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Interactions between Biosourced Surfactants and Fragrances


   Department of Chemistry


About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following fully-funded industrial CASE PhD project in collaboration with Unilever.

The project will be supervised by Dr Adam Squires at the University of Bath (Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies, Department of Chemistry) and Dr Craig Fairgrieve at Unilever.

Anticipated start date: 3 October 2022. A slightly later start may be possible in agreement with the lead supervisor and Unilever - please contact Dr Squires for more information.

Overview of the Research:

This project will focus on the characterisation of solution properties of innovative biosourced anionic surfactants and fragrances, to understand and thus evaluate their properties for use in cleaning products. One of Unilever’s core aims is to convert to bio-based, renewable and biodegradable raw materials. Surfactants and fragrances are no exception, and alternatives to petrochemical based surfactants and fragrances are urgently needed which deliver sustainability, cost competitiveness and superior performance for use in home and personal care (HPC) products. However, such replacements must also deliver equivalent or superior performance to current petrochemically-derived materials.

To gain an understanding of the comparative behaviour of these molecules in dilute solution this project will utilise advanced characterisation techniques to study solutions of these species such as small angle X-ray and neutron scattering, conductivity and rheology. This will be used to determine the variation in the packing parameter, (i.e. if they form curved or planar membranes), the micro and nanostructure of the formulations and compatibility with other formulation ingredients such as salts and other surfactants. Experimental work will involve use of instruments at neutron and synchrotron X-ray scattering facilities in the UK and Europe.

This project will enable fundamental insights into the behaviour of novel biosourced surfactants and fragrances formulation and dilute solution. This will allow us to understand which surfactants and which combinations of surfactants will give the desired performance and facilitate development of more sustainable formulations for future products.

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class Honours degree (or the equivalent). 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 Adam Squires on email address .

Formal applications should be made 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

NOTE: Applications may close earlier than the advertised deadline if a suitable candidate is found; therefore, we recommend that you contact Dr Adam Squires prior to applying and submit your formal application as early as possible.

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

Candidates applying for this project may be considered for a 4-year EPSRC Industrial CASE studentship with Unilever. Funding covers tuition fees at the Home rate, an enhanced stipend (2023/23 UKRI rate £16,062 p.a. + £2,500 p.a. top-up from Unilever) and a generous budget for research expenses, training and conference attendance. Unfortunately, we cannot accept applications from international candidates.

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