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EPSRC DTP PhD Studentship in Chemistry - Photocatalytic upgrading of waste water

   Cardiff School of Chemistry

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  Dr J Edwards  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Photocatalytic upgrading of waste water 

Emerging technologies that can facilitate a circular economy and accelerate decarbonisation to achieve net zero are critically important to mitigate climate change and protect global health. The complex energy and health challenges the world faces are better addressed by integration of the individual scientific communities that study them-interdisciplinary science continually provides opportunities for innovative and disruptive solutions.

The effective translation of the energy provided by the sun to generate radicals and hydrogen using a photocatalyst presents a clean and efficient way to enable water recycling  (via radical disinfection) and an opportunity to turn waste/contaminants into green hydrogen. Advanced oxidation processes are used to remediate wastewater but rely on toxic compounds or materials derived from carbon-based processes and these tend to operate at high temperatures. Whilst hydrogen generation has evolved from natural gas reforming towards greener alternatives a need remains to develop new processes using earth friendly materials and to add value to “waste” streams.

 This is an interdisciplinary project that integrates expertise in semiconductor synthesis and photocatalysis for applications in waste remediation and water purification. You will primarily be based in the School of Chemistry (Dr Jenny Edwards) where research will be undertaken in the state-of-the-art catalysis facilities in the TRH building.

You will design and synthesise novel carbon photocatalysts, doped during a low energy synthesis with small quantities of earth abundant metals and use these materials to reduce biological and chemical contamination using visible light and oxygen. You will also investigate how chemical contaminants such as cellulose can be activated using photocatalysts to generate H­2. The expertise of your co-supervisor in the school of Physics (Professor Oliver Williams) will allow you to precisely engineer and characterise new carbon-based nanocomposites as photocatalysts. Biological remediation experiments (coliform reduction) will be explored in the lab of your co-supervisor in the school of Pharmacy (Professor Jean-Yves Maillard). 


Dr Jenny Edwards Dr Jennifer Edwards - People - Cardiff University

Professor Oliver Williams Professor Oliver Williams - People - Cardiff University

Professor Jean-Yves Maillard Professor Jean-Yves Maillard - People - Cardiff University

Start date - 1st October 2023

Academic Criteria

Candidates should hold or expect to gain a first-class degree or a good upper second-class (2.1) degree and/or an appropriate Master’s level qualification (or their equivalent). We welcome applications from candidates with non-traditional academic backgrounds.

English Language criteria

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (IELTS 6.5 or equivalent) 

How to apply

Applications should be received no later than Tuesday 7th February . All applications should be submitted via the online application portal, stating your supervisor’s name(s), at https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/research/programmes/programme/chemistry

Short-listed applicants will be invited to interview. Interviews will be held on-line by Zoom or Teams at the end of February / early March 2023. As part of the interview process, applicants will be expected to give a short (5 minute) presentation on their experience and suitability for the position, and on their future aspirations in research.

Further information

For any enquiries about the PhD studentship and the research project, please contact Dr Jenny Edwards ([Email Address Removed])

For further information about the application and interview process, including informal questions, please contact the Chemistry PGR office ([Email Address Removed]). 

Funding Notes

The PhD studentship is funded by the EPSRC DTP for 3.5 years and covers tuition fees, an annual tax-free living stipend in line with UKRI minimum rates (currently £17,668), and access to a Research Training Support Grant (currently £4000). Students with a disability may be entitled to a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) on top of the studentship.
We welcome applications for both full-time and part-time study.
EPSRC DTP studentships are available to home and international students. Up to 30% of our cohort can comprise international students, once the limit has been reached, we are unable to make offers to international students.


Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity, and to creating an inclusive environment for all. We welcome applications from all members of the global community irrespective of age, disability, sex, gender identity, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, and sexual orientation.
Cardiff University is also committed to supporting students from a range of backgrounds and circumstances. If required, we will work with the student to take reasonable project adaptations into consideration (e.g., to support caring responsibilities, disabilities, or other significant personal circumstances) as well as requests for flexible working and part‐time study. Please feel comfortable to discuss these matters further with the listed PhD project supervisors.

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