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Improved biorecovery of metals from lithium-ion batteries for sustainable recycling

   Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences

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  Dr Eva Pakostova  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Coventry University is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship aiming to develop improved biotechnologies for metal recovery from lithium-ion batteries. The student will be based at the Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences (CSELS).

The project aims to develop sustainable approaches to recover metals from electric batteries, particularly lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) that are used in portable electronic devices and electric/hybrid vehicles. In addition to lithium, LIBs contain a variety of valuable metals of high economic importance, including nickel, manganese, and cobalt. The rising demand for LIBs, depleting metal resources, and the mass accumulation of spent LIBs emphasise the need for sustainable recycling. Current recycling processes include pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy, with high costs and energy consumption and potential negative impacts on the environment. Bioleaching, which uses microorganisms to solubilize metals, has been shown by our team and others to be an economically sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to the conventional techniques.

The bioleaching-based methodologies (including those involving strictly controlled microbial processes in bioreactors) will be an integral part of low-waste closed-loop systems in agreement with the principles of the circular economy. These systems will include (i) solubilisation of metals from LIB materials using microorganisms, and (ii) recovery of dissolved metals using electrochemical (and other) methods. The cross-institute project will bring together expertise from the Institute of Health and Wellbeing and the Institute for Future Transport and Cities.

Training and Development

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry criteria for applicants to PhD 

  • A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution.


  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
  • An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English. The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections.

 For further details please visit:

Additional items for candidate specification:

In addition:

  • A first degree in microbiology, biotechnology, molecular biology, biochemistry, biological sciences, environmental sciences or a closely-related discipline is essential.
  • A Masters-level degree in any of the above would be advantageous.
  • Familiarity with typical laboratory equipment is essential.
  • Knowledge of basic microbiological (aseptic work, cultivations in liquid and on solid media, etc.) and biomolecular techniques (such as PCR, DNA extraction, gel electrophoresis, etc.) would be beneficial.
  • Previous experience with laboratory-scale bioreactor operation would be advantageous.

Knowledge and experience in metal recovery techniques and bioinformatics would also be beneficial.

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Dr Eva Pakostova ([Email Address Removed]).

To apply on line please visit: 

The PGR+ Link for this project is

Details of all available research opportunities at Coventry University can be found via

All applications require full supporting documentation, and a covering letter. Plus, an up-to 2000-word supporting statement is required showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.


UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Reason for Eligibility restriction


PhD funding award

Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/International (including EU at international rates from Sept 21)

Start date: September 2022

Duration of study: Full Time - between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline date: 29th April 2022

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates.

Enquiries may be addressed to: Dr. Eva Pakostova - [Email Address Removed]

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