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Developing Thymidine-Based Green Self-healing Polymers

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Antoine Buchard
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies (CSCT) at the University of Bath has launched a joint PhD programme with Monash University, Australia.

This project is one of a number that are in competition for up to four funded studentships. More details are available here:

Home institution: Monash University

Supervisor at Monash: Associate Professor Kei Saito (lead)
Supervisor at Bath: Dr Antoine Buchard


Intrinsically self-healing polymers have the ability to heal damage by the use of an appropriate stimulus. This healing can restore the mechanical properties of a damaged polymer allowing for a return to service without the need for replacement of the polymer. When used as a coating, a self-healing polymer can ensure the continued protection of the underlying structure after damage, with minimal downtime of the component and no replacement of the coating necessary.

Photo-stimulated self-healing polymers which can heal the damages via light irradiation are a promising new class of materials especially for coatings. One of the ways to produce photo-stimulated self-healing polymers is to incorporate photo-reversible units in polymer structures and Saito’s group has been working on creating self-healing polymers by incorporating thymine, coumarin and other photo-reversible units that can undergo 2+2 cycloaddition reaction in polymer structures.1 In parallel, Buchard’s group has developed thymidine based polycarbonates by ring opening polymerisation to create biodegradable polymers from renewable resources.2 Thymidine has the potential to undergo 2+2 cycloaddition reaction and the idea here is to convert this thymidine based polycarbonates into self-healing polymers to prepare self-healing polymers which are biodegradable.

This project will involve organic synthesis, polymer synthesis and polymer characterization techniques.

The student will be based in Monash, and they will initially work with A/Prof Saito on monomer and polymer design. While during their year in Bath, supervised by Dr Buchard, they will incorporate thymidine sugars units, in combination with other building blocks (e.g. CO2), into degradable polymers (e.g. polycarbonates, but also polyesters using ADMET polymerisation techniques). The self-healing ability of these polymers will be studied back in Monash.

Applications process

We invite applications from Science and Engineering graduates who have, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second class degree and have a strong interest in Sustainable & Circular Technologies.

You MUST express interest for three projects in order of preference – you can see all projects here: . Please submit your application at the Home institution of your preferred project (‘Home’ institution details can be found in the project summary). However, please note that you are applying for a joint PhD programme and applications will be processed as such.

Monash University

Expressions of interest (EoI) can be lodged through The EoI should provide the following information:
CV including details of citizenship, your Official Academic Transcripts, key to grades/grading scale of your transcripts, evidence of English language proficiency (IELTS or TOEFL, for full requirements see:, and two referees and contact details (optional). You must provide a link to these documents in Section 8 using Google Drive (Instructions in Section 8).

University of Bath

Please submit your application through the following link:
Please make sure to mention in the “finance” section of your application that you are applying for funding through the joint Bath/Monash PhD programme for your specified projects.
In the “research interests” section of your application, please name the three projects you are interested in and rank them in order of preference. Please also include the names of the Bath lead supervisors.

Funding Notes

Bath Monash PhD studentships include tuition fee sponsorship and a living allowance (stipend) for the course duration (up to 42 months maximum). Note, however, that studentships for Bath-based projects will provide cover for UK/EU tuition fees ONLY. Non-Australian nationals studying in Australia will be required to pay their own Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

Additional and suitably qualified applicants who can access a scholarship/studentship from other sources will be also considered.


1. T. Hughes, G. P. Simon, K. Saito, Polym. Chem., 2019, 10, 2134-2142
2. G. L. Gregory, E. M. Hierons, G. I. Kociok-Köhn, R. I Sharma and A. Buchard, Polym. Chem., 2017, 8, 1714-1721.

How good is research at University of Bath in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.10

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

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