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ABERDEEN - CURTIN ALLIANCE JOINT PHD OPPORTUNITY:- Hybrid Catalytic Systems for Sustainable Chemical Processing

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  • Full or part time
    Dr X Wang
    Dr J Cheng
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Catalysis plays a critical role in modern society, where 90% of all chemical processes involve heterogeneous catalysts. Nevertheless, heterogeneous and biological catalysis is still considered as one of the top 24 challenges in chemistry when asking “what’s next” in 2015 [1]. This project, related to such a fundamental challenge, proposes the innovative use of heterogeneous catalysts (supported metals, electro-catalysts) in tandem with biotransformation for sustainable chemical processes [2].

Examples of application may include converting CO2 (Greenhouse Gas) to useful chemicals (e.g. methanol) and using renewable biomass (e.g. furfural) as feedstock for the production of fuels/chemicals through the development of hybrid (heterogeneous, electrocatalytic and/or enzymatic) catalytic systems.

The project will involve catalyst synthesis, characterisation and testing; reaction kinetics/thermodynamics, mechanism investigation, computational modelling and coupling and integration of reactions, using the experimental facilities available within the collaborating research groups.

The successful candidate will have, or expect to have, a UK Honours Degree (or equivalent) at 2.1 or above in chemical engineering or chemistry, or related subject along with a Master degree in the same subjects. Preferred skills include knowledge/experience of heterogeneous catalyst synthesis, characterisation and testing, reaction engineering/kinetics, analytic/physical chemistry, computational modelling and possibly photo-/electro-/enzymatic catalysis.

The other supervisor on the project is Prof. Damien Arrigan, Curtin University

The start date for the project is to be agreed by the supervisors but no later than 30 April 2018.

Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering to ensure that your application is passed to the correct person for processing. Applicants will be required to meet the English Language Requirements of both Institutions.


Informal inquiries can be made to Dr Xiaodong Wang ([Email Address Removed]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

Funding Notes: Funded by the Aberdeen-Curtin Alliance. 2 years in Aberdeen and 1 in Curtin. Curtin University will pay its stipend at the Australian Government RTP scholarship base rate of AU $27,082 (2018) per annum. The UK (RCUK published national minimum stipend) is £14,553 (2017). All students will be given a fee waiver by the Institution at which they are studying, whether Home or Host. Travel expenses will also be provided at up to £1,500 total for both outward and inward bound flights to host institutions.


[1] G.M. Whitesides, Reinventing chemistry. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54 (2015) 3196-3209.
[2] X. Wang, T. Saba, H.H.P. Yiu, R.F. Howe, J.A. Anderson, J. Shi. Cofactor NAD(P)H regeneration inspired by heterogeneous pathways. Chem 2 (2017) 621-654.

How good is research at Aberdeen University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 38.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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