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Innovative polymerisation strategies for the development of novel polymers and hybrid biomaterials from sugars


   Institute for Sustainability

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  Dr Antoine Buchard  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The Institute of Sustainability at the University of Bath is inviting applications for a PhD project in the field of Synthetic Polymer Chemistry and Materials Science.

The successful candidate will join the Buchard Group researching the development of sugar-derived polymers and hybrid biomaterials.

Start Date:

As soon as possible by arrangement with the lead supervisor. The latest possible start date would be Monday 2 October 2023.

The Project:

You will develop innovative polymerisation methodologies to produce novel materials from renewable feedstocks with unique properties. You will specifically target the synthesis of polymer materials that combine synthetic polymers derived from sugars with biomacromolecules such as structural proteins (e.g., silk), natural polysaccharides (e.g., cellulose) or enzymes. A variety of polymer architectures and polymerisation strategies will be investigated, including metal and organocatalysis, controlled radical techniques, as well as state of the art bioconjugation techniques. The analysis of the materials produced will be performed to establish their structure/properties relationship, assess their (bio)degradability and recyclability, study their bioactivity and progress towards the development of useful renewable biomaterials.

This project will contribute towards creating original hybrid materials with excellent physical properties (e.g., ductile and tough), and enhanced (bio)degradability and functionality thanks to the sugar moiety. Renewable and degradable materials of relevance to the health and energy sectors will be targeted.

This project is a collaboration with the Materials for Health Lab led by Dr Hannah Leese. in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Bath

Secondment Abroad:

To enhance the training experience of the PhD student, there are funds to support a 3-month secondment in a laboratory abroad.

About us:

Research in the Buchard group addresses all aspects of the development of sustainable polymers. We develop new reactions for the synthesis of novel monomers from renewable feedstocks, design new polymerisation catalysts and processes, and produce innovative polymers for new technologies, including packaging, battery solid electrolytes and health materials. We have for example developed a method to make cyclic carbonate monomers using CO2, successfully applied this protocol to sugar derivatives and developed promising polymers with desirable attributes, including renewability, high performance, tuneability, recyclability and degradability.

Research in the Leese group focuses on developing advanced materials for transformative sustainable healthcare, specifically, materials that can detect and diagnose the presence of disease at point-of-care. 

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class Honours degree (or the equivalent) in a relevant subject. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.

Non-UK applicants must meet our English language entry requirement.

Enquiries and Applications:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Dr Antoine Buchard on email address [Email Address Removed].

Formal applications should be submitted via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Chemistry.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website.

Funding Eligibility:

To be eligible for funding, you must qualify as a Home student. The eligibility criteria for Home fee status are detailed and too complex to be summarised here in full; however, as a general guide, the following applicants will normally qualify subject to meeting residency requirements: UK and Irish nationals (living in the UK or EEA/Switzerland), those with Indefinite Leave to Remain and EU nationals with pre-settled or settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Additional information may be found on our fee status guidance webpage, on the GOV.UK website and on the UKCISA website.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion:

We value a diverse research environment and aim to be an inclusive university, where difference is celebrated and respected. We welcome and encourage applications from under-represented groups.

If you have circumstances that you feel we should be aware of that have affected your educational attainment, then please feel free to tell us about it in your application form. The best way to do this is a short paragraph at the end of your personal statement.


Funding Notes

The studentship available for this PhD project will cover tuition fees at the Home level and will provide the successful candidate with a maintenance stipend (£17,668 per annum, 2022/23 rate) for 3.5 years. There will also be funds available to support research expenses, training and travel. Eligibility criteria apply – see Funding Eligibility section above.

References

Buchard group selected references:
[1] T. M. McGuire, J. Bowles, E. Deane, E. Farrar, M. Grayson, A Buchard, “Control of Crystallinity and Stereocomplexation of Synthetic Carbohydrate Polymers from D- and L-Xylose” Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2021, 60, 4524-4528. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/anie.202013562
[2] T. M. McGuire, E. F. Clark, A Buchard, “Polymers from Sugars and Cyclic Anhydrides: Ring Opening Copolymerization of a ᴅ-Xylose Anhydrosugar Oxetane” Macromolecules 2021, 54, 5094-5105. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.macromol.1c00365
[3] M. Piccini, J. Lightfoot, D. Castro Dominguez, A. Buchard, “Xylose-Based Polyethers and Polyesters Via ADMET Polymerization toward Polyethylene-Like Materials” ACS Applied Polymer Materials 2021, 3, 5870-5881. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acsapm.1c01095
[4] M. Oshinowo, J. R. Runge, M. Piccini, F. Marken, A. Buchard, “Crosslinked xylose-based polyester as a bio-derived and degradable solid polymer electrolyte for Li+-ion conduction” Journal of Material Chemistry A 2022, 10, 6796-6808. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2022/ta/d1ta10111k
[5] C. Hardy, G. Kociok-Köhn, A. Buchard, “UV degradation of poly(lactic acid) materials through copolymerisation with a sugar-derived cyclic xanthate” Chemical Communications 2022, 58, 5463-54660. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2022/cc/d2cc01322c#!divAbstract
Leese group list of publications:
www.materialsforhealthlab.org/publications/

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