PhD Vacancies

PhD vacancies for 2018 entry

Applications are invited for full-time PhD studentships in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast, for 2018 entry.


Applications must be submitted via the University’s online applications portal. Only applications submitted via the portal will be accepted. Applications must be complete, i.e. the application and with all the required supporting documentation must be uploaded to the portal.


For general enquiries, including queries about the application process, contact Karen Moore in the first instance. For more detailed information about the projects, contact the named supervisor.

Nanocatalysts for the Direct Conversion of CO2 to Hydrocarbons - Dr Nancy Artioli, Dr Peter Nockemann

Project description:

In this project, we will develop new nanocatalysts for the direct conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) into bio-fuels of the gasoline range (C8-C12) to result in a sustainable production route. Thereby, we will use hydrogen from renewable energies and directly convert CO2, which offers an attractive route for the efficient utilisation of CO2 as a renewable feedstock. The direct conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) into gasoline (C8-C12) is a highly desirable process as a sustainable production route. Generally, the direct CO2 hydrogenation to hydrocarbons proceeds via a modified Fischer−Tropsch synthesis (FTS) process. Fe-based catalysts have been widely investigated recently because of their low cost, high activity, and they operate with different syngas ratios in a temperature range of 220−270 °C to produce gasoline components in FTS. Controlling the metal particle size and their dispersion is the major challenge when investigating structure–activity relationships. Our novel synthetic catalyst approach will result in a pathway for the controlled growth and dispersion of the nanocatalyst.

The ideal candidate would have a good undergraduate degree or Masters in a subject with significant materials content (e.g. Materials Science, Chemical Engineering). Some knowledge of nanomaterials would be advantageous. We are looking for individuals with high levels of motivation, independent thinking, enthusiasm for the subject, and the skills and knowledge to benefit from this exciting opportunity.

Start date: September 2018

This is a fully funded PhD studentship in renewable energy from the Bryden Centre.

Funding for: UK students, EU Students, International Students

Eligibility criteria: The main language of the programme is English, hence all applicants are required to be proficient in both spoken and written forms of the English language.

The studentships cover the full university fees at EU/UK level and include a yearly stipend of GBP £14,553 per annum (tax free) for up to 39 months. These fully-funded doctoral studentships will also offer a generous study package, e.g. research consumables, equipment, travel budget and training when appropriate.


BSc or BEng minimum in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering. Applications are invited from candidates who hold or expect to hold a minimum degree of a 2:1 (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline.