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Atomically thin layers for energy harvesting and storage (Advert reference: RENU19/MPEE/BEATTIE)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, March 08, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Over the next 20 years the fuel mix for passenger vehicles will shift dramatically to support electrification. Significant variation is already evident in different countries’ approach to this challenge including for example battery technologies (in the UK) or hydrogen fuel cells (in Germany). However, in order to achieve this transition, fabrication and characterisation of new materials and devices is fundamentally important. The overall aim of this project is to explore the potential for transparent oxide materials as key enabling materials for energy conversion and storage. For example, metal oxides can play the role of anode or cathode in electrochemical energy storage devices or they can act as buffer layers in novel thin film solar cell. They therefore exert a strong influence on performance and have offer the potential for disruptive innovation when fabricated at the nanometre scale. In order to achieve the project aim, two main fabrication approaches will be taken: (1) high precision atomic layer deposition and (2) solution processing. The former offers the potential to create conformal oxide layers on nanostructures and ultra-high quality interfaces. The latter can be done under ambient laboratory conditions and is naturally suited to scaling up. In addition to fabricating and characterising nanostructured oxide layers, the project offers the opportunity to combine these layers to create novel semiconductor heterostructures which could for example be used to store hydrogen which in the long term, has the potential to emerge as a material energy carrier for transportation. There is a further opportunity within the project to characterise the performance of energy devices fabricated from these heterostructures during their operation. The project involves industrial input and also offers the possibility to visit international research laboratories working in this area.

About CDT ReNU
The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU) is a collaborative doctoral training programme run by the Universities of Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham. The overall aim of ReNU is to create a pipeline of highly skilled doctoral graduates in the areas of small-scale renewable and sustainable distributed energy that will drive UK productivity and innovation in the future. The scope of ReNU focuses on materials for energy conversion, storage and efficiency, while at the same time taking a whole systems view of the energy sector. In addition to undertaking an individual scientific research project described below at one of the three partner Universities, doctoral candidates will engage with added value training opportunities for example in business, innovation and internationalisation through a 4-year training programme that has been designed to maximise the benefits of a cohort approach to doctoral training.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Academic excellence in an appropriate subject area relevant to proposed project.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.
• The award is available to UK/EU applicants only. Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria ( you may be entitled to a full or a partial award.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference RENU19/MPEE/BEATTIE will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 8 March 2019
Start Date: 1 October 2019

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Students from the UK and EU, which covers full fees, and a full stipend*, paid for four years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa).

*Stipend available to UK students only

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