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Fully-funded PhD Studentship in Precious metal bioleaching from e-wastes by staggered processing design

   School of Engineering

   Monday, April 03, 2023  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


It has been reported that the UK was the Europe’s second highest generator of electrical waste per person in 2019 according to the Global E-waste Monitor, while the present status of metal derivative industries in the UK is subject to risks associated with import supply. Forecasts are encouraging to anticipate strategies to meet future increasing demands since precious metals are indispensable materials for the emerging technologies and the zero-carbon objectives by 2050. This project aims to operate cost-effectively a proof-of-concept bioleaching reactor process, for recovery of precious metals from electrical wastes (E-wastes).


Based on state-of-the art design and tailored engineering solutions, the experimental findings of the project will help up-scaling cost-effectively the proof-of-concept to industrial standards. The PhD project is planned to address the following objectives.

·    Delivery of a sustainable and cost-effective solution to remove precious metals from electrical domestic appliances by using a scalable bioleaching technology.

·    insufficient knowledge on bioleaching at various experimental scales to reach commercial viability and understand the underlying chemistry and associated transport phenomena inside the engineered bioreactor,

·    development of business and service models from technical and economical perspectives that will support the scaleup and expansion.

Qualifications and experience

§ Candidates should have a relevant degree at 2.1 minimum or an equivalent overseas degree in Chemical engineering, bioengineering or related disciplines.

§ Knowledge of design methods applied to process chemistry and (bio) engineering.

§ Previous experimental experience in leaching or bioleaching processing, (bio) analytical chemistry techniques applied to microorganism's would be beneficial.

§ Excellent skills in project management, practical laboratory knowledge, record keeping and organisation and professional working attitude with a multidisciplinary project team.

§ Excellent communication skills, including preparing oral presentations, reports, and journal papers.

§ Non-UK students are welcome to apply but should provide a recognised English language qualification, if applicable depending upon their nationality, with an IELTS result of minimum 6.5 and a minimum of 6.0 in each element of the test.

Informal Enquiries and How to apply

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Farid Aiouache (). Candidates interested in applying should send a copy of their CV together with a personal research statement that addresses the suitability of their background for this project to Dr Farid Aiouache () by the closing date: 3 April 2023.

Funding Notes

This project is funded by Lancaster University and the industrial partner (ICT Reverse). The funding covers UK fees plus the standard maintenance stipend at UKRI rates (currently £17,668 p.a. tax free). The School of Engineering also has limited funding to cover Overseas fees which this award may be eligible for. The successful candidate, who will start no later than October 2023, will have the opportunity to join an exciting project of one of the UK's most research-intensive universities.

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