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As a research scientist who has worked in laboratories for some time, I felt it was an important step in my career to undertake doctoral training. Sydney Uni was ultimately my choice as it offered me a level of freedom that's difficult to match at other universities. So I'm enrolled in Sydney's Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, but also at the University of Aix Marseille in France, in the international cotutelle PhD program.

How did I end up here? I noticed a research gap in Australia and found a supervisor at Sydney and a group in the south of France who both agreed to support my application. Now I'm in Aix-en-Provence learning techniques to bring back to my group in Australia, with a view to eventually starting my own microalgae research group, and hopefully a spin-off company after that.

The specific knowledge gap relates to genetic manipulation of microalgae suitable for producing industrial/medical enzymes, and biofuels potentially usable as jet fuel, whilst not competing for arable land – perfect for improving fuel security whilst not challenging food security.

The CEA (the institute at which I am stationed) is cutting edge in both nuclear fusion research, and biological research.

For more information, visit the Uni's Agriculture and environment website or the University of Aix Marseille website.


Well done Hugh. Exciting research. Great opportunity for all involved.

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Everything you ever wanted to know about uni but were too afraid to ask....