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  Dr M Haw  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Mounting evidence shows that only a decarbonized global economy can offer us a viable future and a way to mitigate and reverse the damage of climate change. Such an economy must break the link between growth and fossil fuel consumption: it must provide the growth required by any capitalist system but, in contrast to the past century, not require carbon-based technologies, processes and products to do so.

Chemical engineering graduates will be a key workforce in this transformation to a decarbonized society. But both the rapidity with which the transformation must be implemented, and the complexity of ‘decarbonizing everything’, are daunting. One challenge for the next generations of chemical engineering graduates is that chem eng courses are often still grounded historically in carbon-based engineering and industry. ‘Decarbonizing everything’ calls for a radical shift of focus in chemical engineering education.

This project aims both to break down this problem to provide a meaningful route forwards; and in order to do so, learn from history how such global scale transformation happens. The project will break ‘the economy’ (whether on national or global scale) into a map of sectors relevant to chemical engineering, exploring what education for a decarbonized version of each sector would look like from the chemical engineering perspective. What graduate attitudes and capabilities will the decarbonized version of each sector require and how might these be achieved? By researching what already exists in terms of innovations in education, and historical parallels to similar ‘everything transformations’ such as the shift from analogue to digital in the middle of the 20th century, and the very relevant development from small scale chemistry to chemical engineering industry in the late 19th century, the project will propose radical, rapid ways toward an education that prepares chemical engineering graduates to ‘decarbonize everything’. The research would suit students with interests in education, training and pedagogy, as well as the history/culture/economics of technology and innovation.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:

Chemistry (6) Education (11) Engineering (12) Environmental Sciences (13) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

This PhD project is initially offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with their own funding, or those applying to funding sources. However, excellent candidates will be eligible to be considered for a University scholarship.

Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering/science/education/humanities discipline, and be very motivated to undertake highly multidisciplinary research.

Where will I study?