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PhD Vacancies for 2019 Entry

Applications are invited for the PhD studentships detailed below, with study starting in September/October 2019.  

These are full-time, fully-funded positions, covering tuition fees at the home rate, plus a stipend (currently £14,777 per annum). Unless otherwise stated, the duration of these studentships is three years. 

Whilst the projects which are currently available are listed below, additional projects may become available, so please check this page regularly for further details. 


Unless otherwise stated, academic requirements include a minimum of 2.1 honours in a relevant subject, however, candidates who possess a 2.2 honours degree AND a suitable MSc degree may also be considered.   

As a result of contraints set out by the funding body, and unless otherwise stated, the studentships detailed below are open to UK residents ONLY, as defined by the University’s Postgraduate Office.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted online at: Only applications submitted via the online portal will be accepted.    


  • For general enquiries, including queries about the application process, please contact the School Research Office ( in the first instance.
  • For more detailed information about the projects, please contact the named supervisor detailed within the information provided below.
  • For queries about eligibility, please contact the University’s Postgraduate Office (



Available Projects (as of 17th April 2019)


Functionalized Biocompatible Block Copolymer Particles and Fibres Produced by Electrospraying/Electrospinning for Biomedical Applications (Supervisor: Dr Efrosyni Themistou)

The design of novel biodegradable polymeric nano- and micro-structures containing functional groups is of high importance in the biomedical field, and especially in drug delivery and tissue engineering.  Functionalization of polymers with reactive groups is highly desirable, since these groups can be used for attachment of biologically-important molecules on the polymers, such as antibodies, peptides and/or fluorescent dyes.  The project will involve the preparation of novel biodegradable functionalized polymeric particles by electrospraying and fibres by electrospinning.  Modern polymerisation techniques including reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerisation and ring opening polymerisation (ROP) will be used for the synthesis of a series of biocompatible biodegradable polymers with different functional groups.  The student will receive training in various polymer characterisation techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography (GPC), dynamic light scattering (DLS) and scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM and TEM).  The particles and fibres exhibiting favourable structural characteristics will be further assessed for their suitability in attachment of biologically-important molecules and their use in efficient drug delivery (encapsulation and release of anti-cancer drugs) and tissue engineering (attachment of stem cells), respectively.  Applicants will have a degree in Chemistry, Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Science or a closely related subject and a strong interest and motivation in pursuing research in polymeric biomaterials.  The project will be undertaken under the supervision of Dr Efrosyni Themistou and will involve the potential for the successful candidate to work in collaborator laboratories during their research project.

For further information relating to this project, please contact Dr Efrosyni Themistou via email ( The closing date for applications for this project is the 30th April 2019.


Recycle and Reuse of Process Water Through Sulfate Removal: Developing an Ionic Liquid Technology for Selective Anion Recognition and Extraction (Supervisors: Dr John Holbrey, Dr Gosia Swadźba-Kwaśny)

A 3.5 year EPSRC DTP Industrial Case Studentship in collaboration with Chevron ETC is available for an outstanding and ambitious chemist to undertake research to explore applications of ionic liquid-based media for selective anion recognition and extraction.

The successful candidate, based in the QUILL Research Centre will design, synthesise and evaluate new ionic liquid extractants targetted to address the challenges of selective anion extraction and recovery to enable sustainable resource management. The successful candidate will be jointly supervised and mentored by the industry partners Chevron Energy Technology in Richmond, California who will provide technical and engineering support and design experience to enable up‑scaling and process integration and will spend at least 3 months with the company.

Requirements: A first class or upper-second class degree, specialising in Chemistry. Experience of practical synthetic chemistry, separations and analysis would be advantageous, although training will be provided. You should be capable of working under your own initiative and working within a small research team and interacting directly with industry partners, so excellent communication and organisational skills are also required.

Support: The funding covers tuition fees and full funding with an enhanced stipend for 3.5 years, starting in/around October 2019.

Eligibility: Open subject to standard EPSRC eligibility to EU/UK citizens that satisfy a requirement of being ordinarily resident in the UK for the three years prior to the start of the studentship.

For further information relating to this project, please contact Dr John Holbrey via email ( The closing date for applications for this project is the 30th April 2019.