New $580,000 scholarships fund innovative desalination research

Posted on 17 August 2011

Twenty scholarships for new desalination research worth $580,000 have been offered to university graduates by the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia (NCEDA).

NCEDA today announced funding for six national PhD supplementary scholarships worth $30,000 over three years and five one-year Honours scholarships worth $10,000 to investigate improvements in desalination technologies.

In addition, four Western Australian state government-funded PhD supplementary scholarships for research into innovative desalination have been awarded to graduates from WA’s four leading universities worth $50,000 over three years.

NCEDA CEO Neil Palmer says the scholarships represent sound investment in Australia’s scientific and economic future and will build the country’s desalination industry capacity.

Projects funded by the new Centre scholarships include investigation of inland desalination systems, novel low grade heat-driven desalination, brackish water desal systems which capture water vapour and hybrid bioreactor systems.

“We’re encouraging more postgraduate science and engineering research and development to help build Australia’s rapidly growing capability in desalination and improve energy efficiency and lower costs,” Mr Palmer says.

“Australia is on the verge of having six large desal plants on its coastline producing more than a third of the country’s urban water needs – by the end of next year the cities of Perth and Adelaide will have up to half of their public water supplied by desalination.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, said the scholarships will help develop Australia’s desalination industry.

“The Australian Government’s investment in the Centre of Excellence demonstrates our commitment to building world-leading industries,” Senator Farrell said.

“I look forward to seeing how the achievements of these researchers will contribute to ensuring Australia’s desalination industry is innovative, sustainable and internationally competitive.”

NCEDA unveils Australia’s first dedicated $5 million national desalination research facility and Desal Discovery Centre on September 4. WA Water Minister Bill Marmion will officially open the new facilities at Murdoch University on the eve of the IDA World Congress on Desalination Solutions in Perth.

The Australian Government established the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination through its Water for the Future initiative in 2009 and is providing $20 million over five years to support its operations. For more information on Water for the Future visit

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