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A 3-Year PhD Studentship in Designing Nanomaterials for Low-cost Fast Pollutant Sensing and Remediation

   Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Material Science, UCL

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  Dr G L Davies  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisors: Dr Gemma-Louise Davies (UCL), Prof. Xiaodi Su and Dr Zheng Xinting (IMRE, A*STAR, Singapore)

Application deadline: 15/04/2022 

Interview date: 28/04/2022

Start date: 26 September 2022

Location: London (1.5 years), Singapore (2 years)

Subject areas: Nanomaterials, Pollutant sensing, Pollutant remediation

The studentship

This position is fully funded by the UCL-A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore) Collaborative Programme via the Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science (M3S CDT) at UCL. The student will be registered for a PhD at UCL where he/she will spend year 1 and the first six months of year 4. The second and third years of the PhD will be spent in the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) of A*STAR in Singapore. The studentship will cover tuition fees at the home rate, and an annual stipend of no less than £17,609 increasingly annually with inflation (tax free) pro rata in years 1 and 4. During years 2 and 3, the student will receive a full stipend directly from A*STAR. In addition, A*STAR will provide the student a one-off relocation allowance.

The project

Traditional methods of detecting pollutants (e.g. heavy metals, pesticides, antibiotics, drugs) require the use of expensive and specialised equipment. Although providing high levels of sensitivity and low limits of detection, these techniques can be costly and inconvenient. Simple and sensitive colorimetric analysis could provide an ideal opportunity to solve this challenge. Gold nanoparticles, with their well-established aggregation-triggered colorimetric response, provide an ideal route to this. Herein, this mechanism will be exploited in a different way to the current standard, applying the lessons learned in this area to date to develop a new route to nanomaterials with the dual capabilities of selective and specific detection of pollutants and their easy removal for environmental remediation.

The candidate

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second-class integrated masters degree (MSci, MChem, etc.) or 2:1 minimum BSc plus stand-alone Masters degree with at least a Merit in Chemistry, Chemical engineering or Materials science. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice and the ability to think analytically and creatively. Good computer skills, plus good presentation and writing skills in English are required. Previous research experience in contributing to a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment is highly desirable but not necessary as training will be provided.

Interested candidates should initially contact the supervisors (Gemma-Louise Davies: [Email Address Removed]; Xiaodi Su: [Email Address Removed]) with a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest in the project. Informal inquiries are encouraged.

Please note that a suitable applicant will first be required to complete MS Form entitled Application for Research: degree Chemistry programme. The next step is to complete an electronic application form at (please select Research degree: Chemistry programme).

All shortlisted applicants will be invited for the interview no more than 4 weeks after the application deadline.

Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Zhimei Du [Email Address Removed]

Applications will be accepted until 15/04/2022.

Funding Notes

Applications are welcome from UK nationals, EU nationals with settled/pre-settled status. Please note that the studentship only covers home fees. The updated rules for eligibility for home fees for next year are available at
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