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  High-throughput screening for new, earth-abundant, and sustainable thermoelectric materials with correct dopability

   Birmingham and BAM Joint PhDs

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  Prof David Scanlon  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The University of Birmingham's College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (UoB EPS) and the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, BAM) are offering co-funded PhD studentships, giving PhD candidates in chemical engineering, chemistry, and materials engineering subjects the opportunity to study alongside world-leading academics.

 BAM is a world-leading centre of excellence for “Safety in technology and chemistry” with responsibility to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. Uniquely positioned at the interface of science, technology, industry and policymaking, BAM integrates research, assessment and consultation within its five focus areas Analytical Sciences, Materials, Energy, Environment and Infrastructure, providing a crucial contribution to the technical safety of products and processes, development of industry and society.

The University of Birmingham (UK) is a leading comprehensive research institution, distinguished by the breadth and exceptional quality of its research. Established in 1900, the University has been pursuing and sharing knowledge through outstanding teaching and world-leading research. We are the original ‘redbrick’ University, part of the prestigious Russell Group; our thriving student population enjoys a wide range of courses, and exceptional campus and research facilities.

BAM and UoB established a bilateral strategic partnership in 2018 that has delivered thriving, exciting and innovative research in the fields of Chemistry, Energy, Additive Manufacturing and Environmental Sciences.

These studentships are aligned with BAM’s research priorities, providing students with an opportunity to contribute directly to the safety of strategic technologies. Each student will benefit from co-supervision by a senior BAM scientist who will work closely with the UoB academic supervisor to maximise the value of the joint studentship.

Each PhD student will spend 21 months at UoB and 21 months at BAM (located in Berlin). This will allow students to utilize both UoB´s and BAM´s formidable facilities, and to enhance the research through access to the holistic network of senior researchers at both institutions. 

Applications are invited for the following Project:

High-throughput screening for new, earth-abundant, and sustainable thermoelectric materials with correct dopability

UoB Supervisor and School:

Prof. David Scanlon, Scanlon Materials Theory Group, School of Chemistry

BAM Supervisor and Division:

Prof. Janine George, George Junior Research Group, Department 6 Materials Chemistry

Short Summary:

With our ever-increasing demand for sustainable energy harvesting, thermoelectrics (TEs) have become the subject of rapidly growing interest because they can directly transform waste thermal energy into valuable electrical power. To expand the utility of TEs, however, we need to exploit the recent advances in computational chemistry/physics techniques to discover sustainable high-performance candidates. This project will involve high-throughput computational discovery of new thermoelectric candidate materials based on the 380,000 new structure prediction candidates as released by google deepmind. We will apply a tiered approach according to sustainability, earth-abundance (tier 1), estimates of thermal conductivities based on elastic tensors (tier 2), electronic transport properties (electronic mobilities and Seebeck coefficients; tier 3), in-depth characterization of the point defect properties (tier 4), and high-level computations of thermal conductivity (tier 5). Then, the correlation of the resulting candidate materials and properties with analysis from geometrical (ChemEnv) and quantum-chemical bonding analysis (LOBSTER, LobsterPy) to yield design principles for ideal TEs will follow. We will especially focus on the point defect properties. Previous work indicates a strong like between defect properties, chemical bonding and coordination environments. 

Eligibility Criteria

The entry requirements are either:

-              An upper second-class honours undergraduate degree in a relevant subject.

-              An MSc/MRes/MEng in a relevant subject.

 How to Apply

Applicants must choose a project listed above and make their application through the Application Portal. Applicants are encouraged to contact prospective supervisors informally to discuss the project. Applications should include a statement of research interests. Please detail the supervisor and project title under the Research Information section of the application form. For further information on how to apply please visit

Chemistry (6)

Funding Notes

Value of Award
A fully funded studentship is available for students on this PhD programme for October 2024 start. During their time at UoB, students will receive a UKRI-rate Doctoral Stipend. During their time at BAM, students will receive a regular work contract .

Where will I study?