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Automation of biodegradation testing using robots

   Department of Chemistry

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  Prof A I Cooper  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This opportunity will remain open until the position has been filled and so early applications are encouraged.

A fully funded PhD studentship is available in the area of polymer synthesis and biodegradability assessment, to work in a team of scientists funded by the EPSRC Prosperity Partnership ‘Cleaner Futures (Next-Generation Sustainable Materials for Consumer Products)’. The Prosperity Partnership is a collaboration between Unilever, the University of Liverpool and the University of Oxford. This new partnership will address how to achieve the UK Government's 2019 target of Net-Zero by 2050, through disruptive innovation in the current chemical supply chain.

Within this studentship, you will develop new automated methods to assess the biodegradability and other relevant properties of polymeric materials. You will work in close collaboration with polymer chemists at the University of Oxford who will advise on selection of materials and with automation/robotics experts in Liverpool who will assist with creating high throughput automated methods. Your role will be to design, run and analyse the results of the automated chemistry experiments.

The project will be based in the materials discovery research group led by Prof. Andy Cooper ( The project will also have access to unique facilities in the state-of-the-art Materials Innovation Factory at the University of Liverpool ( You will be part of a multi-disciplinary team which includes collaborators at the University of Oxford and Unilever. Through these collaborations, you will interact with computational chemists, synthetic chemists, and also engineers and computer scientists developing the use of robots in the materials chemistry laboratory.

We are looking for candidates with an enthusiasm for research, multidisciplinary collaboration and tackling challenging problems through teamwork. You do not need to have experience with robotics. Experience in organic synthesis and polymer chemistry would be an advantage, as well as excellent presentation skills.

The position is available from 1st October 2022.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a good degree (equivalent to a UK first or upper second class) in chemistry, materials science or a related discipline.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact either Andy Cooper (email: [Email Address Removed]).

To apply please visit: and click on the 'Ready to apply? Apply online' button. Please include Curriculum Vitae, Two reference letters, Degree Transcripts to date. Please ensure you quote the following reference on your application: Reference CCPR038 - Automation of biodegradation testing using robots.

Funding Notes

Applications from candidates meeting the eligibility requirements of the EPSRC are welcome – please refer to EPSRC website: The award will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years. The maintenance grant will be at the UKRI rate, currently £15,609.00 per annum for 2021-22, subject to possible increase . The award will pay full home tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years. Non-UK applicants may have to contribute to the higher non-UK tuition fees.
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