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PhD Opportunities

Collaborative Studentship - Valorisation of Poultry Production Waste Streams – Finding Added Value via Collagen and Biopolymer Extraction

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering | PHD
Funding
Funded
Reference Number
MAE2021/07
Application Deadline
30 June 2021
Start Date
None specified

Overview

Project Background: The EU’s Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) is pushing society, both individuals and industry, to prioritise efforts to manage waste and reduce environmental impact. Agricultural wastes represent an enormous reserve of unexploited resources that may provide avenues for economic growth, poverty reduction, and sustainable livelihoods while promoting improved waste management practices. One approach, in line with current UN sustainable development goals, is to utilise these abundant resources to produce value-added products. Supported by Lifecycle Assessment, this project will utilise waste streams (e.g., chicken paws, wingtips and feathers) from the UK’s leading poultry producer Moy Park Ltd to develop extraction protocols for the removal of key additives (fibrous keratin and collagen) for the creation of 1) novel polymer fillers, functional additives and precursors and 2) collagen additives for a range of industrial applications. The benefit to society and the industrial sponsor is readily apparent. At present disposal of these materials poses huge challenges and cost representing a lost opportunity for added value. Their use as polymer additives/precursors is a highly novel approach to sustainable manufacturing with the potential to 1) Extend the ‘cradle-to- grave’ value of initial raw materials (prior to waste creation) 2) Reduce the burden on petroleum feedstocks, a finite resource coming under increasing scrutiny and 3) Create novel materials with unique characteristics and functionality for an array of sectors including packaging, cosmetics and biomedical etc.

This research targets a number of priority areas within The National Research Priority Areas 2018 to 2023 supporting: 1) ‘Energy, Climate Action and Sustainability’ by furthering sustainable materials and helping underpin waste management and 2) ‘Advanced and Smart Manufacturing’, helping drive the development and manufacturing of novel materials.

It is also aligned with broader policy objectives of improving the environmental footprint of the agri-food industry (DAERA, NI); the need for a ‘climate smart and environmentally sustainable food system’ (Food 2030); and exploring the opportunities and addressing the risks of introducing plastics with biodegradable properties (EU Action Plan for a Circular Economy 2015).

Key skills required for the post:
Applicants should hold or expect to hold a 2.1 Hons (or equivalent) degree in a relevant discipline such as Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science or in a related field. Students who have a 2.2 honours degree and a Master’s degree may also be considered, but the School reserves the right to shortlist for interview only those applicants who have demonstrated high academic attainment to date.

It is essential that the candidate has an enthusiastic attitude towards undertaking research in the field of polymer alternatives and is willing to travel to both academic and industrial collaborators for placements, training courses and dissemination activities.

Key transferable skills that will be developed during the PhD:
The student will develop key transferable skills in materials science and polymer processing. Specific to the industrial sector the student will build a strong foundation on the latest regulatory issues around packaging and waste management complimented by the commercial perspective of a leading UK agri-food company. Based on the process undertaken throughout the initial PhD supported by Moy Park, the student will have numerous opportunities to present and defend their research to the technical and commercial heads of one of NI’s largest employers.

Funding Information

This project has been funded via QUB’s Collaborative Studentship Scheme. The industrial sponsor, Moy Park Ltd are NI’s largest private sector business, employing over 11,000 staff across the UK and Europe food supply chain.

Guaranteed stipend: £15,285 tax free. PhD students in the School may have the opportunity to apply to be demonstrators on undergraduate modules. Compensation for this can amount to in excess of £2,400 per year.

Subject to availability a £2500/year for students with 1st class honours and exceptional performance at interview is available.

Project Summary
Supervisor
Dr Eoin Cunningham
Funding Body
Collaborative Studentship Scheme
Apply now Register your interest

Aerospace Engineering overview

Doing a PhD in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is a highly rewarding experience. You will carry out your research in a friendly and supportive environment, supervised by academics who are leaders in their field, using well-equipped laboratories and research facilities, alongside students from all over the world. We have around 100 students enrolled on a PhD at a time. The School has a vibrant PhD student mentoring programme and a student led Research Culture Committee.

The School’s research is focused around six interconnected research themes: Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, Future Aircraft, Composite Materials and Structures, Simulation Technologies, Clean Energy and Biomaterials and Biomechanics.

PhD opportunities are available in a wide range of subjects aligned to the specific expertise of our PhD supervisors. Many are linked with leading companies and organisations.

Key Facts

Research students are encouraged to play a full and active role in the research activities undertaken within the School. Students attend international conferences and participate in relevant external academic and industrial networks worldwide.

  • The School has strong links with both local and international engineering employers, and has longstanding relationships with companies such as Airbus, Caterpillar, ExxonMobil, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, McLaren F1 and Rolls-Royce.
  • PhD research contributes to major interdisciplinary centres in the University, including:
    •Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE)
    •Polymer Processing Research Centre (PPRC)
    •Northern Ireland Technology Centre (NITC)
  • The School has well equipped laboratories and great research facilities. PhD students share offices alongside postdoctoral staff. The School has Research Culture Committee to enhance the research environment of the School and support PhD students.

Course content

Career Prospects

Employment after the Course
Many of our PhD graduates have moved into academic and research roles in Higher Education while others go on to play leading roles in industry, industry or become entrepreneurs.

People teaching you

Dr Trevor Robinson
Doctoral Programme Director
Mech & Aerospace Engineering
Email: t.robinson@qub.ac.uk

Learning Outcomes

Course structure

You will carry out leading research under the guidance of your supervisory team. A full time student will normally complete in three years (up to a maximum of four), or part time over six years (up to a maximum of eight).

Research will usually be in one of the key, interlinked research themes in the School, and the subtopics they cover, include:-

Advanced Manufacturing and Processing - cost modelling, ergonomics, intelligent control, laser processing, life cycle analysis, material characterisation, mechatronics, parallel kinematic machines, polymer processing, robotics and ultra-precision manufacturing.

Future Aircraft - aero engines, aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, aircraft operations, design and analysis, optimisation and structural testing

Composite Materials and Structures -damage mechanics and crashworthiness, material characterisation, multifunctional composites and nano-enhanced composites

Simulation Technologies - FEA/CFD/EFG/DES/MD, kinematic modelling, meshing, multiscale/Multiphysics, optimisation, simulation intent, systems modelling, uncertainty quantification, virtual testing and design visual analytics and big data

Clean Energy - biofuels, catalysis, life cycle assessment, power systems, turbomachinery and waste management

Biomaterials and Biomechanics - biomemetics, material characterisation, mechanobiology and medical devices.

Also, over the course of study, you can attend postgraduate skills training organised by the Graduate School, or other internal and external training courses organised through your supervisor.

Entrance requirements

Graduate
The minimum academic requirement for admission to a research degree programme is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI HE provider, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Further information can be obtained by contacting the School.

International Students

For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component (*taken within the last 2 years) is required.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Academic English and Pre-sessional courses online only from June to September 2020.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £4,500
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £4,500
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £4,500
EU Other 3 £22,000
International £22,000

1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled or pre-settled status, are expected to be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly Student Fees Regulations. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB are expected to be charged the GB fee, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.

2 It is expected that EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI will be eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements. The tuition fee set out above is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2021-22, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

For further information please refer to www.qub.ac.uk/brexit-advice/information-for-students.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Aerospace Engineering costs

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

Additional course costs

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may also be other extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies . Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £100 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, and library fines. In undertaking a research project students may incur costs associated with transport and/or materials, and there will also be additional costs for printing and binding the thesis. There may also be individually tailored research project expenses and students should consult directly with the School for further information.

How do I fund my study?
1.PhD Opportunities

Find PhD opportunities and funded studentships by subject area.

2.Funded Doctoral Training Programmes

We offer numerous opportunities for funded doctoral study in a world-class research environment. Our centres and partnerships, aim to seek out and nurture outstanding postgraduate research students, and provide targeted training and skills development.

3.PhD loans

The Government offers doctoral loans of up to £26,445 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes for English- or Welsh-resident UK and EU students, £10,000 for students in Scotland and up to £5,500 for Northern Ireland students.

4.International Scholarships

Information on Postgraduate Research scholarships for international students.

Funding and Scholarships

The Funding & Scholarship Finder helps prospective and current students find funding to help cover costs towards a whole range of study related expenses.

How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Find a supervisor

If you're interested in a particular project, we suggest you contact the relevant academic before you apply, to introduce yourself and ask questions.

To find a potential supervisor aligned with your area of interest, or if you are unsure of who to contact, look through the staff profiles linked here.

You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.