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Scholarship in Artificial Intelligence in Ion Channel Drug Discovery

A postgraduate research scholarship
$120,000 stipend scholarship for a PhD student to conduct research into artificial intelligence (AI) and its application in ion channel drug discovery.

Highlights

Value Eligibility Open date Close date
$40,000 p.a. (3 years)
  • Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Full-time PhD student at the Faculty of Medicine and Health
  • Knowledge in computer science and preferably medicinal chemistry and/or pharmacology
3 November  2021 30 November 2021

How to apply

Apply here.

Benefits

A stipend allowance of $40,000 per annum for three years.

Who's eligible

You must:

  • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • be intending to apply for admission, applied for admission, have a conditional or unconditional offer of admission or be currently enrolled full-time in a PhD within the Faculty of Medicine and Health
  • be willing to conduct research into artificial intelligence and its application in ion channel drug discovery (the project aims to develop models for quantitative prediction of ion channel activity, selectivity, toxicity, and ADME properties)
  • have knowledge in bioinformatics, computational chemistry and/or computer science and modelling
  • be able to demonstrate that you:
    • have an undergraduate degree with at least a credit average or equivalent, and
    • research experience through an honours program (First Class or Second Class, Division I), or
    • have a Masters degree by research in a relevant subject.

Preference will be given to applicants who have knowledge in medicinal chemistry and/or pharmacology.

Background

A unique opportunity is available for an outstanding PhD scholar to conduct research into artificial intelligence and its application in ion channel drug discovery.

The project aims to develop models for quantitative prediction of ion channel activity, selectivity, toxicity, and ADME properties as part of a project partnership between the University of Sydney and the pharmaceutical company Saniona A/S.

This scholarship is funded by NSW Health and the University of Sydney as part of the NSW Health PhD Partnership Program.

1. Background 

a. A unique opportunity is available for an outstanding PhD scholar to conduct research into artificial intelligence and its application in ion channel drug discovery. The project aims to develop models for quantitative prediction of ion channel activity, selectivity, toxicity, and ADME properties as part of a project partnership between the University of Sydney and the pharmaceutical company Saniona A/S.

b. This scholarship is funded by New South Wales (NSW) Health and The University of Sydney as part of the NSW Health PhD Partnership Program.

2. Eligibility 

a. This Scholarship is offered subject to applicants having an unconditional offer of admission to commence or be currently enrolled in a full-time PhD within the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney.

b. Applicants must be willing to conduct research into artificial intelligence and its application in ion channel drug discovery. The project aims to develop models for quantitative prediction of ion channel activity, selectivity, toxicity, and ADME properties.

c. Applicants must have knowledge in:

I. bioinformatics, 
II. computational chemistry, and/or 
III. computer science and modelling. 

d. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they:

I. hold an undergraduate degree with at least a credit average or equivalent, and
II. have research experience through an honours program (First Class or Second Class, Division I), or
III. hold a Masters Degree by Research in a relevant subject.

e. Applicants must be either:

I. an Australian Citizen, or
II. an Australian Permanent Resident

3. Selection Criteria

a. The successful applicant will be awarded the Scholarship on the basis of: 

I. academic merit,
II. cover letter,
III. referee reports, and
IV. an interview.

b. Preference will be given to applicants who have knowledge in medicinal chemistry and/or pharmacology.

c. The successful applicant will be awarded the Scholarship by a selection committee consisting of:

I. Associate Professor Thomas Balle (University of Sydney, Chair and supervisor),
II. Mark Waller (University of Wollongong, co-supervisor),
III. David Brown (representative from Saniona A/S), and
IV. Ingrid Gellissen (University of Sydney). 

4. Value

a. The Scholarship will provide a stipend allowance of $40,000 per annum for three years, subject to satisfactory academic performance. 

b. No extension will be allowed.

c. The Scholarship must commence in prior to the 31 December 2021 and cannot be deferred or transferred to another area of research without prior approval from NSW Health and the Associate Dean (Research Education), Faculty of Medicine and Health. 

d. The Scholarship will be offered conditionally to the successful recipient subject to the execution of the funding agreement between the University of Sydney and NSW Health.

e. No other amount is payable. 

f. The Scholarship will be offered subject to the availability of funding. 

5. Eligibility for Progression 

a. Progression is subject to attending and passing the annual progress evaluation. 

6. Leave Arrangements

a. The Scholarship recipient receives up to 20 working days recreation leave each year of the Scholarship and this may be accrued. However, the student will forfeit any unused leave remaining when the Scholarship is terminated or complete. Recreation leave does not attract a leave loading and the supervisor's agreement must be obtained before leave is taken.

b. The Scholarship recipient may take up to 10 working days sick leave each year of the Scholarship and this may be accrued over the tenure of the Scholarship. Students with family responsibilities, caring for sick children or relatives, or experiencing domestic violence, may convert up to five days of their annual sick leave entitlement to carers leave on presentation of medical certificate(s). Students taking sick leave must inform their supervisor as soon as practicable.

7. Research Overseas

a. The Scholarship recipient may not normally conduct research overseas within the first six months of award.

b. The Scholarship recipient is expected to conduct research overseas for 12 months with Saniona A/S. Approval must be sought from the student's supervisor, Head of School and the Faculty via application to the Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre (HDRAC). All periods of overseas research are cumulative and will be counted towards a student's candidature. Students must remain enrolled full-time at the University and receive approval to count time away.

8. Suspension

a. The Scholarship recipient cannot suspend their award within their first six months of study, unless a legislative provision applies.  

b. The Scholarship recipient may apply for up to 12 months suspension of Scholarships for any reason during the tenure of their Scholarship. Periods of Scholarships suspension are cumulative and failure to resume study after suspension will result in the award being terminated. Approval must be sought from the student's supervisor, Head of School and the Faculty via application to the Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre (HDRAC). Periods of study towards the degree during suspension of the Scholarship will be deducted from the maximum tenure of the Scholarship.

9. Changes in Enrolment

a. The Scholarship recipient must notify HDRAC and their supervisor promptly of any planned changes to their enrolment including but not limited to: attendance pattern, suspension, leave of absence, withdrawal, course transfer, and candidature upgrade or downgrade. If the award holder does not provide notice of the changes identified above, the University may require repayment of any overpaid stipend.

10. Termination

a. The Scholarship will terminate:

I. on resignation or withdrawal of the recipient from their research degree,
II. upon the recipient having completed the maximum candidature for their degree as per the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011 Policy, 
III. upon submission of the thesis or at the end of the award,
IV. if the recipient ceases to be a full-time student and prior approval has not been obtained to hold the Scholarship on a part-time basis,
V. if the recipient does not resume study at the end of a period of approved leave, or
VI. if the recipient ceases to meet the eligibility requirements specified for this Scholarship, (other than during a period in which the Scholarship has been suspended or during a period of approved leave).  

b. The Scholarship may also be terminated by the University before this time if, in the opinion of the University:

I. the course of study is not being carried out with competence and diligence or in accordance with the terms of this offer,
II. the student fails to maintain satisfactory progress, or
III. the student has committed misconduct or other inappropriate conduct.  

c. Stipend payments will be suspended throughout the duration of any enquiry/appeal process.

d. Once the Scholarship has been terminated, it will not be reinstated unless due to University error.  

11. Misconduct

a. Where during the Scholarship a student engages in misconduct, or other inappropriate conduct (either during the Scholarship or in connection with the student’s application and eligibility for the Scholarship), which in the opinion of the University warrants recovery of funds provided, the University may require the student to repay payments made in connection with the Scholarship.  Examples of such conduct include and without limitation; academic dishonesty, research misconduct within the meaning of the Research Code of Conduct (for example, plagiarism in proposing, carrying out or reporting the results of research, or failure to declare or manage a serious conflict of interests), breach of the Code of Conduct for Students and misrepresentation in the application materials or other documentation associated with the Scholarship.  

b. The University may require such repayment at any time during or after the Scholarship period.  In addition, by accepting this Scholarship, the student consents to all aspects of any investigation into misconduct in connection with this Scholarship being disclosed by the University to the funding body and/or any relevant professional body.

12. Reporting

a. The successful recipient of the Scholarship must provide the following as outlined in the agreement:

I. an Annual Progress Report which contains input from both the successful recipient and their supervisors,
II. an Annual Financial Report, and
III. a Final Report upon the conclusion of the project.

13. Acknowledgement

a. The recipient of this Scholarship must acknowledge NSW Health, the University of Sydney and Saniona A/S in their thesis or any publications or presentations arising from the research funded by this Scholarship.

14. Other Requirements

a. The recipient must complete the NSW Health Commercialisation Training Program.

b. The recipient must attend the Program Evaluation of the NSW Health PhD Partnership Program when initiated by NSW Health.

c. The recipient must complete a confidentiality agreement with the involved supervisors and the partner organisation Saniona A/S, where research involves confidential and proprietary data, methods or software, approval for publication in any form must be obtained from the involved parties.

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