CQUniversity has partnered with Bundaberg Rum to offer a scholarship opportunity that aims to find a way to improve the rum fermentation process.

The two-year Masters Elevate Scholarship recipient will work alongside researchers from CQUniversity and industry-based personnel from Bundaberg Distillery.

Bundaberg Rum governance and compliance manager Ty McKeown said the Elevate scholarship was a cost-effective investment to solving a real-world problem.

“Bundaberg Rum saw an opportunity to partner with CQU on a research scholarship whereby we could utilise the skills and knowledge of a suitable post graduate student to support the distillery’s continuous improvement program, specifically in relation to the rum fermentation process, while at the same time giving the student valuable, real-world industry experience,” Mr McKeown said.

“The financial assistance provided by the Elevate program has allowed us to put together a very attractive scholarship proposal to hopefully attract a number of high calibre candidates.”

Bundaberg Distillery has one of Australia’s most famous alcoholic beverage brands and uses molasses, the by-product of sugarcane processing, as the raw material for alcohol production through the fermentation process.

Mr McKeown said improvements in the distillery’s ethanol yield from the molasses fermentation process could result in substantial savings in wasted inputs.

“BD has identified yeast health and bacterial control as the most likely factors that impact fermentation efficiency,” he said.

“But it lacks the resources to research potential methods for improving fermentation yield and consistency.

“There is also an opportunity to improve the consistency of fermentation efficiency between different batches of molasses.

“As such, we are interested in understanding and identifying process efficiency improvements to optimise the production of Bundaberg Rum without affecting the taste profile of the finished product.”

Mr McKeown said the total scholarship was worth $72,000 and would provide the Masters candidate with an exciting opportunity to conduct research where it mattered.

“We are hopeful that the project scope, combined with the attraction of the Elevate scholarship and the opportunity to work with one of Australia’s most recognised brands will attract a number of high calibre candidates,” he said.

To apply for the scholarship, email Dr Mani Naiker via m.naiker@cqu.edu.au. Applications close on Wednesday, 30 September.

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