-orbit objects. This will require the student to familiarise themselves with the mount system and adapt current tracking software to demonstrate feasibility.

Required

Excellent understanding of positional astronomy,
Good understanding of astrometry,
Excellent programming skills (python, C),
Applied physics, experimental physics, electronics experience,
Ability to work alone, at night.
Full drivers licence.

Not required, but desirable

Optical physics experience (geometric)
CDD image acquisition, reduction and analysis
Real-time programming
Optimisation and control theory and practice

Initial site testing for space optical communications

Supervisors

Nicholas Rattenbury (Physics)
John Cater (Engineering Science)

Discipline

Te Pūnaha Ātea – Auckland Space Institute (Faculties of Science and Engineering)

Project code: SCI003

Te Pūnaha Ātea is developing plans to create a New Zealand node of the Australian Optical Communication Ground Station Network. This requires site testing at several potential sites across New Zealand. Site testing comprises (i) astronomical seeing observations to estimate the stability of the atmosphere above the observing site and (ii) cloud and environment testing.

This project will involve either or both of:

1. conducting seeing observation tests with a Meade LX200GPS telescope configured as a Differential Image Motion Monitor and specialist commercial software,
2. An initial environmental investigation for potential NZ sites using data and analysis tools from the Copernicus Climate Data Store.

Required

Excellent understanding of positional astronomy,
Good understanding of astrometry,
Excellent programming skills (python, C),
Applied physics, experimental physics, electronics experience,
Ability to work alone, at night.
Full drivers licence.

Not required, but desirable

Optical physics experience (geometric)
CCD image acquisition, reduction and analysis
Real-time programming
Optimisation and control theory and practice

Plasma Physics Laboratory Experiment Development

Supervisors

Nicholas Rattenbury (Physics)

Felicien Filleul (Physics)

John Cater (Engineering Science)

Discipline

Te Pūnaha Ātea – Auckland Space Institute (Faculties of Science and Engineering)

Project code: SCI004

Te Pūnaha Ātea is developing a plasma propulsion physics research laboratory. This requires the construction of specialist electromechanical and optoelectronic sensors. The work will involve constructing these sensors and their controlling and interface circuits, and testing and validating this equipment.

Required

Excellent electronic and/or electromechanical construction skills,
Experience in using sensitive instrumentation for applied physics,
Good programming skills

Not required, but desirable

Embedded programming skills,
Time series analysis skills